Ronald Reagan an actor fit for Presidency
Since the birth of the American nation, and with the promulgation of the American constitution in 1787, a total of 44 Presidents have succeeded to the presidency of the United States of America. The first was George Washington (b. 22/2/1732 in Bridges Creek – d. 14/12/1799 in Mount Vernon), who is considered one of the great founding fathers of the newly-born nation, and whose face is depicted on Mount Rushmore along with that of Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt. He ruled from 1789 to 1797, for two terms and a total of 865 days. He was an independent politician never affiliated to any party.Last in order is actual President no. 44, Mr. Barack Hussein Obama (b. 4/8/1961 in Honolulu), first afro-american President in the history of the nation, from the Democratic party, he has been a member of the Illinois Senate for three terms, from 1997 to 2004. He has been ruling since 2009, being this his second term.History of an actor-turned President.
Ronald Wilson Reagan (b. 6/2/1911 in Tampico – d. 5/6/2004 in Los Angeles), son of John Eduard “Jack” Reagan, with Irish descents, and Nellie Clyde Wilson, with Scottish, Canadian and English descents.
Formerly a film actor and a syndicalist, being head of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), but with no political experience if not in the movie world, his persuasive speaking style earned him the reputation of a great communicator.
He became the 40th President of the United States, serving from 1981 to 1989, for two terms and a total number of 922 days, as a Republican. He was the oldest elected president (69 years), and also the long-lived (93 years) after Gerald Ford.
He has left an indelible imprint on the 80s. His presidency was characterized by optimism and a sense of confidence that the same Reagan knew enact.
The syndicate and the first steps in politics.
In the thirties he joined the Democratic party, but switched to the Republican party in the early sixties.
Reagan was originally a supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal during the thirties and early forties. In the late forties he was a staunch supporter of Harry S. Truman, but his beliefs would however change shortly.
Following the election of John F. Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, he decided to change his political affiliation. He joined the Republican Party, in time to attend the Conservative Barry Goldwater's campaign for the presidency. He said: "I never left the Democratic Party. He was the party to leave me".
His first major political role was that of President, from 1947-1952 and later from 1959-1960, of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), the union representing the majority of Hollywood actors.
Reagan was persuaded that the SAG had been infiltrated by communists, and the Republicans were, between the country’s two major parties, the most effective to fight communism. Armed with this conviction, he testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) about the suspected influence of the Communists on the film industry.
Governor of California
The speech "Time for Choosing " favorably impressed the Republicans of California and in 1966 the party ran Reagan for the office of Governor.
Reagan took possession of the office on January 3, 1967. In front of the distressed state, he decided to cut spending by 10% and to block recruitment.
Reagan was re-elected in 1970, but chose not to run for a third time. During the second term he reformed welfare, increased aid to the most disadvantaged classes and reduced the tax burden.
First Presidential term (1981-1985)
Reagan took office at the White House on January 20th, 1981; in his inaugural speech he poses as a priority the economic problems of the country and, in this regard, uttered the famous phrase:
" In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem”.
On the same day, the 52 American hostages still held in Iran were released.
Shortly after taking office, he had to face a big problem with the union of air traffic controllers PATCO (Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization). They went on strike, thus violating the regulation for which the unions of public administration could not strike. Reagan chose the hard line, replacing the civilian air traffic controllers with military analogues (for which there is no right to strike), on August 5th, thus freeing 11,345 strikers of the union.
When Reagan took office, inflation was running high at 11.83% and unemployment at 7.5%. From the first months, Reagan tried to revive the US economy from the long stagnation. He was a staunch supporter of a new economic policy based on the offer, or the so-called "Reaganomics", which was characterized by a huge cut in income tax, the reduction of interest rates, and the increase in military spending.
In other matters of domestic policy, he failed to significantly change the policies regarding public assistance and abortion.
He was convinced that American taxes were too high, and a price decrease would lead to revenue growth and increased investment, with a beneficial effect on the economy. Already in 1981 he managed to push through Congress a drastic reduction of taxes: 25% in 4 years.
But that policy, together with the heavy increase in military spending (during his presidency the war industry received unprecedented impetus), and despite the cut of $ 25 billion earmarked for welfare policies for the poor, provoked a sharp increase in the deficit, which doubled between 1981 and 1982, as it increased the deficit in the balance of payments.
However, the reduction of taxes increased consumption and contributed to reverse the economic situation.
After a period of recession in the years between 1981 and 1982, the US economy began to rapidly recovery in 1983. Reagan was then re-elected in triumph in 1984, winning in 49 states. Not surprisingly, he was the President who was re-elected with the highest number of popular votes in the American history, an amazing majority of Americans voted for him. His well-known slogan was: ”are you better off now than four years ago?”
Decisive importance for the US economic recovery was also the conflict between Iran and Iraq, which triggered a kind of oil shock in reverse. The two nations, both of which produce oil, as a matter of fact, began to sell off more and more black gold to finance their war.
Therefore it was shot down the cost of energy, while the economy and the dollar got a real boost.
Many have credited Reagan with having revived the morale of a country that had started the decade in a pessimistic climate.
From 1983 to 1990 the US knew a period of uninterrupted economic growth.
Russia big task.
Relations with the Soviet Union had already deteriorated during the Carter presidency.
But it was during his presidency that the level of technological and military challenge to the Soviet Union raised the level.
Because of the intransigence and Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, during Reagan's first term, they reached very low levels. In the first year in office, however, the negotiations continued: on the one hand, the administration decided to comply with the terms laid down by the SALT II (Strategic Arms Limitation Talks – 1972/1979) treaty, (although not been ratified by the Senate), on the other hand it declared its willingness to negotiate a disarmament for nuclear medium-range missiles in the European theater: its proposal (the '' zero-option ") was obviously judged inadmissible by the USSR. The relations between the two powers reached their peak in 1983, when Reagan told the Soviet Union with the “Evil Empire” expression, and when he announced plans for the nuclear arms race.
Symbol of the will to win the confrontation with the traditional enemy of the Cold War was the Strategic Defense Initiative (often referred to by the term “Star Wars”, in reference to the famous movie saga). Bitterly criticized by many analysts of international relations, this was seen with displeasure by the European allies as the shield was limited to US territory. Soon, therefore, the original plan was modified, and provided a non-total defense, limited to specific military and civilian sites.
Even relations with European allies worsened, mainly because of the tendency of Reagan to unilateral action; in 1982, he also arose a conflict with regard to the realization of the "Siberian gas pipeline," which would provide seven European countries approximately 20% of their gas needs. Reagan opposed his veto, but later had to back down.
In the Middle East the situation was very critical: in 1982 Israel had invaded Lebanon, a country marked by years of civil war; the administration, after a fierce debate inside that led to the replacement of the Secretary of State, decided to intervene by sending a peace force. In 1983, however, the headquarters of the Marines in Lebanon were destroyed by a terrorist attack, causing 241 deaths among US soldiers and pushing Reagan to withdraw troops from the Middle East; in later years, he was careful not to postpone them outside the United States, merely to complete only quick and undemanding interventions.
Second Presidential term (1985-1989)
His second term was characterized especially by a detente with the USSR: since 1985, Reagan showed political realism promoting a series of meetings with Gorbachev, with whom he even squeezed a personal friendship.
He remained famous, in particular, the Tear down this wall talk! held in front of the Brandenburg Gate, on June 12th 1987, in which he invited Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall.
The Iran-Contra scandal, also known as Iran Contra Hearings, exploded between 1985 and 1986, involving some senior political and military leaders of the Reagan administration accused of arms trafficking with Iran (on which the embargo was in force), in order to secure the release of American hostages held in Tehran. The proceeds of this operation were used to finance the violent opposition of the Contras in Nicaragua's government. Although Reagan was only touched by the story, for its administration it was a serious blow, not only some of its elements had traded with the archenemy Iran, breaking the principle that rules out any negotiation with terrorists, but had also financed an armed group without the necessary consent of the Congress, the same consensus that had already been rejected in 1984.
In April 1986, the US gave startup operation El Dorado Canyon and they launched three air strikes on Libya, in order to eliminate the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi. The operation was decided by President Reagan in response to the bombing of La Belle disco in Berlin frequented by US soldiers, which caused three deaths and 250 injured. 24 U.S. planes bombers attacked Tripoli and other 6 objectives, destroying Gaddafi's residence. The Libyan leader escaped to the bombs, but as the results one of his adopted daughters and several civilians were killed.
After the presidency
In the second half of the eighties, Reagan negotiated with the new general secretary of the CPSU Mikhail Gorbachev large reductions of nuclear weapons, ushering in what seemed to be a new era of peace in the world.
Since 1989, a few months after successor Mr. George H.W. Bush (former vice president under Reagan presidency) became the 41th President, the Soviet Union, which Reagan had defined as the Evil Empire, began to collapse, and the former president was greeted as a hero in many countries of Eastern Europe.
Among historians, however, there are several schools of thought: one of them considered Reagan a major player in causing the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, while, for others the Soviet collapse was inevitable, and Reagan would only anticipate the happening.
The United States remained as the only world superpower.
Later it appeared little in public, and in one of the last times he announced to be suffering from Alzheimer's. Since then he disappeared from the public eye, until his death in 2004.
He revolutionized the political marketing strategies, emphasizing his skepticism about the ability of the federal government to solve the problems, especially economic. His solution was to withdraw the government's commitment to control, and therefore, plan the economy, by reducing taxes and regulations, and to allow the forces of the free market to regulate itself. His ideas proved he was a great President, his aura is still well alive in people’s minds even after several years following his Death.
He also proved that being a great President was possible for someone who had no experience in politics, but worked good for his country and left great impressions, good prints in American politics, and in the country’s history as well, in times thereafter.
Upcoming U.S. elections, with a Republican candidate in a similar position, being Mr. Donald Trump a businessman and a tycoon, but politically unexperienced, will definitely prove that everybody must be given a chance to fulfill projects, and not to judge a person prior to his challenging job.
Presidential debate between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter – August 28th, 1980 :
“are you better off now than you were four years ago? Is it easier for you to go and buy things in the stores than it was four years ago? Is there more or less unemployment in the country than there was four years ago? Is America as respected throughout the world as it was? “