Ronald Wilson Reagan was a great man

 Ronald Reagan was my favorite president. I got to wave at him once after he spoke in Little Rock in November of 1984 and he waved back. After his car pulled by I looked around and saw that my girlfriend (Jill Sawyer) and I were there alone and President Reagan had actually waved back to us alone.

President Reagan and Nancy Reagan attending “All Star Tribute to Dutch Reagan” at NBC Studios(from left to right sitting) Colleen Reagan, Neil Reagan, Maureen Reagan, President, Nancy Reagan, Dennis Revell. (From left to right standing) Emmanuel Lewis, Charlton Heston, Ben Vereen, Monty Hall, Frank Sinatra, Burt Reynolds, Dean Martin, Eydie Gorme, Vin Scully, Steve Lawrence, last 2 unidentified. Burbank, California 12/1/85.

Above you will see the picture of Charlton Heston. My wife actually got her picture taken with Heston in 1992 when he came in to try to jump start Mike Huckabee’s effort to beat Senator Dale Bumpers.

Ronald Reagan – The Presidential Years Part 2 of 4

Lee Edwards of the Heritage Foundation wrote an excellent article on Ronald Reagan and the events that transpired during the Reagan administration,  and I wanted to share it with you. Here is the 13th portion: 

The Reagan years were paradoxical years for the conservative movement with some conservative organizations rising to new heights of influence and affluence and others fading and falling from sight. In 1974, the Heritage Foundation could fit all eight of its employees into a couple of rented offices and had a tiny budget of $250,000, almost all of it provided by one generous businessman — Colorado brewer Joseph Coors. A decade later, Heritage had a staff of more than one hundred people — analysts, academics, and support personnel — and an annual operating budget of about $10.5 million based on the contributions of over 100,000 individuals, foundations, and corporations.

In contrast, several New Right groups were in near free fall. The Moral Majority was damaged by the financial misdeeds of Jim Bakker and the sexual misconduct of fellow television evangelist Jimmy Swaggart although neither was a conservative activist. Many Americans simply did not or could not distinguish between Bakker and Swaggart on the one hand and Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and other ministers of the Religious Right on the other. Also, many of the Religious Right’s people shifted their allegiance and financial support to conservative organizations based in Washington, D.C.[xlvii]

Despite a continuing high media profile, the National Conservative Political Action Committee was in serious financial trouble, with millions of dollars of unpaid bills. Its problems were compounded by the ill health of its articulate, aggressive chairman, Terry Dolan, who died in January 1987.

Howard Phillips found organizing at the grassroots more and more difficult. Many conservatives were convinced that with Reagan in the White House, the political war had been won. Phillips thought differently and kept searching for the right issues to motivate people, from limiting taxes to supporting freedom fighters in Angola. And he became increasingly critical of Reagan, which won him attention in the news media but earned him the enmity of the administration.

Appalled by the treaty banning medium-range missiles from Europe, Phillips scorned President Reagan as “a useful idiot for Kremlin propaganda.”[xlviii] The Conservative Caucus leader and similar hard-core conservatives seemed to think that arms control negotiations had only one purpose — to prevent arms control agreements. But Reagan, as the Chicago Tribune stressed, “always said he would sign a treaty that served America’s interests.”[xlix] Phillips later summed up Reagan as “a superb chief of state and a deficient chief executive.”[l]

Frustrated by the New Right’s decline, Richard Viguerie became more sharply populist during the Reagan years, attacking Big Government, Big Labor, Big Business, and Big Media in a new book, The Establishment vs. the People. He charged that both the Democratic and Republican parties had “come to defend a privileged elite against the will and interests of the majority.” He faulted President Reagan for raising taxes, hiring “5,200 additional IRS agents,” and failing to veto “unnecessary” government spending. “Who will speak for the little guy?” Viguerie demanded.[li] Writing in National Review, Viguerie claimed both Thomas Jefferson and William F. Buckley Jr. as inspirations for his anti-elitism, amusing Jefferson scholars and startling the patrician Buckley.[lii]


Free-lance columnist Rex Nelson is the president of Arkansas’ Independent Colleges and Universities. He’s also the author of the Southern Fried blog at rexnelsonsouthernfried. com.

Rex Nelson wrote in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on April 2, 2011 a great article called “Arkansas Bucket List.” The readers of his blog came up with a list of things you must do at least once in your life to be considered a well-rounded Arkansan. Nelson asked others to add their suggestions at his website. I am going through the list slowly.

1. Walk around Dyess and imagine what it was like when Johnny Cash was a boy. (I grew up friends with Johnny Cash’s nephew Paul Grant. I saw Cash sing at the Billy Graham Crusade in Memphis in 1978. I was very impressed with the progress that Cash made spiritually in his life. He learned from a lot of his mistakes.)
2. Have a steak with some political power brokers in the back room at Doe’s in Little Rock. (The place looks like a hole in the wall, but everyone raves about it. I will have to try it. I actually watched an episode of 19 and counting on TLC with the Duggar family and Jim Bob took the family for some hamburgers over at Doe’s.)

What has become a Little Rock landmark of national renown  –– Doe’s Eat Place — has its orgins in the unlikeliest of models, a no-frills diner deep in the delta. But then nothing about Doe’s is quite what one would expect from a world-class steakhouse — except fabulous steaks, that is.

East Arkansas restauranteur and hobby pilot George Eldridge had been flying friends and clients over to Doe’s Eat Place in Greenville, Mississipi for steak and tamales for years, a joint in a rundown neighborhood with cheap panelled walls that had acquired a reputation for its steaks. Eventually Eldridge decided to bring the mountain to Mohammed, and contracted the right to bring both the name and menu to Little Rock. In the spirit of not fixing what ain’t broke, Eldridge maintained the no-frills tradition, and opened Doe’s Eat Place on the decidely downscale corner of Ringo & West Markham Streets in 1988.

Since then, other Doe’s offshoots have sprung up independently in the region, but perhaps none quite as true to the original Greenville spirit, and certainly none achieving the celebrity status that the Little Rock Doe’s Eat Place has come to enjoy. Naturally, we at Doe’s like to attribute this solely to our good “eats”, but it hasn’t hurt to count President Bill Clinton among our most loyal customers!

A longtime regional favorite, Doe’s rose to national prominence during the 1992 presidential election campaign, when Clinton staffers made it their hangout. When then-candidate Clinton was interviewed by Rolling Stone magazine for the September cover story, Doe’s was the setting. Chef Lucille Robinson was escorted by Eldridge to the Inaugural Ball — an Annie Lebowitz portrait of the pair is among the dozens of photographic memorabilia on the restaurant walls.

Throughout the vagaries of political fame & fortune, however, Doe’s has maintained its down-to-earth atmosphere. New photographs and clippings may continue their spread across the walls, but the real stars will always be our “eats.”

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