Just Thinking What If...

I’ve been watching FOX News’ series on the conservative movement in America since the 60s. After last night's 3rd of 6 programs, I was elaborating on what I have long thought: the best and worst things for conservatism in the past thirty years, were about Ronald Reagan and happened at the '80 Republican national convention. The best: Reagan was nominated. The worst: he chose George H.W. Bush as his running-mate.

Now, uniting the conservative and traditional wings of the party was certainly the strongest political move. But Reagan so demolished Carter in the debate and campaign that he won a 44-state landslide. With another pick, he might have won fewer but solidified a governing conservatism. Jack Kemp had been a candidate but had united with Reagan after persuading him of an aggressive policy on tax-cutting and economic growth. With Kemp on the ticket, we can speculate that Reagan might only have won around 35 states.

But Kemp definitely would not have broken a tax pledge and probably would have won two terms after Reagan’s two. I have said that I think both Bushes were decent patriots. But with no George H.W. Bush, there would have been no President Bill Clinton nor a President or probably even a TX Governor George W. Bush. It’s very doubtful that there would have been a Barack Obama. Jack Kemp would have been very enthusiastic about promoting black conservatism and might even have chosen a black running-mate for one or both of his terms.

Alan Keyes was a brilliant black Harvard Ph.D. who was a state department official and UN Ambassador in the Reagan administration and much lauded by Reagan. As things in fact turned out, Keyes ran in 1996 with no party support. Bob Dole won the nomination and Clinton won a second term. Keyes ran and failed again in 2000 with no party support. In 2004, the Illinois Republican Party recruited Keyes to replace their nominee who had withdrawn in disgrace, to run for the US Senate against one Barack Obama. When the Chicago and Illinois press branded Keyes as extreme, that same Republican party disowned him and ran for the tall grass with their hands in the air.

With repeated snubbing of Republicans, Keyes became more strident and less cheerful, accepting a 3rd party nomination in 2006 and a still smaller one in 2008; that’s the sad story of a highly touted young man who came to be spurned by his party. Imagine if a President Kemp had made Keyes a VP and he had blossomed with his positive demeanor. I guarantee that no Democrat would have stood well with him in a debate. The first black American President might have been a Republican who had a clue about the truths of The Constitution and the productive power of liberty. And the Democrat 90+% stranglehold on the black vote would be broken. I can’t see how these men would have led us to economic difficulty. But 20-24 years of one party holding the presidency has not happened. Maybe Americans would even become bored of prosperity.


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Wow, what a dream!  Things could have been so different.  Probably not a 9/11!  We don't watch TV, but that series sounds interesting.  In 1980 I lived in Canada and all I was hearing, and sort-of believed for a long time, was that Reagan would start a nuclear war.

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