Historian Rick Perlstein recently turned up a gem from the November 3, 1978 issue of the Spokane Daily Chronicle (I assume it was syndicated) and linked to it on his Facebook page. In this article Ronald Reagan, two years before he became President of the United States, opposed a California ban on smoking and a ban on teachers who advocate homosexuality.
Liberals will use this article, as they should, to show that Reagan was more willing to defend the rights of homosexuals than many of the Republicans who claim his legacy today.
But whatever one’s position on these issues, it is also worth noting that this article shows that Reagan seemed to have a handle on matters of public policy and was capable of making a rational argument in print (assuming he wrote it) consistent with his libertarian ideals. Would our current Republican presumptive nominee be able to make such an argument in this reasoned way? Or better yet, would he even be interested in engaging with policy this way?