Sexist, racist, homophobe.
Ronald Reagan was so busy hammering the victims of his prejudice, one wonders when he managed to reverse America’s Carter-era malaise, turbocharge the stalled U.S. economy, and catapult Communism onto the ash heap of history.
Bigot-in-Chief: That’s the lie Reagan’s liberal enemies peddle. The facts, of course, consistently defeat their deceit.
According to Karen K. Kirst-Ashman’s Introduction to Social Work and Social Welfare, Reagan “ascribed to women ‘primarily domestic functions’ and failed to appoint many women to positions of power during his presidency.” Anna Chapman, a University of South Carolina sophomore, complained about this mandatory text to CampusReform.org.
Reagan employed an unusual technique for oppressing females: He appointed 1,400 of them to policy-making positions, the National Federation of Republican Women estimates. In 1983, for the first time, three women enjoyed simultaneous service as Cabinet members: Transportation Secretary Elizabeth Dole, Health and Human Services Secretary Margaret Heckler, and United Nations Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick.
And thanks primarily to Reagan’s nomination, Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Reagan also loathed minorities — or so the Left relentlessly claims. They also contend that Reagan used ethnic scaremongering to harvest white votes.
Reagan possessed “his own intuitive grasp of the power of racial provocation,” Ian Haney-Lopez writes in his forthcoming, Dog Whistle Politics: How Fifty Years of Coded Racial Appeals Wrecked the Middle Class. “For Reagan, conservatism and racial resentment were inextricably fused.”
But Reagan’s dog whistle seemed out of tune. His secret messages surely baffled bigots.
Reagan signed into law the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. national holiday. He extended the Voting Rights Act of 1965 for 25 years and said in June 1982, “The right to vote is the crown jewel of American liberties, and we will not see its luster diminished.” He also named Colin Powell America’s first black national security advisor.
A vintage kinescope now on YouTube confirms that Ronald Reagan once broadcast from Harlem’s storied Apollo Theater. He interviewed jazz great Louis Jordan backstage in 1960, moments before the bandleader conducted his ensemble in “What a Difference a Day Makes.” The phenomenal Dinah Washington, Queen of the Blues, sings along.
One of the most noxious weeds in the liberal garden is the notion that Reagan hated gays — and lethally so. The Academy Award-nominated Philomena involves Reagan-era events. Its male lead says: “The Republicans cut funding into AIDS research because they blamed the epidemic on gay lifestyles.”
This lie is purer than distilled water.
Ronald Reagan launched federal AIDS spending. The $8 million initial federal outlay that Reagan signed in Fiscal Year 1982 more than quintupled to $44 million in FY 1983. That more than doubled to $103 million in FY 1984. Reagan’s final FY 1989 budget spent $2.32 billion on AIDS research and services. All told, Reagan approved $5.73 billion on AIDS — equal to $10.76 billion today. Reagan’s HIV/AIDS outlays increased annually, on average, 129 percent. For details, see Judith Johnson’s AIDS Funding for Federal Government Programs: FY1981-FY1999, (Congressional Research Service, 1998).
“The Reagans are also tolerant about homosexual men,” Robert G. Kaiser wrote in the March 18, 1984, Washington Post. “Their interior decorator, Ted Graber, who oversaw the redecoration of the White House, spent a night in the Reagans’ private White House quarters with his male lover, Archie Case, when they came to Washington for Nancy Reagan’s 60th birthday party.”
To recap: Reagan was so sexist that he named the first woman to the Supreme Court. He was so racist that he performed at the Apollo Theater and honored Martin Luther King with a national holiday. And he was so homophobic that he inaugurated federal AIDS research and hosted a gay couple for a White House sleep over.
Befouling Ronald Reagan and, by extension, conservatives is pivotal to the Left’s plans. So, liberals will repeat — and conservatives must refute — these easily pulverized lies about the 40th president of the United States.
Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News Contributor and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.