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Shame of Trump's anti-Reagan Republicanism

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22.07.2019
By Martin Schram

The swift decline and self-inflicted demise of America's once-Grand Old Party has been as disheartening to chronicle as it has been dismayingly obvious to predict.

We remember the way it was when the Republican Party seemed to have everything going its way ― and a patriotic command of just what made America great, always. We especially remember the moment, just three decades ago, when the iconic leader of modern Republican conservativism made sure his followers would never forget.

It was 1:22 p.m., on Jan. 19, 1989. President Ronald Reagan stepped before the microphones in the White House Dining Room to deliver the last speech of his presidency. The occasion was a dual ceremony to present the Medal of Freedom to two extraordinary Americans, former Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield, a Democrat, and former Secretary of State George Shultz, a Republican. But Reagan, who twice won the presidency by landslide margins, wanted to reach beyond the greatness gathered in that room to gift us with a far grander message:

"...since this is the last speech that I will give as president, I think it's fitting to leave one final thought, an observation about a country which I love. It was stated best in a letter I received not long ago. A man wrote me and said: 'You can go to live in France, but you cannot become a Frenchman. You can go to live in Germany or Turkey or Japan,........

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