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Ronald Reagan, 93, dies
    #2766500 - 06/05/04 04:56 PM (13 years, 11 months ago)


June 5, 2004 ? Former President Ronald Reagan, the actor and politician whose conservative vision and sunny outlook transformed America, has died. He was 93.

Reagan, the nation's 40th president, had suffered from Alzheimer's disease, a debilitating brain disorder diagnosed several years after he left office in 1989. The disease had grown progressively worse to the point where the former president could no longer speak, feed himself or recognize his family.

A journeyman actor, union president and California governor before he won the presidency in a landslide on his third try, Reagan became known as the Great Communicator. With movie-star charisma and a natural feel for television cameras, he rejuvenated the Republican Party, and along with it, the nation.

"Reagan does not argue for American values, he embodies them,? wrote Garry Wills in Reagan's America. "Even young people who did not grow up with Reagan, or grow up hearing him on the radio or watching him in the movies, have accepted his version of the past as their own best pledge of the future."

Critics protested his cuts in social programs, his buildup in military spending and a hands-off management style that led to a series of scandals. But many Americans enjoyed an economic joyride during his eight years in office, once "Reaganomics" wrenched the country out of the stagnation and malaise of the Carter years.

The Teflon President

While Reagan's conservative policies were not universally admired, his likeable demeanor deflected criticism. He became known as the "Teflon President," enjoying popularity ratings not seen since President Roosevelt during World War II.

Reagan's tough talk against the "Evil Empire" of the Soviet Union also won him support at home and abroad ? British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was a particular fan ? and some credited him with hastening the demise of communism around the world.

His political honeymoon also lasted longer than most presidents', for several reasons. At the very moment of his swearing in, the Iranian government finally released 52 American hostages, raising the nation's spirits immeasurably.

And just two months later, Reagan was shot in the lung by John Hinckley, a deranged man who thought assassinating the president would impress actress Jodie Foster. Despite the seriousness of his wounds, Reagan quickly returned to work at the Oval Office.

Reagan, 69 at his inauguration, was the oldest U.S. president, but carefully scripted photo-ops assured the public of his vigor. It wasn't until 1994, in a personal, handwritten letter to the American people, that Reagan revealed that he was suffering from Alzheimer?s disease.

"I now begin the journey," he wrote, "that will lead me into the sunset of my life."

Had the journey begun much earlier, during his time as president? All four of Reagan's White House doctors said no, blaming the normal effects of age for his frequent memory lapses, incidents of confusion and habit of falling asleep at meetings.

'One for the Gipper'

Ronald Wilson Reagan was born on Feb. 6, 1911, in the little town of Tampico, Ill. His father was a shoe salesman who drank his slim profits, and the family moved often. His mother was very religious, and raised Ronald and his brother Neil in the Disciples of Christ Church.

Young Ronald excelled at physical activities, and a plaque in Dixon, Ill., claims he saved 77 people from drowning during his years as a lifeguard there. He played football at a local college, Eureka, acted in the drama society and graduated in 1932 with a bachelor's degree in economics and sociology.

Reagan found work as a radio announcer in Iowa, impressing his bosses and winning over audiences with his knack for embellishing stories. Since his station couldn't afford to send him to Chicago, he fooled listeners, using wire service reports and a lively imagination to describe Cubs games as if he were inside the stadium.

Eventually he turned to a more lucrative acting career, appearing in B-movies such as Bedtime for Bonzo, but also in more substantial features as King's Row and Knute Rockne, All American, the film that gave him the nickname, "the Gipper."

Disqualified from combat duty by his poor eyesight, he spent the war years in Los Angeles making Army training films and patriotic features, but gamely went along with studio p.r. that suggested he bravely served overseas.

In 1947, he appeared before the House Committee on Un-American Activities as a witness, and while serving as president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1947-1960, cooperated with the FBI and Sen. Eugene McCarthy in the notorious blacklisting of alleged communists in Hollywood.

He later blamed the unwillingness of liberals to confront the Red Scourge for his switch to the GOP, a move encouraged by his second wife, actress and Republican stalwart Nancy Davis.

Reagan Takes California, Then Washington

With a group of ideological conservatives rallying around him, Ronald Reagan was elected governor of California in 1966, serving two terms. And in 1980, he reached the largest stage of his life, winning the presidency in a landslide of 50.7 percent to Jimmy Carter's 41.

On the international stage, Reagan pushed for a huge military buildup and advocated the enormously expensive ?Star Wars? defense system. Experts called it a boondoggle that would never protect the United States from nuclear attack, but Reagan's admirers contend this expanding arsenal led the Soviets to realize it was fruitless to continue a campaign for worldwide socialism.

Others argued that the forces leading to the downfall of communism were in the making even before Reagan took office. In any event, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev began embracing capitalism and a new openness in political and intellectual life.

Iran-Contra Scandal Breaks

Reagan also confronted Soviet allies in the Middle East, the Caribbean and Central America, where his support of the Nicaraguan Contras led to the biggest scandal of his tenure.

In a secret effort organized by Lt. Col. Oliver North with support from higher-ups, Reagan?s administration sold weapons to Iran in exchange for the release of American hostages being held in Lebanon. Part of the proceeds were illegally used to support the right-wing Contra guerrillas in Nicaragua.

Although several aides were forced to resign, Reagan maintained he had no idea what what North had been up to, and his personal approval ratings remained high. When he finished his second term, the country was still enjoying economic prosperity.

It would be years before headlines screamed about the savings and loan crisis, which many blamed on his administration?s laissez-faire enforcement policies, and years more before politicians began facing up to the ballooning deficits ?Reaganomics? required.

Riding Off Into the Sunset

After leaving Washington, the leader of the Reagan Revolution retired to his California ranch, an immensely popular figure who had ushered in a new era of lean government and patriotic fervor.

He traveled, wrote his memoirs, and opened the presidential library that bears his name. But as his Alzheimer?s advanced, his public appearances dwindled. Nancy, who had always fiercely managed his image, protected his privacy.

But Reagan's departure from the public eye only seemed to feed his legend. His 90th birthday was recognized with great fanfare by the media in February 2001, and that same month he was voted the "greatest U.S. president" in a Gallup survey of Americans.

But even as Reagan's legend grew, his health suffered a setback. The laurels over Reagan's 90th birthday came less than a month after he suffered a broken hip in a fall at his Bel Air, Calif., home and had emergency surgery.

The Reagans suffered further personal loss in August 2001, when Maureen Reagan, the former president's daughter from his first marriage, to actress Jane Wyman, died of skin cancer at age 60.

The former president's lasting popularity proved to deflect his critics even late in life when CBS producers decided not to run a 2003 television miniseries about Reagan and his family on the network. Conservative fans claimed the drama distorted Reagan's legacy. An edited version of the drama eventually aired on a cable channel.

Reagan?s survivors include his wife, Nancy, his adopted son, Michael, and his two children with Nancy, Patti Davis and Ronald Reagan Jr.

Edit: I felt it should be in SNS too. Moderate as needed.

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Two inch dick..but it spins!?

Registered: 11/29/01
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Re: Ronald Reagan, 93, dies [Re: daba]
    #2766583 - 06/05/04 05:27 PM (13 years, 11 months ago)

He was one of the best.

You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that my dear friend is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. ~ Adrian Rogers

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Re: Ronald Reagan, 93, dies [Re: daba]
    #2766589 - 06/05/04 05:32 PM (13 years, 11 months ago)

that's pretty weird, just this morning i read an article on the BBC saying that he doesn't have long to live...a doctor was quoted to say weeks or maybe months.

i guess earlier...

RIP Ronald Reagan...

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blasted chipmunk
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Re: Ronald Reagan, 93, dies [Re: daba]
    #2770375 - 06/07/04 12:11 AM (13 years, 11 months ago)

seems like only the people that read this forum have respect for the dead. agree or disagree with his policies, he changed the world and was truelly a great man.

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Doctor ofShroomology
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Re: Ronald Reagan, 93, dies [Re: daba]
    #2771362 - 06/07/04 12:57 PM (13 years, 11 months ago)

i guess he wasn't the antichrist like everyone thought...

We got Nothing!
we're no longer selling jars.  :laugh:

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Re: Ronald Reagan, 93, dies [Re: MikeOLogical]
    #2780105 - 06/10/04 04:18 AM (13 years, 11 months ago)

He freed the Slavs.


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Re: Ronald Reagan, 93, dies [Re: daba]
    #2780950 - 06/10/04 11:44 AM (13 years, 11 months ago)

It's a time for remembering his victims, people his Contra terrorists tortured and murdered.

Just because Reagan forgot what he did doesn't mean the rest of us should.

Don't worry, B. Caapi

Edited by Alex123 (06/10/04 01:34 PM)

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Madmin Emeritus?

Registered: 06/01/02
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Re: Ronald Reagan, 93, dies [Re: daba]
    #2784520 - 06/11/04 12:40 PM (13 years, 11 months ago)

He was a complex man of many contradictions, who was able to live with these contradictions, and provide true leadership at a time when leadership was most needed in this country.

Whether, or not, you agreed with his goals and methods, it would now seem indisputable that he was a truly unique and gifted individual who changed the course of human events.

A mighty bend in the river of history...

Requescat In Pace


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Re: Ronald Reagan, 93, dies [Re: Papaver]
    #2791580 - 06/14/04 04:29 AM (13 years, 11 months ago)

Hey isn?t that the dude who started the war on drugs??

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Re: Ronald Reagan, 93, dies [Re: automan]
    #2792414 - 06/14/04 02:35 PM (13 years, 11 months ago)


automan said:
seems like only the people that read this forum have respect for the dead. agree or disagree with his policies, he changed the world and was truelly a great man.

That he was.

Did anyone catch the funeral? Margaret Thatcher gave the most beautiful eulogy. It moved me to tears.


We have lost a great president, a great American and a great man. And I have lost a dear friend.

In his lifetime, Ronald Reagan was such a cheerful and invigorating presence that it was easy to forget what daunting historic tasks he set himself. He sought to mend America's wounded spirit, to restore the strength of the free world and to free the slaves of communism. These were causes hard to accomplish and heavy with risk.

Yet they were pursued with almost a lightness of spirit. For Ronald Reagan also embodied another great cause -- what Arnold Bennett once called 'the great cause of cheering us all up.' His politics had a freshness and optimism that won converts from every class and every nation -- and ultimately from the very heart of the evil empire.

Yet his humor often had a purpose beyond humor. In the terrible hours after the attempt on his life, his easy jokes gave reassurance to an anxious world. They were evidence that in the aftermath of terror and in the midst of hysteria, one great heart at least remained sane and jocular. They were truly grace under pressure.

And perhaps they signified grace of a deeper kind. Ronnie himself certainly believed that he had been given back his life for a purpose. As he told a priest after his recovery, 'Whatever time I've got left now belongs to the Big Fella Upstairs.'

And surely it is hard to deny that Ronald Reagan's life was providential, when we look at what he achieved in the eight years that followed.

Others prophesied the decline of the West; he inspired America and its allies with renewed faith in their mission of freedom.

Others saw only limits to growth; he transformed a stagnant economy into an engine of opportunity.

Others hoped, at best, for an uneasy cohabitation with the Soviet Union; he won the Cold War -- not only without firing a shot, but also by inviting enemies out of their fortress and turning them into friends.

I cannot imagine how any diplomat, or any dramatist, could improve on his words to Mikhail Gorbachev at the Geneva summit:

'Let me tell you why it is we distrust you.' Those words are candid and tough and they cannot have been easy to hear. But they are also a clear invitation to a new beginning and a new relationship that would be rooted in trust.

We live today in the world that Ronald Reagan began to reshape with those words. It is a very different world with different challenges and new dangers. All in all, however, it is one of greater freedom and prosperity, one more hopeful than the world he inherited on becoming president.

As prime minister, I worked closely with Ronald Reagan for eight of the most important years of all our lives. We talked regularly both before and after his presidency. And I have had time and cause to reflect on what made him a great president.

Ronald Reagan knew his own mind. He had firm principles -- and, I believe, right ones. He expounded them clearly, he acted upon them decisively.

When the world threw problems at the White House, he was not baffled, or disorientated, or overwhelmed. He knew almost instinctively what to do.

When his aides were preparing option papers for his decision, they were able to cut out entire rafts of proposals that they knew 'the Old Man' would never wear.

When his allies came under Soviet or domestic pressure, they could look confidently to Washington for firm leadership.

And when his enemies tested American resolve, they soon discovered that his resolve was firm and unyielding.

Yet his ideas, though clear, were never simplistic. He saw the many sides of truth.

Yes, he warned that the Soviet Union had an insatiable drive for military power and territorial expansion; but he also sensed it was being eaten away by systemic failures impossible to reform.

Yes, he did not shrink from denouncing Moscow's 'evil empire.' But he realized that a man of goodwill might nonetheless emerge from within its dark corridors.

So the president resisted Soviet expansion and pressed down on Soviet weakness at every point until the day came when communism began to collapse beneath the combined weight of these pressures and its own failures. And when a man of goodwill did emerge from the ruins, President Reagan stepped forward to shake his hand and to offer sincere cooperation.

Nothing was more typical of Ronald Reagan than that large-hearted magnanimity -- and nothing was more American.

Therein lies perhaps the final explanation of his achievements. Ronald Reagan carried the American people with him in his great endeavors because there was perfect sympathy between them. He and they loved America and what it stands for -- freedom and opportunity for ordinary people.

As an actor in Hollywood's golden age, he helped to make the American dream live for millions all over the globe. His own life was a fulfillment of that dream. He never succumbed to the embarrassment some people feel about an honest expression of love of country.

He was able to say 'God Bless America' with equal fervor in public and in private. And so he was able to call confidently upon his fellow countrymen to make sacrifices for America -- and to make sacrifices for those who looked to America for hope and rescue.

With the lever of American patriotism, he lifted up the world. And so today the world -- in Prague, in Budapest, in Warsaw, in Sofia, in Bucharest, in Kiev and in Moscow itself -- the world mourns the passing of the Great Liberator and echoes his prayer, 'God Bless America.'

Ronald Reagan's life was rich not only in public achievement, but also in private happiness. Indeed, his public achievements were rooted in his private happiness. The great turning point of his life was his meeting and marriage with Nancy.

On that we have the plain testimony of a loving and grateful husband: 'Nancy came along and saved my soul.' We share her grief today. But we also share her pride -- and the grief and pride of Ronnie's children.

For the final years of his life, Ronnie's mind was clouded by illness. That cloud has now lifted. He is himself again -- more himself than at any time on this earth. For we may be sure that the Big Fella Upstairs never forgets those who remember Him. And as the last journey of this faithful pilgrim took him beyond the sunset, and as heaven's morning broke, I like to think -- in the words of Bunyan -- that 'all the trumpets sounded on the other side.'

We here still move in twilight. But we have one beacon to guide us that Ronald Reagan never had. We have his example. Let us give thanks today for a life that achieved so much for all of God's children.

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." - C.S. Lewis

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson

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