He was born 100 years ago today in Tampico, Illinois, and grew up in various places in the northern part of the state, attending high school in Dixon and finally graduating from Eureka College with a degree in economics and sociology. After working in radio broadcasting "live" Cubs games from a studio in Iowa, Reagan moved to California to become an actor, becoming perhaps best known for his film portrayal of Notre Dame football player George "the Gipper" Gipp in Knute Rockne, All American. He was president of the Screen Actors Guild, became a Republican (“I didn’t leave the Democratic party – the Party left me”), served as governor of California for two terms, and was twice defeated for the Republican nomination for president. Then in 1980 he tried for a third time, and won at last. He became president of an America humiliated by the Iranian hostage crisis, fearful of aggressive communism, unnerved by rampant inflation, dazed by the Carter Administration, and apprehensive about the future.
Larry Kudlow, who as a young man worked in the Reagan Administration, recounted the Reagan legacy on his show the other day: