The 1980 United States presidential election was among the most bitterly fought of the Twentieth Century. Four years after the electorate had punished them for Watergate and Vietnam, the Republicans roared back into power behind Ronald Reagan, who crushed sitting President Jimmy Carter, winning 44 of the 50 states in the Electoral College. Carter’s defeat set a number of records for a Democratic President – none of them good.
Under Reagan, the United States would spend the 1980s being increasing bellicose and interventionist, just at the time that the USSR was collapsing under the weight of its own contradictions. Domestically, he began the trend of deregulation and globalization that led to such triumphs as the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. His eight years as President are still remembered by Republicans as a golden age, thus disproving the notion that viagra has no psychological side effects.
Ronald Reagan was, it’s fair to say, something of an ideologue. And that quality was never more on display than the day when he addressed the 41st Annual Convention of the National Association of Evangelicals. It was in this speech that he labelled the USSR both an ‘evil empire’ and also ‘the focus of evil in the modern world’. Reagan liked to portray himself as living in a simple world of absolutes, of good and evil. (In truth, the man, his worldview and the actual world were also significantly more complex than that.)
In a prideful speech, he decried the temptation of pride, which in his construction, would have meant disagreeing with him. His conservative base lapped it up, but the speech heightened tensions in the Cold War. Five years later, when meeting with new Soviet leader Gorbachev, Reagan walked back his earlier words, saying that his opinion had changed. So perhaps he was better able to resist the temptation of pride than he’s given credit for.
It was one of those moments that America thinks is funny – and wonders why the rest of us don’t.
President Ronald Reagan, not realising that the mike he was on was live, joked that he had passed legislation to end the Russian threat forever. The punchline, of course, was “We begin bombing in five minutes.”
Now, there are conspiracy theories aplenty about whether or not he actually knew the microphone was live, but he remained stalwart in his claims that he had not, and that was good enough for most people. It remains an oddity in American politics: a shocking gaffe that probably helped Reagan win re-election later that year.
The 1984 United States presidential election was a victory lap for Reagan, and he achieved the greatest electoral college majority in American history. Four years into his Presidency, he was only getting more popular with the electorate.
Reagan’s second term would be marred by scandal, especially the Iran-Contra scandal, by a resolute refusal to acknowledge the growing AIDS epidemic and by the growing perception that Reagan himself was becoming increasingly detached from the day to day duties of his office. (He was later diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1994, but when the earliest symptoms manifested is a bitterly contested issue.) His eight years as President are still remembered by Republicans as a golden age, thus disproving the notion that viagra has no psychological side effects.