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Podcast - America the Beautiful at Fudan University
Audio Length: 20:16

America the Beautiful at Fudan University

China’s activities of late – showing off their military muscle after Speaker Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan – are top of mind and call us to review the President’s objective when he visited China in 1984, and that’s by spreading the good news about democracy, particularly to students. We thought our listeners might be interested in his truly beautiful speech delivered to college students in China at Fudan University in 1984. In the first half of the podcast, we’ll cover a few excerpts from the speech in China and in the second half, we’ll be inspired by hearing his heartfelt description about everything that’s great about America at Fudan University.

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Podcast - To Taiwan or Not To Taiwan? That is the Question
Audio Length: 23:03

To Taiwan or Not To Taiwan? That is the Question

In August this year, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi made a somewhat controversial visit to Taiwan, making her the highest ranking US official to visit the island in 25 years. In the lead up to the trip, President Biden told reporters that the military “thinks its not a good idea’ to visit Taiwan due to rising tensions over the island’s status – also further complicated as the Biden administration has urged China not to back Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. So, what would Ronald Reagan do? We don’t know but we can tell you what he said in an interview with journalists before he left for his trip to China in the spring of 1984.

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Podcast - The Tonight Show 1975
Audio Length: 30:10

The Tonight Show 1975

In Ronald Reagan’s lifetime, he made numerous appearances on the Tonight Show hosted by Johnny Carson, and as you can imagine they’re not only entertaining but fascinating. As an actor, he knew how to charm and communicate – but as a politician, he knew that an opportunity to clarify his ideas on a national basis was rare, so these interviews with Carson provided a platform for doing just that – thoughtfully, carefully, and casually, explaining just what he believed in.

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Podcast - The Personal Side
Audio Length: 25:13

The Personal Side

So we thought we’d dedicate this podcast to the personal side of our 40th president who was described as an ordinary man who accomplished extraordinary things. Ronald Reagan often credited his political success to an empathy with ordinary Americans. Asked by a reporter on the eve of his election in 1980 what Americans saw in him, Reagan replied: "Would you laugh if I told you that I think, maybe, they see themselves, and that I'm one of them? I've never been able to detach myself or think that I, somehow, am apart from them." Even after two terms as president, Reagan called himself a "citizen-politician," the phrase he often used to describe himself in 1966 when he was elected governor of California in his first race for public office. Reagan said he wanted to become part of government in order to reduce its influence.

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Podcast - The Soviets
Audio Length: 28:43

The Soviets

Ronald Reagan was a loving guy – he never hated anyone, except, maybe two things: Communism and Liars. In his mind, the two were definitely intertwined. And, as we observe Putin’s assault on Ukraine, it’s the same old Soviet tune – one that says “we’re for peace” and oh by the way, just ignore the tanks invading your country, we’re hunting for nazis. No one believes them. And Reagan didn’t drink the Soviet Kool-Aid, either. There’s one Town Hall that he conducted in 1987 in California at the Century Plaza Hotel with transmission also on the East Coast AND supposedly in the Soviet Union. The Chautauqua Institution in upstate New York had, since 1984, sponsored a week of debate between Soviet and American scholars and officials and August 1987 was no exception. To put the time frame in perspective, by August 1987, Gorbachev had been General Secretary for about 2 ½ years. Two summits – one in Geneva and one in Reykjavik - had taken place with the signing of the historic INF Treating looming in four months, in December of the same year. We love this town hall and we’ll focus on it in this podcast.

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Podcast - The Middle East
Audio Length: 21:00

The Middle East

Forty years ago this month, President Reagan responded to the crisis in the middle east by announcing the deployment of American forces as part of a multinational peacekeeping force. This will prompt a more interesting discussion for this podcast, of the rules of engagement, which President Reagan asked to be reviewed after the bombing of the US Marine barracks October 23, 1983 which killed a significant part of our peacekeeping force, taking the lives of 241 American soldiers as they slept. The president said it was the saddest day of his presidency, perhaps the saddest day of his life.

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Podcast - Welfare Reform
Audio Length: 17:27

Welfare Reform

Recall that Governor Reagan began his first term as a novice who promised to squeeze, cut and trim the costs of government. By 1971, he was an experienced politician with an able finance director in Verne Orr and a competent chief of staff in Ed Meese. So they got to work. And in a sweeping welfare reform program, Governor Reagan stiffened penalties for fraud, removed employed recipients from welfare, and required adult children to help support their parents on welfare, among other changes. By 1974, welfare caseloads dropped 20 percent, benefits rose 43 percent for residents with no income, welfare fraud cropped and California saved hundreds of millions of dollars. Reagan, as governor and as president always struggled with the idea of welfare because, as he said, “the principal issue in any welfare reform proposal is whether or not it'll help people become self-sufficient and lead a full life or keep them in a state of dependency.” It’s a question Americans struggle with to this day and Reagan, after leaving Sacramento and before the White House, delivered several radio addresses on the subject. So in today’s podcast, we’ll listen to a few good ones and let him tell the story. Let’s start with December 1976.

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Podcast - Grain, Soviets, and Farmers
Audio Length: 20:10

Grain, Soviets, and Farmers

So let’s take a look at some current news on grain and the Ukraine. It’s been reported that Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations are due to sign a deal aimed at resuming Black Sea grain exports from Ukraine, which have been severely hampered by the war there. Russia's Feb. 24 invasion has stalled exports from Ukraine's ports, leaving dozens of ships stranded and some 20 million tons of grain stuck in silos at Odessa. Moscow has denied responsibility for worsening the food crisis, blaming instead a chilling effect from Western sanctions for slowing its own food and fertilizer exports and Ukraine for mining its Black Sea ports. However, in July 2022, drone footage revealed that Russia was setting Ukrainian wheat fields on fire, thus putting a massive strain on the country's grain exports. Those battered and harassed Ukrainian farmers are racing to save their crops from Russian shell strikes. So, here we go again playing the grain game. Let’s go back 40 years ago to August 1982, when the Russian grain embargo had just been lifted and President Reagan worked to help the American farmer.

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Podcast - The President's News Conference
Audio Length: 20:23

The President's News Conference

Today’s subject? The Presidential Press Conference. We’re going to cover his July 1982 press conference which President Reagan noted in his diary that…went well – after feeling less than pleased about previous press conference. When and why did this tradition start? Since Woodrow Wilson held the first presidential press conference in March 1913, all of his successors have used the sessions as a basic part of their publicity strategies. The sessions have survived because reporters found them useful for developing information, citizens saw them as valuable for making judgments about their chief executives, and presidents and their staffs saw them as a primary strategy for explaining their policies. Of course, presidents could give speeches laying out their policies, but press conferences have become a major way to explain the intricacies of those policies as the proposals made their way through the legislative process.

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Podcast - Captive Nations and Ukraine
Audio Length: 14:46

Captive Nations and Ukraine

In light of the war in Ukraine, we thought that looking back to Ronald Reagan’s ideas on human rights and the captive nations might be pertinent. Going back to 1975, Ronald Reagan opposed President Gerald Ford’s signing of the final act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe – known as the Helsinki Accords on August 1, 1975. Why, you ask? Well, he objected on the ground that it codified the captive nation status of Eastern Europe; that the Soviet Union and other communist states routinely violate human rights; and once again, that such states cannot be trusted to honor agreements.

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Podcast - Harley-Davidson and Free Trade
Audio Length: 14:01

Harley-Davidson and Free Trade

About 40 years ago, President Ronald Reagan took bold steps to protect a storied U.S. manufacturing company from foreign competitors. At the time, challenges in international trade, specifically, how to deal with the flood of Japanese car and motorcycle imports, was a serious problem.

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Podcast - Ronald Reagan, An American Patriot
Audio Length: 20:14

Ronald Reagan, An American Patriot

If you look back at Ronald Reagan’s career, whether you agree with his policies or not, there’s one thing no one can dispute, and that’s his staunch, hopeful patriotism. Journalist and author Nancy Gibbs wrote, “Hope is an infectious disease, and Reagan was a carrier. The country he courted and finally won over in 1980 was a dispirited place, humiliated abroad, uncertain at home, with a hunger for heroes but little faith that they could make any difference. But you can, he told us. I am not the hero, you are.” "Let us renew our faith and our hope," he declared in his first Inaugural Address. "We have every right to dream heroic dreams." And he would serve as Dreamer in Chief. "What I'd really like to do," he said after six months in the White House, "is go down in history as the President who made Americans believe in themselves again."

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