Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

A Reagan-related bleg

An old friend, who I will see next week (at this conference--agenda here), sends this question:

[W]hen someone warned Reagan that a particular decision might cost him his support among the
religious right he replied "well who else are they going to vote for?"

Have you heard that? Any idea where I could find it?

Anyone have a source for this story?

By the way, my relative silence stems from the fact that I’m in Savannah, enjoying a homeschool fieldtrip focusing on colonial history.

Discussions - 4 Comments

I’ve never heard that comment, and I’ve been maranating in Reagan so long that I think I would have by now. It doesn’t sound right; Reagan seldom expressed that kind of political calculation.

To the contrary, the day after the election in 1980, at a press conference, Reagan forcefully threw back a media attempt to get him to put some distance between himself and Jerry Falwell/Moral Majority. Here’s my account of it from the manuscript for my Age of Reagan Volume 2 (which I promise to finish this year!):

One reporter asked Reagan whether, in light of the fact that he received millions of votes from independents and Democrats, “do you still feel wedded to the Republican Party platform?” Reagan: “I think it would be very cynical and callous of me now to suggest that I’m going to turn away from it.” Another reporter asked “how much consideration” he would give to the advice of “these new conservative organizations and The Moral Majority and people like the Rev. Jerry Falwell.” Reagan answered tartly: “I’m not going to separate myself from the people who elected us and sent us there.” (This showed remarkable loyalty on Reagan’s part, for leaders of the religious right were constantly putting their feet into their mouths with statements that cried out for repudiation. Falwell, for example, remarked in 1980: “America has less than 1,000 days as a free nation unless there is divine intervention.”) Reagan also reiterated his support for a constitutional amendment to ban abortion.

He did not say it, but they would do as I did in 92, 98, and 2006 decide to vote for no one. You just leave that space on the ballot blank (whether it is a Presidential, Senate, or Congreesional seat) and vote for those running for the other posts. Yep, it called a protest non-vote.

Sorry for the misspellings above...Congressional, it’s....

Steve: Thanks for the above quotes. My estimation of Reagan just went up, and you sold another book (or two, as soon as you finish Vol. II!).

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