Until Ronald Reagan talked about how much he admired Calvin Coolidge I never had a very high opinion of him as president. Historians seemed to view Coolidge as a do nothing president that reigned over the hedonism and irresponsibility of the Roaring 20's. If you believe them you are left with the impression that Coolidge was largely to blame for the Great Depression of the 1930's and was a hero of the trickle down philosophy of the mean ole Republicans . Anytime that you saw Coolidge in a picture or documentary he was usually pictured looking ridiculous in an Indian headdress when he visited a Sioux Indian tribe in the Black Hills of South Dakota in 1927. A few years ago I read a great book about Calvin Coolidge and I now consider him one of our greatest presidents. Coolidge's tax and spending cuts were responsible for the great economy of the 1920's. They didn't call that period the Roaring Twenties for nothing. Calvin Coolidge was a man of few words. A woman once made a bet with him that she could get him to say more than two words. He leaned over and whispered "You lose". In 1981 Reagan fired all of the air traffic controllers that went out on strike for life. I believe that Reagan was inspired to take such bold action by Coolidge's handling of the 1919 Boston police strike. At that time he was the governor of Massachusetts but by law he was in control of the Boston police Department. His handpicked commissioner would eventually fire all of the striking Boston policemen with Coolidge's support. In the meantime Coolidge would send in the state militia to restore law & order. Like the air traffic controllers of 1981 the policemen had many legitimate gripes about pay and working conditions. However Coolidge viewed the police as essential public servants who did not have the right to strike. He said "There is no right to strike against the public safety, anywhere, anytime". Coolidge would hire almost a whole new Boston police force. Their pay would be raised and some of the demands of the striking officers would be met. Coolidge's firm stand was popular with the American people and would help to catapult him as the 1920 vice presidential nominee on the ticket with Warren G. Harding. Harding would win the presidential election that year but would die of a heart attack in 1923 and Coolidge would become president. In 1924 Coolidge won reelection on his own.
Reagan viewed the air traffic controllers in the same way as Coolidge saw the Boston policemen. As essential public servants who did not have the right to strike. He gave them 48 hours to return to their jobs. They did not come back and Reagan fired them. Reagan's firm action had unintended consequences because it got the Soviet's attention. His handling of the air traffic controllers convinced them that Reagan was not a man to be trifled with. He meant what he said and he said what he meant. Two years later in 1983 Reagan called the Soviet Union the "Evil Empire". The Soviets realized that this speech signaled a historic change in American foreign policy. Since 1945 our policy toward the Soviet Union was Containment. Reagan was announcing that we no longer intended to contain the Soviet Union. Detente was out. Reagan now intended to put the Soviet Union out of business. A goal that would be achieved within a few years. He also broke from American foreign policy by proposing SDI or Strategic Defense Initiative. What the left derisively calls "Star Wars". During the Kennedy administration our nuclear policy became known as MAD or Mutual Assured Destruction. The so called experts believed that the best deterrent to nuclear war was if the Soviets and American's were able to destroy each other we were less likely to start a nuclear war. In my view this policy is not only madness but morally bankrupt. One can argue that the policy has worked because the evidence is in the fact that we have never had a nuclear war. Liberals have always argued that if the US could defend it's population from a nuclear attack it could create a situation where a nuclear war would be more likely. In my opinion it is immoral not to protect your own people if it is possible. When I worked at NORAD I came to realize quickly that America had no defense against a nuclear attack. Reagan also realized this after he visited NORAD in the late 1970's. This visit planted the seed for SDI in his mind. There are rogue nuclear powers out there now that are not as responsible as the Soviet Union, or even China for that matter. There is Pakistan. So far it has been a responsible nuclear power but they are one coup away from a radical Islamic regime. North Korea is being run by a despotic tyrant that has constantly proven himself to be erratic and a threat to Asia and the US. Iran is a potential nuclear power whose national motto is Death To America. This is why we need SDI more than ever. Reagan insistence on it was instrumental in forcing the Soviets to real nuclear weapons reductions in the late 1980's and the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990's. We have made some important advances in SDI but thanks to the liberals we have never achieved the protection from a nuclear attack that Reagan envisioned. I loved Reagan's response to Muammar Qaddafi in 1981. Since 1973 Qaddafi had claimed Libya's Gulf of Sidra as their internal waters. Under international law countries are allowed to claim 12 miles off shore as internal waters. The Gulf of Sidra is 275 miles wide. Jimmy Carter issued orders for our Navy to honor this ridiculous claim. When Reagan came into office he reversed the policy. Reagan believed that Libya should have a twelve mile limit like everyone else. In August 1981 Edwin Meese called president Reagan one night as he was eating dinner. Meese asked Reagan what our response should be if our Navy was attacked by Libyan fighters. He told him that we would shoot them down. Meese then asked how far the Navy was allowed to chase them. Reagan replied all the way back to their airfields and hangars if necessary. Finally Meese asked if he should wake him if this happened. Reagan said only wake me if one of our boys were shot down. Liberals talked about easing nuclear tensions for years but it took the tough talk and actions of a Conservative to actually pull it off. Reagan was able to spur the longest period of economic growth in American history by his Coolidge like tax cuts and deregulation. He was never able to get spending under control as Coolidge did because of the Democrat Congress. He also had to spend billions building our military because of the deep cuts and neglect during the 1970's. As it turned out the money spent on the military was well worth it when you consider that it helped put the Soviet Union out of business. This military build up would give us a heavy advantage during the first Gulf War. The Reagan economic growth would last until the recession of 2008 that was caused by the collapse of the American housing market.
Donald Trump is not Reagan or Coolidge but like them he seems to know what is needed to bring about positive change and is a man of the people. The jury is still out on Trump but with just a year under his belt he has accomplish much. Our foreign policy of appeasement under Obama has been abolished. The military is being strengthened and our borders are being secured. Our economy is smoking hot and it has improved from the moment Trump was elected. He is not just talking but doing which is unusual for a politician. Liberal policy never works. True Conservatism is always a winner and produces positive results. History is proof positive of this fact.