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Mar 7, 201608:31 AMBlaska's Bring It!

with David Blaska

Can America in 2016 learn from Nancy and Ron?

(page 1 of 2)

Retail has been said to be location, location, location (at least, before e-commerce.) Of politics, timing is everything.

So, it was Nancy Reagan’s time. The gift of 94 years is a bountiful blessing. Does God work in mysterious ways? Is meaning to be found in the passing of a great first lady at this critical juncture in our nation’s political life?

The news and social media will be flooded these next days with reminiscences of that golden age, a period of hope and accomplishment after the privations and defeats of the Jimmy Carter years.

Your humble blogguer remembers the exultation so many of us felt, even as he was surrounded in the newsroom of The Capital Times by professional doomsayers who defended the Malthusian malaise as the new reality. The Madison intelligentsia blamed America first. They looked to Europe for salvation, advocated socialism to divvy up an ever-dwindling pie. The naysayers ridiculed “trickle-down economics” but the president sworn into office in January 1981 tamed double-digit inflation and ended gasoline lines. America was hiring. It was indeed morning in America.

The intelligentsia scoffed at Reagan — he was a lightweight actor, not a man who saw clearly a vision of that shining city on a hill. Reagan spoke with the blunt force of truth. The Soviet Union was indeed an Evil Empire. Bob Kastenmeier, Dane County’s career man in Washington, said such language would unsettle relations with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. But that was the idea. They called him a warmonger, this president who would end the Cold War and bring political and economic freedom to nations locked for a generation behind the Iron Curtain.

He had failed, they said of this president, for walking away from a bad deal at Reykjavik. Some candidates today think they are negotiators. Others tout their diplomatic chops. Ronald Reagan was the real deal. He got the better deal he knew was gettable; he took the world back from the nuclear precipice.

The Great Communicator was as civil as his critics were shrill. There was never a whiff of rumor that he ever profited from government service. His humor never came at another’s expense. He could laugh at himself — even when shot and wounded (“I forgot to duck”) — because he was comfortable in his own skin. Humility ennobles.


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Comments, page 1 of 2 1 2 Next »
Mar 7, 2016 09:22 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Still selling that trickle-down snake oil, eh? Don't let history and facts get in your way. We expected no less from you.

Mar 7, 2016 10:14 am
 Posted by  madisonexpat

Why was it that when Reagan attacked Khaddafi it was cowboy, imperialist warmongering but when Obama and Hillary! did it, it was "Smart Power"?

Mar 7, 2016 11:00 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Reagan would have got drummed out before Walker had he been around to run this cycle. Waaaaaay to far to the center for todays party of NO.

Mar 7, 2016 11:53 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Looking back on the Reagan era makes me almost terminally nostalgic. Yes, Reagan had his flaws, as Madison's whiny liberals will be quick to point out, but he wasn't afraid to commit this country to goals so lofty (bringing down the Soviet Union, ending the Cold War) that many dismissed them as pure fantasy. Reagan was sharper and shrewder than his public persona, but no one played the role of President (literally and figuratively) with more aplomb. How far we have fallen, indeed. Am I the only one who feels that the last time grown-ups were in charge of this country was during the George H. W. Bush years?

Mar 7, 2016 02:03 pm
 Posted by  madisonexpat

Dear Liberals,

Reagan did to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics the same thing he did to PATCO.

Mar 7, 2016 02:06 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

oh please, bonzo the great

Mar 8, 2016 07:48 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

"Reagan spoke with the blunt force of truth". Nonsense. Welfare queens with caddies? Advancing years have affected Blaskas memory chip.

Mar 8, 2016 07:58 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Yes, you,anonymous 2.06, for the first time I can ever remember, are correct. HE WAS GREAT

Mar 8, 2016 10:00 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Todays voters could learn that trickle-down economics doesn't work, and that consulting an astrologer for making decisions of state is not smart.

Mar 8, 2016 10:10 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

I am so proud of St. Ronnie! Still holds the record for administration with the most federal indictments. Good times.

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About This Blog

Raised on a farm near Sun Prairie, David Blaska is a recovering liberal who spent 18 years in daily newspapers, including 12 at The Capital Times in Madison as a reporter and editor. He served Gov. Tommy Thompson as acting press secretary in 1998 and is a veteran and survivor of 19 years in state government. He served 12 years on the Dane County Board of Supervisors. From December 2007 to November 2011 he wrote the consistently popular "Blaska's Blog" for Isthmus online's "The Daily Page" until, he says, the intolerant liberals ran him off. He blogs from Madison.

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