Brilliance from Lee over at Right-Thinking:
Here’s one VERY important distinction. Reagan had been formulating his plan for dealing with the Soviets for about 40 years. You can hear it in his radio commentaries for GE, which are available for download on iTunes if you’re interested.
This is an issue he thought and thought and thought about. He didn’t get into office and say, “Okay, what do we do about the economy and the USSR?” He was elected with a solid purpose and plan for dealing with these two issues.
This is the POLAR OPPOSITE of Bush. Bush had no idea what he wanted to do about terrorism, other than basically continue the policies of the Clinton administration. Then, after 9/11, every discredited and debunked national security idea that had been floating around was slapped together and called the Patriot Act. We went from widespread global support for the invasion of Afghanistan into a global pariah for our invasion of Iraq. Bush rolled the dice on Iraq because he was convinced that democracy would magically spring out of the ground.
Comparing Reagan and Bush is apples and oranges. Reagan knew what he wanted to do, he just wanted the opportunity to do it. Bush wanted the power, and 9/11 gave him a reason to grab it.