True Reagan: What Made Ronald Reagan Great and Why It Matters
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WHAT MADE RONALD REAGAN TICK? What was the secret to his greatness, the source of his influence, the key to his character, the strength behind his leadership?
And why does it matter to the nation today?
Just the mention of his name still evokes deep admiration and affection among Americans of every stripe, on both sides of the aisle. Many have previously sought to capture the essence of this very public figure often called "mysterious and unknowable." But now, as James Rosebush tells Reagan's story from first-hand experience in TRUE REAGAN, we come closer to understanding the heart of this great American.
In his roles as the longest-serving Chief of Staff to Nancy Reagan and Deputy Assistant to President Reagan (his point man on philanthropy and public/private partnerships), James Rosebush had unrivaled one-on-one access to Reagan, observing his personality, his decision-making, his guarded nature. Rosebush's revelations are moving and meant to inspire us to look to our 40th President for guidance now as we face the global challenges of a complicated 21st century.
Ronald Reagan was first and foremost an intensely private person, although the life he led placed him at the center of people's attention from his earliest years. Small-town boy and college athlete, sportscaster and lifelong sports fan, actor and movie star, union leader and TV spokesman, Democrat and Republican, governor and president: what an incredible and extraordinary path. Rosebush tells how his center core was formed by his mother, who devoted herself to helping others even as the Reagans struggled themselves. The spiritual foundation she instilled in him by teaching him the Bible governed his thoughts, beliefs and actions all his life.
In a very real sense, his upbringing destined Reagan to become a global evangelist for American Exceptionalism - but importantly, as Rosebush learned first-hand, that did not mean Reagan thought Americans themselves were superior, as today's pundits and politicians often preach. Rather, Reagan believed that the ideals of America's founding were superior, enabling all Americans to live lives based on high ideals and spiritual principles, and thus achieve unparalleled success. Reagan was uniquely able to lead from true conviction and strength, his confidence stemming from an unshakeable fundamental belief system.
Better understanding the essence of this inspiring and principled leader is critical to our future. Journey back with Rosebush through the innumerable examples he recounts from first-hand observation and marvel once again at TRUE REAGAN.
what a man can do or where he can go, if he does not mind who gets the credit.” This lack of need for approval, acceptance, recognition, acclaim, or fame was one of the rare human qualities and secret ingredients in the impervious armor he wore, armor that was called his Teflon coating by the media. Untoward events and blame did not stick to him, because they did not generally offend him. Before observing this quality firsthand in Reagan, I would have thought just the opposite was a true
attended the June 1984 fortieth anniversary of D-day at Pointe du Hoc in Normandy, France. Reagan was of the age when he himself might have actually landed on French soil that horrific day—and he could have, if he had not been kept from action due to very poor eyesight. His love of country and respect for his countrymen who fought there all came together at that celebration. I had the privilege of advancing this trip and also accompanying Nancy Reagan when she was invited to be the honored guest
on John Boyles, an associate pastor at the National Presbyterian Church in Washington, for counsel. After he left office, Reagan and Boyles were in communication about Boyles’ submission to the Washington Post of the President’s first Christmas address to the nation, which featured in the opening section the story of the birth of Jesus. Boyles had been pleased that the paper published the address but disappointed that they edited out the first part, which was the most religious. Years after
government’s unending expansion. In his parting remarks he said: “Ours was the first revolution in the history of mankind that truly reversed the course of government, and with three little words… ‘We the People’ tell the government what to do; it doesn’t tell us… ‘We the People’ are the driver; the government is the car. And we decide where it should go, and by what route, and how fast.” In this last address, Reagan chose to talk about the relationship of a people to its government just as he
which was a particular appreciation for the tools of staging the presidency. Later Bill Clinton himself followed the Reagan playbook for how to be an American President—almost to a T. He employed Reagan’s communication strategy effectively, and through his daily introduction of new programs and policy initiatives he dominated the news as Reagan had through his Theme for the Day strategy. Clinton’s self-professed role model was John F. Kennedy, and the Kennedys also had an ability to stage the