Here comes considerable insight into the 40th president: The University of Virginia’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy will offer a graduate-level course titled “Lessons in Leadership: Reagan,” meant to parse the historical and political context of Ronald Reagan’s presidency — and how it translates to today’s political landscape. The campus has picked an able instructor for the fall offering: that would be presidential historian and author Craig Shirley — who has already penned four books on the Gipper.
“We’ll begin by identifying the numerous crises Reagan encountered and confronted during his presidency — from the firing of air traffic controllers to Soviet shootdown of Flight 007 to Reagan’s meeting with Gorbachev in Reykjavik,” says Mr. Shirley. “Reagan’s optimism was a defining feature of his governing philosophy and one that had a unifying quality. I hope students will gain a deeper understanding of why many historians regard Reagan as one of our four greatest presidents and how his leadership style played a pivotal role in his many achievements.”
Indeed, optimism is a very productive trait for a president, then and now.
Meanwhile, Mr. Shirley will host guest speakers, including Reagan adviser Mari Will, who will weigh in on that tricky air traffic controller matter; Kenneth Adelman, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and arms control director during the Reagan administration, will discuss the Reykjavik Summit; and fellow historian Jon Meacham plans to provide a thorough overview of the Reagan presidency.
“Reagan’s ‘Tear down this wall, Mr. Gorbachev’ statement at the Brandenburg Gate still echoes in our collective memory. For me, and for many people who witnessed the end of the Cold War, this was a defining moment in our nation’s history and one created by a strong leader bolstered by the power of his convictions. Students of leadership and public policy can gain valuable insight from studying Reagan’s distinctive leadership style,” observes Allan Stam, dean of the Batten School.
EARTH DAY TO KICK UP A GALE
Those weary of arguments over climate change might want to batten down the hatches on Monday, which marks the 49th anniversary of Earth Day — significant to those who were there back in the days of yore. That would certainly include Denis Hayes, who organized the first Earth Day in 1970 with a call to “protest environmental degradation.”
Mr. Hayes appeared at the National Press Club in the nation’s capital to reveal vigorous new intentions for Earth Day, almost five decades later.
He plans to announce “major global mobilizations” and a “global demand for transformative climate action.” The organization will also concentrate on a “protect our species” initiative, a push to end plastic pollution, something called “The Great Global Cleanup,” plus tree planting and lots more. Mr. Hayes will also introduce something called “Vote for the Earth.” In the meantime, he’s not so satisfied with the state of things.
“Despite that amazing success and decades of environmental progress, we find ourselves facing an even more dire, almost existential, set of global environmental challenges, from loss of biodiversity to climate change to plastic pollution, that call for action at all levels of government,” Mr. Hayes cautions.
Is there already collateral damage in the Democratic clash for the 2020 presidential nomination? Sen. Elizabeth Warren has been “marginalized” in her home state of Massachusetts, reports a Boston Herald editorial — despite the fact that she’s campaigning with grass-roots gusto. The result is “wilting Warren,” the news organization said, citing a recent appearance in the Bay State by a smiling former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, joined on the campaign trail by a smiling Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts.
“Undeclared front-runner Biden has effectively squeezed out Warren right here in Massachusetts, and made it look easy. How could the Warren campaign let this happen? The Warren machine is supposed to be all-powerful, full of money and roaring ahead. Yet her campaign’s inability to consolidate support in a state she won with over 60% of the vote just a few months ago is eye-opening. Can we imagine the Hillary Clinton machine letting such a thing happen in 2016?” the news organization asked.
Ms. Warren is currently one of the loudest voices demanding President Trump be impeached. It does not appear to be helping her efforts at the moment.
A new Economist/YouGov poll finds Ms. Warren ranks eighth is popularity among Democrats, bested by Mr. Biden at No. 1, followed by Sen. Bernard Sanders, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Sen. Kamala D. Harris, Sen. Cory A. Booker, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Among all Americans, Ms. Warren has a 39% unfavorable opinion, a 34% favorable review — and 28% “don’t know.”
RON DESANTIS VERSUS ‘SPEECH BULLYING’
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is asking colleges and universities in his state to adopt free speech resolutions to protect and promote free expression on campus — despite calls from the politically correct crowd to do otherwise. Mr. DeSantis hopes to follow the University of Chicago’s “Chicago Statement,” which calls for “free, robust, and uninhibited debate and deliberation” on campus — an idea also supported by President Trump.
“As elected leaders, we have a responsibility to ensure our constitutional freedoms extend to our state’s educational institutions and are not encumbered. It is imperative for the future of our society that our state colleges and universities protect a culture of free speech. The role of the university is not to shield students from speech that make them uncomfortable. The cure for speech that one disagrees with lies not in prescription, but in open debate and free inquiry,” Mr. DeSantis said at a recent press conference at Florida State University.
Bob McClure, president and CEO of the James Madison Institute, said he too supports open-minded college culture — as well as a strategic response to “speech-bullying by those seeking to drown out viewpoints they oppose.”
POLL DU JOUR
•65% of Americans say “the use of marijuana” should be legalized; 56% of Republicans, 66% of independents and 72% of Democrats agree.
•56% overall say that a presidential candidate’s take on marijuana legalization would not influence their vote; 54% of Republicans, 53% of independents and 61% of Democrats agree.
•55% overall say they have tried marijuana; 51% of Republicans, 57% of independents and 57% of Democrats agree.
•52% overall say marijuana legalization could be good for the economy; 40% of Republicans, 59% of independents and 54% of Democrats agree.
•26% overall say marijuana legalization would increase violent crime; 38% of Republicans, 23% of independents and 20% of Democrats agree.
Source: A CBS News poll of 1,010 U.S. adults conducted April 9-14.
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