In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 8, 2004 / 19 Sivan, 5764

The Reagan legacy: It was about more than his optimism

By Laura Ingraham

Printer Friendly Version

Email this article

http://www.jewishworldreview.com | If only President Reagan were here to take in some of the commentary we've been hearing and reading about his life, his presidency, and his effect on politics. Even his former critics have rushed to the airwaves and op-ed pages to remember this great and good man. Sen. Ted Kennedy described Reagan's optimism "infectious," and the New York Times wrote that "he managed to project the optimism of Franklin D. Roosevelt."

Of course Reagan was an optimist. The important question is why.

Twenty years ago President Reagan's critics saw his optimism as the by-product of a naïve, unsophisticated worldview. They believed that his sunny demeanor was no more than an irrational denial of reality, which was caused by his dogmatic and outdated beliefs. Reagan was caricatured as the "amiable dunce," an avuncular soul who quit work each day at 5 pm and took naps in the afternoon. Only an unsophisticated rube totally disengaged from the complexities of the world at home and abroad could have such a positive outlook.

Twenty years ago, Reagan's optimism was not viewed by the elites as a mark of his character but as evidence of his general lack of understanding. The reason he could smile after walking away from the Reykavik summit (where he rejected a deal on arms control) was because he just couldn't comprehend the need for America to compromise with the Communists. The reason he could say "stay the course" with his tax cuts during the 1982 recession was because he could not fathom the fact that lower taxes were inherently unfair to poor people. The reason that he went to the Berlin Wall and said "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall" is because he was ill-suited to master the nuances of international diplomacy.

Critics never understood the broad-based popularity of Reagan's conservatism because they never really understood why this guy was always smiling. Reagan was optimistic because he was he confident. He was confident because he knew what he believed was true. Good and evil exist. The individual trumps the collective. Our rights are G-d-given, not government given. And an America committed to these truths would overcome any obstacle.

Donate to JWR

He was convinced that truth had a power beyond any individual and that it would ultimately prevail. More importantly he was deeply convinced that liberty could never make peace with tyranny. We could never compromise with evil but we must call it what it is and fight against it until it is vanquished. Reagan's optimism was founded on truth, on character, and ultimately on his great wisdom.

To his core, he was convinced that regardless of our political difference on this or that issue, the American people would always be committed to these truths and be willing to sacrifice for them. Reagan could be both self-deprecating and confident because his confidence was founded not on primarily a belief in himself, but on a belief in others.

This is why Reagan was rarely bothered by the cynics who enjoyed promoting the "Bedtime for Bonzo" caricature. (On the rare occasion on which the New York Times would write something positive about him, he liked to say, "I wonder what has gotten into them!")

The Reagan Revolution was a revolution of ideas based on basic truths about the human yearning for freedom, the power of the free market, and the dignity of all mankind. His political opponents routinely explain his success by attributing it to his masterful communication skills. "I wasn't a great communicator," Reagan insisted, years later, "but I communicated great things...and they didn't spring full bloom from my brow; they came from the heart of a great nation, from our experience, our wisdom, and our belief in the principles that have guided us for two centuries."

Indeed, his connection was with the "heart of a great nation," our people. This was the foundation of what the Washington Post yesterday referred to as "his buoyant optimism." That is why I came to Washington in 1987 to work as a junior staffer/speechwriter in his Administration. I was a kid just out of college and found myself working in the Reagan White House as an aide working in domestic policy. Most of us twenty-somethings came to Washington in the 1980s because we wanted to be some small part of the Reagan Revolution. His was a vision of an America that would never be defeated, of an America that is great not because of her government but because of her people.

When the President walked over from the West Wing to the Old Executive Office Building where most of the White House staff's offices are, the Secret Service would clear the hallways. But instead of a hush, immediately one could sense a palpable energy, and invariably, one would hear laughter. That man could lift your spirit with just a wink, his beaming smile, his strong wave. Even in the aftermath of the Iran-Contra scandal, he elevated us with his unshakeable belief in America's promise.

In the 1970s, Reagan was already speaking and writing of the coming collapse of the Soviet Union — often to great ridicule. But he knew what the educated experts in the détente crowd could never understand — that the "evil empire" was propped up by lies and subjugation and could not withstand the power of freedom's call. It was not the force of will, but the force of truth that propelled Reagan. It was this force that defined his life and will continue to define America for generations to come.

When I left the White House in early 1988, I had my five minutes with Reagan along with other domestic policy staffers. He showed us around the Oval Office and I was totally star-struck. Overcome with nervousness, I looked at him and said, "Mr. President, I think I'm going to faint." He looked at me, grabbed my arm for the presidential photographer, smiled and said, "Don't worry, I'll catch you."

President Reagan, thank you for catching us all when we as a nation were at risk of being overcome by cynicism and pessimism. Your optimism — based on an abiding belief in G-d and a fervent devotion to protecting the liberties that He has endowed us with — helped to lead a rebirth a freedom around the world and a renewed faith in the American spirit at home.

Mr. President, G-d has welcomed you home, and I have no doubt you have heard the words, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Laura Ingraham is the host of a nationally syndicated radio show and the author of the just released "Shut Up and Sing: How Elites from Hollywood, Politics, and the UN are Subverting America". Comment by clicking here.

© 2004, Laura Ingraham