The Herald, Sharon,
PA Published Tuesday, March 24, 1998


Meese: Reagan did it right

By Denise Kadilak
Herald Staff Writer

Herald Staff Writer

Reagan administration U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese said Ronald Reagan's way is the right way.

Speaking Monday in Pew Fine Arts Center at Grove City College, Meese blamed deviations from Reagan's agenda for problems he now believes the country faces, and he credited adherence to the former president's agenda for the successes.

Meese said before Reagan took office in 1980, the U.S. military had developed a reputation for drug use, low morale and poor performance; the economy was so weak and unemployment so high that many in the United States believed democracy had peaked and socialism would soon take over; and because of the military's poor reputation, the country's national security was at risk. By the end of Reagan's eight years in office, Meese said, his policies completely reversed the country's once dwindling fortunes and, he claimed, those policies continue to fuel today's economy. Specifically, Meese credited Reagan's economic policies for the meteoric rise of the country's stock market.

The Republican loyalist did not let the opportunity pass without also taking a few swipes at the Democratic administration now at the country's helm. Meese argued that if the Gulf War taught this country anything, it taught the importance of establishing a missile defense system and maintaining a strong military. Yet under President Bill Clinton, Meese charged, not only has the missile defense system gone by the wayside but so has spending on the armed forces in general. ``I'm not suggesting spending should be at the Cold War levels, but our military spending is now below what it was before World War II,'' Meese said.

He also addressed crime and drugs. Despite the decreasing crime rate _ which Meese did not mention _ the former attorney general called on the federal government to increase its support of local law enforcement and to ``provide the leadership to deal with illegal drugs.''

On the other hand, Meese said it was time for the federal government to downsize and reduce tax rates. Meese said the power center should shift from Washington D.C. to the state governments.

Meese also criticized the country's educational system, charging it suffers ``serious problems,'' but he did not offer many specifics toward solving the problems.

Now a distinguished fellow at the Heritage Foundation and the Hoover Institution, Meese has authored a book, ``With Reagan.'' When not speaking around the country, he also writes a nationally syndicated column.

Meese served Reagan from 1985-1988, when he was replaced by former Pennsylvania Gov. Richard L. Thornburgh.

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Updated March 24, 1998
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