A lighter side of politics


MICHELLE OBAMA’S visit to Spain occurs just six years after former U.S. President Ronald Reagan passed away. Because of his anti-red rhetoric and contempt for fashionable trends he was never popular among the left-wing Axis. A master at using wit to prick leftist pomposity he said. “Socialism only works in two places: Heaven where they don’t need it and hell where they already have it.”

He didn’t waste words on polemics and time often proved him right. “Here’s my strategy on the Cold War. We win, they lose.”  He spoke for many when he said: “The most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I am here to help you.’ To drive his point home he pondered at what the Ten Commandments might look like if Moses had run them through U.S. Congress.


Does he mean us?

The former actor turned Governor of the State of California agreed that politics was the world’s second oldest profession but bore a striking resemblance to the first. He described government as being like a baby: ‘An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.’ Talking of babies he remarked: “I notice everyone who is for abortion has already been born.”

Contemptuous at irresponsible taxation he described the taxpayer as someone who works for the government without having to take the civil service examination. Reagan said: “The government’s view of the economy can be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. If it stops moving, subsidise it.”

Cold War – War Words

As America’s 40th President; he was elected twice over and was notable for having introduced radical economic initiatives. These were dubbed Reaganomics. He spurred economic growth by reducing taxation and wielded the axe on government regulation of the economy and spending.

The one time beach lifeguard (he saved 77 lives) President Reagan survived an assassination attempt and faced down the all-powerful American trade unions. His first term of office was marked by success and he was re-elected on a landslide. He is credited with negotiating the end of the Cold War with Soviet General-Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev.

For a politician he was self effacing and once quipped: “I have left orders to be awakened at any time in case of national emergency – even if I am in a cabinet meeting.”  Being wheeled into the operating theatre after the failed assassination attempt he eyed the surgeons and said: “I hope you’re all Republicans.”

Eating One’s Words

A Reagan quote Michelle Obama might not wish to hear was delivered in 1983: “To watch the courageous Afghan freedom fighters battle modern arsenals with simple hand-held weapons is an inspiration to those who love freedom. To the Afghan people, I say on behalf of all Americans that we admire your heroism, your devotion to freedom, and your relentless struggle against oppressors.” But the Soviet Union were then the invaders of Afghanistan.

By Mike Walsh



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