Surviving Black Monday

In one day, the stock market plummeted 22 percent shortly after the author became Chairman of the Federal Reserve

I’d scrutinized the economy every working day for decades and had visited the Fed scores of times. Nevertheless, when I was appointed chairman in August 1987, I knew I’d have a lot to learn. That was reinforced the minute I walked in the door. The first person to greet me was Dennis Buckley, a security agent who would stay with me throughout my tenure. He addressed me as “Mr. Chairman.”

Without thinking, I said, “Don’t be silly. Everybody calls me Alan.”

He gently explained that calling the chairman by his first name was just not the way things were done at the Fed. Read more »

A Boy From Tampico

Most associate Ronald Reagan with California, but he spent his formative years in the midwest. On the centennial of his birth, a handful of small Illinois towns want a share of the limelight.

Back in 1965 Ronald Reagan published his first memoir, Where’s the Rest of Me?, borrowing the title from a line in the 1942 Warner Brothers film Kings Row. In the movie—Reagan’s favorite of all he starred in—he played Drake McHugh, a playboy whose legs have been removed by a sadistic surgeon. “Where’s the rest of me?” Reagan famously cried out when he came to, with thespian relish worthy of an Academy Award nomination. Read more »

The Evil Empire

On the 25th anniversary of two famous Reagan speeches, the former Speaker of the House asks why we haven’t learned more from the 40th president

A quarter century ago, President Ronald Reagan delivered two masterful addresses within two weeks of one another: the so-called “Evil Empire” and “Star Wars” speeches. In them, Reagan laid out two great strategies for dismantling the Soviet Empire. He did it boldly without backing off, not permitting the economy, news media, polling numbers, or the permanent governing elite to intimidate him. Read more »

“Flying Coach To Cairo”

Jimmy Carter was at home in his study in Plains, Georgia, on October 6, 1981, when the call came in a little after daybreak. A reporter was on the line asking for his response to the attempted assassination of Anwar Sadat. The Egyptian president had been reviewing a military parade in Cairo when men in uniforms sprayed the crowd with bullets and hand grenades. Carter, shocked, asked for details. After being assured that Sadat had sustained only minor injuries, he gave the reporter a statement calling his friend Sadat a good and great man and condemning terrorism.Read more »

Second-term Blues

Why Have Our Presidents Almost Always Stumbled After Their First Four Years?

Pity poor George W. Bush, stuck in the morass of those second-term blues! As of this writing, Mr. Bush’s poll numbers—those now ubiquitous barometers of presidential popularity—are barely creeping up after hitting record lows earlier this year.

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The Ronald Reagan Pub Comes To America

Now you can lift a glass to the President’s memory in his ancestral shebeen—but, alas, there will be only water in it

Visitors to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California, are treated to many tableaux from the President’s long, varied life: a re-creation of the kitchen in his childhood home in Illinois, the booth at Chasen’s (the Los Angeles restaurant) where he proposed to Nancy Davis, an exact replica of the Oval Office—and, now, an authentic Irish pub where he hoisted a pint of ale more than 20 years ago. Read more »

My Years With Ronald Reagan

What a skeptical biographer discovered about a very elusive subject

I first met Ronald Reagan in November of 1967. It was a brief encounter, and I was not impressed. I was a reporter for The New York Times traveling with the mayor of New York, John V. Lindsay, who was then a Republican. There was a lot of talk at the time about a Republican “dream ticket” of Gov. Nelson Rockefeller of New York for President and Governor Reagan of California for Vice President.Read more »

Act One

All the President’s Movies

When Ronald Reagan announced his candidacy for governor of California—or so the story goes—somebody wisecracked, “Reagan for governor? No, Jimmy Stewart for governor. Reagan for best friend.” In later years Ronald Reagan would be referred to as a former film star, but in truth he was never really a star. In A-list films he was a costar; he was a star of sorts in B movies, competing with actors like Rory Calhoun for leads in second-level Westerns. Read more »

Reagan His Place In History

Six Aspects Of The Man—Three Political, Three Personal—Hint At How Posterity Will View Him

Contemporary judgments of presidents are notoriously erratic. Consider the four who decorate Mount Rushmore, the stony seal of posterity’s approval. Although Washington retired with almost universally good reviews, Benjamin Franklin’s grandson did say he had “debauched” the nation. Jefferson left the White House with the joy of an escaping prisoner and a stress-induced migraine condition. The Senate was so angry with Theodore Roosevelt in his last days in office that it refused to accept his communications.

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There We Go Again

In their surprisingly short history, presidential debates have never lived up to our expectations—yet they’ve always proved invaluable

In the coming months George W. Bush, John Kerry, and their running mates will submit themselves to a relatively new ritual in American presidential politics: a series of face-to-face debates.

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