MEP Daniel Hannan visited the Reagan Ranch while in America and wrote a wonderful blog post at the UK Telegraph about his experience. Here’s a portion:
At the weekend, I fulfilled a long-standing ambition and visited Ronald Reagan’s ranch, now held in trust by the wonderful Young America’s Foundation. It was here that the Gipper would withdraw whenever he could, to ride around the estate with Nancy. “The best thing for the inside of a man is the outside of a horse”, he used to say.
In other politicians’ homes, you find constant reminders of status: photographs with popes and monarchs, gifts from visiting statesmen, piles of books by famous contemporaries, cases of trophies and awards. But Reagan’s one-bedroom bolt-hole couldn’t be simpler. He painted and furnished it with his own hands, and enclosed it with a fence which he sawed from old telegraph poles.
The casual visitor wouldn’t guess that this had been the home of the leader of the free world, this the table where the greatest tax cut in America’s history was signed into law, this the telephone used to call the families of fallen American soldiers. Other than one or two historical works among the cowboy novels, the only political touch is the shower-head, which is in the shape of the Liberty Bell. Here, plainly, lived a man who was bien dans sa peau; a man who, unlike so many politicians, had nothing to prove. Mikhail Gorbachev, visiting the ranch, was distressed by how basic it was; Margaret Thatcher, by contrast, loved it, intuiting that it reflected the character of its inhabitant.
You must go and read all of Mr. Hannan’s post. While he has always been an admirer of Ronald Reagan’s, it is gratifying to see him come to a fuller and more defined appreciation. He even included a video embed of “A Time for Choosing,” one of Reagan’s most important speeches.
After reading Mr. Hannan’s post, I can’t help but wonder: why can’t some of our fellow Americans see what Mr. Hannan, a Brit, says he is beginning to see so clearly?
Another great speech that captures Reagan’s character is his Farewell Speech from January 11, 1989. It also captures the spirit of the Tea Party movement: