Who Hijacked Our Country

Monday, April 25, 2005

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!


Blogger Ken Grandlund said...

It's too bad that so many of the republicans in the tradition of Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and other rational leaders from the right are being overwhelmed, in name and spirit, by the zealot ideologues that now claim the mantle of Republican.
While not from the republican side of the fence myself I do enjoy rational debate with those who hold different views. With this bunch, there is no rational dialect...only hyperbole and distortion!
Thanks for the post.

April 25, 2005 at 12:30 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Ken: Yeah, the Republican party has really mutated. I've never voted Republican, but it used to be just two moderate parties who could agree to disagree. Those days seem so idyllic now.

April 25, 2005 at 7:19 PM  
Blogger Unadulterated Underdog said...

Good research. I recently wrote a rather large post on Ronald Reagan. He also considered the NeoCons the crazies in the basement and kept them there. He was of the old-school GOP, a Republican Party that cared about the U.S even if many of its ideals were flawed. When he tried his "trickle-down" economics theory, I believe he honestly thought it would work and was dissapointed that it didn't. Dubya KNEW it didn't work because of Reagan's failed attempts and yet, I suspect because of big payoffs to his Party and his personal fortune, he reinstated many tenets of Reagan's theory and now poverty is back up, wages are down, inflation is high and all around things suck for the consumers citizens again. Since about 1994, the crazies have broken out of the basement and haev been running the show in the GOP. Scary people. Scary movement.

April 26, 2005 at 8:50 AM  
Blogger Brother Kenya said...

I was amazed on Sunday when in one or two of the talk shows pundits agreed that the Republicans are now essentially a religious party. Whoa! Talk about changing the political landscape...

April 26, 2005 at 8:57 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

OK Democrat: Thanks. I didn't agree with Reagan, but I always thought he was well intentioned and didn't have any of the mean-spiritedness of Bush, Rove, DeLay, etc. And like you said, Reagan tried it and found out it wouldn't work. There's no way Bush could have thought giving massive tax cuts to millionaires would create jobs and stimulate the economy.

This definitely isn't the same Republican party; the right wing extremists are running the show. Hopefully not for too much longer.

April 26, 2005 at 8:58 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Brother Kenya: That's pretty blatant. They definitely are the party of the Religious Right, but I guess they've dropped all pretense of being moderate or for "The People." Either they're getting too complacent and will fall soon, or they know how powerful they are and they don't have to pretend any more.

April 26, 2005 at 9:02 AM  
Blogger greeneyed_lady said...

I think things changed in 2000, but not because of just nutty Republicans. The election ordeal brewed a steeping pot of nutty political nonesense in general, seething with partisan biterness and blind truths.

April 27, 2005 at 3:33 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Greeneyed Lady: True, there was a lot of mutual bitterness after the 2000 election. But Bush ran as a moderate in that election, and after he won he instantly started rolling back environmental and worker-safety regulations, which nobody but the Far Right had objected to. And then Enron and the Iraqi invasion; it just seemed we had veered waaaay to the Right.

April 27, 2005 at 5:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was a Kid, the Right Wing Conservative War Mongering Bigoted Nut was ....Barry Goldwater. Later "Mr Conservative" Himself fell out with his own party for deserting what he felt were core conservative values.

If I though I hated Conservatives then...

Once in a while you do hear from "true Conservatives" that feel that these Nuts (most of them 1st and 2nd Generation Southern Segregationist who left the Demoncrats because they embraced Civil Rights) have lost of meaning of true Conservatism. Fiscal Responsiblity, Local Goverments (not just States rights), Legislating Morality, Smaller Goverment.

After Reagan some Moderates Such as Howard Baker and Nancy Kasslebaum formed a Moderate Group to bring back some of their core values (such as Fiscal Resonsibility). Of course they had to tred lightly and wait until after Reagen to organize (you can't criticize the great communicater) I see that fell by the way side.


April 29, 2005 at 8:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Growing up in California, I voted for some republicans as they were the decendants of the reform anti-slavery party of one the most popular republicans in History EARL WARREN, a man so popular on the west coast he won in california on both republican and democratic tickets and received substantial write-in votes from the surrounding states.

Pete McClosky - a liberal republican from california writes how he, Don Edwards and Norm Minetta - Earl Warren republicans at the time attended the convention and were shocked by all the Southerners who had joined the party as a result of the Nixon Southern stratigy of getting the "Solid South" to go Republican if they don't adopt Civil Rights (did you know that Nixon promised the South he would appoint Supreme Court Judges to overturn Brown?)

The Leader of this group was ol Strom Thurmond who liked Nixon but LOVED Reagan, he convinced the Southernors to go with Nixon because he felt he was a winner.

Edwards and Minetta went Democrat and the Modern Republican Party began.


April 29, 2005 at 8:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am on a roll

I see that the group has fallen under the Reagan Spell, somehow believing that Ronald Reagan was this kindly old man who just believed in what it was doing - no matter how warped his ideas was.

Do you realize he was the Far Right Wingers favorite president, embracing the moral majority (bringing right wing religion into the party), hating civil rights (the segregationist loved him -see prior post), running the biggest defecits in History, Killing Environmental laws, supporting apartheid....Sound familiar? He was THE leader people - If he wasn't the seed for the modern party - who was?

The difference is he didn't scream and yell like the rest - that's why he was the "great communicater" and the "Teflon President".

Get over it this guy was dangerous


April 29, 2005 at 9:07 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Well, Erik, it's all relative. I didn't like Reagan, but compared to Bush, Cheney, DeLay and Santorum he does seem like a kindly old man.

April 30, 2005 at 12:35 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: I just saw your previous 2 comments. Goldwater seemed almost saintly compared to the Religious Right. He was a Libertarian in some ways; wanted nothing to do with Christian theocrats. I think he even said once that a good conservative should kick Falwell's ass.

Moderate Republicans like Kasselbaum and Baker would look like treehuggers now, compared to how far to the right the party's moved. I always liked McCloskey; he was one of Nixon's severest critics during Watergate.

April 30, 2005 at 12:41 AM  
Blogger greeneyed_lady said...

Many many Democrats loved Reagan as well as Rebublicans.
I also note that its the liberals that keep bringing religion into politics. Are they threatened by a leader who has a certain faith? Does this mean we must silence him and his whole party and shove all his appointments down a hole citing "excessive personal beliefs". You should be more threatened my the excessive belief system that would like to purge the world of you and anyone who doesn't follow the Islamic radicalism. But you want to protect their beliefs or so the actions of the far left are working toward.
Im not into religon, but I haven't heard the president, nor did I hear Reagan preach a sermon or try to "save" anyone. They just do there job the best they can just like any other presidents. Its the democtatic presidents running for office that I see in church every sunday shmoozing with the african americans to sucker them for their vote. They have lots of "faith" then.

May 1, 2005 at 7:30 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Greeneyed Lady: You make a good point about Democrats schmoozing in African American churches and taking their votes for granted.

But, "liberals keep bringing religion into politics"? When they do I think it's just a defensive reaction, so Republicans can't paint them into a corner as the "godless" party. Bill Frist's "Justice Sunday" last weekend was a disgrace; the most blatant use of religion as a badge that I've ever seen. When Democrats schmooze with religious groups, they don't go on nationwide TV and try to convince millions of people that "anyone who disagrees with us is going to burn in Hell." (That's not a direct quote, but that was the message.)

Obviously the Islamic terrorists are a bigger threat than Christian fanatics. I was all in favor of Bush invading Afghanistan and toppling the Taliban. Unfortunately, Iraq had nothing to do with terrorism or al Qaeda or bin Laden (they do now, after our invasion of their country).

I also think our democratic form of government is the only thing that protects us from people like James Dobson, Tony Perkins and Pat Robertson. The most fanatical Christian "leaders" have the exact same mindset as Khomeini or bin Laden -- different god, same hatred and thought processes. And Frist and DeLay are just fanning the flames when they try to suck up to these people. (Bush has tried to distance himself from the "Justice Sunday" types.)

May 1, 2005 at 10:48 AM  
Blogger greeneyed_lady said...

I'll believe that the day I see James Dobson or Pat Robertson strap a vest pact full of explosives on them and storm the white house LOL

May 4, 2005 at 11:55 AM  
Anonymous Tom Harper said...

By then it'll be too late.

May 4, 2005 at 1:02 PM  

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