Former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will deliver speeches this weekend at The Reagan Ranch in Santa Barbara in honor of the late President Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday.
The Young America’s Foundation is sponsoring the speeches as part of the commemorative “Reagan 100 Gala.” Palin will address the opening banquet today at 4 p.m. and Cheney will close the celebration with his talk at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
College Republicans Vice President and fourth-year history major Zachary Gates said the politicians’ presence in Santa Barbara will serve as an opportunity for local conservatives to meet key party figureheads.
“I think it is great for people because [Palin is] definitely an important face for the Republican Party,” Gates said. “It is a significant event for someone of that status to speak in Santa Barbara.”
According to Gates, this weekend’s event will also have personal significance for many of the area’s Republicans.
“A lot of people feel it is important to celebrate his birth,” Gates said. “He is something that a lot of people want to emulate. Most Republicans see Ronald Reagan as the ideal of their philosophy.”
Political Director of Campus Democrats Geoffrey Bell, a third-year political science major, said Reagan is a role model for neo-conservatives despite his occasional deviation from the party platform.
“As far as Republicans go, he was one of their more successful presidents in enacting their agenda, even though the federal government was larger when he left office,” Bell said. “He ushered in a whole new era of conservatism.”
Jason Saltoun-Ebin, a graduate student who specializes in the Reagan era, said the Republican Party continues to hold Reagan in high regards nearly seven years after his death.
“In my opinion, they do not have anyone else,” Saltoun-Ebin said. “They cannot go back and rally around Richard Nixon, or Gerald Ford. Reagan made Americans proud to be American again, which is something Jimmy Carter could not do in his one-term presidency.”
Although the event is sold out, video coverage of Palin and Cheney’s addresses will be available online at the Young Americas’ Foundation’s website.