What Would Reagan Do?
In July of 1975, Ronald Reagan sat down with Reason Magazine for an extensive interview. The following excerpt is from that month’s publication.
REASON: “Do you have any views as to the effectiveness of the Libertarian Party?”
REAGAN: “I’d like to see the Libertarian Party–I don’t say they should quit being a party–I’d like to see them, I’d like to see the conservatives, I’d like to see some of these other parties maybe come to this remnant of the Republican Party which is basically conservative in its thinking and, I think, akin to the philosophy I’m talking–I’d like to see them all come in (and this would include a large segment of the Democratic Party in this country, that certainly proved in 1972 that they do not follow the leadership of the Democratic Party any longer) and be able to say to them, OK we’re not saying to you give up what you’re doing, but, can’t we find a common meeting ground in order at least to defeat first of all those who are doing what they’re doing to us (and this present Congress is an example)? I think this is the most irresponsible and most dangerous Congress, in my experience, that this country has ever had.”
[Editor's Note: I wonder what Reagan would say about the current Congress.]
“I think the Republican Party should take the lead and, as I say, raise that banner and say this is what we stand for. And what we stand for would be fiscal responsibility. I know that you can’t get a balanced budget instantly, but at least an end to deficit spending. Then the goal, established as quickly as possible, of a balanced budget, and begin the retirement of the national debt, or the reduction of it certainly.”
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Craig Shirley, author of “Rendezvous with Destiny,” a book about Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign, discusses Reagan’s view that libertarianism is the core of conservatism, and how that belief was manifested in Reagan’s opposition in 1978 to California’s Proposition 6 (known as the “Briggs Amendment”), which would have prohibited gay people from serving as teachers in government schools. Briggs blamed Reagan for the defeat of the proposition by a margin of 57 to 43 percent. On this issue, Ronald Reagan and Harvey Milk were on the same side.
What does Reagan think about third parties? Find out here.