Republican Party: Stabbing Rightward
How far to the Right has the Republican Party moved? President George Bush Sr. used to refer to the Neocons as "the crazies in the basement." Fifteen years later George Jr. is not only in bed with the Neocons, they’re doing kinky perverted things with him that Hustler Magazine couldn’t even imagine.
Tom DeLay and some of his fellow reactionaries are threatening to impeach Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. Who appointed Kennedy to the Supreme Court? Ronald Reagan.
A lot of environmental and civil rights legislation was passed during Richard Nixon’s presidency. How’s that for contrast? Nixon signed the law creating the Environmental Protection Agency, and Tom DeLay has repeatedly compared the EPA to the Gestapo.
Now check this out:
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children....This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from an iron cross.”
Wondering which tree hugging socialist said that? Would you believe — World War II general and 2-term Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Eisenhower also said:
“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” Again, Eisenhower was a Republican.
When the CIA was first created — at the end of World War II — Republicans were the biggest opponents of the idea. They were leery of having a government agency with so much power and secrecy. Talk about a Big 180. Sixty years later the Republicans are trying to expand the Patriot Act, and anyone who disagrees with them is a wuss and a traitor.
President Theodore Roosevelt was an environmentalist (even though that term didn’t exist then). During his presidency he established five national parks, 18 national monuments, 51 wildlife refuges and 150 national forests.
Roosevelt also stood up to Big Business. He said: “We Republicans [must] hold the just balance and set ourselves as resolutely against improper corporate influence on the one hand as against demagogy and mob rule on the other.” What, no genuflecting and groveling every time a corporate lobbyist comes a-bribin’?
He tried to balance things out between organized labor and the robber barons: “My appeal for organized labor is two-fold; to the outsider and the capitalist I make my appeal to treat the laborer fairly . . . That is one-half appeal that I make. Now, the other half is to the labor man himself. My appeal to him is to remember that as he wants justice, so he must do justice.” Again — as hard to believe as this may be — this was a Republican president.
Just try to imagine a Republican today — surrounded by Tom DeLay, Rick Santorum and that ilk — expressing concern about the military industrial complex, the environment or world hunger. The shock! The fury! It would be like a tie-died peace demonstrator walking into a boardroom meeting at Halliburton.
If you’re young, or haven’t followed politics very long, you probably think the Republican party has always been this nutzo band of Taliban wannabes. What — previous Republican presidents cared about the environment? They cared about people and not just multinational corporations? They weren’t trying to smother the judiciary and establish a Christian theocracy? Who knew?
Something has happened to the party of Theodore Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Sometime after the 2000 election, the Far Right fringe oozed its way into the Republican party, and took control. And every time there’s any discussion of the party platform, the people in charge call out “Yo! A little more to the right!”
How much further to the right will our government go? This is almost too scary to contemplate, but: in twenty years, will we be looking back with nostalgia at the moderate, benevolent polices of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney?
cross-posted at Bring It On!