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Should “Flip-Floppers” Never Hold Office?

by on February 22, 2012

From the political rhetoric currently being bantered around, it would seem that changing viewpoints should disqualify one from ever holding an public office.    Should individuals who’ve changed their minds, and say become more conservative, never be allowed to hold public office?  Most of us change our minds on many different issues.  For many of us, these changes occur as we get older, more mature, and hopefully wiser.  So if it’s okay for us to change our viewpoints as we evolve, then why, apparently, can’t politicians?  Why is this so terrible?   I like to see politicians change their viewpoints and become more conservative – and wiser!

We need to remember that great Presidents, even Ronald Reagan “flip flopped.”  Reagan switched parties and went from being a democrat to a republican.  He claimed that he didn’t leave the party but that the party had left him.  Could it be that his viewpoint changed as he become older and wiser and more conservative?   Would that make him what’s now referred to as a “flip-flopper?”   Changing viewpoints didn’t prevent Reagan from becoming President, nor should it have.  Rather, it more than likely helped him in becoming the great President that he was.

Ronald Reagan was elected as Governor of the state of California from 1967 until 1975.  He served as President of the U.S. from 1981 – 1989.  However, Reagan was not always conservative on many issues.  Here are a few of Ronald Reagan’s “flip-flops”:

Abortion:  In 1967, Governor Reagan signed into law the “Therapeutic Abortion Act,” which legalized abortion in the state of California.  He later said it was a mistake and declared himself to be a “pro-lifer.”  However, the damage was done.  He did not rectify this mistake.

Amnesty:  President Reagan supported amnesty for illegals.   In 1986 he signed the “Immigration Reform and Control Act” which made it illegal for employers to knowingly hire illegals, but it also granted amnesty to 3 million illegal immigrants who had entered the U.S. prior to January 1, 1982.

Family Law:  In 1969 Governor Reagan signed “the Family Law Act,” which was the very first no-fault divorce legislation.  Reagan later said it was one of his biggest political mistakes.  States across the country followed suit with California and “no-fault” divorce laws were then enacted in nearly every other state in the country.

Gun Control:  Governor Reagan supported gun control.  In 1967 he signed the “Mulford Act” which prohibited carrying firearms on your person or in your vehicle in public.  As President, Reagan declared his support of a waiting period and background checks before owning a gun.  In 1991, he wrote an editorial in support of the “Brady Act” of 1987.

Taxes:  As governor Ronald Reagan hiked taxes in California in 1967 to balance the state budget.  As President he cut taxes in 1981 and 1988, but he also raised taxes in 1982 with TEFRA, the largest peace-time tax increase in U.S. history; in 1984 with DEFRA, a high gasoline levy; and in 1986 with a tax reform deal that included the largest corporate tax increase in American history.

I’m so very glad that the electorate in 1980 did not believe that Reagan’s changing viewpoints should have kept him from running for President of the United States or count him out as a “flip-flopper.”

From → Republican Party

  1. guitargod permalink

    of course actors and the media are linked – good leadership & media not necessarily – Reagan used his experience w/ the media to his advantage as a politician in using & manipulating the media – the media didn’t intimidate or shape him as a leader – yes people have every right to sincerely change their views & beliefs on issues – Reagan though was a conservative for decades before becoming president and quite set & certain of his vision – this is not flip flopping to me – flipflopping is changing positions tied to say running for president, or not letting go of something that your supporters want you to let go of, like obamneycare – and also doing something that Reagan preached against: not incessantly atttacking your fellow repubs! these are the types of things that most Reaganites see through & resent.

  2. 14allnall41 permalink

    Early on, Reagan was, in fact, driven by the media. As a Hollywood star, the media was very important to him since it was his livelihood. The fact is he did change his political viewpoints, but that did not prevent him from becoming a great President. Flip-flopping isn’t all that bad when you become more conservative in the end.

  3. guitargod permalink

    all depends on the person – Reagan was sincere in his positions and beliefs and a powerful leader who was fearless and not driven by the media – he drove them!! Newt & Rick are current candidates closest – Paul is an idiot – Mitt, well he’s still MittMcCain pushin obamacare so i think he’s somewhere between a flip and a flop …

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