This lecture covers the rise of Ronald Reagan and the New Conservatism in American Political Culture. Specifically, it explains the perceived failures of Lyndon Johnson and the Great Society. It also shows how the Republican victory by Richard Nixon in 1968 and 1972 failed to produce a distinctly conservative political message about the role of government in life. Indeed, there are many items in Nixon’s domestic agenda that seem committed to active-government philosophy. The lecture also mentions how Goldwater had tried to be a figure for conservative rebirth, but could not defeat Johnson. In the end, it is the Carter failure that opened the door for Ronald Reagan’s new conservatism. It is Reagan who showed Americans how to truly be conservative in a post-Roosevelt world. The lecture argues that Reagan represents the repudiation of Johnson and the Great Society, not of Roosevelt and the New Deal. The lecture ends with Reagan in his own words.
Today’s Lecture: Ronald Reagan and the New Conservatism Session Topic(s) 8 6 Lecture Organization: Class Announcements The Great Society Johnson’s Failure Richard Nixon Ronald Reagan and the New Conservatism “Reaganomics” Political Labels Notice to DocStoc Users: These slides are from a lecture given by Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq., at Wright State University. To learn more and/or to view the lecture, click the following: Plays a flash movie of the lecture segment for the slides in question Takes you to a course webpage, where you can access more information (get a syllabus, etc.) Learn more about the crazy professor. Takes you to a Table of Contents for the lecture Takes you to the next movie segment Class Announcements midterm -- May 4th Reading -- Chapters: 7, 9, 18, 21, 24, 25, 26, 30 Study Guide -- I’ll be posting sample test questions by Thursday Review Session -- Friday, April 30th, 12:30-1:30, medical sciences, 143. Class Announcements Attendance -- May circulate twice. -- If I do, you have to be on both to get full credit Website -- Terribly behind Questions? -- Looking at Friday for getting current Syllabus -- I will deviate a little from course subject matter [explain] The Great Society # 137 Johnson (LBJ) -- Elected president in 1964 (after Kennedy assassinated) -- launches something he calls, “The Great Society” • “cure poverty” • implication: government creating a “social utopia” (government creating a perfect society) (very idealistic) The Great Society Johnson (LBJ) Going Beyond New Deal? -- argument: • extending the Roosevelt program beyond its initial purpose • not just doctoring the dying economy, or structuring its better operation • government can go out and build perfection for its own sake by enacting social programs Opponent: Barry Goldwater -- Johnson’s Opponent is Barry Goldwater -- Goldwater is trying to get conservatism to stand up and be significant in the post-Roosevelt world • fought against “the legacy of the New Deal” by supporting conservative opposition • anti-Union • “State’s rights” • liberal republicans don’t like him (Nelson Rockefeller) -- gets clobbered # 138 1964 Civil Rights will split the Roosevelt Question: coalition (the South will leave the party, Why isn’t the South nationally) voting Democrat? Johnson’s Failure # 139 Vietnam -- Johnson starts the Vietnam war -- over 500,000 American troops -- no national consensus behind the war -- the draft • your neighbor being taken away • avoid it by going to college, etc. -- the arrogance (they think it will be quick and dirty). Lyndon Johnson Major Downward Trend 60% 40% 1/18/2007 (C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007. 11 1/18/2007 (C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007. 12 1/18/2007 (C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007. 13 1/18/2007 (C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007. 14 Johnson’s Failure # 140 Other aspects of failure Great Society Seen as a Failure? -- The ethos of this initiative doesn’t have anything like the New Deal had -- Welfare rolls expanded 3 to 4 times what they were -- Looks like a “hand-out” instead of a “hand-up” Welfare reform in the 1990s Johnson’s Failure Other aspects of failure Race Riots -- race riots in the inner cities of Watts and Los Angeles -- police brutality -- national guard is called in hardly an American utopia Richard Nixon # 141 1968 election -- Johnson doesn’t run for re-election -- His Vice President runs against Richard Nixon 1968 Nixon Wins Third Party: Dixiecrats (South is still hung up on the race issues) Complicated character one the one hand, seems like an idealist • anti-New Deal • anti-Communist • hard line to the right One the other hand, he is very pragmatic adapts to the world that he is in (not the one he would like) Psychologically, is very insecure # 142 5/1/2010 Copyright, Sean Wilson. 2007 19 Liberal Environment -- The 1970s political culture is very liberal Nixon’s Domestic Agenda -- EPA -- National Health Insurance Program -- Guaranteed Annual Income for the Poor? -- Appoints a mixed Supreme Court • author of Roe v. Wade Nixon is no Ronald Reagan 5/1/2010 Copyright, Sean Wilson. 2007 20 1972 # 143 Misleading -- liberal Washington culture/Congress 1972 Question: What is it that kills the Nixon presidency? Nixon agreement with Vietnam PeacePeace with communists 60% Re-election Watergate 1/18/2007 (C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007. 23 Ronald Reagan and the New Conservatism # 144 What’s girl to do? -- One of the central problems facing Republicans and conservatives in the post-New Deal world is: • how can you be conservative in a Post-New Deal world? ? Laissez Plantation Faire Hegemony 5/1/2010 Copyright, Sean Wilson. 2007 25 Ronald Reagan and the New Conservatism # 145 The Jimmy Carter Problem -- Reagan will ascend in American politics in 1980 with his defeat of incumbent president Jimmy Carter assessment -- very nice guy; very poor president Serious economic problems -- “stagflation” (high unemployment and inflation) Iranian hostage problem -- America is perceived as “weak” Reagan Victory -- high voter discontent with both candidates -- voted against Carter, not for Reagan Ronald Reagan and the New Conservatism # 146 Rediscovering American conservatism -- Reagan changed the liberal culture in Washington because he was successfully able to re-invent conservatism -- conservatives find their soul in Reagan Ronald Reagan and the New Conservatism Ideological Legacy doesn’t reject FDR, rejects LBJ -- Reagan didn’t: • believe social security was wrong, or that the government shouldn’t be doing it • he also didn’t try to eliminate the regulatory framework for capitalism and society (SEC, FDA, FDIC, EPA, etc) Ronald Reagan and the New Conservatism Ideological Legacy doesn’t reject FDR, rejects LBJ -- Instead, Reagan says: • we are over -regulating • we rely upon government too much • there is a difference between having government structure capitalism versus having it torture it. Ronald Reagan and the New Conservatism Ideological Legacy doesn’t reject FDR, rejects LBJ note the use of blend or recipe logic Reagan says, simply, the blend of Government into capitalism can’t be too strong. (If Reagan represents something ideologically to American politics, it is putting the breaks on something current rather than going backward to something that pre-existed) Ronald Reagan and the New Conservatism # 147 Ideological Legacy doesn’t reject FDR, rejects LBJ rejecting Europe as the model The real thrust of the “Reagan Revolution:” Europe isn’t America’s model -- we don’t want our society to be like the French, or even the English. --Americans don’t want to imitate European civil society (slower pace, less competitive, government provides more, taxes are higher, growth rates are slower, etc.) Tip O’Neil’s assessment of Reagan Budget Philosophy and “new political culture” Reagan in his own words # 148 Part I: The Vision # 149 Part II: Against LBJ, not FDR # 150 Part III: The Cuts
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