Tuesday, August 06, 2013
Ronald Reagan had a vision for the future of the country and an incredible ability to communicate it.
But the vision he communicated was not original. It wasn’t created out of whole cloth but was guided by the history of the nation. It was tightly bound by a set of principles, like the fine leather binding on an old book, typeset by the founders of the nation and the framers of the Constitution hundreds of years before.
Many of us miss hearing that book discussed in the public square today.
There are many phenomenal examples of Reagan’s ability to communicate, in modern terms, the principles upon which the country was founded, and which allowed it to grow into the greatest nation in the history of the world. You can go to almost any of his major speeches and find gems of wit, wisdom and history.
On July 17, 1980, during his acceptance speech for the Republican nomination for president, Reagan said:
“I believe it is clear our federal government is overgrown and overweight. Indeed, it is time for our government to go on a diet … I will not accept the excuse that the federal government has grown so big and powerful that it is beyond the control of any president, any administration or Congress.
“We are going to put an end to the notion that the American taxpayer exists to fund the federal government. The federal government exists to serve the American people and to be accountable to the American people.”
That vision was drawn directly from the book of America’s founders and framers. It is a vision of a federal government tightly limited in its scope to the powers enumerated in the Constitution. It is a vision and a set of limitations that the federal government has now far exceeded.
Reagan understood and expressed this clearly during his time in the national political spotlight. Under his tutelage, the country experienced a brief renaissance of constitutional originalism.
Ronald Reagan read from the history book of the nation like few before him and none since. We need that sort of clear vision and messaging today. We need public officials who know how to read from Reagan’s book.
Mark Meckler is the president of Citizens for Self-Governance.
Views expressed in this column are those of the author, not those of Rasmussen Reports. Comments about this content should be directed to the author or syndicate.
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