We've been given a trip down memory lane with the anniversary of the Gipper's Berlin Wall speech. Peter reminds us what the NSC tried to take out. In the New York Sun, an editorial compares a column on the anniversity written by former Carter speechwriter Ted Widmer to how the paper of record greeted Reagan's words at the time:
The significance of Mr. Widmer’s piece is that it ran in the Times, which had greeted Reagan’s speech in Berlin with an editorial paean not to Reagan but to Gorbachev and to Lenin. “The world watches Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms with hope and wonder,” it began.
The Times rattled on at some length before ending with a paragraph kvelling about how those who say the Soviet system “is too rigid for reform” should “ponder Lenin’s” new economic program “in which the system accommodated real change without losing its character.” But it can be said for the Times that it was by no means the battiest of the big papers. The London Observer greeted Reagan’s speech at Berlin, and his participation in the Venice Summit shortly before Berlin, with a story headlined “Lame-duck Reagan enters the twilight zone.” It described Reagan as “slowly, laboriously and without any of his usual verve, reading his challenge to Mikhail Gorbachev to pull down the Berlin Wall.”
We mention this only to mark the virtue of humility. Few are immune from having been made fools of by history. But there are very few who have been more abjectly mistaken than those who underestimated Reagan.