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The 1980s: Rise of Conservatism

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  1. The 1980s: Rise of Conservatism And the birth of Mrs. Vandagriff 

  2. Election 1980 • Carter v Ronald Reagan • Ted Kennedy • Carter lacked management • Reagan wins big –neo-conservatism • Free market capitalism • Return to traditional values • laissez-faire economics • Strengthening white working class • Stemmed from disapproval of Great Society

  3. Reagan Revolution • The gov didn’t fix problems, it was the problem • Contain welfare state (highest political goal) • Reduce federal government – MAIN GOAL • Tax cuts, shrinking fed. budget • Boll weevils • Southern Dems in House who helped pass Reagan’s budget cuts

  4. Reagan Revolution • Supply-side economics • Reaganomics • Cut taxes 25% • Supported big business • Value of $ rose • Recession -1982 • Unemployment-11% • Carter’s anti-inflationary policies were actually to blame here

  5. Economic Legacy • Increasing taxes usually increased gov’t revenue • Reaganomics • Cut taxes=more money pumped into economy • Actually caused revenue hole $200 billion b/c of tax cuts and military spending • 2 trillion national debt • Most debt to foreign nations • Cut welfare state • Rich got richer and poor got poorer • Trickle down economics • Helping business would lead to $ trickling down to working class – DIDN’T WORK!!!

  6. Reagan Revolution • Yuppies • Young urban professionals • Materialism • Gap b/t rich and poor widened (1st time in 20th century) • Massive Military spending • Building up military • Federal deficit and debt rose (largest in history at that point) • US became world’s biggest borrower of money • Some believe this led to economic upturn

  7. Reagan and the Cold War • “Evil Empire” • Strategic Defense Initiative • Star Wars • Armed lasers in orbit to shoot Soviet missiles • Never built • Poland • Solidarity Movement • Downing of Korean plane w/ Am. on board

  8. Diplomatic Issues • Marine Barrack bombing • 200 Marines killed in Lebanon • Teflon President • Nicaragua • Controlled by communistic Sandinistas • Reagan feared they would try to take El Salvador • US supported rebel contras – freedom fighters • Granada • Invaded to“protect” Americans there but really to make sure communism wasn’t growing

  9. 1984 Election • Reagan v Walter Mondale • Geraldine Ferrero – 1st woman to be nominated for major party (VP candidate) • Reagan was popular • Strong economy • Wins easily

  10. More Diplomatic Issues • Mikhail Gorbachev –new Soviet leader • Got on rather well with Reagan • Glasnot – openness by Soviet gov’t • Perestroika – restructured Soviet economy • Free market oriented • INF Meeting • Cutting down on nuclear forces • Several meetings b/t US and Soviets before agreement was reached

  11. Iran-Contra Scandal • 2 BIG issues • Am. Were held hostage in Lebanon • Congress refused to allow aid to Contras • Scandal • US secretly sold weapons to Iran in exchange for their help in getting hostages in Lebanon released • Used arms money to send to the Contras • Congress didn’t know • Lt. Col. Oliver North went to jail over it • Lose-lose situation for Reagan (but he’s the Teflon President)

  12. Religious Right (New Right) • Moral Majority • Rev. Jerry Falwell • Powerful force in politics • Cultural/social issues • Televangelists • Advent of cable • Some scandal emerged – HILARIOUS • The Bakers • Just made Christians/religion look absurd

  13. Conservatism in the Courts • Reagan appointed several conservative justices • Sandra Day O’Connor • Affirmative Action setbacks • Abortion gets some restrictions • States given the right to make restrictions • Planned Parenthood v Casey

  14. Democrats push back • 1986 Midterm elections – Dems won the Senate • Iran Contra Scandal/savings & loan scandals gave Dems a shot at ‘88 election • 1987-Market crashed (Wall Street was out of control) • Dems vet their ’88 candidates • Gary Hart • Jesse Jackson • Michael Dukakis (Massachusetts governor)

  15. 1988 Election • Dukakis v George HW Bush • America was still doing relatively well • Dukakis was boring • Bush won easily • Americans wanted to continue with the conservative movement

  16. Communism is Crumbling • Tiananmen Square • Many pro-dem protestors killed • US maintains relations w/ China • Eastern Europe fighting back against communism • Berlin Wall came down -1989 • USSR broke apart -1991 • 15 new Russian Republics • Boris Yeltsin new ELECTED president • Ethnic hatred flared in former Soviet Republics • The Cold War was over!

  17. Communism is Crumbling • What to do with Soviet Nukes? • Bush and Yeltsin agree to reduce arms over 10 year period (diplomacy over weapons) • US foreign policy changed • Bush wanted a new world order “where democracy would reign supreme” • Apartheid ends in South Africa • Nelson Mandela • Sandinistas are removed in Nicaragua

  18. Persian Gulf War • Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait 1990 • Oil fields • Bush appealed to UN to use force to removed him • January 16, 1991- US led coalition began to fight Iraqis • Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf • Operation Desert Storm • Ground troops sent in (Feb) • Iraqis surrendered • Chose not to go into Baghdad for Saddam • Cease fire Feb 27

  19. Bush at Home • Americans with Disabilities Act • Appointed Clarence Thomas to Supreme Court • Opposed by NAACP b/c he was conservative • Sexual harassment charges • $250 billion deficit • Had to raise taxes • Blamed for mismanaging the slumping economy – not really his fault

  20. Clinton • Election 1992 • Bush v Bill Clinton • Ross Perot • Bush blamed for mismanaging a slumping economy • Clinton won • Record 55% of eligible voters voted • 1st Baby Boomer President

  21. Clinton’s Agenda -1st Term • Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell • Had to basically keep sexuality a secret while serving in the military • Reduced deficit • Brady Bill – gun control law • Banned assault weapons • Failed to reform Health Care • Hilary Clinton

  22. Clinton • 1994 midterm elections went Republican • Bob Dole led the way • Clinton had to reform welfare • He had to work in the MIDDLE! • Newt Gingrich – new Speaker of the House • ‘96 Election • Clinton defeated Bob Dole easily • Balanced budget but taxes were very high

  23. Clinton’s Agenda – 2nd Term • Unemployment – 4% • North American Free Trade Agreement • Stood up to labor unions • Free trade b/t Canada, US, Mexico • Campaign Finance Reform • Worked with John McCain • Didn’t quite achieve goal • Took on big tobacco and gun control

  24. Clinton’s “Issues” • Clinton investigated for wrongdoing in the Whitewater Land Corporation scandal • Investigation uncovered Clinton extra-marital affairs • Paula Jones • Monica Lewinsky • Republicans in the House brought impeachment charges against Clinton • Perjury (lying under oath) • Obstruction of justice

  25. Clinton’s “Issues” • Clinton impeached but acquitted in the Senate (aka – Superman) • Approval ratings for Clinton stayed high but most Americans agreed he was morally “flawed”