President of the U.S., 1981-1989; Republican Governor (CA)
1987: Vetoed $87.5B earmark-laden highway bill
That spring found President Reagan weakened by the Iran-Contra scandal and wanting to demonstrate his continued clout and relevance. To this end, he vetoed what seemed to some conservatives as an excessively expensive and earmark-laden
$87.5 billion highway bill. Support for the bill was strong in Kentucky, so McConnell resisted Reagan's intense personal lobbying and voted with 12 other Republicans to override the veto, which was done by a margin of 1.
Again, he took solace from the fact that in a Democratic state like KY such occasional displays of independence
from his party and its then-embattled leader would not hurt him politically.
Doubled Pentagon MANTECH manufacturing technology program
One major Pentagon program of the 1970s, MANTECH (manufacturing technology), doubled its outlays as Reagan took over. One of its tasks was to design the "factory of the future," integrating computer technology and automation in production and design and
developing flexible manufacturing technology and management efficiency, in an effort to catch up with Europe and Japan. The goal was to boost the market share and industrial leadership of US industry in the traditional way, through state initiative and
taxpayer funding. There was also a side benefit: the factory of the future could be designed to control the workforce. Automation and computer-controlled machine tools were developed in the public sector for a long period, then finally handed over to
private industry. Within the state sector the technology was designed in a specific way: to de-skill workers and enhance management control. That choice was not inherent in the technology and does not appear to have become more profitable.
Abolished "Fairness Doctrine" requiring balanced talk radio
Liberals are itching to bring back the "Fairness Doctrine" to destroy talk radio and invoke campaign finance laws to restrict speech on the Internet.
Consider that the first small breach in the liberal media behemoth
came about only because Ronald Reagan's FCC repealed the "Fairness Doctrine" in 1987. The Rush Limbaugh show premiered on August 1, 1988.
By mandating that any political views disseminated over the radio be counterbalanced by the opposing view,
the "Fairness Doctrine" not only requires radio stations to give boring crackpots airtime, it also creates a conceptual and administrative nightmare. Reimplementation of the "Fairness Doctrine" spells the end of talk radio.
So naturally Democrats are
itching to bring it back! Democrats have already passed two bills reinstating the "Fairness Doctrine" since its merciful repeal--both vetoed, by Republican presidents Reagan and George W. Bush.
We're emerging from the economy of the Industrial Revolution--an economy confined to & limited by the Earth's physical resources--into an era in which there are no bounds on human imagination & the freedom to create is the most precious natural resource.
Think of that little computer chip. Its value isn't in the sand from which it is made, but in the microscopic architecture designed into it by ingenious human minds. Or take the satellite relaying this broadcast around the world, which replaces
thousands of tons of copper. In the new economy, human invention increasingly makes physical resources obsolete. We're breaking through the material conditions of existence to a world where man creates his own destiny. Even as we explore the most
advanced reaches of science, we're returning to the age-old wisdom contained in the book of Genesis in the Bible: In the beginning was the spirit, and it was from this spirit that the material abundance of creation was issued forth.
1986: Postponed state-of-the-union for Challenger disaster
The State of the Union Address was replaced by an announcement about the Challenger disaster, Washington DC, USA 5pm EST, Tuesday 28 January 1986. Ronald Reagan said, "The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us in the manner in which they lived
their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and `slipped the surly bonds of earth' to `touch the face of God'." The
Challenger space shuttle disaster exploded over the Atlantic Ocean. All seven crew members died. On the night of the disaster, President Reagan had been scheduled to give his annual State of the Union Address. The Address was postponed and, instead, he
gave a broadcast on the Challenger disaster from the White House. It expresses loss and hope: "For the families of the seven: we cannot bear, as you do, the full impact of this tragedy. But we feel the loss, and we're thinking about you so very much."
To build on America's pioneer spirit, [we should focus on] our next frontier: space. Nowhere do we so effectively demonstrate our technological leadership and ability to make life better on Earth. The Space Age is barely a quarter of a century old.
But already we've pushed civilization forward with our advances in science and technology.
America has always been greatest when we dared to be great. We can reach for greatness again. We can follow our dreams to distant stars, living and working in
space for peaceful, economic, and scientific gain. Tonight, I am directing NASA to develop a permanently manned space station and to do it within a decade.
A space station will permit quantum leaps in our research in science, communications,
in metals, and in lifesaving medicines which could be manufactured only in space. We want our friends to help us meet these challenges and share in their benefits. NASA will invite other countries to participate.