He just, I don’t know, is a rare, rare, rare individual. Most people do not have the natural abilities that Reagan did, and with him they weren’t “abilities.” It was just who he was, and he couldn’t hide it if he had wanted to. His first <a href=”/home/menu/the4.guest.html#0017″>State of the Union speech</a>, in 1981, he’s been in office, you know, a couple days, and so he stands up and he knows the state of the union is bad, but hadn’t done anything to fix it yet. So he stands up, and he starts out by quoting George Washington, and how important it is never to forget George Washington, who he defined as “the man without whom none of us would be here today as Americans” and so forth, and he stops — and he was 69; they were already joking about his age then; he was an old fogy, a codger; he was out of it — and he said, “Now, I wasn’t there personally to hear George Washington say this,” and the place, the whole House chamber erupted. Even Tip O’Neill sitting behind him erupted in laughter, but then he said, “I know it’s true because it’s part of the historical record.”
The reason he said that was, they were already trying to say that Reagan was making things up and lying about things and he was too old to know what he was talking about, so he was getting his little dig in with one funny bit of humor, and just disarms everybody. It just had that unique ability. In fact, there’s a James Baker story. Grab the audio sound bites here, Mike. Let me find it. Let’s see. Oh, yeah, this is a great story. This is going to run about a minute. This was Saturday. I was driving around in my new car, went out for a spin. I was — I don’t want to say “devastated” — I was sad. I just sat around the house, went out and got my car. My new car has got satellite radio in it, so I tuned into Fox News Channel and (program observer interruption) What? The new car, the one I’ve been telling everybody about. The one that goes zero so 60 in 4.8 seconds that weighs 6200 pounds with a twin turbo V12 — and so anyway, James Baker is on, and he tells Brit Hume this story.
BAKER: We bring Bishop Tutu in; the press is in full pride. They’re sitting in the wing chairs in front of the fireplace, and they start shouting questions at the president. “What about this and that that Bishop Tutu had said criticizing your policy,” and the president said, “Wait a minute, fellows.” He said, “This is a photo opportunity. I’m not going to take any questions,” and so they turned to Tutu and start asking him questions and he responded quite vigorously, trashing the president up one side and down the other, then he went out on the White House driveway, White House driveway and proceeded to trash him further, and, boy, the next day the press couldn’t wait. The first event in the Oval Office, whatever it was, and I can’t remember, they go rushing in there, and they say, “Mr. President! Mr. President! What about Bishop Tutu? Bishop Tutu! What about Bishop Tutu?” The president is sitting there like this, and he looks down at his hands and he says, “Bishop Tutu?” He says, “So-so.” It totally disarmed them. How was your meeting with Bishop Tutu? “Tutu? So-so.”
RUSH: (Laughing.) Let me go to Jeannie in Elkhart, Indiana. Welcome to the EIB Network. Nice to have us with us.
CALLER: Rush, it’s a great pleasure to talk to you once again.
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: And thank you for honoring this great man. I have to tell you, Reagan was the ultimate statesman. He truly cared about the next generation and not the next election, and I really think he demonstrated that by his statesmanship, by the way he dealt with the Russians. For instance, “Star Wars.” I mean, that was a pretty bold initiative to <a href=”/home/menu/the4.guest.html#0020″>address Star Wars</a>, and I know you remember this. I think it was so great when he fired all the air traffic controllers? You remember that?
RUSH: Yeah, I do.
CALLER: I just thought that was a very bold move, but he was a man that stood by his principles, and he was the total opposite of what we know of political correctness today, and I think he truly inspired the American people by his vision for America. And I know he inspired me because in 1980 when he ran for office, he inspired me to get involved with a political campaign, and I did that, and I’ve been involved ever since then. And I think of you, too, because you inspire your listeners, and I just thank you for it, and if I could just say one other thing, you had asked earlier about how our greatness can be defined.
CALLER: If I could just make a comment about that. I think our greatness can be defined by our commitment and belief in God, and if we cease to believe in God and recognize him, then we will cease to be a great nation, and Reagan recognized that. He saw that in the Russian people, that atheistic society, and he knew that they would not be a great nation, because of their unbelief in God.
RUSH: Well, let me play for you just how right you are, Jeannie. Grab audio sound bite #18, Mr. Broadcast Engineer. I want you to listen to President Reagan, folks. This is about a half a minute is all, from his <a href=”/home/menu/the4.guest.html#0023″>1984 State of the Union address</a>.
REAGAN: It’s just a tendency of government to grow. For practices and programs to become the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth, and there’s always that well intentioned chorus of voices saying with a little more power and a little more money, we could do so much for the people. For a time we forgot the American dream isn’t one of making government bigger. It’s keeping faith with the mighty spirit of free people under God.
RUSH: James in Norfolk, Virginia, hi, and welcome to the EIB Network.
CALLER: Hi, Rush, it’s such an honor to speak with you today.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: I just wanted to tell you about my remembrance of Reagan. I was seven years old at the time of the Challenger explosion, and I had lived in Houston at the time, and the elementary school I went to was named after Sally Ride, the astronaut who didn’t go on the Challenger mission, but several of them had come and met with us and talked to us about what it was like to be in space for long periods of time, and I remember that day, watching the liftoff, and then the explosion in the sky — and after that I don’t remember so much of it. I don’t remember what my teacher said or exactly what my parents said to comfort me that evening, but I do remember watching President Reagan speaking to the nation and comforting the people after the Challenger explosion, and I just remember his words, and they were so moving to me, and that was the first time that I really realized, you know, all that the president meant to us and meant to me personally. It really got me interested in politics, made me feel comfortable and safe, and the thing I remember most about President Reagan is that he inspired me to dream big dreams and to believe that anything was possible —
RUSH: How old were you at this time? You’re saying seventh or eighth grade?
CALLER: I was seven.
RUSH: Seven-years-old, okay.
CALLER: Yeah, seven, and I was in the second grade, and I just remember him inspiring us, telling us that our greatest days were ahead, and ever since then, you know, through everything else that’s happened. I was living in Oklahoma at the time of the OKC bombing, and then with 9/11 and all of the threats that we potentially face today, that’s never left me, and it will never leave me, because if he were here today, he’s tell us, ‘You know, your greatest days are ahead, America. You have the ability and you have the challenge to face anything that you put your mind to and you will,’ and so I just want to honor him today, and I want everyone to know how much I loved him and how much he touched my life and got me interested in politics.
RUSH: Thank you for calling, James. Well said, appreciate it. You know, here he is talking at age seven back in the mid-eighties when the Challenger exploded, how Reagan affected him and so forth. I can go back, and I have it here. I could go back; I could play you excerpts of Reagan’s 1964 speech that he gave for Barry Goldwater on the eve of the election, and it would sound almost like Reagan sounded in the 80s, because that’s who he was, sounded like that through his whole life. He never wavered. He didn’t change. He used to be a Democrat, but became a Republican and did that because the Democratic Party moved away from him. Talk about commitment to core values and principles. I don’t even think he had to think about it. He didn’t, ‘Okay, who do I…’ It just was, and these calls, for all of you who spotted this and recognized this when you were seven, I mean years and years and years before you were even a thought in your parents’ dirty minds, Ronald Reagan was who he was. I’m just being funny with dirty, don’t take it personally. You are all legitimate.