Tribute to Pres. Reagan

Dean Fairbrother dean.fairbrother at HBFULLER.COM
Fri Feb 2 07:43:25 MST 1996

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Date: Fri, 2 Feb 1996 8:36:13 -0600 (CST)
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   Dana Robacher (R-45th CA) on January 31, 1996:

     "Mr. Speaker, it is such a pleasure to be here with the gentleman,
     and celebrating the birthday of this great American, who has done so
     much for my life personally and also for the lives of every

     "People would like to know what kind of man Ronald Reagan was. I
     think I will make this a little personal as well as oriented towards
     his policy. I worked with him on his campaign in 1976 when he ran
     for President against Gerald Ford and lost. I remember one day when
     the President was speaking before a rally at a parking lot in North
     Carolina, where a young lady grabbed me by the arm and said, `I am
     here with a group of blind children. They cannot see. They cannot
     really get up into this crowd to hear as much as they should be able
     to, so I have had to keep them back here on the side. I was
     wondering if it was possible for,' and they called him Governor
     Reagan at that time, because he was not elected President yet, `for
     Governor Reagan to come here and to shake hands with these young

     "As the rally was over, the press were getting into their buses, and
     I mentioned this to Mike Deaver, and Ronald Reagan was in earshot
     and heard me talking about these young blind children. He said
     `Look, I don't want anybody in the press to come over there, because
     I don't want these young people to think that I'm trying to exploit
     young people, or blind children, for my candidacy, so do not tell
     the press anything. Let them get on the bus, and then I will go over
     there and meet with these young people and talk to them for a

     "Sure enough, we jogged over to the side of the parking lot and
     there were about five children, probably 11 or 12 years old, that
     were blind. Ronald Reagan was speaking to them."

     "As he spoke to them, he said, would you like to touch my face? I
     will never forget that, because it would not have dawned on me to
     say that. It was not a thought that came to my mind. But he was so
     understanding and so sensitive that he knew that they could not see
     him unless they touched his face."

     "Of course, they all wanted to touch his face. As they were there,
     these five blind children touching his face in the corner of that
     parking lot, I thought to myself, what politician in this country
     would not give millions of dollars to have his picture on the front
     of Time magazine or Newsweek magazine to have all of these children
     touching his face. It was such a heartfelt picture, it would have
     been a Pulitzer Prize. But, instead, Ronald Reagan knew that this
     was a private moment, and that he was talking to these young people,
     and if he was going to keep faith with them, he did not want them
     ever to have the thought that he was exploiting them for those

     "I guess that is what our basic challenge was when we were working
     for Ronald Reagan as President. Before people could really see him,
     they had to feel Ronald Reagan, and the American people got a feel
     of Ronald Reagan. During his presidency, they knew that he was a
     good and decent man. Even though during his entire presidency, and
     during his campaigns he was maligned over and over again, as if
     trying to be responsible, trying to say that we cannot spend
     everything for everybody, that that in some way makes you a
     malicious person."

     "Reagan was attacked over and over and over again, as if he did not
     have a good heart. But the American people saw that he had a good
     heart. They felt that. They knew that about him, just like those
     little blind children, when they touched his face, knew what this
     man looked like."

     "Well, the American people knew what Ronald Reagan looked like on
     the inside. That is why they trusted him. To the degree that he was
     successful, it had a lot to do with the trust that the American
     people put in him. He spoke to them."

     "I was Ronald Reagan's speech writer for 7 years. I had never
     written a speech for anyone else before I wrote a speech for Ronald
     Reagan as President of the United States. He was the one who taught
     me how to write. A lot of people, again maligning Ronald Reagan,
     tried to say that he was some sort of puppet and that he could not
     do anything without his cards."

     "Well, the fact is, Ronald Reagan was an excellent writer. I always
     said that if he had not been president, he was a good enough writer
     to be a presidential speech writer. He taught us that."

     "He was, as you had mentioned, an expert in communication, and that
     served him well, it served the country well. When Ronald Reagan took
     over the country, it was in a funk. The country and the American
     people had been told to lower their expectations. They had been told
     that all of the problems of the world dealt with our own faults as
     Americans. They were told that we could not succeed, that we were in
     a malaise, and Ronald Reagan, with his buoyant optimism and with his
     great sense of the people themselves and his ability to communicate,
     turned the American spirit around."

     "People complained that the deficit expanded during Reagan's years.
     Again, he tried to cut it and the Congress would not do it. But on
     top of that, just figure out where our country would have been had
     the same policies been in place that the Democrats had in place
     before Reagan was elected and those same economic trends would have
     continued. Our deficit would have been twice as big, and our
     inflation rate would have destroyed the economic well-being and the
     standard of living of all of our people. So Ronald Reagan was
     successful at that."

     "But perhaps what I am most proud of, through it all, Ronald Reagan
     was called a warmonger, called a militarist. He was portrayed as
     someone who wanted to spend money on all of these weapons. But in
     fact, Ronald Reagan was a champion of freedom and liberty, and in
     doing so, he was a champion of peace in the world. We have a more
     peaceful world today because of what he did, the stands he took."

     "I remember when Ronald Reagan was castigated; and this side of the
     aisle, the Democrats who controlled the Congress at the time, did
     everything they could to undermine his policy of supporting freedom
     fighters in the various parts of the world who were fighting Soviet
     aggression. I mean, it made every sense to me that we should arm
     local people to defend themselves rather than send Americans all
     over the world to have to fight; and in fact, we drained the Soviet
     Empire of its military capabilities by forcing them to fight for
     their gains rather than just giving it to them and letting people
     surrender without a fight."

     "In Nicaragua, where the Soviet Union was perched and ready to roll
     up Central America right into Mexico and to the borders of the
     United States, before Reagan was elected, in Nicaragua, the
     Communists were ready. The Soviet Union pumped billions of dollars
     of military aid into that country, and the Democrats on that side of
     the aisle undermined Reagan's effort over and over and over again to
     try to give the Nicaraguan people the right to fight for their own

     "I have no understanding of why that happened, but in today's
     revisionist history, we are told that a bipartisan effort ended the
     cold war. There would have been no end to the cold war had there
     been a major Soviet offensive in Latin America that was victorious,
     and that would have happened had not Ronald Reagan come in and
     supported those who were struggling for freedom."

     "Finally, let us not forget that it was Ronald Reagan's speeches and
     his ability to communicate to the world, his ability to champion the
     cause of freedom and to condemn communism. Ronald Reagan was the
     first President of the United States not just to condemn Soviet
     actions, but to condemn communism as an evil, tyrannical force on
     the planet. Let us not forget that those words, along with his
     policies, are what brought an end to the Soviet imperial empire that
     threatened our freedom and threatened the peace of the world."

     "I will leave you with one last story of Ronald Reagan, because
     Reagan was called, he was called names, too, about his rhetoric. I
     have heard speeches over and over again about how he was a warmonger
     and his speeches were going to get us into trouble. But I remember
     very well the incident when Ronald Reagan was going to go to Berlin,
     and Reagan, one of his speech writers went to Berlin before him, and
     we came back."

     "Ronald Reagan had mentioned that he thought that this was the place
     to talk about the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. And we speech
     writers did our job; we gave him text."

     "He approved it, and all of a sudden volcanoes began to erupt all
     over the world. Diplomats, foreign policy experts, George Shultz,
     our Secretary of State, you name it, everybody, the National
     Security Advisor to the President himself, they were just--they were
     screaming at the top of their lungs, do not do it. Do not tell Mr.
     Gorbachev to tear down the Wall, because it will be an insult to
     Gorbachev. He is our only hope."

     "It was said by many that Gorbachev was the man who was making the
     world more peaceful, which is what we hear from the liberal side,
     and not Reagan and a commitment to freedom that was changing the
     world. Reagan in fact was told just the day before he gave the
     speech in Berlin by his own National Security Advisor to take out of
     his speech that reference to tearing down the Berlin Wall. He was
     handed another speech draft and told, Mr. President, you should use
     this draft instead of the one you have. And Ronald Reagan, being the
     leader that he was said, well, no, I think I will use the one I

     "He went to Berlin, and he pointed to the Wall and he said, Mr.
     Gorbachev, if you believe in democracy and peace, tear down this
     wall. That strength of purpose and that commitment to freedom sent a
     shock wave around the world which unnerved the last vestiges of
     power in the Soviet Union and brought about the end of the cold

     "Ronald Reagan made that decision on his own, against the advice of
     the experts, because he knew in his heart that saying and demanding
     the tearing down of the Berlin Wall made everything that he had done
     and everything America stood for real, not only to the people of the
     world, but to the leaders of the Soviet Union; and within a few days
     the CIA told us that Gorbachev had had a meeting and had been
     seriously discussing with his advisors how to move forward in
     bringing down the Berlin Wall as a symbol of peace. What a
     magnificent, magnificent victory."

     "Then, one moment, I am going to tell you about my best day at the
     White House. I remember when Nathan Sharansky came to the White
     House. Many people do not know who Nathan Sharansky is. He used to
     be called Anatoly Sharansky and was a true hero of the cause of
     human liberty. He was a Jewish dissident in Russia, Soviet Russia,
     and he was thrown into the slammer, thrown into the gulag and told,
     all you have to do is sign a slip of paper saying that the Soviet
     Union is really a democracy and does not persecute Jews, and we will
     let you out of the gulag; and Sharansky refused to do so."

     "When the word of this heroic stand of this individual got around
     the world, he became one of our heroes. He became in the 1980's not
     just a Jewish hero; he was a hero to all people who believed in
     liberty, especially to Ronald Reagan's speech writers."

     "Well, when he was let loose from the gulag, it was because we
     traded a spy for him, a Russian spy. We got a heroic champion of
     freedom and they got some low-life spy who was trying to help Soviet
     tyranny. Boy, did we get the better part of that deal."

     "Sharansky ended up coming to the White House to visit Ronald
     Reagan, and he told Ronald Reagan, he said, Mr. President, whatever
     you do, do not tone down your speeches, because apparently when he
     was at the bottom of despair, in the dark and damp dungeon of a
     gulag, he was slipped a small piece of paper and on that paper was
     written, President Reagan has called it an `evil empire.' And he
     said that is what gave him hope. That is what gave the world a
     reason to resist Soviet tyranny."

     "Not only did Sharansky prevail, but all of the freedom-loving
     people prevailed, because Ronald Reagan had the courage to speak
     about the values and the principles of this country at a time of
     great adversity."

     "So today, I am very pleased to join you and my other colleagues in
     saying `happy birthday' to my old boss, a man who may now have lost
     his memory, but will never be forgotten."

     "Thank you."



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