Shall we compare and contrast Ronald Reagan’s address to the nation after the Challenger disaster, when seven brave American astronauts perished in a terrible accident, with Joe Biden’s scratchy, partisan and shrill comments following the the shooting in Uvalde,Texas?
An old friend of mine, when asked about a bad baseball trade, once quipped that the two players weren’t even in the same century.
So it is with Reagan and Biden, in this case, literally.
Reagan however was from the better century, in many ways, and was the much better president.
Reagan’s speech was soothing and melodic. It achieved its goal, by unifying the nation.
Reagan’s address was also poetic. Biden’s speech, on the other hand, was political and offensive.
We can only imagine how the survivors of the Challenger disaster received Reagan’s remarks and what the survivors of the Texas shooting thought of Biden’s mess of a speech.
Reagan quoted a pilot/philosopher, John Magee, who wrote of "slipping the surly bonds of earth," who ironically died in World War II.
Of note, Reagan used first person pronouns sparingly in his remarks.
Contrast this with Biden, whose remarks were peppered with personal references.
For years, there has been a debate about putting Reagan on Mount Rushmore, or the dime.
Joe Biden will likely will end up in the dust bin of history, it's there where mediocre presidents reside — permanently.
To re-read Reagan’s speech is to be reminded of John F. Kennedy's old adage of the ancient Greeks talking about grace under pressure, surely a foreign concept to Biden.
While Biden did briefly quote Scripture, it sounded contrived, shrill, and not believable.
He invoked God several times, but using him as a weapon, not as our comforting and all loving Father.
Reagan grasped the concept of presidential leadership from the time he assumed office in 1981.
Biden, on the other hand, hasn't — and won't. So, don't hold your breath.
Reagan was a giant of a president, and that's why his presidential library remains a most visited place.
Following the the Bay of Pigs fiasco of 1961, JFK took responsibility, telling the nation, "victory has a thousand fathers while failure is a lonely orphan."
This is how good presidents orate. Like Lincoln, FDR, JFK — and Reagan.
Presidents all very much unlike Joseph Robinette Biden.
This writer is reminded of what one wag said of the contrast between Reagan and Jimmy Carter in 1980. If you asked Carter what time it was, he’d tell you how to build a watch (or clock). If you asked Reagan what time it was, he’d tell you that it's time to get America moving again.
This is the best we can ever expect from Biden: lecturing, criticism, and harshness.
We have another three years of it to look forward to.
Thank God we had Reagan for two terms. Thank God we can look back on his many great examples of leadership and presidential poise to reflect upon, soothe and stir (not incite) Americans to be the better angels of their nature — individually and collectively.
Craig Shirley is a Ronald Reagan biographer and presidential historian having written six books on Reagan. He has also written The New York Times bestseller, "December, 1941" and just published the companion book, "April, 1945" to wide acclaim. He is also the author of the book "Mary Ball Washington," which won the People’s Choice Award from the Library of Virginia. His book on the 1980 campaign entitled "Rendezvous with Destiny" was named by The Wall Street Journal as one of the five best campaign books of all time. Read Craig Shirley's Reports — More Here.
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