The Great Compromiser
By: Jacob Schley
The 1980`s were a very pivotal time due the fact of all adversity the United States faced during the 1970`s with the likes of the Watergate scandal, the Vietnam War, uncertainty in the Middle East and an economic crisis at home had caused to Americans to lose confidence in their fellow citizens and in their government. The ideal dreams of the 1960s were broken down by inflation, foreign policy issues and rising crime. In response, many Americans embraced a new conservative view in social, economic and political life during the 1980s, characterized by the policies of President Ronald Reagan. The populist conservative movement known as the New Right saw an increase in membership in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It appealed to evangelical Christians; anti-tax protesters; advocates of deregulation and smaller markets. This ideal was created by a geographical shift from the Midwest to the Southeast, Southwest and California which was known as the Sunbelt.
The 97th Congress was a Democratic-controlled House, led by Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill, and a Senate held by Republicans who for the first time since 1953, controlled a chamber of Congress. For six out of his eight years, Reagan had to work with a divided Congress and yet he is considered a very successful president in terms of his legislation. Reagan saw it was important to develop an effective working relationship with his opposition in the legislature. Reagan was able to executive his plan of an effective working relationship with his opposition on July 29, 1981, less than six months after Reagan took office, a strong coalition in the House passed one of the largest tax cuts in American history, the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981. This showed Reagan had the ability and wiliness of compromise. Reagan would use his excellent skills as a communicator by making repeated televised appeals to Congress and the American people. Another skill Reagan used was he used the military sympathy in one of his most famous legislation involved boosting America’s military and financing it against the USSR. Any politician who failed to support this could be seen as being easy on communism when the Cold War was certainly around and the fear of the USSR was a legitimate threat. Reagan was very successful in implementing his Foreign policy due to the fact similar to his military funding bill, it would be seen as “Un-American to go against and argue a military issues and national security. The biggest obstacle with getting all the legislation he did past was Tip O’Neil. Reagan and O’Neil actually were friendly to each other outside of their jobs but inside the house it was strictly business. Tip O`Neil was very stern and harsh on the…