Monday, December 5, 2011

Ronald Reagan Proves a Point

My late father, who was Southern, a Democrat, liberal and a union supporter, always left me with a warning about politics: "Move too far to the Left, and you'll come out on the Right."

Folks, here's the absolute proof,

Ronald Reagan, Democrat, 1948

OK, have you picked yourself up off the floor? That's the real deal. Reagan was an ueber Liberal Democrat in 1948, raging - even then - about the power of corporations and income inequality, against the Republicans, who sound as though, then, they're much the same old same old they are now. This Reagan didn't mince words about the damage the "Do-Nothing Congress" had done. He was angry at the Republican passage of the Taft-Hartley Bill, a slap in the face of unions (and, remember, Reagan was President of the Screen Actors' Guild), as well as the Gearhart Bill, which made significant cuts in the fledgling Social Security system.

He was not only advocating for Truman, he was pushing the envelope for civil rights, the working man and campaigning strongly for Hubert Humphrey.

Around this time, some California Democrats pushed the possibility of Reagan challenging Bertrand W Gearhart, the author of the above bill, for his seat in the House of Representatives; but that possibility was discouraged. Reagan, senior Californian Democratic officials reckoned, was too far out in Left field.

I suppose he did move too far to the Left, because by the 1960s, he sure as hell was a real humdinger Rightwinger.

Ronald Reagan, Republican, 1961:-

Now ... pick yourself up from the floor again. Within thirteen years, this Ronald Reagan had left the Democratic Party (although he always said the Democratic Party had left him), and there he was likening liberals to socialists, warning against the incipient Medicare system, which would come into fruition under Lyndon Johnson, was the first step to socialised medicine and that socialised medicine was the first step to actual socialism. This is the man who defended Taft-Hartley, now warning about the encroachment of government on everyday life. Like the Tea Party who reveres him, he quotes Madison and mentions the Founding Fathers. In this Reagan, one can really see the man who famously said that government is the problem.

Thirteen years was all it took for a journey from Left to Right field. Ronald Reagan was once considered too far Left for Congress; he was also considered, at one time, to be too far Right for the White House - but he got there, all the same, and he stayed for eight years.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, yeah. Reagan's former affliation as a Democrat is well known. Unfortunately, many on the left either don't know this or have forgotten. Politics is definitely a circular business.