Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Reagan's Rendezvous with Destiny

It certainly was not inevitable that Ronald Reagan would be elected President in 1980, even though his opponent, Jimmy Carter, was very unpopular. Conservatives had suffered so many defeats that they didn't anticipate Reagan's victory. As late as Election Day, newspaper headlines reported the Reagan-Carter race "too close to call."

A new book by Craig Shirley called Rendezvous with Destiny: Ronald Reagan and the Campaign that Changed America, tells the exhilarating story of how Reagan triumphed and made us believe it was morning in America again. Mr. Shirley tells how Reagan rose from the ashes of his defeat at the 1976 Republican National Convention in Kansas City, then triumphed over liberal Republican opponents in hard-fought primaries in 1980. Reagan had to overcome the opposition of the media, all of whom were supporting George H.W. Bush.

In one of the most interesting parts of this book, Craig Shirley describes the unprecedented story of how Establishment and media busybodies at the 1980 Republican National Convention in Detroit tried to get Ronald Reagan to accept Gerald Ford as an unconstitutional "co-president." Then, we get a behind-the-scenes account of Reagan's 1980 campaign and how he won a landslide victory despite such obstacles as the Third Party candidacy of John Anderson.

To write Rendezvous with Destiny, Mr. Shirley interviewed more than 150 insiders. This book is the first comprehensive history of the hard-fought 1980 campaign which was a turning point in American political history. Reagan's 1980 victory dramatically altered not only U.S. history, but the history of the entire world. His victory ended a half-century of liberalism, reversed a depression, and replaced our appeasement of the Soviet Union with a policy (in Reagan's words) of "we win, they lose." Reagan's leadership led to the collapse of the evil empire, and gave rise to a new generation of conservatism.

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