Ronald Wilson Reagan 1911You are getting a free preview of a TIME Magazine article from our archive. Many of our articles are reserved for subscribers only.MoreHoops to 'Holy Wars': Why Boyhood Pals Both Waged Jihad NBC NewsFreed American Hostage 'Overwhelmed With Emotion' NBC NewsSurf's Up! Monster Hurricane Driven Waves Brewing NBC NewsMatt Damon Does Ice Bucket Challenge With Toilet Water For 800 Million Without Clean H2O Huffington PostMegyn Kelly Schools Bill O'Reilly About White Privilege. No, Really. Huffington Posthe were not the greatest President, he was the best Actor of the Presidency we have ever had. Adams, on George WashingtonThe New Rules of Viral FundraisingThe Evolution of a NarcissistAmerica Presidents tend to die young. Maybe it is in the nature of the men who reach such heights, or of the job once they attain it. But only John Adams and Herbert Hoover lived past 90; Ronald Coach outlet locations Reagan was the third, and perhaps the only one to achieve the goal of dying young as late as possible. When he passed away last week at age 93, he had long been gone from the public stage; but that meant that people remembered him as he had always been, a man of easy grace and endless hope, whose hair would never turn gray; a man who, the first time he walked into the Oval Office as President on the day of his first Inaugural, got goose bumps and wasn ashamed to say so.Hope is an infectious disease, and Reagan was a carrier. The country he courted and finally won over in 1980 was a dispirited place, humiliated abroad, uncertain at home, with a hunger for heroes but little faith that they could Coach factory outlet online store make any difference. But you can, he told us. I am not the hero, you are. us renew our faith and our hope, he declared in his first Inaugural Address. have every right to dream heroic dreams. And he would serve as Dreamer in Chief. I really like to do, he said after six months in the White House, go down in history as the President who made Americans believe in themselves again. the process, he made them believe in the presidency as well. After the 1960s and there were real doubts about whether a mortal man could handle the country highest office. It had destroyed Johnson, corrupted Nixon and overwhelmed Ford and Carter. Reagan restored the belief that an ordinary American raised in the heartland could lead the country and give it a sense of direction and purpose. At a time when the country had been captivated by youth culture for more than a decade, voters chose a President who was nearly 70 when he took office, a kind of living time capsule of the American Century, born before the phrase world war had been introduced, a child when the Russian Revolution gave birth to the empire whose defeat he would accomplish as President. Somehow it took America oldest President to make the country feel young again, its mission not yet completed, its glory days ahead.Even if it wasn always morning health Coach certification in America during the years of his presidency, Reagan eagerness to insist that it was tapped into a longing among voters. They didn want to picture themselves turning down their thermostats and buttoning up their cardigans. They wanted to strut again. Reagan opened his arms and said, Walk this way. And when the country had to mourn, he led it in grieving that was eloquent yet unbowed, as in 1986, when he postponed his State of the Union address to speak of the Challenger disaster. will never forget them, he said of the shuttle crew, the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God. replaced a President who had talked of America malaise and proceeded to speak of its destiny and greatness, notions that had been dismissed as naive or arrogant. Talk of America as a shining city on a hill was long out of fashion, but it was a core belief of Reagan and it is no accident that it animates the man who occupies the White House now. George W. Bush, though a President son, is cast as Reagan heir even more than his father Long after Reagan had retreated from the public eye behind the veil of Alzheimer disease, his influence over the politicians of our time, from both major parties, only grew. question really arose whether the presidency was a viable institution, says Fred Greenstein, a presidential scholar at Princeton. Reagan, that changed. He reminded us what a confident and sure President looked like. a man with the power to pull history around a corner; to end a long, cold, fearsome war; to change the conversation of our politics and culture as much by the sheer force of his personality as by the power of his ideas, Ronald Reagan was an unaccountably modest and good natured soul. He seemed untouched by the arrogance and self regard common to actors and politicians, to the point that when a brash reporter asked him on the eve of his election what he thought the American people saw in him, Reagan said, you laugh if I told you that I think, maybe, they see themselves, and that I one of them? wasn of course. This was the actor gift, to be both larger than life and disarming at the same time. He was, in fact, never so simple as he seemed. A fervent tax cutter, he raised taxes significantly four times as economic conditions and reform demanded. The man who said government was not the solution, it was the problem, actually presided over its continued expansion. Far from abolishing the departments of Energy and Education, he added a new Cabinet level department, for Veterans Affairs. The archconservative who was skeptical of Social Security ultimately was credited with saving it. He came into office looking not to survive the cold war but to win it, building up America defenses to confront the empire but then backing off enough to give Mikhail Gorbachev room to change course. Reagan may have been the champion of missile defense, but he also declared as his dream the complete abolition of nuclear weapons, a position that made even the moderates around him flinch.He was, in other words, that most uncommon politician, a man of Coach factory outlet coupons clear coachbag conviction who was capable of compromise where necessary and growth where possible, whose ideas were both deeply held and able to evolve as circumstances changed or expediency required. Likewise, the man himself was not so simple, not to mention simpleminded, as his critics held fanatic in Garry Wills phrase. He confounded his biographer Edmund Morris, remained opaque even to friends of many years. The notion that he was a second rate actor who did well with a script continues to be dispelled with the release of his radio addresses and more recently, his personal letters, which show a far more subtle mind and sophisticated outlook than the caricature ever suggested. But then, Reagan had a gift for being underestimated, which served him well in all the lives he led.loved three things: drama, politics and sports, and I not sure they always come in that order, Reagan once Cheap Coach handbags said. His picture in the high school yearbook bore the caption is just one grand sweet song, wellness Coach certification so start the music. He was born on Feb. 6, 1911, in Tampico, Ill., in that Midwestern heartland that is thought to be the seedbed of national heroes. But nothing about his origins augured any remarkable success. His father Jack, who had never reached high school, was a shoe salesman and an alcoholic. The family moved often; money was short. Reagan was 11 when he came home one day and found his father lying dead drunk on the porch. wanted to pretend he wasn there, Reagan recalled. bent over him, smelling the sharp odor of whiskey I got a fistful of his overcoat [and] managed to drag him inside and get him to bed. gave Reagan a chance to get an education. He won a scholarship that paid half his $180 annual tuition at tiny Eureka College; he washed dishes to pay for his meals. Reagan had hardly arrived when the college new president tried to cut back the faculty, so Reagan helped organize a student strike. In the process he developed his taste for audiences and his talent for oratory. discovered that night that an Coach handbags factory outlet audience had a feel to it, he said of this first speech, that audience and I were together. When I came to actually presenting the motion there was no need for parliamentary procedure. They came to their feet with a roar It was heady wine. also discovered that he was an actor. Taken to see a touring antiwar play, Journey End, he identified strongly with the hero, even began to feel that he was the hero. was trying to tell me something, he recalled later, that my heart is a ham loaf. He spent much of his time thereafter in student theatricals as well as football and swimming, with only the minimum study necessary to major in economics. Dutch Reagan (his father had bestowed the nickname at birth) emerged into the Depression stricken America of 1932 and found there were very few jobs for actors and fewer still for football players. He borrowed the family Oldsmobile and wandered through nearby towns, looking for work at local radio stations. A station manager in Davenport, Iowa, asked him to narrate an imaginary football contest, and Reagan poured into the fakery all the enthusiasm of desperation. He was hired for $5 a game.By 1937 he had gone no farther than Des Moines, which is a long way from Hollywood, but he persuaded radio station WHO to send him to California to cover the spring training of the Chicago Cubs. A Des Moines friend who was working as a singer sent him to see her agent, who called the casting director at Warner Bros. and said, have another Robert Taylor sitting in my office. Warner gave him a screen test, then signed him for $200 a week.Reagan early films, as many as nine a year, were forgettable. But there was one part that he yearned to play. He wanted somebody to film the life of Notre Dame great football coach Knute Rockne so that he could play Rockne star halfback, George Gipp. Reagan proselytized so fervently that someone filched the idea. Warner announced it would make the Rockne story, but the announcement made no mention of Reagan. He went to see the producer, asked for the part of Gipp and was told he was too small.I played football for eight years, Reagan protested. weighed five pounds less than I weigh right now. The producer was still international Coaching federation dubious. The problem, Reagan saw, was that he was wearing a business suit, and the producer envisioned a behemoth in helmet and shoulder pads. Reagan raced home, gathered up some pictures of himself in uniform, raced back to the studio and won the part. It made him famous, and years after he performed Gipp death scene, he would still get lump in my throat just thinking about it. same year he played Gipp, he married actress Jane Wyman. Warner assigned him to Kings Row. Playing a small town lothario named Drake McHugh, he seduces the daughter of the town surgeon, who takes revenge by amputating both of the youth legs. The horrible moment of self discovery made a deep impression on Reagan. The day the scene was shot he clambered onto the sickbed, which had a hole cut in the mattress to hide his legs. spent almost that whole hour in stiff confinement, Reagan said. the affair began to terrify me. In some weird way, I felt Coach factory outlet website something horrible had happened to my body. When shooting began, Reagan recalled, opened my eyes dazedly, looked around, slowly let my gaze travel downward I can describe even now my feeling as I tried to reach for where my legs should be. I screamed. Ann Sheridan her Randy, burst through the door. Then Reagan cried out the question that he was later to make the title of his first autobiography: the rest of me? Row made Reagan a star. to its inevitable involvement in World War II. Reagan could see very little without eyeglasses, but he had bluffed his way into the cavalry reserve back in Des Moines because it gave him a chance to go riding. Called up by the Army, he was examined by a doctor who concluded, we sent you overseas you shoot a general. Another added, and you miss him. Barred from combat, Reagan spent the war years making training films at Roach, the old Hal Roach Studios, just six miles from Hollywood.What occupied Reagan in the postwar years was Hollywood union politics. was a Coach outlet las vegas near hopeless hemophilic liberal, Reagan said later. bled for causes. I had voted Democratic, following my father, in every election. blindly By 1947 he was president of the Screen Actors Guild and found himself embroiled in the union wars ravaging Hollywood. Reagan came to believe that the bitter strikes in 1945 and 1946 by stagehands of the Conference of Studio Unions represented a communist attempt to take over Hollywood, and that belief changed his political views forever. In the subsequent era of the blacklists, Reagan not only cooperated in the purging of suspected communists but also served as an undercover FBI informant. Speaking to TIME Laurence Barrett three decades later about his recollection of the leftists tactics, he said with unusual bitterness, discovered it firsthand cynicism, the brutality, the complete lack of morality in their positions, and the cold bloodedness of their attempt, at any cost, to gain control of that industry. felt with some justification that his union activity damaged his career as an actor. After official Coach factory outlet online more than 50 films, he was getting no offers of good parts. By 1953 he was reduced to doing a nightclub routine in Las Vegas, where he introduced various singers and dancers and made apologetic jokes about his own inability to either sing or dance. Was the optimist discouraged? Hardly. He was soon offered a new job that was to change his whole life. For $125,000 a year, he would act as host and occasional star of a weekly television drama series for General Electric; for 10 weeks each year he would also act as a kind of goodwill ambassador to GE plants around the nation.As one of the first prominent Hollywood actors to defect to the much scorned new medium of TV, Reagan revived his acting career. The General Electric Theater, with Reagan as host from 1954 to 1962, dominated the Sunday night ratings. But what changed Reagan was his tours of the GE plants. Later, Reagan opponents often underestimated him, dismissing him as an actor, an amateur lacking political experience. What they failed to see was that although Reagan had not spent much time in conventional politics, he had gained both skill and experience in what was to become the politics of the TV age, the politics of electronic images and symbols. Reagan once figured that in his eight years at GE, he had visited every one of the company 139 plants, met more than 250,000 employees, spent 4,000 hours talking to them and every whizzing minute of it. He polished his delivery, the intimate confiding tone, the air of sincerity, the wry chuckle, the well timed burst of fervor.Reagan also listened. As he zigzagged across the country, he acquired a powerful sense of what ordinary people thought and hoped and wanted. did much to shape my ideas, Reagan said later. employees I was meeting were a cross section of America, and damn it, too many of our political leaders, our labor leaders, and certainly a lot of geniuses on Madison Avenue, have underestimated them. They want the truth, they are friendly and helpful, intelligent and alert. They are concerned with their very firm personal liberties. And they are moral. The hemophilic liberal was becoming steadily more conservative. Over the years he devised a series of slogans that many experts considered simplistic but many voters seemed to respond to. is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem, Reagan would say, over and over. causes inflation, and government can make it go away. The best social program is a job. When the conservatives rallied behind the presidential campaign of Senator Barry Goldwater in 1964, Reagan gift for oratory provided one of the unexpected highlights in the doomed campaign. fund Coach Bag raising dinner in Los Angeles. will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. Goldwater campaign ended in disaster, Reagan rhetoric still echoed in the mind of a prosperous Los Angeles Ford dealer named Holmes P. Tuttle. He invited to his home a group of wealthy California conservatives, and they decided that Reagan should be their gubernatorial candidate in 1966. Governor Pat Brown was an amiably conventional liberal, who ran on his amiably conventional record. Reagan spotted and exploited a new issue: middle class discontent over disturbances at the University of California and over the disturbances of the 1960s in general. He vowed to up the mess at Berkeley. He won by a margin of almost 1 million votes out of 6.5 million.Reagan proved a surprisingly pragmatic and successful Governor. Though all his campaign rhetoric opposed tax increases, he soon found that he needed more revenue to do all he wanted to do, so he imposed the biggest tax hike in state history. Winning a second term by half a Coach purses on clearance million votes, Reagan turned Coach diaper bag outlet to simplifying and reducing welfare spending and got his way by shrewd bargaining with his Democratic opposition. But his successes came during the years when his party was falling into disgrace nationally because of President Nixon Watergate scandal. When Reagan retired as Governor in 1975, according to one poll, fewer than 20% of Americans considered themselves Republicans.Yet to Reagan discount Coach purses the optimist, it was just Coach handbags factory outlet a matter of patience and marketing. believe the Republican Party represents basically the thinking of the people of this country, if we can get that message across to the people, he said. am going to try to do that. He began a weekly commentary broadcast on some 200 radio stations and a biweekly column in 175 newspapers. Those efforts, together with his popularity on the mashed potato circuit, increased his income from a Governor salary of $49,100 to about $800,000 a year.He was irked, though, to see Republican leadership after Nixon life Coaching certification resignation fall into the hands of Gerald Ford, who did not represent right thinking conservatism. It was almost unheard of to challenge an incumbent President from one own party, but in 1976 Reagan took the risk, losing at the convention, 1,187 delegates to 1,070. When Ford went down to defeat, Reagan was well positioned to claim the right to be the next challenger to President Jimmy Carter in 1980.Except that he was old. By Inauguration Day 1981, he would be almost 70, older than any man had been when beginning his presidency. Reagan countered with a joke: age is when you faced with two temptations, and you choose the one that will get you home at 9 o Campaign manager John Sears, the Washington lawyer and strategist who had helped Reagan nearly unseat Ford in 1976, believed Reagan should remain aloofly The principal result was that he lost the first big contest, the Iowa caucuses, to hard driving George Bush. With the whole campaign at stake in the upcoming New Hampshire primary, Reagan shifted to the grittier strategy known among aides as Reagan be Reagan. That led to one of the most memorable Coach Bags scenes of the year: the debate in Nashua, at which Bush sat out a procedural argument in frozen silence while someone tried to turn off Reagan microphone, and Reagan angrily cried out, am paying for this microphone! It also led to a sweeping victory that virtually assured him the nomination.Carter too was confident that Reagan would be no match. Reagan being Reagan again upset the prognostications. While aides tried to stuff him with facts for his important TV debate against Carter, the Coach handbags clearance challenger practiced one liners, notably one that he flung at Carter with considerable effect: you go again! Even more stinging was his repeated question to the voters, you better off than you were four years ago? The answer was, 50.7% of the votes for Reagan, with 41% for Carter and 6.6% for independent John Anderson. The electora