Reaganites, take this moment to rejoice in bittersweet recollection of a time when the voting public knew any better. It was 25 years ago on November 4, 1980 that Ronald Reagan won the presidency for the first time in a landslide over Jimmy Carter (who gave birth to the saying, you are what you eat ... cuz he's a goober).
President Reagan took office in January of 1981 with an economic catastrophe and a hostage situation to deal with. There was no smooth transition allowing the new leader time to stretch his feet and rearrange the Oval Office to his liking. Nevertheless, the fearless leader so many Americans came to view as the greatest ever took the reins and steadied the ship before its wayward course led straight to destruction.
He didn't use conventional wisdom to fix America's problems, instead he used his own wisdom. Cut spending, cut taxes, increase defense spending, and zero toleration for Communism were among his most important goals. Everybody scoffed when he showed Gorbachev the back of his hand as he walked away from peace talks in Reykjavik. The intelligentsia groaned when he coined the term "evil empire" and prophecied that America's morality and religious conviction would condemn the USSR to the "ash heap of history." Hollywood moaned when Reagan confronted dictatorships in Latin America and even invited these dictators to their A-list events on Manhattan's Upper East Side.
But Reagan knew that the silent majority, those Americans who understood the difference between good and evil, would support him and this reassurance was all he needed to pursue the ends that nearly everyone sought by the means that nobody would dare think of. And he was right, as in his bid for reelection he nearly swept the entire country, winning 49 states on his way to one of the greatest landslides ever.
We can only hope and pray that the party of Goldwater and Reagan, not of Chafee and Rockefeller, nominates someone in Reagan's mold. It is time to "Make America Great Again", in the words of the Reagan/Bush campaign's 1980 button.