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  • Daniel Hannan: Understanding What Made Reagan a Great President

    10/19/2010 4:01:24 PM Posted by Roger Custer

    By Daniel Hannan Hannan

    At the weekend, I fulfilled a long-standing ambition and visited Ronald Reagan’s ranch, now held in trust by the wonderful Young America's Foundation. It was here that the Gipper would withdraw whenever he could, to ride around the estate with Nancy. “The best thing for the inside of a man is the outside of a horse”, he used to say.

    In other politicians’ homes, you find constant reminders of status: photographs with popes and monarchs, gifts from visiting statesmen, piles of books by famous contemporaries, cases of trophies and awards. But Reagan’s one-bedroom bolt-hole couldn’t be simpler. He painted and furnished it with his own hands, and enclosed it with a fence which he sawed from old telegraph poles.

    The casual visitor wouldn’t guess that this had been the home of the leader of the free world, this the table where the greatest tax cut in America’s history was signed into law, this the telephone used to call the families of fallen American soldiers. Other than one or two historical works among the cowboy novels, the only political touch is the shower-head, which is in the shape of the Liberty Bell. Here, plainly, lived a man who was bien dans sa peau; a man who, unlike so many politicians, had nothing to prove. Mikhail Gorbachev, visiting the ranch, was distressed by how basic it was; Margaret Thatcher, by contrast, loved it, intuiting that it reflected the character of its inhabitant.

    Read the whole article here 

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