Tag Archives | Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan’s AR-15

In June 1992, retired President Ronald Reagan was presented with some gifts from the American Shooting Sports Council, a trade association for the firearms industry. (ASSC later merged with the National Shooting Sports Foundation, an older industry group.) The gifts were a Colt semi-automatic AR-15 rifle, a gold-engraved Colt Single Action Army .45 revolver, and a beautiful custom holster from Galco. He loved the gifts, and had a great time with them at his Rancho del Cielo. As he explained, many of the guns which he had been given as President were in the Reagan Museum, and he was not allowed to use them. So he was grateful to have some new guns of his own. You can read the whole story here, with lots of photographs, in this PDF from the August 1992 issue of The Alliance Voice, the magazine of the ASSC:  Ronald Reagan’s AR-15. [...]

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The “San Francisco Democrats” meme

These days, there are innumerable books and articles which will tell you that at the 1984 Republican Convention, “San Francisco Democrats” were denounced, and that the term was understood by everyone as an attack on homosexuals. This is at most only a partial truth.

Suppose that in 2012, after the Republican Convention, a Democrat denounced the Republican Convention as consisting of “Sarah Palin Republicans.” The denunciation would bring to mind a wide variety of issues and themes. Now suppose that in 2040, a historian told you that the denunciation of “Sarah Palin Republicans” was understood by everyone as a criticism of the hunting of wolves. For some animal rights activists, Governor Palin’s greatest sin is allowing aerial wolf hunting. These activists, when they heard the phrase “Sarah Palin Republicans,” might immediately think of wolf hunting. But most people–including the audience of anti-Palin swing voters to whom the 2012 speaker was appealing–would not think first of wolves. Even if wolf hunting might happen to be among the dozens of things they loathed about Sarah Palin.

Similarly, in 1984, the term “San Francisco Democrats” raised numerous issues which were far more important to swing voters than were gay rights; this was especially so for the target audience–the voters who would become known as Reagan Democrats.

Beginning in the late 1960s, there had been an intense struggle within the Democratic party. On the one side were the heirs of Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy. They strongly believed in a powerful and affirmative federal government, and they were hawkish and staunchly anti-communist. This was the traditional party of Big Labor, the big city mayors, and the Democratic machine. Challenging them, as insurgents, were dovish anti-war activists, women’s rights advocates, and others on the cultural left. The overwhelming issue in the divide was the Vietnam War. The challengers fell short in 1968, when Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey [...]

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Retrospective on the Iranian Hostage Crisis

Last week, I was interviewed by Radio Free Europe’s Russian-language station about the 30th anniversary of the Iranian seizure of American diplomatic hostages in Tehran. The transcript, in Russian, is here. For the fraction of VC readers who do not read Russian (a fraction that is smaller than almost any other U.S. law/policy weblog), here’s a summary of my key points: The hostage crisis initially helped President Carter fend off a primary challenge from Sen. Ted Kennedy, as Carter stayed in the White House attending to the issue. However, as the kidnapping wore on, Carter’s weakness became increasingly evident to the American people; it was observed that Soviet government diplomat do not get seized, because everyone realized that the Soviets would respond forcefully. Accordingly, one result of the hostage crisis was the election of Ronald Reagan. (Who of course later made his own terrible mistakes in thinking that he could establish a working relationship with the Iranian tyrants.) Today, Iran is still ruled by tyrants who hate the West in general, and the U.S. in particular, and the West has new leaders who, like many of their predecessors, cling to the vain hope that the Iranian regime can be pacified by concessions. The world’s largest exporter of terrorism, the Iranian regime aims to  dominate the Near East and the Muslim world. With nuclear weapons, the the Iranian regime threatens the whole civilized world. Everything would be different if the Khomeni revolution had been stopped at the very beginning. The longer that regime change in Iranian is delayed, the worse for everyone. [...]

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