from the Chicago Tribune
Remembering Reagan's humor
By Gary M. Galles
a professor of economics at Pepperdine University
Published February 1, 2004In February, we remember our presidents. Washington and Lincoln have long been the focal points. But we should also remember another president born in February--Ronald Reagan, born 93 years ago on Feb. 6.
Reagan's words reflected our founders' vision of America's greatness more closely than any other president in memory. He echoed their recognition that our greatness could only be unleashed through an unwavering commitment to liberty, which required saying "no" more frequently than was politically popular. But his words were also seasoned with humor, reflecting a genuine affection for Americans.
In addition to poking fun at himself, Reagan used humor to protest government abuse, to highlight the frequent lack of logic behind government proposals and programs, and to deflate those grown too self-important as "public servants." Today, with such wit much scarcer, it is worth remembering some of that humor.
Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.
When those who advocate an open mind keep it open at both ends with no thought process in the middle, the open mind becomes a hose for any idea that comes along.
The nine most terrifying words in the English language are "I'm from the government and I'm here to help."
... a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this
I have wondered at times what the 10 Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the U.S. Congress.
There are some in government who have a very simple tax proposal in mind. There will be two lines on the tax form: How much did you make last year? Send it.
Recession is when your neighbor loses his job. Depression is when you lose yours. And recovery is when [President] Jimmy Carter loses his.
I've learned in Washington that it's the only place where sound travels faster than light.
A friend of mine was asked to a costume ball a short time ago. He slapped some egg on his face and went as a liberal economist.
Republicans believe every day is the Fourth of July, but Democrats think every day is April 15.
Cures were developed for which there were no known diseases. [On Congress' 1981 budget] When government uses its coercive power to intervene in the free market place, agriculture can discover something worse
to contend with than the corn borer or the boll weevil.
Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed there are many rewards, if you disgrace yourself you can always write a book.
The other day, someone told me the difference between a democracy and a people's democracy. It is the same difference between a jacket and a straitjacket.
I have left orders to be awakened at any time in case of national emergency, even if I'm in a Cabinet meeting.
The fellow they've nominated claims he's the new Thomas Jefferson. Well let me tell you something. I knew Thomas Jefferson. He was a friend of mine and ... you're no Thomas Jefferson!
What makes [Clint Eastwood] think a middle-aged actor, who's played with a chimp, could have a future in politics?
I hope you're all Republicans. [to surgeons as he entered the operating room, March 30, 1981]
Because Ronald Reagan saw America's possibilities, if freed from government shackles, he was a perpetual
optimist. He reinvigorated our country, both through his support for "man's age-old dream--the maximum of individual liberty consistent with order" and his genuine good humor. We should remember the debt we owe him for both on his birthday.
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