By Jazz Shaw
February 4, 2011
There was a time when having the Park Service purchase the former home of a revered president to maintain as a memorial would be nothing more than business as usual. But the winds of change and government restraint are still blowing across the land and old practices are getting a fresh look. This is particularly true when the president in question was one who championed limiting the grasp of government and restraint in spending. The focus of this question is the future of Ronald Reagan’s boyhood home.
Nearly a decade after Congress told the National Park Service to try to buy Ronald Reagan’s boyhood home, the plan remains in limbo — the victim of a budget dispute and of the former president’s own limited-government philosophy.Everyone from Grover Norquist and Dennis Hastert to members of Reagan’s family have been chiming in on this as the proposal has remained stalled for years. The debate seems more about symbolism and message than dollars and cents.
The Dixon, Ill., house is one of a number of places where the country’s 40th president lived when he called the small town on the Rock River, 100 miles from Chicago, his home from 1920 through 1933. But it’s the one that has been preserved for the past three decades by a nonprofit foundation as the official boyhood home, and it’s also the most likely candidate for the Park Service to incorporate.
Or it would be, if Reagan — whose 100th birthday Sunday will kick off a yearlong national commemoration of the nation’s 40th president — hadn’t preached a limited-government, free-market philosophy that his supporters say makes a government takeover unthinkable.
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