The more I learn about Reagan’s political history, the more I realize how the Republican party continues to fight the same internal battles that were going on when the Gipper first came to prominence. In February 1966, liberal Republican senator Thomas Kuchel came out in support of Reagan’s primary opponent George Christopher.
Kuchel stated at a news conference Christopher is an outstanding candidate who represents the traditional progressive viewpoint of the Republican Party.“[Christopher] was progressive,” said Kuchel. “He demonstrated a keen interest in health and welfare problems. He supported the rapid transit program.
It surely will not escape the keen reader’s attention that Kuchel’s verbiage and favored policies could be applied to today’s Obama campaign (e.g., progressive, rapid transit/high speed rail, health/Obamacare, etc.) What is perhaps more relevant for us as the actual voting for the 2012 primary begins in Iowa, is what Reagan himself had to say about this whole business of primary endorsements and intra-party mudslinging:
Our primary election is a valuable and integral part of the political system. With this, of course, there is the right and indeed the responsibility of party members to make their own personal choices. The candidate and his supporters must conduct themselves in a manner which engenders no bitterness so that the nominee who heads the ticket will have united backing. This is the way I intend to conduct this campaign.