June 6, 2004
WASHINGTON, JUNE 6, 2004-Though America has had
43 presidents so far, only a handful can rightfully claim to have
an "age" or "era" named after them: Jefferson. Jackson. Franklin D.
Roosevelt. And now, Ronald Reagan.
The death of the 40th president Saturday means a world leader, president, governor and great American is gone. But his words and ideas live on at www.heritage.org , the Web site of his "favorite think tank," The Heritage Foundation.
Links at heritage.org contain a wealth of useful information for journalists, scholars and others interested in the former president and how he shaped our world. It offers:
The site also features collections of Reagan quotations and
photographs, as well as a list of 24 books examining his life and
It seems fitting that The Heritage Foundation would create such a massive collection of information about Reagan and his policies. The Heritage-Reagan connection began in 1980, when the think tank provided the president-elect's transition team with detailed policy prescriptions on everything from taxes and regulation to trade and national defense.
United Press International described the 1,100-page "Mandate for Leadership," the published version of these recommendations, as "a blueprint for grabbing the government by its frayed New Deal lapels and shaking out 48 years of liberal policy." The new president used "Mandate" to help realize his vision of a world free of communism, an economy that didn't crush people's dreams with high taxes and regulations and an America the world could admire once again. He gave copies to every member of his Cabinet. The result: Nearly two-thirds of "Mandate's" 2,000 recommendations were adopted or attempted by his administration.
In his second term, Reagan turned again to Heritage for ideas. Twenty-two specific proposals from "Mandate for Leadership II" found their way into his second inaugural address, prompting The New York Times to observe, "While the wording of the president's speech and the foundation's document were different, many of the proposals were strikingly similar."
Ronald Reagan wasn't shy about letting people know what he thought of Heritage. At a dinner in December 1989, almost a year after he left office, Reagan said Heritage was a "vital force" in Washington during his administration and that "Mandate for Leadership" was a "warning shot telling the liberal establishment that … they could not expect to carry on business as usual."
Heritage wasn't shy about letting people know what it thought of Reagan, either. In 1990, it created the Ronald Reagan Fellow in Public Policy, and named Meese as its first fellow. In 1998, Heritage awarded the former president the Clare Boothe Luce Award, its highest honor, for his achievements in advancing conservatism.