But after almost four years he's squeezed the hope out of most of us.
A new Rasmussen poll is the latest proof that the only hope of getting out of our economic ditch is to fire the hopeless guy in the White House who keeps digging it deeper.
Since early 2009 Rasmussen has been asking two questions that serve as a good barometer of what people think about both our present and our future.
The first question is: "Will today's children be better off than their parents?"
The answers from late July are as depressing as the latest GDP numbers. Only 14 percent of adults told Rasmussen they expect today's children to be better off than their parents. Meanwhile, 65 percent said they think our children will be worse off.
In 2009 those numbers already were nothing to brag about -- 27 percent and 47 percent. But the trend under Obama is clear and grim. The only bright spot is that the poll numbers are so bad they can't get much worse.
The other question Rasmussen asked is: "Is it still possible for just about anyone in America to work hard and get rich?"
Amazingly, given the Obama administration's relentless propaganda assault on the rich and successful, 28 percent of Americans told Rasmussen they still believe it can be done.
Working hard and creating wealth by providing things or services people want or need is as American as Steve Jobs, Bruce Springsteen and Mitt Romney.
Millions have done it. It's part of the American Dream. It's something the president should be publicly encouraging and cheering, not punishing and scolding or demeaning.
Unlike Barack Obama, my father knew this. Speaking to the 1984 Republican National Convention, Ronald Reagan said that what had made America the greatest country in the world was still true:
"The poet called Miss Liberty's torch the 'lamp beside the golden door.' Well, that was the entrance to America, and it still is. And now you really know why we're here tonight.
"The glistening hope of that lamp is still ours. Every promise, every opportunity is still golden in this land. And through that golden door our children can walk into tomorrow with the knowledge that no one can be denied the promise that is America.
"Her heart is full; her door is still golden, her future bright. She has arms big enough to comfort and strong enough to support, for the strength in her arms is the strength of her people. She will carry on in the '80s unafraid, unashamed, and unsurpassed.
"In this springtime of hope, some lights seem eternal; America's is."
My father did his best to make sure that America's lamp of hope and promise burned brightly. He knew America's strength was in its founding principles and its people, not its government.
He knew if he kept taxes low, regulations rare and America strong, the future would be even brighter for future generations.
Four years ago no one expected Barack Obama -- a community organizer with no understanding or appreciation of what it takes to succeed in the private sector -- to think or act like Ronald Reagan.
But it's too bad for the country that Mr. Obama didn't behave more like one of his favorite rich men, John F. Kennedy. Kennedy, for all his faults, knew that the best way to assure a better future for our children was by lowering taxes, making the country strong and believing in the greatness and goodness of America.
Hope and change had little to do with it.
Copyright ©2012 Michael Reagan. 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 and chairman of The Reagan Group and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his website at www.reagan.com.