The Instigator
Pro (for)
4 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
14 Points

Ronald Reagan was the best president in the 20th Century.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/8/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,192 times Debate No: 33466
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (3)




Ronald Reagan accomplished many things in is two terms. Domestically, he curbed Carter's enormous inflation. He also cut taxes drastically, which spurred business. In foreign policy, he brought the Russians to their knees, and fought the spread of communism. He also rebuilt America. Their military, their prestige, and most importantly, their morale. America had been humiliated by Vietnam and the hostage crisis.

Most people would say FDR was the best president of the 20th Century. However, this is wrong. FDR hurt the recovery from the depression, not helped it. He did do a superb job during WW2, but he created the Cold War because he gave the Soviets half of Europe. Reagan had to clean up his mess 40 years later.


1. Reagan cut taxes for the Rich, increased taxes on the Middle Class -

Ronald Reagan is loved by conservatives and was loved by big business throughout his presidency and there's a reason for it. When Reagan came into office in January of 1981, the top tax rate was 70%, but when he left office in 1989 the top tax rate was down to only 28%. As Reagan gave the breaks to all his rich friends, there was a lack of revenue coming into the federal government. In order to bring money back into the government, Reagan was forced to raise taxes eleven times throughout his time in office. One example was when he signed into law the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982. Reagan raised taxes seven of the eight years he was in office and the tax increases were felt hardest by the lower and middle class.

2. Tripling the National Debt "

As Reagan cut taxes for the wealthy, the government was left with less money to spend. When Reagan came into office the national debt was $900 billion, by the time he left the national debt had tripled to $2.8 trillion.

3. Iran/Contra "

In 1986, a group of Americans were being held hostage by a terrorist group with ties to Iran. In an attempt to free the hostages, Ronald Reagan secretly sold arms and money to Iran. Much of the money that was received from the trade went to fund the Nicaragua Contra rebels who were in a war with the Sandinista government of Nicaragua. When the scandal broke in the Untied States it became the biggest story in the country, Reagan tried to down play what happened, but never fully recovered.

4. Reagan funded Terrorists "

The attacks on 9/11 by al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden brought new attention to international terrorism. All of a sudden, Americans coast to coast wore their American flag pins, ate their freedom fries and couldn't wait to go to war with anyone who looked like a Muslim. What Americans didn't realize was that the same group that attacked the United States on 9/11 was funded by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. Prepping for a possible war with the Soviet Union, Ronald Reagan spent billions of dollars funding the Islamist mujahidin Freedom Fighters in Afghanistan. With billions of American dollars, weapons and training coming their way, the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden took everything they were given and gave it back to the United States over a decade later in the worst possible way imaginable.

5. Unemployment issues "

When Ronald Reagan came into office 1981, unemployment was at 7.5%. After Reagan cut taxes for the wealthy, he began raising taxes on the middle and lower class. Corporations started to ship more jobs out of the United States while hiring cheap foreign labor in order to make a bigger profit. While corporations made billions, Americans across the country lost their jobs. As 1982 came to a close, unemployment was nearly 11%. Unemployment began to drop as the years went on, but the jobs that were created were low paying and barely helped people make ends meet. The middle and lower class had their wages nearly frozen as the top earners saw dramatic increases in salary.

6. Ignoring AIDS "

By the time the 1980s came around, AIDS had become one of the most frightening things to happen to the country in recent memory. No one understood what AIDS and HIV really was and when people don't understand something, they become scared of it. The fear of the unknown was sweeping across the country and Americans needed a leader to speak out about this horrible virus, that leader never came. Instead of grabbing the bull by the horns and taking charge, Reagan kept quiet. Reagan couldn't say the words AIDS or HIV until seven years into his presidency, a leader not so much.

7. Reagan gave amnesty to 3 million Undocumented Immigrants "

In today's GOP, the idea of any immigrant staying in the United States whether they are legal or illegal isn't something that conservatives embrace. What might shock them is that in 1982 Ronald Reagan gave nearly 3 million undocumented workers amnesty. The biggest reason for undocumented workers coming to the United States is because corporations hire them at a cheaper rate than they would an American citizen. All the laws that would have cracked down on companies who hire undocumented workers were, of course, removed from the bill.

8. His attack on Unions and the Middle Class "

The Republican war on unions and the middle class has been heating up in states like Wisconsin and Ohio, but it has been going on for a long time. Unions are formed to give a united voice to the workers in an attempt to create fairness between the corporations and their employees. On August 3rd, 1981, PATCO (Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization) went on strike in an effort to get better pay and safer working conditions. Two days later, taking the side of business, Ronald Reagan fired 11,345 workers for not returning to work.

Works Cited:
Debate Round No. 1


First of all, good job on copying someone else's work. You should be proud of yourself on hard you worked on this argument.

Secondly, Ronald Reagan did cut and raise taxes by changing the tax code. He cut the outrageous tax rate of 70% to 28%. However, his tax hikes cut deductions, not increase rates. It is wrong to say he raised taxes that only apply to the middle class. His tax cuts stimulated business and served as a model to future presidents. Clinton raised the top tax rate to 40%, Bush brought it down to 35%, and Obama has kept it there.

Thirdly, Reagan did substantially raise the national debt. However, he did so to fight a war, the Cold War. Because of Reagan's drastic increase in defense spending, the United States won the Cold War. Also, a president cannot be perfect.

Fourth, who are Reagan's "rich friends"

Fifth, Iran/Contra was not done by Reagan. It was done by people in his administration. Perhaps he should have known, but at least he didn't try to cover it up like Nixon or Clinton.

Sixth, Reagan's funding of the Mujahedeen in the 1980's was a continuation of Carter's policies. Also, he did not give billions of dollars. It was substantially less than that. Ronald Reagan had no way of knowing that the Mujahadeen was going to attack the United States. No reasonable person would expect him to. He, and his predecessor, thought it was right to fight against Soviet aggression and for a country's right to sovereignty.

Seventh, what do you expect Reagan should have done to fight aids? Do you want him to put an apron and find the cure?

Eighth, the unemployment rate in 1988 was 5.5%.

Ninth, Reagan's bipartisan immigration reform gave amnesty to immigrants in the country before 1982. But it also made it illegal to hire illegal immigrants.

Tenth, Ronald Reagan fired 11,345 workers who broke their contract. They signed a contract that prohibited the right to collectively bargain. They broke their contract, Reagan warned them he would act, and then he did. He actually had the balls to stand up to a big corrupt entity, unlike any of his predecessors or his successors.


1. I cited the source in my works cited page in my first argument. Get over it.

2. As governor of California, Reagan "signed into law the largest tax increase in the history of any state up till then." Meanwhile, state spending nearly doubled. As president, Reagan "raised taxes in seven of his eight years in office," including four times in just two years. As former GOP Senator Alan Simpson, who called Reagan "a dear friend," told NPR, "Ronald Reagan raised taxes 11 times in his administration " I was there." "Reagan was never afraid to raise taxes," said historian Douglas Brinkley, who edited Reagan"s memoir. Reagan the anti-tax zealot is "false mythology," Brinkley said.1

3. Reagan did not help end the Cold War in any significant degree. The claim that Reagan won the Cold War is pure rightwing propaganda. The Soviet Union had long been far weaker than many American leaders knew, or wished to acknowledge, thanks to CIA gross overestimates of its economy. The Soviet Union was brought down by a number of factors including the inherent weaknesses of dictatorship and ethnic divides that eventually forced its breakup.2

4. The rich people that Reagan was friends with. They donated to his campaign, he lowered their taxes.

5. Senior members of the Reagan administration were involved in selling guns to the Islamist regime in Iran in order to fund the supply of armaments to the Contra rebels in Nicaragua, in direct contravention of Congressional resolutions demanding that support for the Contras be cut off entirely. An independent investigation concluded that the arms sales to Iran operations "were carried out with the knowledge of, among others, President Ronald Reagan [and] Vice President George Bush," and that "large volumes of highly relevant, contemporaneously created documents were systematically and willfully withheld from investigators by several Reagan Administration officials."At best, Reagan was guilty of gross negligence. At worst, of directly breaking US law in support of a group known for launching indiscriminate attacks on civilians.2, 3

6. Reagan fought a proxy war with the Soviet Union by training, arming, equipping, and funding Islamist mujahidin fighters in Afghanistan. Reagan funneled billions of dollars, along with top-secret intelligence and sophisticated weaponry to these fighters through the Pakistani intelligence service. The Taliban and Osama Bin Laden " a prominent mujahidin commander " emerged from these mujahidin groups Reagan helped create, and U.S. policy towards Pakistan remains strained because of the intelligence services" close relations to these fighters. In fact, Reagan"s decision to continue the proxy war after the Soviets were willing to retreat played a direct role in Bin Laden"s ascendancy. Reagan created the Taliban, and continued to fund the Taliban after the proxy war was over with the Soviets.1

7. No, but he could have been more demanding to finding that cure; instead, he laid low and failed to do anything whatsoever to combat the exploding epidemic. Again, at best, Reagan is guilty of gross negligence. At worst, he encouraged AIDS. In fact, in his authorized biography, it is quoted that: ""maybe the Lord brought down this plague" [because] "illicit sex is against the Ten Commandments."2, 4

8. Yes, unemployment began to drop as the years went on. But again, the jobs that were created were low paying and barely helped people make ends meet. The middle and lower class had their wages nearly frozen as the top earners saw dramatic increases in salary. "Since 1980, median household income has risen only 30 percent, adjusted for inflation, while average incomes at the top have tripled or quadrupled."1, 5, 6

9. No. The bill was sold as a crackdown, but its tough sanctions on employers who hired undocumented immigrants were removed before final passage.1

10. It was a devastating blow to government union members from which the labor movement never recovered. It was not good.2

Works Cited

4 Ronald Reagan"s Authorized Biography.
Debate Round No. 2


1. We are not arguing Reagan's governorship so some of point two should be void. As president, Reagan raised taxes by ending deductions. You can't afford people deductions when you cut the tax rate so dramatically. Today, cutting deductions is agreed upon by Republicans and Democrats. Also, thanks for assuring the voters that Reagan isn't a "anti-tax zealot." That's not a good thing

2. It is not pure right wing propaganda to say that Reagan played a significant part in the downfall of the Soviet Union. He came out with SDI, or strategic defense initiative. This was a plan of Reagan's to build a "shield" around the United States to prevent nuclear strikes. However foolish this may seem to us, it scared the Russians. They spent tons of money researching the possibility of this working. This became a main bargaining chip in the negotiations that took place between Reagan and Gorbachev. Also, the Soviets had to spend more and more money trying to keep up with the United States militarily. Our economy could survive, the Soviet's couldn't. Also, when most political leaders believed that we should co-exist with the Soviets, including the previous three presidents, Reagan was completely anti-Soviet. He called the Soviet Union an "evil empire."

3. He also weakened the Soviets by aiding the Mujahedeen. They fought the Soviets endlessly, and hurt them militarily. There was no way of knowing that the Mujahedeen would attack the United States. It is an absurd statement to say that Reagan is responsible for 9/11. In fact, scholars such as Jason Burke, Steve Coll, Peter Bergen, Christopher Andrew, and Vasily Mitrokhin have argued that Osama Bin Laden was outside of CIA eyesight and that there is "no support in any reliable source" for the claim that the CIA funded bin Laden or any of the other Arab volunteers who came to support the mujahideen.

4. Can you please name some of these "rich friends" of Reagan's that he did "favors" for? I am sick of the misperception that Republicans only care about tax cuts to support their rich friends.

5. Iran-contra was not a good part of the Reagan Administration. Whether Reagan knew about or not, it was wrong. However, at least the administration had good intentions. They were trying to free hostages, and provide money to anti-communist forces. Nixon and Clinton did wrong for selfish reasons.

6. Since when is it the governments job to find cures for diseases. It is private industries job to find to find cures. The polio vaccine, the human genome, and more were discovered by private industry. Obviously, even if Reagan had tried to combat AIDS, it would have been ineffective. Its been 30 years and we haven't found a cure. It is absurd to say Reagan "encouraged" AIDS. Did he say, go out everyone and get AIDS." Also, I do not think it is wrong to believe that it is a person's responsibility not to get AIDS. If you don't sleep around or do drugs, you won't get AIDS.

7. What effect has the immigration bill had on this country? Please cite studies that show that it had an adverse effect, not show what a left wing website has to say.

8. The air traffic controllers broke their contracts. They deserved to be fired. These unions need to realize the government isn't made of money. They need to stop demanding, and start asking if they have enough already.



1. Two bills passed in 1982 and 1984 together "constituted the biggest tax increase ever enacted during peacetime," Thorndike said. Annual federal tax receipts during his presidency averaged 18.2% of GDP, a smidge below the average under President Carter -- and a smidge above the 40-year average today. Taxes under President Reagan were around normal. There were no huge "tax cuts" when considered to the national average.1

2. Actually, this is not true. As Alexander George explains, "The increase in the relative power advantage enjoyed by the United States... was of quite limited and indirect value in explaining the transition in US-Soviet relations." The primary driver was the "Abysmal deterioration in the performance of the Soviet economy." Christopher Xenakis says that "Most American Sovietologists missed the sure signs of Soviet change that were evident during the 1970s and 1980s." In other words, the inefficiencies and internal contradictions of the communist system were there all along and doomed the Soviet project to failure. Wolf noted that in 1980, the costs of the 'Soviet Empire' i.e. the nonmilitary cost of maintaining control over its outer republics and satellites came to over 38 billion rubles (up to $35bn in 1985 dollars) and had grown at a rate of 12% over the course of the 1970s, massively outstripping Soviet GDP growth. This was clearly not sustainable, whoever was in the White House.2, 3, 4

3. Lafraie"s statement indicates the complete apathy of the U.S. towards countries it used to win wars against the Soviet Union. The U.S. is therefore itself to blame for the rise of Islamic militancy and terrorism based on how it used Afghans to fight the Soviets. Region bordering Pakistan-Afghanistan, which is now the epicenter of Islamic terrorism, is a direct result of Reagan Doctrine. The Reagan Doctrine had a narrow vision of defeating Soviets by providing overt and covert aids, and it did not care for the long lasting effects. It did not hesitate to term the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan as a religious war, but they did not realize its long term effects in the Middle East or in other Islamic countries. For this very reason based on the analysis of the social, political and religion environments in the Middle East, Susmit Kumar wrote in his 1995 article: "The U.S. has sowed the seeds of the next Cold War by employing the low-cost war strategy in Afghanistan. Although a rise in Islamic fundamentalist movements world-wide was inevitable, U.S. involvement in Afghanistan only hastened the process..."5, 6, 7

4. You realize that every president in the 20th century has had rich backers that funded his campaign? They fund his campaign, he lowers their taxes. Reagan did it too.

5. Still, Iran-Contra was bad. My opponent even admits this. Even if it originally had good intentions, in the end, it was bad. The plan funded terrorists. There"s no getting around this. My opponent has conceded this point.

6. Now contrast this with Reagan's record on AIDS, one of the most important issues of the 80s. AIDS first came to national attention in 1981. Reagan did not even utter the word 'AIDS' until 1987, eighteen months after even his ideological running-mates, the Thatcher government in the UK, had authorized a national TV ad campaign to raise awareness. By this time, 27,909 Americans had died from the disease. His administration denied requests from the Center for Disease Control and National Institutes of Health for more funding into the disease. "Between June 1981 and May 1982 the CDC spent less than $1 million on AIDS and $9 million on Legionnaire's Disease. At that point more than 1,000 of the 2,000 reported AIDS cases resulted in death; there were fewer than 50 deaths from Legionnaire's Disease." Reagan ignored all the warnings, even when he could have done something about it. Other Conservatives were. He simply failed to act.8

7. So just because a source disagrees with you, you call it a left-wing piece of junk? That"s a great argument. Do continue with your unsourced, unevidenced claims while my sourced claim still stands.

8. It is because of Reagan"s actions that air traffic controllers face labor crises every now and then. The "cycle" " a direct result stemming from Reagan"s dismissal decision " will occur every 25 years when the majority of air traffic controllers reach the mandatory retirement age of 56. The cycle will continue happening because two current FAA hiring requirements are that controllers have to "be no older than age 30" and retire by the age of 56.9

9. My opponent drops my unemployment argument.

Works Cited:

2 George, A. The Transition in U.S.-Soviet Relations, 1985-1990: An Interpretation from the Perspective of International Relations Theory and Political Psychology. Political Psychology 12 (3): pp. 469-486.
3 Xenakis, C (2002): What Happened to the Soviet Union? How and Why American Sovietologists Were Caught by Surprise. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.
4 Wolf, C. The Costs of the Soviet Empire. Science (New Series) 230 (4729): pp. 997-1002.
5 Burns, John, "Kabul"s misery wears a single face" The Guardian, UK, February 6, 1996, Originally published in The New York Times.
6 Kumar, Susmit, "Christian vs. Islamic Civilization"Another Cold War?" Global Times, Copenhagen, Denmark, December 15, 1995.
Debate Round No. 3


1. What is wrong with certain tax increases? Usually, anti-Reagan people say he cut too much. I think Republicans need to learn that it is okay to raise taxes in certain situations.

2. When it comes to the Soviet Union, the fact is, is that they overtook us militarily in the 1970's and when Reagan took office, he overtook them. Reagan exploited their weak economy by making them increase their military spending. Then they collapsed.

3. Tell me one person in 1985 who claimed that if the United States continued to fund afghan militants, than we would be attacked. It is absurd to say that Reagan should have known. About Kumar, look at my link. He isn't very objective. Also, you just lost this point based on his quote. Islamic fundamentalism was inevitable. It is his wrong opinion that the US is at fault.

4. You pointed out that Reagan had rich friends that he did favors for. Can you name one????

5. It is not the government's job to combat diseases. You can say how horrible it is, but it is the private sector's job to do this. EXAMPLE: POLIO.

6. Robert Sobel, the person who wrote the article you copy and pasted, works for the Orlando Liberal Examiner.

7. The air traffic controllers broke their contract. This is the Wikipedia text: "In summer 1981 PATCO, the union of federal air traffic controllers went on strike, violating a federal law prohibiting government unions from striking.[118] Declaring the situation an emergency as described in the 1947 Taft"Hartley Act, Reagan stated that if the air traffic controllers "do not report for work within 48 hours, they have forfeited their jobs and will be terminated".[119] They did not return and on August 5, Reagan fired 11,345 striking air traffic controllers who had ignored his order, and used supervisors and military controllers to handle the nation's commercial air traffic until new controllers could be hired and trained.[120] As a leading reference work on public administration concluded, "The firing of PATCO employees not only demonstrated a clear resolve by the president to take control of the bureaucracy, but it also sent a clear message to the private sector that unions no longer needed to be feared.""

8. Sorry about the unemployment, I didn't see it. It is frozen when household income rises by 30%. It has gone down 5 % since Obama has taken office. The fact is Reagan put people back to work.

9. Immigration reform has been conceded by my opponent.



1. I never said tax increases were bad. Reagan resorted to tax increases when his first-term tax cuts wrecked the federal budget. Reagan only destroyed the hole he dug. He didn"t create a mountain.

2. You"re repeating yourself. The Soviet Union did not fall because Reagan destroyed them. The Soviet economy just couldn"t operate anymore, and Reagan had nothing to do with this. If Kennedy was in office in the 1980s, the Soviet Union would have fallen then too.

3. There you go again with the "The source doesn"t agree with me, so I will call it biased" nonsense. If you can"t formulate a rebuttal, just say so. If my opponent had read my argument, while yes, Islamic fundamentalism was inevitable, US involvement in that proxy war hastened, and worsened the consequences.

4. My opponent is just tilting at windmills here. All presidents have resorted to corrupt tactics, including Reagan.

5. You continue to ignore my entire argument here. "Between June 1981 and May 1982 the CDC spent less than $1 million on AIDS and $9 million on Legionnaire's Disease. At that point more than 1,000 of the 2,000 reported AIDS cases resulted in death; there were fewer than 50 deaths from Legionnaire's Disease."1 Care to explain this?

6. Note that that link is in the works cited list in my round one argument.

7. In addition to destroying the air traffic controllers industry that now faces furloughs every so often because of that move.

8. Yet again, the jobs that were created were low paying and barely helped people make ends meet. The middle and lower class had their wages nearly frozen as the top earners saw dramatic increases in salary. Also, my opponent"s latter statement makes no sense.2

9. I was the last one to talk about immigration reform. You conceded that argument too.

Works Cited:

Debate Round No. 4


1. Something had to be done about a 70% tax rate. Nobody today believes that is fair.

2. The Soviet economy couldn't operate because they had to spend so much more money on defense. We can debate how much he affected the Soviet downfall, but I do not believe it is debatable as to whether or not he had any effect at all.

3. Most of point three was my argument. No one could know that we would be attacked by the mujahideen.

4. I do not believe it is right to say that someone is corrupt without evidence. We have been doing this dance for 5 rounds now. DO YOU HAVE AN EXAMPLE OF A "RICH FRIEND" REAGAN DID FAVORS FOR??? If not, concede the point.

5. AIDS wasn't discovered by the CDC until June 5, 1981. The term wasn't coined until 1982. What do you expect Reagan to do? Do you expect that the first time the CDC brings it up he say, "start putting billions of dollars in research to a disease that we know nothing about." You cannot expect the government to pump money into research the second they discover a disease. Also, this is only 6 months into his Presidency. He wasn't expecting such a revelation. To combat the point you will try to make, it is not the government's responsibility to do research to prevent diseases.

6. The air traffic controllers violated the terms of their contract. It was the responsible thing to do. He gave them a 48 hour warning as well.

7. 30% raise in household income is not enough. Can you cite a specific source (that is reliable such as a government statistic) that shows that the created jobs were low paying and barely helped people make ends meet.

8. I spoke about it in round 3. You didn't respond. Please show me a reliable source that shows that the immigration reform had a adverse effect on the country. DO NOT SHOW ME AN ARTICLE OR A FORUM OR A BLOG. PLEASE SHOW ME AN ACCURATE SOURCE SUCH AS A GOVERNMENT STATISTIC.



I am going to pass my round to the voters to keep four rounds for each debater so that I don't have an advantage.

Anyway, my opponent has ignored a lot of my arguments and has not even begun to refute most of them whatsoever. I strongly support a vote for con.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by eoddatsme 5 years ago
John F. Kennedy was the best President of the 20th Century and the World would be different today had Big Government not taken him out.
Posted by cstidham 5 years ago
To address one of the voters, my opponent copied and pasted an article from one of his sources list. The entire debate round was just copied and pasted.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by TheHitchslap 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct to con due to pro's unfounded accusation of plagurism. BOP called for Pro to show that Reagan was better than every single other president. He failed to do so; con only had to meet BOP by showing Reagans faults, thus he did meet BOP. Finally sources to Con, wikipedia is fine, but is weak in comparison to the sources used against him (autobio's, history books, business mags, newspapers of the time, etc..)
Vote Placed by Grantmac18 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I have to award sources to Con, Pro made an egregious use of Wikipedia. Conduct was also awarded to Con for Pro's unfounded accusation of plagiarism, S&G was equal. As for the arguments, Pro's seemed to rest on rhetoric and idealism in place of evidence and statistics. Con held up quite well and submitted some strong arguments, which were unfortunately met with dispersion and rationalizations rather than cohesive rebuttals. Not a strong debate, Pro is new to DDO; however, attempting to comment on the state of mind of others based solely on your opinion is bad form for any objective presentation of an argument. As the debate wore on Pro's use of informal and questionable syllogistic fallacies simply became too difficult to ignore.
Vote Placed by Formic 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:42 
Reasons for voting decision: Con gets sources for not using mainly Wikipedia. I am pro-Wikipedia, but I'd have preferred more reliable sources. Pro did a great job arguing points. While I don't think any argument could sway me from my conviction that FDR was the greatest president of the 20th century, you made a great case. And I am not a conservative, voting pro only for my ideology. I'm a centrist-leftist, generally agreeing with the Democratic party, but share many of the Republican party's views. Great job to both sides.