President Obama should listen to President Reagan saying farewell 25 years ago
Most of us don't remember presidential farewell speeches. Most of them are well meaning speeches but not very consequential. Also, some of our greatest presidents, like Lincoln and FDR, did not live to say farewell.
I remember my high school US history teacher discussing President Washington's farewell address and the line about staying out of foreign entanglements.
I do recall watching President Reagan's speech. It was probably more emotional than political. After all, many of us never got enough of President Reagan's speeches back then. (I still have Reagan '76 bumper stickers!)
He did say something that night that we should think about, like Steven F. Hayward reminded us:
"Reagan bestowed full credit on the American people rather than himself. The contrast with the current president couldn't be more stark:
And in all of that time I won a nickname, "The Great Communicator."
But I never thought it was my style or the words I used that made a difference: it was the content. I wasn't a great communicator, but I communicated great things, and they didn't spring full bloom from my brow, they came from the heart of a great nation-from our experience, our wisdom, and our belief in the principles that have guided us for two centuries.
They called it the Reagan revolution. Well, I'll accept that, but for me it always seemed more like the great rediscovery, a rediscovery of our values and our common sense."
Frankly, that's the lesson that President Obama could learn from President Reagan.
Yes, President Reagan did a great job reading from the TelePrompTer and he was very telegenic too. He also communicated a commitment to his principles that touched people. He also understood that it was about the American people and not him.
Again, President Obama should check out the speech and make a few adjustments in his style and approach. He may enjoy the second term a lot more.