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In January 1983, 40 years ago, the President began his third year in office, working desperately to improve the economy while determined to convince the American people that the best was yet ahead. As a true leader, he met with his Executive team, exactly two years after his inauguration, to introduce two new cabinet members and to rally his executive squad to keep pushing the ball up the hill. His remarks are funny, inspiring, engaging and a perfect start to working with a brilliant team of individuals. We thought you’d like a taste of our 40th president’s leadership style in this new year: his vision, communication and optimism. You’ll hear him announce that Elizabeth Dole would replace Drew Lewis as Secretary of Transportation and Margaret Heckler would replace Richard Schweiker as Secretary of Health and Human services.
President Reagan’s courage as a leader, skill as a diplomat, and his willingness to confront communism around the world played a major role in ending the domination of the Soviet Union. He developed and applied with constant purpose a strategy not simply to contain communism, but to end it, and he achieved this goal across much of the globe. Ronald Reagan entered the White House determined to restore the strength of the U.S. military. He insisted on military might not for its own sake, but to discourage threats to American interests, defend freedom around the world, and bring the Soviet Union to the bargaining table. So in January 1983, 40 years ago this month, he faced the press, holding a news conference to clarify his position on Strategic Arms Reduction. In this podcast, we’ll focus on his resolve to clearly define, in his words, what his intentions were. To provide context, the leader of the Soviet Union at the time was Yuri Andropov…Gorbachev would not enter the scene for over two years. Also, this News Conference preceded his Evil Empire Speech AND his speech on SDI – his Strategic Defense Initiative – by two months.
Today, we’re being instructed to call them undocumented but most of us still refer to those in this country illegally as…illegals. In the heated debate over immigration reform — despite the politicians and our current president choose to ignore the serious problems, the question that might be asked is “What would Ronald Reagan do?”
In November 2022, state department officials went to great lengths to prevent a meeting at the G20 summit between Biden and Putin. They knew that at some point, the two leaders would cross paths, but US officials ruled out a formal meeting and took steps to ensure that the American president does not encounter his Russian counterpart in a hallway or even in a group photo. Why? Well, the answer is that President Biden thinks Putin is a killer, a war criminal and, you don’t usually meet with killers and war criminals. Both of Biden’s immediate predecessors — Barack Obama and Donald Trump — crafted foreign policies that involved direct engagement with traditionally adversarial leaders; Obama as a matter of bridging difficult diplomatic divides, Trump as part creating personal and political alliances. Biden has had less engagement abroad. And today, Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine is TIME’s man of the year and awarded such an honor for standing up to the Soviet Union. With that in mind…just how did Ronald Reagan handle those pesky Russians?
On January 1, 1985, President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev addressed each other’s people in an unprecedented exchange of televised New Year’s greetings. Remember that in March 1985, Gorbachev came into office, after the death of former Soviet leader Chernenko and after his very long illness. Knowing the voracity of the Cold War makes this exchange even more meaningful. The four major American networks, ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN carried the leaders five minute speeches at 1pm EST. Even more remarkable, Soviet television agreed to broadcast Reagan’s message to the Soviet people simultaneously, or at 9pm Moscow time: prime time in the Soviet Union.
President Reagan, a man of devout faith, loved Christmas deeply. And he chose to share his feelings about the holiday in many different ways over his eight years in office. So today in our podcast, rather than focusing on one single address or message, we’ll take an overview of the President’s eight years in office to look at eight mighty ways to express his joy during the holiday season.
In November 1981, President Reagan delivered what he considered to be the most important foreign policy speech of his administration. Before the members of the National Press Club, he called for a number of things: the elimination of all intermediate range nuclear force weapons – known as the zero zero option – and, he called for a meeting with the Soviet Union (then Brezhnev) to negotiate new reductions in their mutual stockpiles of long range strategic nuclear weapons. But just weeks before this speech he had given final approval to blueprints for a multibillion dollar modernization of our strategic forces to build 100 B-1B bombers to replace our deteriorating fleet of B-52 bombers, to deploy new trident nuclear submarines, to develop the stealth bomber, and to build 100 new intercontinental range missiles known as…the MX Peacekeeper.
Every December, Americans celebrate their memorable cultural icons when the Kennedy Center bestows its annual honors to those in the performing arts for their lifetime contributions. Since 1978, the Honors have been presented annually each December to five honorees followed by a gala celebration. The original strategy was that these unique individuals were people who have contributed to society, not someone who happens to have a pop record hit at the moment. The intention was not to do just another award show. Do you recall the first host? It was Leonard Bernstein in 1978. And the White House got involved by inviting the Honorees first to the White House for an initial presentation by the President. For 2022, who are the Honorees? Well, George Clooney, Amy Grant, Gladys Knight, Tania Leon and U2. In this podcast, we’ll focus on two ceremonies held at the White House. The first, 40 years ago in 1982 honored George Abbott, Eugene Ormandy, Lillian Gish, Benny Goodman, and Gene Kelly. Then, in the second half of the podcast, the President honored in 1984, Lena Horne, Arthur Miller, Gian Carlo Menotti, Isaac Stern and Danny Kaye. And in the second half of the podcast, I’ll share a bit about those who were offered the honor but declined.
As this podcasts airs, the 2022 November election results have been in the books for 3 weeks. At least most of the results are in the books. As the contentious debates continue, let’s go back over 40 years to some of Ronald Reagan’s thoughts expressed in his radio addresses on…voting – and on another issue – the possibilities of voter fraud with postcard registration.
Thanksgiving is just a few days away, a time when we take stock of our many blessings and take an extra moment to let our loved ones know our deepest feelings of appreciation. As you recall, President Reagan was a deeply grateful man, who told the American people in his first Thanksgiving proclamation, that, “America has much for which to be thankful. The unequaled freedom enjoyed by our citizens has provided a harvest of plenty to this Nation throughout its history. In keeping with America's heritage, one day each year is set aside for giving thanks to God for all of His blessings.” Another example of his commitment to gratitude occurred when the hostages held in Iran for 444 days were freed in January 1981, President Reagan created a special national day of Thanksgiving to honor their sacrifice and safe return.
On November 10, 1982 – 40 years ago – the leader of the Soviet Union, Leonid Brezhnev, died. Immediately after his passing, Yuri Andropov succeeded him as General Secretary. But our subject today is Brezhnev and the hauntingly similar ways both Brezhnev and Putin have ruled.
In today’s podcast, we’ll focus on a wonderful interview conducted by Tom Brokaw just 3 days before the President left office. This is not a gotcha interview or a hard-hitting challenge to the president – rather, Brokaw decided to focus on personal issues. You’ll hear the President reflect on his mother’s religious beliefs, his father’s alcoholism, careers in radio, acting, and politics, and reflections on his eight years as president. As for Brokaw, he was a longtime news anchor and senior correspondent who spent his entire career with NBC news. Beginning the Los Angeles Bureau where he covered Ronald Reagan’s first run for public office, he moved to the nation’s capital in 1973. Ultimately after 55 years with NBC news he retired at the age of 80.