Reagan On Rushmore?

Reagan On Rushmore?

Mahle Gangi, Staff Writer

In 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected the 40th president of the United States with the majority vote in 44 of the 50 states, and he won again as the incumbent in ‘84 with 49 states backing him. Reagan is known for cutting tax rates across the board, the Iran-Contra Affair in which he exchanged arms with Iran for hostages (he denied this and then contradicted himself by telling the truth a couple months later), appointing the first female to the supreme court (Sandra Day O’Connor), revitalizing the Republican Party, and for his speech delivered in Berlin that insisted that Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall and open the eastern block of Germany to greater freedoms (it was torn down two years later in 1989). To some people, these accomplishments makes Ronald Reagan one of the greatest presidents of all time, ranking with Washington and Lincoln, but to others he is believed to have embarrassed the United States for the whole world to see.

Grover Norquist, a lobbyist and anti-tax activist, founded the Reagan Legacy Project in ‘97 in an effort to name something significant after the former president in every state, and, once that was accomplished, in every county. His most notable victory is that he convinced Congress to name the Washington National Airport “Reagan National Airport,” but not all victories have to be this grand. Norquist encourages state legislatures to name parks, post offices, roads, and anything else after Reagan, along with recognizing his birthday in February.  The overall goal is to spark conversation amongst parents and their children with the simple question of, “Mom, who’s that?” Norquist believes that often times in America, we look forward more than backwards, which he finds understandable, but “you do need to remind people.”

Reagan’s feats are great, but what about the bigger picture, how can he be honored on a grander scale? Could there be a future with Reagan carved in stone beside arguably the greatest presidents of all time? Norquist has looked into it and he can confirm that there is room for Reagan, and his preference would be to replace Teddy Roosevelt because “he was a statist and a progressive Republican as opposed to a Reagan Republican.” While Norquist admires this idea of the “most successful president of the twentieth century” being on Mount Rushmore, it isn’t really realistic. In 1999, Congress debated and shot down the prospect of Reagan on Rushmore. The idea, however, still lingers and entices conservatives to maybe propose it again in the future.