If I were to write a column per year on the legacy Ronald Reagan left behind, it would probably be deemed too frequent for most, but it would never feel that way for me. Ronald Reagan is the first President I remember and he left an indelible impression on my young life. At an Americans for Prosperity event a little over a year ago, I confided to AFP board member Jim Miller, Reagan’s budget director from 1985-88, that if it weren’t for Ronald Reagan, I wouldn’t have been in attendance in DC that weekend. I know many others close to my age in the conservative movement today could offer similar testimonials.
Thirty years ago today, Ronald Reagan was sworn in as the 40th President of the United States. The economic environment was more desperate than they had been since the Great Depression, with inflation raging out of control at a double-digit pace and unemployment close to 8%. As the sun broke through the clouds, President Reagan stepped to the podium at the west front of the Capitol to address the nation as President for the first time.
Just a few months after leaving office, President Reagan released a volume of selected speeches with brief introductory personal notations, titled Speaking My Mind. The entry that precedes the 1981 inaugural speech includes the following observations: