My New Republic article on 1976 Republican platform unavailable at Republican Party headquarters after the convention.reagan
“Going into the convention, Ford had won more primary delegates than Reagan, as well as plurality in popular vote. However, Ford did not have enough to secure the nomination, and as the convention opened both candidates were seen as having a chance to win. Because of this, both Ford and Reagan arrived in Kansas City before the convention opened to woo the remaining uncommitted delegates in an effort to secure the nomination. Reagan benefited from his highly committed delegates, notably ‘Reagan’s Raiders’ of the Texas delegation. They and other conservative Western and Southern delegates particularly faulted the Ford Administration’s foreign policy of détente towards the Soviet Union, criticizing his signing of the Helsinki Accords and indirectly blaming him for the April 1975 Fall of Saigon. The pro-Reagan Texas delegates worked hard to persuade delegates from other states to support Reagan. Ford, meanwhile, used all of the perks and patronage of the Presidency to win over wavering delegates, including trips aboard Air Force One and personal meetings with the President himself.
The Richard Schweiker gambit and the search for an alternative
Reagan had promised, if nominated, to name Senator Richard Schweiker of Pennsylvania as his running mate, in a bid to attract liberals and centrists in the party. This move backfired, however, as many conservatives (such as Senator Jesse Helms) were infuriated by Reagan’s choice of the ‘liberal’ Schweiker, while few moderate delegates switched to Reagan. Helms promptly began a movement to draft Conservative Senator James L. Buckley of New York as the presidential nominee.
Platform and rules votes
“The key vote of the convention occurred when Reagan’s managers proposed a rules change that would have required Ford to publicly announce his running mate before the presidential balloting. Reagan’s managers hoped that when Ford announced his choice for vice-president, it would anger one of the two factions of the party and thus help Reagan. Ford’s supporters derisively described the proposed rules change as the ‘misery loves company’ amendment.The proposed rules change was defeated by a vote of 1180 to 1069, and Ford gained the momentum he needed to win the nomination. The balloting for president was still close, however, as Ford won the nomination with 1187 votes to 1070 votes for Reagan (and one for Elliot L. Richardson of Massachusetts).
“Conservatives succeeded in inserting several key planks into the party platform, some of which were implicitly critical of the President’s own policies. Reagan and North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms successfully had a ‘moral foreign policy’plank inserted. In light of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, the 1976 Republican platform became the first to advocate a Human Life Amendment to the Constitution.”
Unrelated but certainly bizarre, on the plane back from the 1976 Kansas City convention Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz sat next to Pat “Love Letters in the Sand” Boone:
“Rolling Stone sent former White House Counsel John Dean, who had just gotten out of prison for his role in Watergate, to cover the 1976 Republican National Convention in Kansas City. In the piece, he recounted a joke Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz told him: “I’ll tell you what coloreds want,” Butz said. “It’s three things: first,….
[Blog note: This is a children friendly site deleting expletives. If you want to read the obscenities Butz uttered read my well-indexed book or Rolling Stone. The New York Times made the editorial decision that the Secretary of Agriculture’s words were not fit to print.]
Read more: http://www.rollingstonee.com/music/pictures/rolling-stones-biggest-scoops-exposes-and-controversies-2-aa-624/earl-butz-mouths-off-14569028#ixzz3fHvSQJm1
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