Reagan was a great American figure. He was often belittled when he was in office by his detractors, many of whom considered him an intellectual lightweight, but these people missed the point that Reagan was able to lead very effectively due to the strength of his personal character. Reagan was seen, even by those who disliked his policies, as basically a good guy and not as a mean-spirited person. He was able to joke with his adversaries, and debate with them in a good natured way, and leave the debate as friends.
I think a lot of the nostalgia we are seeing today about Reagan relates to the very unfortunate, caustic, polarized climate that has taken root in Washington in the days since Reagan left office. At this point, there are many in both political parties who not only are disinterested in debate, but who revile the *persons* of their adversaries, who view their ideological counterweights with an almost visceral sense of revulsion and loathing. I think that many people do not like this current political climate of ours and look back nostalgically on a period when we had a divisive figure as President and yet were able to relate to each other politically in a much more civil, friendly manner than we seem to be able to today. Things got so nasty politically in the 1990s, that I think Reagan, or at least remembering him, seems like a breath of fresh political air to many.