Conservatives paid tribute to former President Ronald Reagan this week, a full year after the death of the leader of the modern conservative movement.
A Young America’s Foundation panel discussion—featuring Reagan aide Frank Donatelli, journalist Fred Barnes and public relations executive Craig Shirley—examined how President Bush and other political leaders have followed in Reagan’s footstep and predicted where Reagan might stand on some of today’s controversial issues.
Barnes said he viewed Reagan as the ideal politician whose firm stances on key issues and genuine ability to connect with people allowed him to rise to a level of success few politicians have been able to emulate. “If Reagan couldn’t do it, no President could,” Barnes proclaimed.
The effects of Reagan’s policy have transcended borders and can be seen in governments across the world, according to Donatelli, who said governments around the world now look toward Reagan’s “supply-side economics,” which he had used to rejuvenate an economy that had been stuck in the malaise of the 1970s.
Today people remember the great successes of the 40th President, but few remember the tremendous difficulties Reagan faced in transforming the Republican Party.
“The fight between Reagan and Ford was tough,” said Shirley, who argued that the bitter infighting had lead Reagan’s 1980 campaign that changed the face of the two major parties in this country.
The Young America’s Foundation hopes to continue the event on an annual basis in an effort to maintain the legacy of Reagan.