Republicans and Right-Wingers have a rich history of supporting a policy for decades and then opposing the very same program. In this article we explore just a few of the major flip flops of the GOP since President Obama took office.
Abortion: Believe it or not there have always been many pro-choice Republicans out there. Ironically enough, June 14, 1967, Ronald Reagan signed the Therapeutic Abortion Act, after only six months as California governor. From a total of 518 legal abortions in California in 1967, the number of abortions would soar to an annual average of 100,000 in the remaining years of Reagan’s two terms — more abortions than in any U.S. state prior to Roe v. Wade.
Automobile Industry: Republicans initially supported the bailout of the automobile industry as it supports literally millions of American jobs, but once President Obama called for it they backed down, hoping it would fail so they could use it as a campaign issue against Obama. Who can forget Mitt Romney’s now infamous flip-flop on the issue wherein he went from “Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check.” Source to “I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry’s come back.” Source
Cap and Trade: You might remember that Ronald Reagan first conceived of the concept of cap and trade, George H.W. Bush signed the very first cap and trade legislation back in 1990 and George W. Bush gave it his full support. Now Republicans oppose cap and trade as big oil and coal companies along with
other special interests have spent hundreds millions of dollars over the past two years to convince legislators, politicians, and citizens to oppose cap and trade and other measures that would create jobs, cut oil use, and reduce pollution. Center for American Progress Action Fund analyses find that these interests spent at least $68 million in 2010 alone to air misleading and fictitious ads on global warming and have spent literally hundreds of millions of dollars to lobby Congress to oppose clean energy and global warming legislation.
Child Labor: Republicans were once part of the initial movement to create child labor laws back in 1852, even trying to pass a Constitutional amendment in 1924. Democrats were finally successful in getting the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 passed which established the minimum wage and place limitations on the use of “oppressive child labor,” as defined in the statute. Republicans are now opposed to child labor protections as part of their overall support of corporations. You might recall Newt Gingrich referring to child labor laws as “truly stupid” during his unsuccessful campaign last year for the party nomination as President. Source
Civil Rights: Republicans once championed civil rights ending slavery, adopting the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments and it was even a Republican led Supreme Court that ruled in Brown vs. Board of Education, the landmark casing ending school segregation. The Republican party eventually splintered over the Civil Right Act of 1964 and have increasingly opposed civil rights protections ever since.
Deficit Spending: Republican have used deficit spending going back to Ronald Reagan who doubled the national dept and George W. Bush who doubled it again. With Democrat control of the Presidency and Congress, Republicans have done a complete reversal on the matter.
The Dream Act: Immigration reform has been supported by Republicans for decades, with Reagan granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants in the 1980′s. Both George W. Bush and John McCain pushed for immigration reform, even being willing to work with Edward Kennedy on the matter. Since Obama’s election in 2008, Republicans have turned their backs on immigration reform, choosing instead to favor militarizing the border and closing any compromise on immigrants, illegal or otherwise. Most recently, and in the wake of President Barack Obama’s administration announcement that they will stop deporting and start granting work permits to young illegal immigrants, Lionel Sosa, a former top Reagan advisor on Hispanic outreach, told Business Insider that Romney will need to “moderate his immigration position to win the election.”
“He is going to have to moderate his position, and he’s going to have to do it sooner rather than later. He had to moderate his position to win the [Republican] nomination. Now he needs to moderate it to win the election.” Source
Public Education: Education is interesting in that Republicans have managed to do a double flip flop on this one. Back in 1964 Barry Goldwater and the conservative movement were against any kind of federal aid to education of any kind. As time progressed conservative voters came around to supporting federal aid in the form of programs such as college loans and aid for handicapped students. By 1981 both President Reagan and Senator Goldwater had flip flopped and no longer opposed such funding, but still were attempting to shut down the Department of Education as part of a wider reaching goal of removing what was perceived by them as unnecessary intrusions into state’s rights. The administration of George W. Bush first proposed the No Child Left Behind Act immediately after he took office and the bill was passed with bipartisan support in Congress. For nearly a generation there has been bipartisan agreement that the federal government has a vital role in public education, primarily in the form of federal funds which compel states to raise academic standards. Fast forward to modern times and the Republicans have done yet another about face and are now pushing to weaken education, particularly public education, by promoting vouchers, charter schools and other forms of privatization now believing that education responsibilities should revert to states and local school districts to sort out their own problems. Among other things, Republicans are viewing students as statistics now – in terms of cost. Mitt Romney, who ran for president in 2008 supporting the No Child Left Behind Act, has now flip flopped yet again himself stating “We need to get the federal government out of education.” The New York Times hit the nail on the head last year in reporting:
” The question is whether states and local districts, without Washington’s various carrots and sticks, will continue to raise academic standards and give equal opportunity to traditionally ignored student populations.
“People want government money, they want higher standards, they want greater accountability,” said Chester E. Finn Jr., president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative-leaning education policy group, who was an education official in the Reagan administration. “None of those things in most places comes from local control.” Source