President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime

By Lou Cannon | Go to book overview

PREFACE TO THE 2000 EDITION

RONALD WILSON REAGAN flew cheerfully into the California sunset on January 20, 1989, basking in the glow of national esteem as he returned home after eight years as president of the United States. In the last Gallup Poll of his presidency Reagan had a public approval rating of 63 percent, the highest for any president leaving office since Franklin D. Roosevelt died early in his fourth term. The New York Times-CBS Poll gave Reagan an approval rating of 68 percent.

In all his guises and careers, Reagan valued the response of the audience more than his critical notices. While few of his political decisions were poll- driven, he cared immensely about his standing with ordinary Americans and relatively little about the opinions of the experts. That was just as well for Reagan, for expert opinion in 1989 gave low marks to his presidency. Soon after Reagan left office, a national survey of academic historians and political scientists conducted by the Siena Research Institute ranked him twenty-second among the then-forty U.S. presidents. Even among the conservatives, Reagan's normally dependable political base, the verdict on his presidency was far from unanimous. At the time, influential conservatives worried that their hero had conceded too much to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev; some were also alarmed about his economic legacy.

The conservatives have since come back to Reagan, either because they have learned to appreciate his legacy or simply because they miss him. They are not alone. As the Reagan presidency recedes into history, Americans of varied political persuasions have become nostalgic about The Gipper, as he was known to the White House press corps. In an August 1999 Gallup poll of adult Americans, a majority of those surveyed predicted that Reagan will rank higher in the history books than other modern presidents. (The poll spanned presidents from Richard Nixon through Bill Clinton, excluding the unelected Gerald Ford.) Fifty-four percent of those polled said Reagan would be remembered as an "outstanding" or "above average" president. Only 12 percent said he would be ranked as "poor." And, although Alzheimer's disease prevents Reagan from knowing it, he has made headway even with the experts. Political historian James MacGregor Burns, famed for his books about Franklin Roosevelt, wrote in The Washington Post on October 24, 1999, that Reagan will rank with FDR among the "great" or "near-great" presidents of the twentieth century.

Ranking presidents is an imprecise exercise that is more controversial

-xi-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 890

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.