Ann Coulter today asks, “What would Reagan do?” Recently, I asked the same question regarding restoring optimism in America. The truth is that Ronald Reagan is my hero, and I’m guessing he is Ann’s, as well.
Ann makes this comparison regarding Supreme Court picks for the sake of writing an interesting article — but she brings to mind another interesting point:
Conservatives do judge our current leaders against the standard set by Reagan. And this is unfair. Comparing anyone to Ronald Reagan is sort of like being compared to an older brother who was good looking, popular, and smart. It’s hard to compete with that.
There is a natural tendency to lionize legends at the expense of contemporaries. In 1961, when Fargo’s own Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth’s single season homerun record by hitting 61 dingers, many Yankees fans were actually mad at him. The charismatic Ruth loved the crowd and the attention. Maris, on the other hand, was a quiet man. Perhaps Maris would have been forgiven if he hadn’t also bested fan-favorite Mickey Mantle, who was also chasing the Bambino’s record of 61 in ’61? In any event, because Maris couldn’t win a popularity contest against Ruth, he got a raw deal. Roger Maris later said of his snubbing, “Maybe I wasn’t the chosen one, but I was the one who got the record."
Well, Ronald Reagan is the Babe Ruth of politics. He hit a lot of homeruns. In terms of policy and leadership, it is healthy to ask What Would Reagan Do? But when it comes to popularity, charisma, and style, trying to outdo Reagan is like trying to out-hit Babe Ruth.