We noted (here) Steven Hayward's recent piece in which he said that Reagan would vote for Sarah Palin, but the '08 vice presidential candidate still has some work to do to match The Gipper. There's an excellent response to Hayward at Big Lizards:
I rise only to note a peculiar point in defense of a lady: Sarah Palin is only... well, as a gentleman, I won't bandy a woman's age; but note that when our fortieth president was the age she is now, Ronald Reagan himself had "yet to identify a "grand strategy" or "set of signature issues that can carry [his] particular stamp."Read the full Big Lizards post here.
All that we knew about Reagan's politics in 1957 was that he had been a New Deal Democrat when New-Deal Democrat Franklin Roosevelt was in power; an anti-Communist Truman-Democrat when Truman was in power; and an Eisenhower Republican when (you guessed it) Dwight D. Eisenhower ran for president.
He did not identify his "signature issues," as Hayward put it, until he was well into his 60s; heck, he didn't even deliver his electrifying introduction for Barry Goldwater until he was 53, significantly older than the Thrillah from Wasilla.
In '57, Reagan had just begun his stint hosting General Electric Theater. The job required him to travel the country giving speeches; that very activity induced Reagan to develop his own peculiar and wonderful political philosophy. (Note that he was still a private citizen at this time; he would not enter actual elective politics, as opposed to being elected union boss, until 1966, when he was 55 years old.)