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GOP Debate Reflections on Reagan

May 3, 2007

Arriving just in time for tonight's Republican presidential debate at the Reagan Library are the first sneak peeks of the Gipper's soon to be released diary. While Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Mitt Romney and the rest vie to claim the mantle of "Reagan Conservative," you can contemplate Ronnie's insightful private admissions such as "getting shot hurts" and "I agreed to sell TOWs to Iran."
But you don't have to wait for "The Reagan Diaries" to size up the man. Here are some reflections on Reagan from the man himself and the friends who knew him best:

"I favor the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and it must be enforced at the point of a bayonet, if necessary."
(October 20, 1965)
"I would have voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964."
(June 17, 1966)
"...A faceless mass, waiting for handouts."
(Description of Medicaid recipients, 1965)
"Unemployment insurance is a pre-paid vacation for freeloaders."
(April 28, 1966)
"[Not] until now has there ever been a time in which so many of the prophecies are coming together. There have been times in the past when people thought the end of the world was coming, and so forth, but never anything like this."
(December 6, 1983)
"...the moral equal of our Founding Fathers."
(Describing the Nicaraguan contras, March 1, 1985)
"I know all the bad things that happened in that war. I was in uniform four years myself."
(Reagan spent World War II making Army training films at Hal Roach Studios in Hollywood)
"He has the ability to make statements that are so far outside the parameters of logic that they leave you speechless."
(Daughter Patti Davis from "The Way I See It")
" reinventing the wheel."
(Reagan press secretary Larry Speakes on preparing the president for press conferences.)
"The task of watering the arid desert between Reagan's ears is a challenging one for his aides."
(Columnist David Broder)
"Poor dear, there's nothing between his ears."
(Margaret Thatcher, 1988)
For an extended look back at Ronald Reagan, visit here.


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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