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Published on Feb 14, 2012
In 1981, a Georgetown professor, Jeane Kirkpatrick, remaining a Democrat, became Ronald Reagan's Ambassador to the United Nations. Reagan brought Kirkpatrick, as he did with many Democratic hawks who were dismayed with the dovish position of mainstream Democrats.
Kirkpatrick had worked closely with Hubert Humphrey and Scoop Jackson. As an increasingly influential public intellectual in the 1970s, she criticized not only what she saw as President Jimmy Carter's soft and naive stance on communism, but also the Nixon-Ford-Kissinger "detente" policy of accommodating to the Soviet expansion.
And so for the first time since 1952, the 1984 Republican National Convention chose a keynote speaker who was not a Republican. Kirkpatrick delivered a blistering speech, dealing exclusively with foreign policy. She was appealing to large segment of Reagan Democrats who were terrified Progressive and Democratic Establishment did not understand the mortal danger of the Soviet threat.
Kirkpatrick ran through a litany of recent foreign policy controversies: Grenada, Lebanon, the Soviet walk-out from arms negotiations, and Central America. On every topic, said Kirkpatrick, the San Francisco Democrats "always blame America first."
For example: "When Marxist dictators shoot their way into power in Central America, the San Francisco Democrats don't blame the guerrillas and their Soviet allies. They blame United States policies of one hundred years ago. But then they always blame America first."