Reagan: The Cold War Revived
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Like his predecessor, Ronald Reagan came to the presidency as an outsider. He, too, had made his political reputation as a state governor rather than as a congressman or senator. There the comparison with Carter ended. Whereas Carter’s naval training had taught him the value of the mastery of detail, Reagan’s mind focussed on what he believed to be certain core issues which he saw as vital to the country’s future. These ideas he could convey to the broad American public with all the force and effectiveness of an experienced actor. There is no doubt that his skills as a communicator helped him on his way to the presidency. But those who dismissed him as a politically naive movie actor seriously misunderstood a serious and adept politician who, for eight years, had successfully governed the state of California, one of the richest and most dynamic entities on earth. As someone from small-town Illinois who, through his own efforts, had made a reputation in Hollywood, Reagan could express and embody the American dream that anything could be attained through a free society, ‘the freedom’, he recorded, ‘to reach out and make our dreams come true’.
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