The Right Coast

June 07, 2004
The Cowboy
By Tom Smith

There were lots of things to love about Ronald Reagan, but one of my favorites was how much the left hated him. They called him a cowboy, and it was apt. In true cowboy style, he understood the measure of his enemies, and understood no enemy could be defeated without equal parts of courage and cunning.

He was certainly no lawyer. He could negotiate, but he understood the Cold War was more war than cold. And he understood that a war was something you had to win. For all the cackling about his ill preparation, communist-infested Hollywood was probably the best place in this country to learn about his future adversary. To do better, he would have had to grow up in Poland. History is full of ironies, but a choice one is that the bricks which Herb Sorrell, leader of the violent, communist-led strike in Hollywood in 1946, threw at actors crossing his picket lines, were torn from the foundation of the evil empire.

Millions of people will grow up in freedom because an old, rich, handsome actor married to a woman he was madly in love with, who had little left to prove, got elected to the most powerful office in the world at the nadir of American confidence and the height of the evil empire. Reagan always said anything was possible if you didn't care who got the credit. The line on the left is that Soviet empire collasped on Reagan's watch in one of those world historical coincidences. People can work on making sure Reagan doesn't get the credit he deserves, but they will have their work cut out for them everywhere where the KGB and its mini-me's used to hold sway. The important thing about wars is not how they are written up, but who wins them. The Herb Sorrells and the Lenins, Stalins, Pol Pots and their mini-me's can throw all the bricks they want. A man is riding past them, and he's smiling.