“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” Update: Liveblogging from the ranch

posted at 8:20 am on June 12, 2007 by Bryan

It was 20 years ago today that President Ronald Reagan stood before the Berlin Wall, overruled his foreign policy handlers and delivered a memorable line written by Peter Robinson:

The 1987 speech is “a moment that sums up for me a great deal of what I so loved and admired about Ronald Reagan,” Mr. Robinson said during a telephone interview from Stanford University, where he is a Hoover Institution research fellow.
“There was quite a lot of contention” among top Reagan administration officials about whether the president should deliver the line asking Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall,” Mr. Robinson said.
“I wouldn’t have written it for anyone else, and it’s hard to imagine that any other political figure of that day would have insisted on overruling the advice of foreign policy professionals to deliver that speech,” he said. “He alone could have given that speech.”
The occasion of the speech’s 20th anniversary reminds him of Mr. Reagan’s “sense of purpose, his sense of conviction,” Mr. Robinson said.
“Whenever I hear a clip of his delivering that famous line, I’m reminded of just how good he was,” he said. “He took every aspect of the presidency seriously: the convictions, the policy, but also the skills required to move people.”

Young America’s Foundation is marking the 20th anniversary at the Reagan Ranch in California today.

Update: The Washington Times’ Robert Stacy McCain is liveblogging the anniversary festivities from the Reagan Ranch. He’ll have updates throughout the evening.


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The tuition check to private Christian school gets easier and easier to write.

My kid’s class in commemorating this momentous historical anniversary, even though it is their LAST DAY OF SCHOOL.

I venture most kids (unless mom and dad care to supplement their public education) DON’T EVEN KNOW WHO REAGAN WAS.

……….where is my checkbook…..

seejanemom on June 12, 2007 at 8:25 AM

Now THAT is what a leader sounds and acts like.

Mr. Bush, What happened to you?

csdeven on June 12, 2007 at 8:32 AM

God bless Ronald Reagan. Too bad there aren’t too many of his ilk left with us today.

Mr. Bush, What happened to you?

Good question.

Corky on June 12, 2007 at 8:41 AM

God I miss Reagan!

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on June 12, 2007 at 8:51 AM

Brings a tear to my eye. I miss the old guy.

JohnW on June 12, 2007 at 8:53 AM

“Mr. Bush, put up this fence!” – Me, 2007

saint kansas on June 12, 2007 at 9:10 AM

Reagan wasn’t only a good speaker with a strong will. You can see a smile in his eye. He knew where he was going with something, but could go off topic easily, should the occasion arise. He didn’t look like a deer in headlights, wasn’t afraid of confrontation, and never was afraid to stand up for what he believed.Yet, he was able to compromise, and realize the difference between politics, and the rest of your life.

A great President. I’m reading his Diaries. He was even more interesting behind the scenes.

amerpundit on June 12, 2007 at 9:13 AM

It was the last nail in the coffin for the Warsaw Pact.

The western elites, especially in Europe were enthralled with Gorby. Reagan shocked them back to reality. Eastern Europe is free.

Western Europe and the NYT are in denial, but so be it.

Thank you Mr. President.

doufree on June 12, 2007 at 9:13 AM

To this day, I have an 8×10 glossy of President Reagan mounted on the wall above my computer workstation.

The man knew how to deal with our enemies, foreign and domestic ……. Gorbachev and Democrats, respectively.

On the domestic side, I also loved how Reagan verbally bitch-slapped that raving lunatic Sam Donaldson at least once a week.

fogw on June 12, 2007 at 9:19 AM

Every time I argue with people on the left about the cold war, they spin themselves into butter insisting that Reagan didn’t do a damn thing, that it was Gorbachev who ended the cold war. And this mostly from those who were children at the time. Sad.

albo on June 12, 2007 at 9:24 AM

Presidend Ronald Reagan was a man. I’ll not mention unlike Boosh…

Wade on June 12, 2007 at 9:27 AM

I taught my son to say this when he was less than two. He knows who Reagan was.

mikeyboss on June 12, 2007 at 10:00 AM

Like the fraud of global warming being foisted upon us today, in the 1970’s it was the fraudulent “energy crisis,” this is how President Reagan dealt with it.

On January 28, one week after we [Reagan Administration] began operations, the President ordered the complete deregulation of petroleum prices, which had been under federal controls for a decade. On the following day, he signed an order eliminating all activities of the Council on Wage and Price Stability—abolishing virtually all vestiges of the federal price controls which had distorted supply and demand in the 1970s and led to ruinous shortages for the country. (Natural gas, under different legislation, was still subject to controls.) The thrust of these actions was both obvious and consistent with the President’s pledges—to free the economy from excessive regulation. The reaction from the Washington establishment was prompt, and loud. Sen. Howard Metzenbaum (D-Ohio) denounced the deregulation of petroleum prices, saying it would raise the price of gasoline to $2 a gallon. The real effect, of course, was just the opposite. Renewed production under decontrol broke the back of the OPEC cartel and drove prices down (they were actually lower in 1991 than a decade earlier). With this stroke of the pen, the President ended the “energy crisis” of the 1970s.

Edwin Meese, Counsellor to
the the President, 1981-1985
Attorney General, 1985-1989
From his book, “With Reagan”
page 75.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have him back ?

Maxx on June 12, 2007 at 10:13 AM

Bush needs to make a speech:

“I had sought with the Immigration Bill to continue the American legacy of largesse, of openness, or generosity, or desire for all humankind to live in peace and liberty, by forgiving the illegal entry of so many good people into our homeland. But I have finally learned that I was wrong…this generosity was not mine to give. As with all gifts, there are limits. Nobody, no matter how wealthy, how large-hearted, no matter how loving of his fellow man, can afford to give such precious gifts to so many without diluting, and eventually nullifying, both the value of the gift, and the liberties the rest of us already enjoy.

“The only realistic solution to our illegal immigration policy is to return to sanity. As with our own homes, we cannot afford to open our doors to any who wish to enter. There are limits, and these limits must be enforced. Since our borders are being violated constantly, we must make these borders more difficult to traverse, as a demonstration to our desire to maintain American sovereignty.

“We will build a fence, not a wall, as a barrier and a reminder to those who wish to enter that there are avenues they can pursue to enter this country to seek citizenship and assimilation into our wonderful culture, if they so desire. A bill to fund and immediately construct this fence will be offered to congress this week.

“If their sole interest in coming to America is to supplement our workforce, but they wish to return home to their native lands, we will create a simple means of applying for permission to do so. A separate bill will also be introduced after passage of the ‘fence’ bill, to provide for this valuable service to foreign nationals.

“As for those already in this country illegally, we must ‘sour the milk’ to make it less comfortable for these normally well-intentioned peoples to continue to violate our laws. They will be required to pay US income taxes, but at a higher rate than for citizens. Further, any crimes they commit will be punishable by double the fines, when applicable, and new fines when not, followed by mandatory deportation. Other financial and punitive burdens will be placed on these illegals to make it less advantageous to violate America’s soverignty, but we will also provide assistance in their returning to their native lands, including their children, as we do not wish to break up families. This bill will be introduced to congress after the successful passage of the first two bills.

“The desired result is to eliminate the illegal alien problem within ten years, and to restore America’s right to Sovereignty by locking our doors, but to also have a Welcome mat and doorbell to allow those who ask permission, to enter.

“May G-d bless you, and G-d bless America.”

If Mr. Bush makes such a speech and follows up on it, he will have earned an heroic legacy and will save our nation.

stonemeister on June 12, 2007 at 10:17 AM

One of my absolute favorite Reagan moments. I love how he told the state dept. that he was the man and he was going to say it. I’m just wonder if Bush Sr. said, “not gonna do it; wouldn’t be prudent…”

Spirit of 1776 on June 12, 2007 at 10:18 AM

The line also makes a good cellphone ringtone.

mikeyboss on June 12, 2007 at 10:25 AM

Thanks, Bryan! I also posted the entire speech here.

JohnJ on June 12, 2007 at 10:26 AM

I wonder if this is why my site is down.

JohnJ on June 12, 2007 at 10:30 AM

Probably the single most defining moment of a one of the best Presidents in our history.

dalewalt on June 12, 2007 at 10:32 AM

President Reagan downplayed the significance of this speech in his diaries. This is an excerpt from Friday, 12 June 1987, which covers his time at the wall that day:

…At 1 P.M. we drove tothe Reichstag–the Kohls joined us. We viewed the “Wall” from balcony. We saw the exhibit of the Marshal Plan & Germany’s rebuilding. Met several elderly ladies who had been part of the female force that cleaned bricks from the rubble & played a role in Berin’s rebuilding. Then it was on to the Brandenburg Gate where I addressed tens & tens of thouseads of people–streching as far as I could see. I got a tremendous reception–interupted 28 times by cheers.

That was his summary of the events at the Wall that day.

When the Soviet Union collapsed, I changed my mind about Reagan. I remember thinking, ‘sonofabitch, he knew what he was doing all along, and he beat them after all.’ My first break with the church of Liberalism. God bless him.

Mallard T. Drake on June 12, 2007 at 10:34 AM

God I miss Reagan!

Amen

“Mr. Bush, put up this fence!” – Me, 2007

and Amen

mjkazee on June 12, 2007 at 11:59 AM

the “Evil Empire” speech is great as well, he goes on to quote CS Lewis and other intellectuals/philosophers at lenght at Westminster that day.

jp on June 12, 2007 at 12:11 PM

Much to my dismay I don’t believe I’ll see another President as great as President Reagan.

SPIFF1669 on June 12, 2007 at 12:11 PM

When there were real men in Washington…

The 1% Reagan-substance, of which little George Will wrote, was hyper-potent. This speech is part of it.

The night before, he met with families from the former East-Germany. He ran the idea by them and they begged him to go ahead with it. They, and thousands there, indeed millions around the world, couldn’t believe it when he did. I cried then and again when the wall was torn down.

Everyone who has a chance should visit the Reagan library. The simplicity of the resting place of this giant is striking. There is a huge piece of that infamous wall on display.

Entelechy on June 12, 2007 at 1:51 PM

I still get goosebumps when I see that clip. Who would have thought those wall would be down so soon after and that gate would be opened with the world watching in wonder. Thank God for Ronald Reagan.

deedledee on June 12, 2007 at 2:04 PM

Thank God for Ronald Reagan.

deedledee on June 12, 2007 at 2:04 PM

I do practically every day. We don’t need another Reagan…he was heaven sent for the times. But we need someone with his effectiveness for our times. And Fred! may just be that man.

stonemeister on June 12, 2007 at 2:40 PM

stonemeister on June 12, 2007 at 10:17 AM

Very nice Stonemeister. Did you write that ?

Maxx on June 12, 2007 at 4:06 PM

Very nice Stonemeister. Did you write that ?

Maxx on June 12, 2007 at 4:06 PM

Thanks, Maxx. Yes, I did write that, and I would love to hear those words spoken by the big man himself. I just hope we don’t have to wait for the next man in the big chair, who might not have the guts to take these necessary steps.

stonemeister on June 12, 2007 at 5:24 PM

“Tear down the wall,” was the money quote for their day. The very last line of that clip, “. . .Because we remained strong, the Soviets came back to the table,” is the money quote for our day. Peace through strength, in other words, not endless “dialogue” and appeasement. Once upon a time, according to legend, Diogenes walked the streets with a lantern, looking for an honest man. In our day, we’re just looking for someone with some cojones.

smellthecoffee on June 12, 2007 at 10:54 PM