Thirty Five Years Ago: Reagan Christmas Address

Friday, December 23, AD 2016

On December 23, 1981, President Ronald Reagan addressed the nation.  The video above is an excerpt from that speech.  The portion of the address dealing with the attempt by the then Polish Communist regime to crush Solidarity, the Polish labor union leading a movement for freedom that would ultimately be the spark that destroyed Communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, is omitted.  A few things struck me about the address:

1.  When is the last time a president quoted G.K. Chesterton?

2.   Reagan’s reference to children as a gift from God.

3.   His reference to Christ’s first miracle being His coming to humanity as a helpless babe.

They don’t make them like Reagan anymore, and more is the pity.  Here is the text of his address:

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5 Responses to Thirty Five Years Ago: Reagan Christmas Address

  • They don’t make them like Reagan anymore? I don’t know. Listening to Trump supporters, you’d think the Donald is the new Ronald. Not even close, but I digress.

  • My boys love seeing things like this. Was America really like this, that a president would say things like this? they ask. Yeah, believe it or not. They say it’s like watching a movie about life on Mars.

  • “They don’t make them like Reagan anymore, and more is the pity.”

    Indeed Don. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  • Because of the assistance provided to Solidarity by the Reagan Administration, often funnelled through the Catholic Church, the people of Poland rose up again and threw off their oppressors. The land where my ancestors lived, died and are buried is free…. and is Catholic.

    I watched some of Michael Reagan’s speech at Liberty University on Newsman last night. Made me miss Ronald Reagan again.

  • Merry Christmas to you and yours RL!

Willie Stark and Huey Long

Tuesday, October 5, AD 2010

In 1946 Robert Penn Warren wrote the great American political novel, All the King’s Men, which detailed the rise and fall of a Southern politician, Willie Stark.  Stark starts out as a political idealist and is utterly corrupted by the political process.  Broderick Crawford in the film adaptation in 1949 gives an astonishingly good performance as Willie Stark and delivers speeches in the film that should be carefully studied by all students of oratory.

Over the years it has been alleged that the book is a thinly veiled look at the career of Huey Long, governor, senator and virtual dictator of Depression era  Louisiana until he was assassinated by a dentist.  Warren rejected the suggestion, and he was correct.  Huey Long was always a cheerful crook and never an idealist.

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14 Responses to Willie Stark and Huey Long

  • The fictional Stark differed from Long, but there is little doubt that Long’s career was a point of departure for Robert Penn Warren.

  • That departure was a light year trip Art. Willie Stark is as different from Huey Long as Richard Nixon was from Bill Clinton. Stark is a tragic hero; Huey Long was always a lovable rogue, except for a not small fraction of Louisiana who cheered after he was gunned down.

  • There is a significant dispute whether or not Long was shot by Weiss or by his own bodyguards that continues to this day. Long’s impact continues to be felt by Louisiana.

  • Real life is certaintly much more interesting than fiction. I agree that Long may have had a national impact, had he lived.

  • “There is a significant dispute whether or not Long was shot by Weiss or by his own bodyguards that continues to this day.”

    Correct. Long’s trigger happy body guards let off a lot of rounds, 30 of so of which hit Weiss. I tend to think that Long was hit only by Weiss, but in all the confusion who could tell?

    Here is a good overview of the controversy:

    http://www.dailycomet.com/article/20100828/ARTICLES/100829308?p=1&tc=pg

  • Lovable rogue? Boris Yeltsin was a lovable rogue. Richard J. Dealy was a lovable rogue. Lyndon Johnson might be called intermittently lovable, and had the loyalty and admiration of people not otherwise known as crooked or pathological (e.g. John Roche and Jack Valenti). Long’s a stretch and Clinon is so oleagenous the term ‘lovable’ fits not at all.

  • There we will have to agree to differ Art. I found nothing lovable about Richard J. Daley, other than his inability to speak coherent English, a disability also of his son Richie the Lesser. Johnson was too cruel to be lovable. Clinton and Long are part of a venerable Southern tradition of crooked politicians who win elections partially because they put on a good show while also being utterly corrupt.

  • Inability to speak! You must be talking about Thomas M. Menino of Boston.

  • “Clinton and Long are part of a venerable Southern tradition of crooked politicians who win elections partially because they put on a good show while also being utterly corrupt.” Long’s unvenerable and unSouthern tradition is traceable to one Henry Clay Warmoth, the most corrupt carpetbagger governor in the history of Louisiana. It was by Warmoth that Long was inspired to use measures such as the undated resignation and the state constabulary as political instruments to acquire and maintain tyrannical power.

  • Actually Paul, I always thought Huey might have used Governor John McEnery as a role model:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_McEnery_(politician)

  • I might note Paul that my comment:

    “Clinton and Long are part of a venerable Southern tradition of crooked politicians who win elections partially because they put on a good show while also being utterly corrupt.”

    was not a slam at the South. Up North we elect corrupt politicians who can’t even put on a decent show. Chicago has turned the procedure into an art form.

  • I can’t remember the name of the book at the moment, but a relative of Weiss (a nephew?) wrote a very good book that examines the issue of Weiss’ culpability.

    As expected, the book lets Weiss off the hook, and pins the blame on the bodyguards.

    As I remember the book, it made a very compelling case, one that I believe.

    I love teaching this story in my American History class. I’m from the same small town (Ville Platte) as the Surgeon General, Dr. Arthur Vidrine, who operated on him. The story really comes to life for my students.

  • I found nothing lovable about Richard J. Daley, other than his inability to speak coherent English

    Well, he did rough up some hippies during the ’68 Democratic convention. Surely he should be given credit for that.

  • Ah, Chicago 68! As an 11 year old, I found the proceedings to be hilarious watching them on television:

    My favorite moment: