How times have changed for the Republican Party. Because back in 1980 they actually did have a Conservative Republican leading their ticket. And leading them back into power in the White House and Senate. After spending another four years as they spent eight years, in the 1960s as the opposition minority party in the United States. With Democrats controlling both the White House and Congress.
Back then the GOP had a Conservative Republican, because Ronald Reagan actually understood what conservatism is, which is how Barry Goldwater laid it out as conserving the individual liberty of individuals. Big Government out of our wallets and bedrooms, letting free people live their own lives. Not using government to try to control how people lived their lives. Which is what we see with the GOP today, with its Religious and Neoconservatives. The same-sex marriage debate case in point.
This is the perfect time to be talking about Ron Reagan, since it would be his 101st Birthday this month. And since he was the best Republican President we’ve had since Dwight Eisenhower and the best Republican President we’ve had since. And George W. Bush being the worst President we’ve had since, well maybe all-time. Ron Reagan described his politics as libertarian as late as 1975. He backed Barry Goldwater for President in 1964.
Politically its hard to tell the differences between Goldwater and Reagan. Except for maybe foreign policy, Reagan I believe became a classical Conservative, because what he saw in the 1960s what he saw as the growth of big government with the Great Society, but he also saw the growth of big government in the late 1970s, in California. That in 1978 passed a law that would allow employers to fire homosexuals just because they are gay. And he disagreed with that law.
The Christian Right came to power and influence in American politics in the late 1970s. Perhaps even as early as the mid 1970s, with Rev. Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority. Arguing against things like homosexuality and pornography, arguing for censorship of certain forms of entertainment, that of course they see as immoral. And even though President Reagan would talk to these groups, he played them like a politician, he knew he needed their votes. But never gave them anything, unlike Republican politicians today who don’t seem to be able to say no to these Far-Right big government groups. And that’s how the GOP is different today.