Where Have the “Tough as Nails” Presidents Gone?

There have been several courageous or (I dislike the term) “Badass” Presidents in our history.

They are missed.

January 30, 1835:

Outside the Capitol building in DC a man with two pistols approached President Andrew Jackson…and fired both pistols. Fortunately both misfired and war-hero Jackson, not knowing if the would-be assassin had other weapons, proceeded to use his heavy cane to beat the laundry off of the bad guy until other arrived to secure him.

August, 1864:

President Lincoln had a habit of relaxing at the “Soldier’s Home” to get away from the madhouse. One night he was riding back to the Executive Mansion, by himself, when someone took a shot at him, putting a hole through his hat.

As Lincoln loped up to a young sentry, the sentry noticed the President was missing his trademark hat. Lincoln explained what happened…and then swore the youth to secrecy. No point working the people (and I’m sure the excitable Mary Lincoln) up and causing a panic.

October 14, 1912:

Theodore Roosevelt is running for a third term in Milwaukee. As he enters his car in front of his hotel, the madman pointed a pistol and shot TR in the chest.

Wounded, TR had the where-with-all to save the Assassin from lynching by the angry supporters who captured him. Then TR inspected his injuries…a thick manuscript and glasses case slowed down the bullet, but it still entered his chest. Being a hunter and combat vet, he took note that he wasn’t coughing up blood. Thus assured he wasn’t shot through the lung, he insisted on finishing a lengthy speech before going to the hospital. “It takes more than that to kill a bull moose!”

February 15, 1933:

The President-elect Franklin Roosevelt is in Miami riding with the Chicago mayor (Cermak) when a man fires numerous shots at them. FDR is not hit. However, though handicapped he emulated his cousin, seeing to the care of the assassin and staying by the side of the dying Cermak.

March 30, 1981:

Ronald Reagan is in DC when an assassin approached and began shooting, striking the elderly enigmatic Chief Executive and others. Seriously wounded, Reagan is rushed to George Washington hospital where he entertains the medical staff with one-liners. “Honey, I forgot to duck!” And “I hope there aren’t any Democrats in the operating room”. The chief surgeon assured him, “Mr. President, today we are ALL Republicans.”

Where have such men gone? I believe they are out there. We just have to advance them.

Today in History, October 11, 1986:

President Reagan meets for the second time with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev at Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss limitations on nuclear missiles. The Russian attempted to add “SDI” or the Strategic Defense Initiative, or “Star Wars” to the discussion. SDI was a planned space based missile shield that would make America impervious to nuclear missile attack.

Reagan, knowing the supposed defense system gave the US an incredible strength in the negotiations, refused. While they came away from Iceland empty handed, Reagan’s poker face worked. The next year in DC the two leaders came to an agreement on missile reduction. The USSR was on it’s way out.

“Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall”

Today in History, June 12, 1987:

President Ronald Reagan had taken actions that helped win the Cold War that our nation had fought for forty years, brought back our economy, and on this date traveled to Berlin. He was received by Germans with the same fervor as when Kennedy spoke there years earlier when he spoke those now famous words, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear DOWN this wall.”

Firearms Owner’s Protection Act

Today in History, May 19, 1986:

President Ronald Reagan signs the “Firearms Owners Protection Act” in to law.

The Legislation, while effectively banning machine guns from private ownership, primarily responded to complaints from the public and the nascent NRA regarding abuses of the “Gun Control Act of 1968.”

The act by Congress attempted to protect the rights of peaceful firearms owners and also those possessing Federal Firearms Licenses (FFL), or firearms dealers.

https://www.congress.gov/bill/99th-congress/senate-bill/49

Rawhide Down!!

Today in History, March 30, 1981:

“I hope you’re all Republicans”. President Ronald Reagan quipped to the medical team preparing to operate on him at George Washington University Hospital after he had been shot. “Today, sir, we all are.” ”

“Ronny” was leaving the D.C. Hilton where he had given a speech to Union members when he, a Secret Service agent, a D.C. Police Officer, and Press Secretary James Brady were shot by a man attempting to impress Jodie Foster.

Reagan showed his usual good form and humor in the hospital. When he awoke, a nurse was holding his hand; he looked up and asked, “Does Nancy know about us?” When Nancy arrived, he commented, “Honey, I forgot to duck” (quoting Jack Dempsey). While waiting for surgery, he stated, “All in all, I’d rather be in Philadelphia” (W.C. Fields quote). Within two weeks the President was back at work.

I’m glad we were allowed to have his honor, humor, positive attitude and leadership as long as we did.

“But if history teaches anything, it teaches that simpleminded appeasement or wishful thinking about our adversaries is folly. It means the betrayal of our past, the squandering of our freedom.” President Ronald Reagan

Today in History, March 8: 1983 – President Ronald Reagan gives his famous speech in which he labels the Soviet Union as an “Evil Empire” and warns against those who would compare them to our system of beliefs as equal to ours, and against complacency.

“We Will Be As A City Upon A Hill”

Today in History, January 11, 1989:

President Ronald Reagan gives his farewell speech from the White House,

“…And that’s about all I have to say tonight, except for one thing. The past few days when I’ve been at that window upstairs, I’ve thought a bit of the “shining city upon a hill.” The phrase comes from John Winthrop, who wrote it to describe the America he imagined. What he imagined was important because he was an early Pilgrim, an early freedom man. He journeyed here on what today we’d call a little wooden boat; and like the other Pilgrims, he was looking for a home that would be free.

I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.”

Reagan had spoken of the “Shining city on a hill” throughout his career, and in a 1974 speech he quoted Winthrop; “Standing on the tiny deck of the Arabella in 1630 off the Massachusetts coast, John Winthrop said,

“We will be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us, so that if we deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword throughout the world.”

What will we leave behind when we “Walk off into the city streets?”