Margaret Thatcher, who served as prime minister of Britain from 1979 to 1990, is most famous for teaming up with my father, Ronald Reagan, and Pope John Paul II to peacefully end the Cold War and bring about the collapse of the Soviet Union.
But at home, the “Iron Lady’s” intellect, political will and love of freedom and capitalism also saved Britain from its long, slow death by socialism.
Prime Minister Thatcher freed up Britain’s economy by deregulating business, privatizing government-owned industries and breaking the back of the powerful unions that were smothering her country to death.
Not that The New York Times can bring itself to give Lady Thatcher much credit for any of this in its coverage of her death from a stroke on Monday at age 87.
Paul Krugman, the pathetic Times’ in-house apologist for the serial failures of the Obama economy, dug out some arcane data that he said raises doubts that Thatcher’s pro-capitalist policies actually did anything to turn around Britain’s economy.
Meanwhile, a so-called news article in the Times on Wednesday about the debate over Thatcher’s legacy in the British Parliament is the latest example of how the paper of record’s liberal bias is always at work.
Two Times writers — John F. Burns and Alan Cowell — said, “The Thatcher era is generally recalled as a time when a capitalist revolution crushed labor unions, decimated staid industries that had once formed the nation’s economic base, and inaugurated a period of robust economic growth that sanctified a generation’s acquisitiveness.”
No bias there, right?
I think Burns and Cowell spent more time describing what nasty things Thatcher’s left-wing critics in the Labor Party had to say about her than mentioning her triumphs.
But Lady Thatcher doesn’t need the support of The New York Times or Hollywood to make it into the history books. Her accomplishments on the world stage will speak for themselves forever.
I’ll never forget meeting Lady Thatcher several times in London and in the United States. But my greatest memory of her occurred in 2004 when, despite being very ill, she attended my father’s funeral at the Reagan Library.
The morning after the funeral, as I was eating at the hotel with my family, I greeted Lady Thatcher when she came in for breakfast.
“Oh, Michael,” she said in that great accent of hers. “Think of how much we could have accomplished if your father had been elected in 1976, not 1980.”
“Lady Thatcher,” I said with the greatest respect, “I think God chooses the time for many of the things that happen in the world. And 1976 wasn’t that time; 1980 in fact was.”
“Why would you say that?” she said.
“Simply because I look at 1976 and I say, ‘Where was Margaret Thatcher? Where was Pope John Paul II? Where was Lech Walesa and Helmut Kohl and Mikhail Gorbachev?’ In 1976 none of you were in positions of power to do anything.
“But 1980 was the right time,” I said to Lady Thatcher.
“You were prime minister. Pope John Paul was pope. And you had a man in Washington, D.C., who understood freedom. Because you were all in positions of power in 1980 you were all able to work for the betterment of the world.”
“Oh, Michael,” Lady Thatcher said, “I didn’t think of that. You’re right.”
Because Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980, his legacy and the legacy of Margaret Thatcher will be tied together forever — thank God. And though the “Iron Lady” and my father have both passed away, their legends — and historic accomplishments — never will.
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of “The New Reagan Revolution” (St. Martin’s Press). He is the founder of the email service reagan.com and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his websites at www.reagan.com and www.michaelereagan.com. Send comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com. Follow @reaganworld on Twitter.