As a young White House advance team member, Jon Huntsman, Jr., was able to observe Pres. Ronald Reagan up close and personal. On Monday, Gov. Huntsman reflected on his time spent working for Reagan in a speech before the Ronald Reagan Club of the Republican Party.
No leader is perfect, and Reagan wasn’t either, Huntsman said. Reagan received much criticism because he wasn’t necessarily detail-oriented or a policy wonk. But Reagan embodied certain leadership traits that allowed the Reagan Revolution to succeed, Huntsman said.
He noted that a president can buy tacticians; you can buy policy experts; you can buy clever speech-writers. … But what you can’t buy is courage; you can’t buy character; you can’t buy conviction, or vision or decency or perseverance. Those character traits, plus a deep belief in individual freedom and a focus on expanding the U.S. economy, allowed Reagan to rebuild the military, which ultimately brought an end to the Cold War, dissolution of the Soviet Union, and an expansion of freedom across the world, Huntsman said. Today, we see Reagan’s greatness “through the rear-view mirror of history.”