The Corner

Margaret Thatcher on Ronald Reagan

She wrote this about our former president in NR:

No one can doubt that President Reagan possesses the ability to lead to an unusual degree. Some of the constituent qualities of that leadership I have referred to in passing — his firm convictions, his steadfastness in difficult times, his capacity to infuse his own optimism into the American people so that he restored their belief in America’s destiny. But I would add three more qualities that, together with those above, enabled him to transform the political landscape.

The first is courage. The whole world remembers the wit and grace which the president displayed at the time of the attempt on his life. It was one of those occasions when people saw the real character of a man when he had none of the assistances which power and office provide. And they admired what they saw — cheerful bravery in the face of personal danger, no thought for himself but instead a desire to reassure his family and the nation by jokes and good humor.

The second is that he holds opinions which strike a chord in the heart of the average American. The great English journalist Walter Bagehot once defined a constitutional statesman as a man of common opinion and uncommon abilities. That is true of President Reagan and one of his greatest political strengths. He can appeal for support to the American people because they sense rightly that he shares their dreams, hopes, and aspirations; and he pursues them by the same route of plain American horse-sense.

Finally, President Reagan speaks with the authority of a man who knows what he believes and who has shown that he will stand by his beliefs in good times and bad. He is no summer soldier of conservatism, but one who fought in the ranks when the going wasn’t good. Again, that reassured even those who do not share those beliefs. For authority is the respect won from others by the calm exercise of deep conviction.

The results of that leadership are all around us. President Reagan departs the political scene leaving America stronger and more confident, and the West more united than ever before. I believe that President-elect Bush, a man of unrivaled experience in government and international affairs, will be a worthy successor, providing the forthright leadership which the world has come to expect from the U.S. President. We wish him well.

Anyone with any leaderships aspirations or calling (some of you are reading here) ought to reflect on that. 

We wish — we pray — they enjoy eternal rest, and a reunion!

Most Popular


The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More