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Reagan ‘Best President,’ Says Harris Poll

Monday, 06 Feb 2012 05:06 PM

By Newsmax Wires

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President Ronald Reagan confronted challenges as daunting as those the nation faces today, and met them so successfully that he’s now considered the best president in modern times.

In a recently released Harris poll asking respondents who they consider the “best president since World War II,” Ronald Reagan is cited by 25 percent, well ahead of Franklin Roosevelt at 19 percent and John Kennedy at 15 percent.

There is much to learn today from Reagan’s successes. As Wayne Allyn Root, recently in Forbes magazine: “We need a revolutionary new vision. We need a modern-day Reagan with a bold plan.

“Reagan was not afraid to ruffle feathers and put dramatic, even radical plans on the table. That is how he created the Reagan Revolution that revitalized America.”

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Reagan faced difficulties on many fronts when he entered the White House in January 1981.

The nation was heavily embroiled in the Cold War. The Soviets had invaded Afghanistan a year earlier. Until the day of Reagan’s inauguration, Iran had held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.

USS Ronald Reagan Cap, remebering the best president since world war twoOn the economic front, the nation was in the doldrums after four years of the Jimmy Carter presidency. Inflation stood around 12.5 percent, unemployment was 7.5 percent, and the top tax rate was 70 percent.

Reagan implemented free market policies that came to be known as Reaganomics — drastically reducing taxes on income and capital gains, cutting spending on many federal programs, and deregulating the economy.

The result: the largest economic boom in U.S. history.

Reagan’s policies created more than 16 million new jobs, and the GDP grew at an annual rate of 3.85 percent a year. By the time Reagan left office, inflation had plunged to just 4.4 percent, and unemployment had dropped to 5.4 percent.

Reagan also stood up to the Soviet Union, branding it “an evil empire” in a March 1983 speech. He ordered a massive buildup of American armed forces, and introduced the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) — later dubbed “Star Wars” — to protect the United States from nuclear ballistic missiles launched by the U.S.S.R.

He also boosted aid to anti-communist resistance movements, including the Mujaheddin battling Soviet troops in Afghanistan, and freed the island nation of Grenada from a Marxist government supported by troops from the Soviets’ North American ally, Fidel Castro’s Cuba.

In 1987, Reagan stood at the Berlin Wall and challenged Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall!” Two years later, the Wall came down, and the Cold War was declared over.

Reagan’s tough foreign policy approach paid off.

Two years after his Berlin Wall speech, the Soviet Union collapsed, a pivotal moment in history many attribute largely to Reagan’s huge military buildup and threat of building the SDI — moves that could not be matched by the floundering Soviet economy.

On the home front, Reagan endeared himself to average Americans with a straightforward, no-nonsense style that earned him the nickname “The Great Communicator.”

But Reagan’s greatest accomplishment, he said at the end of his presidency, was that he made Americans feel proud of their country again.

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