On Monday — what would have been former President Ronald Reagan’s 112th birthday — a woman who worked as an aide for him shared what she said made him so special.
Writing for Fox News, former Reagan staffer Peggy Grande described the “secret recipe” that made the country’s 40th president unique. Reagan is one of the most revered political figures in American history, and his name is cited by candidates in every election cycle.
It has been more than three decades since he left the White House and almost 19 years since his death in 2004. Still, he remains wildly popular and beloved.
“He has been analyzed and scrutinized from every angle, yet the magical formula or ‘secret recipe’ of Ronald Reagan all these years later seems as elusive as ever,” Grande wrote. “What was behind his indisputable success? Can his ability to communicate and connect with others be imitated? Learned? What about his capacity to rally people to support him?”
Grande questioned if the essence of Reaganism was a quality that belonged only to its namesake or if it can be replicated — perhaps by a potential leader seeking to capture his persona and success.
The verdict is still out on that, but Reagan’s legacy is unquestioned, Grande surmised.
“Ronald Reagan was authentic and unapologetic about who he was — and who he wasn’t. We as a nation were lucky,” she opined.
“He is remembered and celebrated all these years later — not because he is gone — but because of how he lived. The legacy he left behind both inspires and, in part, mystifies us still.”
Grande invoked Reagan’s uniquely American story. The Gipper, as he was often called, was raised in a broken home in the midwest.
He went on to carve out a successful career in Hollywood before he ultimately got elected as governor of California. While in office, he caught the country’s attention in a 1964 speech while he campaigned for Barry Goldwater.
By 1980, Regan was a no-brainer in the Republican party primary, and he easily defeated then-President Jimmy Carter.
Reagan weathered political storms, mended a broken economy and was shot while in office. But he never lost his sense of humor.
He also never wavered as a leader and defended democracy and capitalism as the Soviet Union took its dying breaths.
Grande concluded Reagan’s “secret” might be in the way he lived his life.
“Perhaps the ‘secret’ of Ronald Reagan has been evident all along, ‘Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, leave the rest to God,’” she wrote. “ That doesn’t sound mysterious or impossible — it sounds like the way most Americans live their lives every day. And do so, regardless of who is in the Oval Office.”
Grande worked for Reagan for 10 years after he left the White House from 1989 to 1999.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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