Ronald Wilson Reagan Part 30

Then Governor of California Ronald Reagan in a comedy skit with Sonny and Cher. Sonny gives Ronnie the coveted Bono Award.

Above you can see a funny skit with Sonny Bono and Governor Ronald Reagan of California. I followed with great interest Bono’s political career. Bono was elected as a Republican to the United States House of Representatives in 1994 to represent California’s 44th congressional district.

This is the last portion from an excellent article by Peggy Noonan ”Ronald Reagan at 100,” (Wall Street Journal, Feb 3, 2011).

His most underestimated political achievement? In the spring of 1981 the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization called an illegal strike. It was early in Reagan’s presidency. He’d been a union president. He didn’t want to come across as an anti-union Republican. And Patco had been one of the few unions to support him in 1980. But the strike was illegal. He would not accept it. He gave them a grace period, two days, to come back. If they didn’t, they’d be fired. They didn’t believe him. Most didn’t come back. So he fired them. It broke the union. Federal workers got the system back up. The Soviet Union, and others, were watching. They thought: This guy means business. It had deeply positive implications for U.S. foreign policy. But here’s the thing: Reagan didn’t know that would happen, didn’t know the bounty he’d reap. He was just trying to do what was right.

The least understood facet of Reagan’s nuclear policies? He hated the rise of nuclear weapons, abhorred the long-accepted policy of mutually assured destruction. That’s where the Strategic Defense Initiative came from, his desire to protect millions from potential annihilation. The genius of his program: When developed, America would share it with the Soviet Union. We’d share it with everybody. All would be protected from doomsday.

The Soviets opposed this; the Rejkavik summit broke up over it, and in the end the Soviets’ arms spending helped bankrupt them and hasten their fall. Years later I would see Mikhail Gorbachev, who became Reagan’s friend. He was still grumpy about Reagan’s speeches. “Ron—he loved show business!” Mr. Gorbachev blustered. The losses of those years must have still rankled, and understandably. It’s one thing to be outmaneuvered by a clever man, but to be outfoxed by a good one—oh, that would grate.

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President  and Nancy Reagan with Ray Charles after acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, Dallas, Texas.  8/23/84.


Little known presidential facts:

  • Calvin Coolidge liked to have his head rubbed with petroleum jelly while eating his breakfast in bed.b
  • Woodrow Wilson (born Thomas Woodrow Wilson, 1856-1924) would paint his golf balls black during the winter so he could continue playing in the snow.a
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