Dead Presidents

Historical facts, thoughts, ramblings and collections on the Presidency and about the Presidents of the United States.

By Anthony Bergen
Posts tagged "President Reagan"

You should definitely get this book when it is released on August 5th. I was barely able to tear myself away from it to make this post.

The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan (BOOK | KINDLE) by Rick Perlstein, author of Nixonland, and published by Simon & Schuster (@simonbooks) on August 5th.


40th President of the United States (1981-1989)

Full Name: Ronald Wilson Reagan
Born: February 6, 1911, Graham Building, 111-113 Main Street, Tampico, Illinois
Political Party: Republican
State Represented: California
Term: January 20, 1981-January 20, 1989
Age at Inauguration: 69 years, 349 days
Administrations: 49th and 50th
Congresses: 97th, 98th, 99th, and 100th
Vice President: George Herbert Walker Bush (1981-1989)
Died: June 5, 2004, 668 St. Cloud Road, Bel-Air, Los Angeles, California
Age at Death: 93 years, 120 days
Buried: Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Simi Valley, California

2012 Dead Presidents Ranking: 15 of 43 [↓2]

There are many aspects of being President of the United States.  First and foremost is the President as a political leader, Commander-in-Chief, chief executive of the federal government, and administrator of all of the departments which make up the Executive Branch.  Yet, there is also the public relations role.  A role which sometimes calls for inspirational leadership, motivational leadership, the skills for challenging Americans to be their best that is almost like the skills required of a great athletic coach.  This part of the Presidency is almost a paternal role, and it is best exhibited in trying moments like the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger or the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut.  No one was better at this part of the Presidency than Ronald Reagan, and that means something in these rankings because it is indeed an important part of being President.  Reagan wasn’t the best manager/administrator, but he was a rock star politically and, when the nation needed their President to make them feel like everything would be okay, Ronald Reagan was usually there to say the right things with his comforting voice and warm easy smile.  That may not make you the best President and the metrics may not put him in the top tier, but something is to be said for someone who makes Americans feel good and strong and safe.

1948: Schlesinger Sr./Life Magazine:  Not Ranked
1962: Schlesinger Sr./New York Times Magazine:  Not Ranked
1982: Neal/Chicago Tribune Magazine:  Not Ranked
1990: Siena Institute:  22 of 40
1996: Schlesinger Jr./New York Times Magazine:  25 of 39
2000: C-SPAN Survey of Historians:  11 of 41
2000: C-SPAN Public Opinion Poll:  6 of 41
2005: Wall Street Journal/Presidential Leadership:  6 of 40
2009: C-SPAN Survey of Historians:  10 of 42
2010: Siena Institute:  18 of 43
2011: University of London’s U.S. Presidency Centre:  8 of 40

George Bush is a man of action — a man accustomed to command. The Vice Presidency doesn’t fit easily on such a man. But George Bush is a patriot. And so he made it fit, and he served with a distinction no one has ever matched.
Ronald Reagan, endorsing his Vice President George H.W. Bush during Bush’s campaign for the Presidency, 1988
We lost Ronald Reagan only days ago, but we have missed him for a long time. We have missed his kindly presence, that reassuring voice, and the happy ending we had wished for him. It has been ten years since he said his own farewell; yet it is still sad and hard to let him go. Ronald Reagan belongs to the ages now, but we preferred it when he belonged to us…And we look to that fine day when we will see him again, all weariness gone, clear of mind, strong and sure, smiling again, and the sorrow of his parting gone forever.
George W. Bush, eulogizing Ronald Reagan and expressing regret that the ravages of Alzheimer’s Disease had effectively ended Reagan’s public life a decade before he actually died, at Reagan’s State Funeral, Washington National Cathedral, Washington, D.C., June 11, 2004
Pride in our country, respect for our armed services, a healthy appreciation for the dangers beyond our borders, an insistence that there was no easy equivalence between East and West — in all this I had no quarrel with Reagan. And when the Berlin Wall came tumbling down, I had to give the old man his due, even if I never gave him my vote.
Barack Obama, on the strengths and leadership qualities that he admired about Ronald Reagan, The Audacity of Hope, 2006
How could anybody work up a feeling of sufficient personal malice toward Ronald Reagan to want him dead?
Vice President George H.W. Bush, genuinely puzzled about why someone would try to assassinate Ronald Reagan, to aides on board Air Force Two as Bush returned to Washington, D.C. immediately following Reagan’s shooting, March 30, 1981
Reagan is one of the most decent men I have known. He’s a good man, a great communicator, as they say, and he made a fine President. He gave us leadership when we really needed it. He was so damn good — with the press, with the people, with the Russians, with everybody. But I have mixed feelings on Reagan. He lifted the spirit of the country and he was right-on on the arms buildup, but he ruled from his gut instead of his brain. Now that’s not necessarily a bad thing; it worked for Truman. But it was fortunate that he had some very good advisers around him because, frankly, by the end of the second term he wasn’t nearly as effective. It wasn’t his fault, but his faculties had already begun to decline. We joke about how he fell asleep in a Cabinet meeting, but that’s no way to be President. I feel for the guy. He was a very good leader at a time of great events.
Richard Nixon, on Ronald Reagan’s Presidency and leadership style, to Monica Crowley, January 27, 1991
He was not what I would [call] a technically competent President. You know, his knowledge of the budget, his knowledge of foreign policy — it was not up to the standards of either Democrat or Republican Presidents. But he had a helluva flair. He could sell himself probably better than any President since FDR and maybe JFK. So I praise his assets, but I have reservations about his technical ability.
Gerald Ford, on Ronald Reagan
You have the ability of putting complicated technical ideas into words everyone can understand. Those of us who have spent a number of years in Washington too often lack the ability to express ourselves in this way.
Richard Nixon, letter to Ronald Reagan, after reading one of Reagan’s speeches, 1959
He believed that freedom was a universal value…that people everywhere wished to be free, and…the Cold War would end.
Bill Clinton, statement upon the death of Ronald Reagan, June 6, 2004
Good God. Can you imagine — can you really imagine — him sitting here?
Richard Nixon, on the possibility of Ronald Reagan as President, 1973
I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it…he tapped into what people were already feeling, which was that we want clarity, we want optimism and a return to a sense of entrepreneurship that had been missing.
Barack Obama, on Ronald Reagan, to the editorial board of the Reno Gazette-Journal, January 14, 2008
I must regretfully observe that Reagan looks far older, more tired, and less vigorous in person than in public. There is no way he can ever be allowed to participate in a private meeting with [Soviet leader Mikhail] Gorbachev.
Richard Nixon, expressing his worries about Ronald Reagan’s vitality late in Reagan’s Presidency, 1987