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Not All Presidents Are Created Equal

June 13, 2004

Max Boot and Michael Ramirez (June 10 commentary and editorial cartoon) both try to draw comparisons between Ronald Reagan and George Bush, based largely on some policy similarities. But they are ignoring a crucial aspect of Reagan's personal appeal over the years, even to those who disagreed with his politics: He was honest and humble about himself. Reagan connected with the common man because that's what he was. He was born poor but built a decades-long career in entertainment and politics.

Bush has had his career handed to him at every step because of his family name and connections. Reagan worked through Eureka College, while Bush was a legacy admission at Yale. Reagan was an actor before he was a president, but he would never have stooped to a performance like Bush's flight-suit drag show. Supply-side economics aside, how could they be more different?

Jonathan King

Venice

*

Broadly, the difference between Reagan and Bush is that the former elevated common sense to the level of public policy and the latter lowered ideology to the level of public policy. Problem: Common sense is often wrong and ideology almost never right.

C. Chester Brisco

Tustin

*

Well, I certainly enjoyed a belly laugh at Boot's expense. He says that "the economy is booming, and terrorists are on the run in Afghanistan and Iraq." Say, what? I can only assume that, like Bush (unlike Reagan), Boot does not read.

Linda Pitkanen

Mission Viejo

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