The November presidential election is about four months away. As the fateful day nears, the rhetoric will be at a fever pitch.
In looking at the possible outcome of the election, I am interested in reader's responses to Ronald Reagan’s record. This is important for voters who are considering voting for Mitt Romney who espouses many of Reagan’s basic principles.
In 1964 as the Republican candidate for California’s governorship, Reagan successfully advocated that the party platform contain language supporting the repeal of the Rumford Fair Housing Act. Passed in 1963, it prohibited discrimination by realtors on the basis of race creed or national origin.
During his campaign for the Republican nomination for president, Reagan stated that in his opinion, the demonstrations in the south by blacks who were protesting inequality were illegal and violated the law.
He was opposed to the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was passed in the same year that civil rights activists Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney were killed in Mississippi by the KKK.
In 1966 as an alternative to the Great Society, he proposed what he called the “The Creative Society” which entailed personal initiative, self-help, and private enterprise. He ignored the 200 years of oppression and mistreatment of blacks by the government and rejected government responsibility.
Reagan vetoed the imposition of sanctions on the apartheid regime in South Africa. Congress overrode his veto.
As president, he attempted to weaken the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and opposed a national holiday for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Reagan tried to do away with the federal ban on tax exemptions for private schools such as the Bob Jones University that practiced racial discrimination.
Reagan's decision to reverse regulations designed to limit air pollution, to protect the public from carcinogens and hazardous waste, and to oversee nuclear power plants was met by a public outcry that forced him to retreat.
Reagan ushered in an era of laissez-faire capitalism. Under Reagan’s leadership, the regulations required to prevent capitalism from running wild were weakened. There was a failure of moral concern by Republican and to a lesser extent Democratic leaders who used their power to serve special interests rather than the vast majority of the country’s citizens and workers.
Woodrow Wilson, in his 1916 acceptance speech as Democratic presidential candidate, stated, “Republicans and Republican ideals have permitted the country to stagger into the most horrendous financial crises…it could not bring itself to
do the one thing necessary to make the reform genuine and effectual, we thought
first of the profits of American investors.”
How prophetic Wilson was! He described the policies of Calvin Coolidge and George W. Bush that resulted in the devastating economic times that followed.
If elected to the presidency Mitt Romney, we are looking at an unprecedented situation of the enactment of policies which will be regressive when it comes to civil rights and deliver body blows to an economy in distress. Romney recently said that, “There’s probably not a need to raise the minimum wage.” And if you can remember back several months, Romney dismissed concern for the struggling middle class as envy and class warfare.
The Romney plan—like failed Republican policies of the past—delivers large tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and throws a few crumbs to the middle class.
And given his propensity to play to the conservative right, don’t be surprised if Romney tries to roll back protections for LGBT Americans, pushes for a federal ban on gay marriage, and attempts to undo the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
If you miss Reagan, than Romney is your man.