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.