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One Hundred Conservative Victories

Saturday, April 1, 1989


November 4. Reagan Landslide. Political establishment shocked as Reagan carries all but five states and the District of Columbia, and Republicans take charge of Senate, gaining 12 seats. Defeat of George McGovern, Frank Church, Birch Bayh, Warren Magnuson, John Culver, and Gaylord Nelson represents victory for New Right groups such as NCPAC, who informed voters where these liberal senators really stood.

November 4. Landslide 11: Tax Revolt and Privatization. Massachusetts voters limit property taxes to 2.5 percent of assessed valuation, playing major role in Bay State boom over next five years. Voters in Los Angeles County, California, elect new Board of Supervisors that becomes pacesetter in privatization of municipal services.

November 7. Mandate from Heritage. Heritage Foundation's Mandate for Leadership presents incoming administration with over 2,000 specific proposals, as United Press International put it, for "grabbing the government by its frayed New Deal lapels and shaking out 48 years of liberal policies."

December 29. "Cuckolded by the Compassionate State." Publication of George Gilder's Wealth and Poverty explains supply-side economics and the conservative case against the welfare state to hundreds of thousands. Book is national best-seller and eventually sells 500,000 copies worldwide.


January 13. Radio Deregulation. FCC frees radio stations from several major regulations including specific maximum limits on commercials and minimum percentage requirements for news and public affairs programming.

January 20. Reagan Inauguration. Ronald Reagan takes presidential oath of office, announcing his intention to make government "work with us, not over us; stand by our side, not ride on our back."

January 28. Decontrol of Oil. Reagan lifts controls on production and allocation of oil. Petroleum prices then were $37 a barrel. In September 1988 they were $17.

February 5. 600-Ship Navy. John Lehman takes helm of Navy, instituting program for 600-ship fleet giving American forces capabilities in Indian Ocean they lacked during Iranian hostage crisis, and providing for forward defense "maritime strategy" to deter Soviet aggression by threat of attacks on Soviet naval assets.

February 17. Reform of Regulatory Process. President Reagan's Executive Order No. 12291 requires regulatory agencies to prove that the benefits of each new rule exceed costs, that they had sufficient information on which to base their proposal, and that they had chosen the least costly way of regulating.

March 30. Reagan Survives Assassin. Reagan forgets to duck but survives assassin's bullet; his grace under pain makes him a national hero.

July 1. Greenlining Inner Cities. Governor William A. O'Neill signs legislation making Connecticut the first of 25 states to designate enterprise zones promoting innercity business through lower taxes and reduced regulation.

July 29. Reagan Tax Victory. With 48 Democrats defecting, House approves Reagan's 3-year 25 percent personal income tax cut. Package includes accelerated depreciation allowances and investment tax credits, indexation of personal income taxes beginning in 1984, and individual retirement accounts for all taxpayers, thus laying groundwork for a private sector alternative to Social Security. An extraordinary economic boom follows implementation of final tax cut on January 1, 1983. Tax cut also transforms political dynamics of Washington by demolishing prospects of major new spending initiatives.

July 3l. Reagan Budget Victory. Congress approves reconciliation measure chopping $35 billion out of projected spending for fiscal year 1982. In only victory for federalism during Reagan administration, 57 categorical grant programs in health, education, and social services are consolidated into seven block grants.

August 3. Air Controllers Fired. Reagan fires 11,000 striking air controllers who refuse to meet his deadline to return to work. "Dammit, " he says, "the law is the law, and the law says they cannot strike. If they strike, they quit their jobs." Fifty-seven percent of Americans approve of Reagan's stand.

November 15. ABC Hires Will. Staunch anti-Communism and sympathy for agenda of social-issues conservatives begin to be heard on major television networks as ABC News brings George Will onto "This Week with David Brinkley."

December 8. Religion Allowed Back on Campus. Supreme Court, in Windmar v. Vincent, rules that religious student groups have the "free exercise" right to meet on publicly- owned university campuses. Equal Access Act, signed into law on August 11, 1984, provides same right to religious (and nonreligious) student groups meeting on public high school grounds after hours.


February 6. Sontag Says Conservatives Right about Communism. Literary critic Susan Sontag berates New York intellectual world for failure to understand that Communism is "the most successful variant of Fascism." Argues that subscribers to Reader's Digestlearn more about realities of Communism than readers of The Nation."Could it be that our enemies were right?"

February 19. Parental Control. Parents regain some control over moral education of their children as Reagan administration requires family planning clinics that receive federal funds to notify parents of children under 18 when they receive prescription contraceptive pills and devices.

April 23-25. Federalist Society. National symposium of conservative law students at Yale leads to founding of Federalist Society, a nationwide network of young conservative lawyers and law students.

May 17. Washington Times. First issue of Washington Times rolls off press, giving Washingtonians a conservative alternative to the Postthat often scoops its competition on major stories.

June 8. Westminster Address. Reagan, in address before British Parliament, calls for a National Endowment for Democracy and a world crusade for freedom. "The march of freedom and democracy," he prophesies, "will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash heap of history as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people."

June 30. Defeat of ERA. Equal Rights Amendment defeated when extended deadline passes with only 35 of needed 38 states ratifying. Victory for coalitions led by Phyllis Schlafly, who argued that political issues involving distinction between men and women-such as combat duty for women, the legal status of single-sex schools, or the laws governing divorce settlements-should be resolved by legislatures instead of courts. ERA supporters later lose battle to resurrect amendment when Vermont voters overwhelmingly reject state ERA on November 4, 1986.

August. Reagan Boom. Beginning of most sustained economic expansion in modern U.S. history, totally unpredicted by Keynesian economists, leads to generation of 18 million new jobs before Reagan leaves office.

October 20. Stigler Wins Nobel. George Stigler of University of Chicago wins Nobel Economics Prize for his seminal work on political economy of regulation, particularly the capture of regulatory agencies by industries they are supposed to regulate.


Taming of Inflation. Stagflation of 1970s disappears, as increase in consumer price index falls to 3.2 percent, down from 13.5 percent in 1980.

March 8. Evil Empire. Reagan calls Soviet Union an evil empire in speech before convention of National Association of Evangelicals. Also refers to American racism as "legacy of evil."

March 23. Strategic Defense Initiative. Reagan offers practical hope to the world that the miracles of modern electronics can lessen dangers of nuclear war. Bypassing Pentagon and State Department bureaucracies, his Strategic Defense Initiative forces major rethinking of the nature of deterrence and the best means of achieving arms control. SDI gives focus to previously uncoordinated research that may be able to protect America and its allies against Soviet nuclear arsenal without having to rely on mutual assured destruction and Soviet promises to comply with treaties.

April 23. "A Nation at Risk." Report to President Reagan by the National Commission on Excellence in Education calls national attention to the disastrous performance of American schools.

October25. Liberation of Grenada. United States liberates Grenada at request of eight neighboring Caribbean nations, preventing consolidation of Leninist government that would have become major Soviet base for destabilizing region. Three days later, rescued American medical students kiss U.S. soil. On December 3, 1984, Grenada holds free elections in which 90 percent of voters support candidates who approved of U.S. intervention.

December. NATO Survives Peacenik Offensive. Reagan's insistence on sticking by NATO commitments bears fruit as alliance survives arrival of first U.S. cruise missiles at England's Greenham Common air base, and first battery of Pershing IIs in West Germany. European leaders who stood with Reagan are supported by voters-Helmut Kohl elected on March 6, 1983, and Margaret Thatcher overwhelmingly reelected on June 9, 1983.


January 16. Grace Commission Report. Grace Commission releases 23,000-page report on government waste and inefficiency. Makes 2,478 recommendations that could save $424 billion over three years.

January 23. Soviet Treaty Violations Reported. First official report of Soviet violations of arms control treaties is presented to Congress by President Reagan.

February 21. Tribute to Chambers. Medal of Freedom awarded posthumously to Whittaker Chambers, witness to the threat of Communism in America.

June 12. Demise of Industrial Policy. Rhode Island voters reject by four to one a referendum to establish a state "industrial policy"--proving there is no political support for Gary Hart's major "new idea."

June 26. Aid to El Salvador. Seven weeks after free elections in El Salvador that congressional liberals insisted would never take place, Congress finally approves urgent supplemental aid to Salvadoran military, preventing country from falling to Communist guerrillas.

July 5. Exception to Exclusionary Rule. Supreme Court, in U.S. v. Leon, allows "good faith" exception to exclusionary rule letting even the most dangerous criminals go free when evidence against them has been obtained illegally. Such evidence can now be used in court if police had search warrant and thought they were acting legally.

July 11. Conservative Environmental Policy. A report by the President's Council on Environmental Quality demonstrates ecological benefits that would result from privatization of many federal lands.

August 20. "Blame America First." Jeane Kirkpatrick's "Blame America First" speech at GOP Convention accuses "San Francisco Democrats" of betraying foreign policy ideals of Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy and instead blaming America for crimes of Communists and terrorists.

September 27. Losing Ground. Publication of Charles Murray's Losing Ground dramatizes argument that hundreds of billions in Great Society spending have failed to improve the lot of America's poor.

October 12. Reagan Anti-Crime Bill. Reagan signs sweeping anti-crime legislation toughening federal provisions for bail, parole, and sentencing, and establishing forfeiture of assets used in commission of crime.

November 6. Reagan's Landslide Reelection. Ronald Reagan carries 49 states in landslide reelection, as Walter Mondale suffers most overwhelming defeat since Alf Landon and George McGovern. Unfortunately, Reagan's mandate for his second term is limited by themelessness of his campaign.

December 22. Support for SDI. Britain, later followed by West Germany, Japan, Israel, and Italy, announces it will cooperate with U.S. in strategic defense research.

December 31. Sunset for CAB. Civil Aeronautics Board goes out of business in accordance with airline deregulation legislation of 1978.


Alms Buildup. Americans in this supposed "Age of Greed" give $75 billion in charitable contributions, a 50 percent increase over 1980. By 1988, giving increases to $100 billion.

January 7. Soviet INF concessions. Reagan's refusal to panic when Soviets walk out of INF negotiations on November 23, 1983, leads to Soviet return to table to discuss the same U.S. proposal that triggered walkout.

February 6. Bennett's Bully Pulpit. Confirmation of Bill Bennett as Secretary of Education dramatically changes federal role in education. Reversing predecessors' goal of establishing centralized education bureaucracy in Washington, Bennett uses bully pulpit to press for improvement in moral and intellectual quality of school and university education.

March 17. New Leftists Recant. Washington Postpublishes article by former Rampartseditors and New Left leaders Peter Collier and David Horowitz confessing that anti-war movement was wrong to oppose the struggle against Communism in Vietnam.

Spring, Challenge to Civil Rights Orthodoxy. In "The Moral Quandary of the Black Community," published in the Public Interest, Harvard economist Glenn Loury challenges black leadership to move beyond crusade against lingering racism and address real problems facing large sections of black community: family breakdown, high crime rates, disdain for education.

May 20. Radio Free Cuba. U.S. begins 14.5 hours of daily broadcasting on Radio Marti to "promote the cause of freedom in Cuba."

June 29. B-1 Bomber. First B-1 bomber comes off production line, four years after Reagan reverses Carter's decision to cancel system. Production means U.S. deterrent forces will have bomber capable of penetrating Soviet air defenses from mid-1980s until mid-1990s when Stealth bomber becomes operational.

July 9. Meese's "Original Intent" Speech. Attorney General Edwin Meese brings meaning of the Constitution to center stage of national debate. His call for a 'Jurisprudence of Original Intent," in speech before American Bar Association, later draws admissions from Supreme Court Justices Brennan and Marshall that they disregard intent of Framers in their own constitutional interpretations.

July 10. Repeal of Clark Amendment. Clark Amendment barring U.S. aid to Jonas Savimbi's freedom fighters in Angola is repealed over protest of State Department. Stage set for Savimbi's meeting with Reagan on January 30, 1986, and for administration decision on February 18, 1986, to supply UNITA with $15 million in aid, including Stingers.

August 1. Defunding Forced Abortions. Congress denies foreign aid funds to any group that supports or participates in management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.

December 11. Gramm-Rudman. Ted Kennedy and 60 other senators vote for Gramm-Rudman-Hollings bill committing Congress to a balanced budget by fiscal year 1991, with ever-declining deficits each year along the way.

December 30. Pullout from UNESCO. U.S., followed by Britain and Singapore, withdraws from UNESCO, setting the United Nations on notice that American taxpayers will no longer foot bills for gross mismanagement or programs that undermine basic freedoms.


January 25. CBS Sees Light on Poverty. Conservative wisdom on poverty becomes conventional wisdom as Bill Moyers' report on CBS, "The Vanishing Family: Crisis in Black America," blames breakdown of families for persistence of poverty in inner cities.

February 25. Stingers to Mujahideen. Over initial opposition of CIA, Pentagon, and State Department, Reagan administration agrees to supply Afghan freedom fighters with Stinger anti-aircraft missiles.

February 25. Reagan and Aquino. Reagan's encouragement of a peaceful transfer of power from Ferdinand Marcos to a democratically elected, non-Communist government in Philippines contrasts dramatically with Carter's failure to insist on legitimate succession procedure in Shah's Iran and Somoza's Nicaragua.

March 7. Soviet Spies Ejected. Over opposition of State Department, United States orders Soviet Union to reduce number of "diplomats" at its United Nations mission from 275 to 170, and later identifies 25 Soviet spies who must be included in group to leave.

April 14. Attack on Libya. Terrorism banished from Mediterranean and Europe for four months, as U.S. attacks five Libyan targets near Tripoli and Benghazi in retaliation for Qadhafi's involvement in series of terrorist attacks. Almost 70 percent of Americans approve of action.

May 27. Reagan Renounces SALT. In view of seven major violations by the Soviet Union, Reagan announces U.S. will no longer abide by nuclear weapons limits of SALT I and the never-ratified SALT II. Instead decisions about U.S. deterrent forces will be based on assessment of Soviet nuclear threat.

June 3. Popular Support for Tort Reform. Californians vote in Proposition 51 to abolish joint and several liability for noneconomic damages, ensuring that defendants with "deep pockets" are liable for damages only in proportion to their actual responsibility for the harm. Referendum shows popular dissatisfaction with outrageous awards for civil suits and gives boost to tort reform movement sweeping state legislatures.

June 12. Reagan judiciary. Confirmation of Stephen Williams as judge on U.S. Appeals Court for D.C. Circuit, added to earlier confirmations of Robert Bork, Kenneth Starr, Laurence Silberman, James Buckley, and Antonin Scalia (later replaced by Douglas Ginsburg), gives conservatives a majority on nation's second most important court, formerly the bastion of liberal judicial activism.

June 25. Aid to Contras. House repeals Boland Amendment as it belatedly votes 221 to 209 to provide $100 million in aid to Nicaragua's Contras, the only policy, short of direct U.S. intervention, that can keep Central American Communists on defensive and thus buy time for fragile democracies of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, as well as troubled economy of Mexico: the only policy, therefore, that can keep American boys out of a Central American war.

June 30. No Right to Sodomy. Supreme Court in Bowers v. Hardwick finds no constitutional right to sodomy in due process clause for 14th Amendment or in penumbras and emanations of any other amendment. The same logic, if extended to abortion, would invalidate reasoning of Roe v. Wade.

August 6. Veto of Jenkins Bill. World trade war averted, at least temporarily, as Congress fails to override Reagan's veto of Jenkins Bill, which would have further limited textile imports.

August 25. Feminists Rediscover Family. Betty Friedan, in The Second Stage,calls on feminist movement to move away from hostility to motherhood and family.

September 17. Rehnquist/Scalia Confirmation. Senate confirms William Rehnquist as Chief Justice and Antonin Scalia as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, bringing a concentration of intellectual rigor back to nation's highest court for first time in a generation, and leaving a conservative legacy that will long outlive the Reagan administration.

September 20. Democrats Change Foreign Policy? Democratic Policy Commission, an official arm of Democratic Party, issues foreign policy statement calling Soviet Union "the greatest threat to world peace and freedom" and supporting military aid for "democratic elements" struggling against Soviets.

October 17. Nobel for Buchanan. James Buchanan, the seminal developer of Public Choice theory along with Gordon Tullock, wins Nobel Prize for Economics.

October 22. Reagan's Second Tax Victory. Reagan achieves his number one domestic priority for second term as he signs tax reform bill lowering top marginal income tax rates to 28 percent by 1988. Victory represents remarkable coalition between conservatives who wanted lower rates and liberals who wanted fewer "loopholes." Result is that work and investment decisions will henceforth be based more on real economic calculations than on tax advantages.

November 4. Rose Bird Ousted. Californians vote two to one to remove Chief Justice Rose Bird and two other state Supreme Court justices because of their cavalier disregard for the Constitution in death penalty cases and their overt partisanship in reapportionment cases.


January 8. Dow Breaks 2,000. Wall Street gives its verdict on Reaganomics as Dow Jones stock market index breaks 2,000 one week after '86 tax cuts go into effect. Despite crash of October 1987, by early 1989 Dow Jones Index is three times its level of 1980, though still lower in inflation adjusted terms than in 1973.

March 26. Sale of Conrail. Seventeen years after the bankruptcy of Penn Central, and seven years after railroad deregulation permits return of profitability in railroad industry, U.S. government sells its 85 percent share in Conrail for $1.65 billion, one of the largest public stock offerings in Wall Street history.

April 2. Bloom Opens Minds. Publication of Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind,which echoes Bill Bennett's critique of the moral and intellectual emptiness of American education. Becomes best-selling book of mid-1987.

May 8. New Welfare Consensus. American Enterprise Institute working seminar of liberals and conservatives issues consensus statement on welfare policy: The way to move out of poverty is to finish high school, get married and stay married, and take (and keep) a job.

June 9. Takings Clause Applied to Land-Use Regulation. Supreme Court, in First English Evangelical Lutheran Church of Glendale v. County of Los Angeles,rules that property owners are entitled to compensation for government regulations that deprive them of reasonable use of their land.

June 12. "Tear Down the Wall." Reagan calls on General Secretary Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall if he's really serious about glasnost.

July 7. North Stops Congressional Coup d'Etat. Ollie North becomes national hero with his testimony in Iran/Contra hearings, preventing congressional Democrats from using hearings to permanently discredit Reagan presidency as Watergate discredited Nixon.

August 4. Repeal of Fairness Doctrine. Recognizing that competition in programming is best guarantee of diversity, FCC repeals "Fairness Doctrine" requiring TV and radio broadcasters to give equal time to opposing points of view, a rule that unintentionally stifled the expression of controversial viewpoints.

December 21. Tenant Management. Both houses of Congress pass legislation enabling public housing projects to sell their units to tenants, turning federal dependents into property owners. First such sale takes place at Kenilworth-Parkside project in Washington, D.C., October 25, 1988.


February 3. Kennedy Confirmation. After its disgraceful treatment of Robert Bork, Senate unanimously confirms Anthony Kennedy as Supreme Court Justice, bringing to the bench a jurist who apparently shares Bork's views of constitutional interpretation.

March 10. Cuba Investigated. Tough Reagan diplomacy and persistent U.S. attacks on the United Nations' double standard pay off, as U.N. Human Rights Commission agrees to investigate charges of human-rights violations by Cuba.

March 18. Privatization Report. Report of President Reagan's Commission on Privatization recommends transfer to private sector of Postal Service, Federal National Mortgage Association, Amtrak, and Naval Petroleum Reserves, as well as contracting out of many government services and much greater use of vouchers in education, health care, and low-income housing.

May 31. Reagan at Moscow State. Under statue of Lenin, President Reagan gives the most ringing defense of liberty ever publicly spoken in Soviet Union.

July 12. Dukakis Picks Bentsen. Recognizing that embracing the Left is the road to electoral ruin, Democratic presidential nominee picks centrist Texan as running mate and keeps distance from his own ideology at his party convention.

July 13. UDAGs Eliminated. Senate follows House in approving budget bill without Urban Development Action Grants, a costly federal subsidy for hoteliers and urban shopping mall developers.

August 18. Bush Nomination. George Bush runs on conservative GOP platform as he accepts party's nomination for president. Also signals with his choice of Dan Quayle as running mate his goal of forging coalition between conservative movement and Republican establishment.

October 5. Plebiscite in Chile. Chile holds peaceful plebiscite on presidency of General Pinochet, another important milestone in remarkable democratization of Latin America. Nine Latin countries become democracies during Reagan years, and Mexico enjoys its most open electoral contest in generations.

October 12. Military Base Closings. Both Houses of Congress pass bill proposed by Representative Dick Armey to bypass pork-barrel politics by setting up independent panel to recommend closing of obsolete military bases.

November 8. Bush Victory. Bush wins 40 states and 54 percent of the vote in impressive presidential victory that consolidates Reagan revolution in executive branch.

November 8. Abortion Referenda. Voters in Michigan and Arkansas pass laws banning public funding of abortion, while those in Colorado sustain similar existing law.

November 17. Sununu White House. President-elect Bush picks conservative, John Sununu, as chief of staff.

December 7. Possible Soviet Troop Reductions. Reagan's defense buildup begins to make Soviets potentially less aggressive, as General Secretary Gorbachev announces plans to demobilize 500,000 Soviet troops and 10,000 tanks by January 1991.

December 19. Kemp at HUD. Department of Housing and Urban Development becomes laboratory for innovative conservative ideas on homelessness and urban decay with nomination of Jack Kemp as Secretary.

December 31. U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement. Canada's Parliament passes Free Trade Agreement signed by Reagan on September 28, 1988, after overwhelming passage in both houses of Congress. FTA will provide major economic benefits for both U.S. and Canada, and is model for similar agreements with other trading partners.


January 4. Mandate III. Heritage Foundation's Mandate for Leadership IIIoffers 927 pages of policy recommendations for incoming Bush administration, as well as analyses of how to overcome institutional constraints on reform.

January 9. Reagan's Final Budget. Reagan's budget for fiscal year 1990 meets Gramm-Rudman-Hollings deficit targets without either tax increase or cut in defense spending, and becomes model for similar budget proposal by President Bush on February 9.

January 12 Bennett's New Bully Pulpit. Bush nominates William J. Bennett as drug czar.

February 15. Pullout from Afghanistan. Soviets apparently complete military withdrawal from Afghanistan, the first Soviet military retreat since departure from Austria in 1955. A major victory for Reagan Doctrine of providing aid for anti-Communist resistance forces.

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