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Better than Reagan? A World-Class Debate at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics.

Coolidge v. Reagan: Which president is the better model for GOP candidates today?

October 27, 2015

5:00 — 8:00 PM EDT

Register HERE (free event)

The unexpected threat to Republican unity that Donald Trump represents tells us one thing if nothing else: Republicans must find a presidential model. Many in the party revere the great conservative hero, President Ronald Reagan. Yet there is another Republican president who is especially relevant today: the lesser-known Calvin Coolidge, who served as president from 1923 to 1929.

When the experts compare Reagan and Coolidge, they generally focus on the similarities. Reagan so admired Coolidge that he placed Coolidge’s portrait in the Cabinet Room. The Grand Old Party is the tax-cut party. Both presidents fought hard for and won significant tax cuts.

Yet in other important areas, “30” and “40” differed sharply. The differences start with style:  Reagan warmed every room he entered; Coolidge truly lived up to his “Silent Cal” nickname. But differences of substance loom as well. Under President Reagan, the national debt grew along with the size of government. Under President Coolidge, both shrank. Reagan believed in liberalizing immigration, and granted amnesty to illegal immigrants. Coolidge signed one of the most restrictive immigration laws in America’s history. Reagan argued for free trade; Coolidge championed “Made in the U.S.A” protectionism. Reagan advocated a bold American presence overseas and felt a visceral suspicion of international organizations and treaties. Coolidge often hesitated in foreign policy, rarely intervened, and stewarded a major international treaty through the U.S. Senate, the Kellogg-Briand Pact outlawing war.

Both presidents’ philosophies and policies can help candidates and voters in the Grand Old Party make their decisions in 2016. That is why the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation and Saint Anselm College Institute of Politics are partnering to host a world-class debate over the merits of the Coolidge and Reagan presidencies. First, superstar teen debaters from Team USA, America’s high school debate team that competes internationally, will join with varsity debaters from Saint Anselm College to argue “Coolidge v. Reagan.”

Then, world-renowned politicians and scholars will battle over the merits of the two presidents. Arguing on President Reagan’s behalf will be John H. Sununu, former governor of New Hampshire and chief of staff to President George H.W. Bush. Seconding Gov. Sununu will be Reagan biographer Steven Hayward. Defending President Coolidge will be Jim Douglas, former governor of Vermont and Amity Shlaes, author of “Coolidge” and “The Forgotten Man,” and chairman of the Coolidge Foundation. Syndicated columnist, Cal Thomas, will moderate.  Neil Levesque, executive director of the Saint Anselm College Institute of Politics will emcee. Please join us for this exciting event.


Date: October 27, 2015

Time: 5:00 — 8:00 PM EDT

Venue: Saint Anselm College, New Hampshire Institute of Politics

Register HERE (free event)

Directions to the New Hampshire Institute of Politics



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