After watching the Republican responses to the passing and signing of the Presidents stimulus package it is becoming abundantly clear what their strategy will be for the next few years. They will stage these phony displays of public outrage and then at the same time take credit for any benefits from the stimulus package. First let’s be clear about whether this bill was bi-partisan. In order to do this you have to separate the Republican Party from the Washington Republicans many of whom represent solid Republican base districts that were gerrymandered by Tom Delay and his cohorts from the Republicans who represent statewide constituencies like governors.
Most Republican governors who are not seeking future national office are in strong favor of the stimulus bill. So far the ones who have spoken out against it are Texas Governor Rick Perry, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. It will be interesting to see how many of these governors will be lining up for a 2012 presidential bid.
Many Republicans are strategically placing themselves to have the best of both worlds. If the Obama economic plans do not work they will say we told you so, if they do work they will say it was our opposition and not the economic plans of the President that turned the economy around. The Republicans are gambling that they will be able to steal the credit for the economic turnaround hoping that by the time the economy does turn around the voters will have forgotten their opposition to all of the President’s economic policies.
This strategy really exposes the Republicans deep-seated hostility towards the American electorate. They are willing to be seen as rooting for the economy to crash and taking concrete steps to bring it about while at the same time believing that the American public won’t remember their opposition to the economic policies that succeeded. Basically they are saying the American public is so stupid that they can be easily duped by sound bites and imagery. Granted there was a day in American politics when these strategies were successful, however what the Republicans and many Washington pundits have failed to realize is that a new bell has rung and once rung it cannot be un-rung.
American voters are becoming even more engaged not less engaged in the political process. There are more outlets for information than there ever has been so the nightly sound bite and sweeping political imagery has lost its effectiveness. The Republicans may think this is 1984, but they are going to be in for a rude awakening. The American public is not looking for a return to past failed policies and phony cultural wars. The Republicans are pinning their hopes in 2010 on the fact that the economic crisis they helped to engineer is so deep that there will be little change by election time and they can tout the President’s economic policies as failures. They are already laying the groundwork for this strategy by claiming that the economic policies of FDR were ineffectual during the Great Depression because there wasn’t instant success.
What they fail to mention and what many Americans who survived during that period often state is that while those FDR policies did not completely turn the economy around they did help to stem the hardships of the depression and gave the public hope and confidence that their government was trying to help them. Imagine how much worst the situation would have been if the Republicans had been successful in curtailing the programs of the New Deal.
In similar fashion the Republicans of today are trying to reduce the size and scope of the President’s economic policies so they can claim that they were right. These so called “principled” men who took a budget surplus and created the largest deficits in history are now claiming to be budget and deficit hawks. During the debate concerning the President’s stimulus package many Republicans stated that their opposition to the bill was that it did not address the underlying problem of our economic problems, which according to them was the housing market. So one would think that when the President announced his plan to help shore up the housing market and try to keep families in their homes that the Republicans would be ready to support it; right? Wrong. Almost to a man as with the Stimulus Bill the Republicans are lining up to denounce the plan. The Republicans are not only the “Party of no” they are also the Party of no ideas.
The economy at some point will rebound we all know this. Our economy is now and always has been cyclical. The question then becomes is the government responsible for setting in place safety nets to help reduce the suffering of its citizenry while at the same time instituting policies that will reduce the likelihood of similar catastrophes or is it the governments job to sit and watch as its citizenry suffers the hardships and horrors of a system many have no direct control over and receive only minimal benefit from?
The Republicans are betting that by the time the economy turns around that they can tell Americans that the Republican’s magic economic fairy was responsible and not the policies of this administration, that it was their opposition that made the recovery possible. So either way they were right. When all you have to do is sit and watch you are afforded the luxury of saying I told you so, but when you are responsible for the welfare of a nation that luxury is no longer available. Only a child sits and waits to say I told you so while adults work to solve problems. Our country does not have the time for children’s games, we need adults.
Hypocrite: the man who murdered both his parents… pleaded for mercy on the grounds that he was an orphan. ~ Abraham Lincoln
As I was watching Hardball with Chris Matthews last night I couldn’t help but see the dust-up between Pat Buchanan and Mike Paul; a black Republican strategists. The exchange between the two highlighted the current state of influx for the Republican Party and the deep divisions that are becoming more pronounced with each passing day. What many are missing is not that the Republicans lost; it is how they lost and why they lost that should be examined. I am not sure that they have the willingness or the humility for self-examination and without self-examination there can be no change. The struggles within the Republican Party are not new; it is just that they were able to mask them behind their “cultural wars” and false patriotism. Now that those rhetorical arguments have been ignored by the electorate the party is being exposed for who they truly are.
The true nature of the Republican Party has been and remains exclusion versus inclusion. Rather than wanting to expand their base they want to continue to cling to a shrinking version of an America long since past. Listening to Pat Buchanan one is reminded of why the Republicans are becoming a regional minority party. Mr. Buchanan characterized the Latino and minority voters who by the way are the fastest growing block of voters as being “big government” proponents because they are looking for hand-outs. This is an insult to all of the hard working immigrants and minorities in this country and represents the type of insensitivity that was so evident in the last election. As Mr. Paul tried to suggest the country is changing and the Republicans need to change. Pat Buchanan’s answer was to stick his fingers in his ears and pretend it is still 1964. If this is going to be the Republican answer to the changing demographics in America then their fate is sealed.
I have heard the argument that we need the Republican Party to regroup and become a strong opposition to strengthen our democracy. While I agree that we must have other alternatives to one party rule that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be this party. If a party becomes irrelevant and opposed to change by its own design then another one will rise to replace it. Anyone remember the Whig Party, the Know-Nothings, or how about the States Rights Party? We have a long history of parties rising and falling in America and today is no different. There will always be an opposition party no matter who is the majority or governing party. When a party loses touch with the electorate and the important issues of that electorate then they deserve to become extinct like all other organisms that do not evolve. They may continue to press their agenda but if that agenda is not considered relevant by those who are being asked to support it in a democracy then the people will seal its fate.
America is changing and there are many Republicans and some Democrats alike who find that fact frightening and will continue to cling to their fears and try to stoke the fears of likeminded people, but make no mistake the genie cannot be put back in the bottle. We cannot turn the clock back to the “good old days” when power was concentrated in the hands of a few white men only nor should we. If the Republicans want to continue to run their national campaigns on issues like fear, abortion, and gay-marriage they have every right to and I for one will support their right to do so. However, if the electorate decides that those issues no longer resonate then the Republicans will have a choice to make. They are obviously not at the place where they are ready to make that choice. They continue at least publically to reiterate the same tired rhetoric that has failed them in recent elections. Let the ice age begin. Unless they have a plan to deport all minorities, immigrants, and people who accept diversity not as a necessary evil but as a desired outcome then they shall go the way of the Bull Moosers and good riddance.
The Republicans have maybe two more election cycles to either reach out to more Americans or become insignificant as a national party. They will always have their regional, cultural, and ethnic issues and the voters that these type of arguments appeal to. The problem is that this blocks of voters is becoming smaller and smaller. If anyone is willing to see beyond the numbers there is a gradual but perceptual shift in the American electorate. The problem with many Americans whether they be pundits, political experts, or the general public is that we refuse to accept something until it is right in our faces. It is this lack of foresight that allowed us to believe that there would be no consequences to invading Iraq, spending money like a drunken sailor, or removing the regulations on the greediest among us.
What the Republicans have to come to grips with is that it is not the face of the messenger that counts, it is the message stupid! So whether it is Colin Powell at the UN or Gonzalez at Justice if the policies are whack dressing them up with an acceptable messenger doesn’t make them plausible. Crap is still crap no matter who is spewing it.
How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.
The first and only Vice Presidential debate began. The date, October 2, 2008. The candidates were cordial, even friendly. Joseph Biden and Sarah Palin took to the stage. The Democrat entered the theatre from the left. The Republican strode onto the platform from the right. The two shook hands and exchanged pleasantries. Sarah Palin inquired; might she call the Senator from Delaware “Joe.” Delighted, and with a sincere smile, the gentleman from Wilmington told the woman from Wasilla, certainly. The scene was set. For the moment, all was fine and would be, in appearance. Only the words that whirled about spoke to the differences between these two Vice Presidential aspirants.
Sarah Palin was strident as she delivered her populist statements. Debate moderator Gwen Ifill had asked of the subprime meltdown. The Public Broadcasting Services Journalist inquires, who was at fault for this dire situation. The candidate with executive experience firmly avowed, the “predator lenders were to blame. The former Mayor and current Alaskan Governor stated, “Never will we be exploited and taken advantage of again by those who are managing our money and loaning us these dollars.” Still steadfast, Ms Palin continued, “We need to make sure that we demand from the federal government strict oversight of those entities in charge of our investments and our savings and we need also to not get ourselves in debt.” However, Sarah Palin did not speak to the history of John McCain, her running mate.
The Arizona Senator has a record on the issue of deregulation. He holds dear policies that strip the government of any ability to standardize controls on corporations. The individuals who John McCain has consistently cited as his most influential fiscal advisers also reject regulations. Decades of votes demonstrate Senator McCain has never departed in any major way from his party’s embrace of deregulation. As most Republicans, John McCain has relied more on market forces than on the laws to economic exercise restraint.
While Mr. McCain has cited the need for additional oversight when it comes to specific situations, like the mortgage problems behind the current shocks on Wall Street, he has consistently characterized himself as fundamentally a deregulator and he has no history prior to the presidential campaign of advocating steps to tighten standards on investment firms.
He has often taken his lead on financial issues from two outspoken advocates of free market approaches, former Senator Phil Gramm and Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve chairman. Individuals associated with Merrill Lynch. which sold itself to Bank of America in the market upheaval of the past weekend, have given his presidential campaign nearly $300,000, making them Mr. McCain’s largest contributor, collectively.
Yet, Sarah Palin did not speak to these truths. Perhaps she did not know the facts. History may not be her strong suit. Hence, the push for populism from a person who represents a political Party that prefers to accommodate the affluent.
Democratic nominee politely attempted to remind the Governor of what the grand Old Party and her running mate John McCain stood for. He also hoped to shed a bit of light on what those in the know, in Washington knew. Joseph Biden shared what was succinctly stated a week earlier in The New York Times.
(i)t was that first Mr. Obama and then Mr. McCain (who) rushed out their statements on Monday morning before most Americans had reached their workplaces.
To the extent that travails on Wall Street and Main Street have both corporations and homeowners looking to Washington for a hand, that helps Mr. Obama and his fellow Democrats who see government as a force for good and business regulation as essential. Yet Mr. McCain has sold himself to many voters as an agent for change, despite his party’s unpopularity after years of dominating in Washington, and despite his own antiregulation stances of past years. . . .
Mr. McCain’s reaction suggests how the pendulum has swung to cast government regulation in a more favorable political light as the economy has suffered additional blows and how he is scrambling to adjust. While he has few footprints on economic issues in more than a quarter century in Congress, Mr. McCain has always been in his party’s mainstream on the issue.
In early 1995, after Republicans had taken control of Congress, Mr. McCain promoted a moratorium on federal regulations of all kinds. He was quoted as saying that excessive regulations were “destroying the American family, the American dream” and voters “want these regulations stopped.” . . .
“I’m always for less regulation,” he told The Wall Street Journal last March, “but I am aware of the view that there is a need for government oversight” in situations like the subprime lending crisis, the problem that has cascaded through Wall Street this year. He concluded, “but I am fundamentally a deregulator.”
All this was before Sarah Palin was on the national scene. Perhaps, the Governor could not address John McCain’s past, for it was not part of hers, or possibly, stubbornly she would not. Sarah Palin as much as said so. The Alaskan Chief Executive exclaimed, “I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I’m going to talk straight to the American people and let them know my track record also.”
Sarah Palin had not heard the tale, the true story Joe Biden told moments before. An anecdote that addressed the concerns of everyday, average Americans was ignored. The woman who claims to connect to the little people, the common folk, ignored an honest, homespun, humble yarn. Senator Biden shared a sense of how John McCain’s long-held positions affected ordinary Americans.
So deregulation was the promise. And guess what? Those people who say don’t go into debt, they can barely pay to fill up their gas tank. I was recently at my local gas station and asked a guy named Joey Danco (ph). I said Joey, how much did it cost to fill your tank? You know what his answer was? He said I don’t know, Joe. I never have enough money to do it.
Then, Joe Biden empathetically explained, “The middle class needs relief, tax relief. They need it now. They need help now.” Sarah Palin then assured the public, she and Senator McCain would provide the assistance Middle America sought. Governor Palin promised she and John would be the change candidates.
However, not surprised by the rhetoric; yet shocked by a reality Joe Biden knew to be true, the Delaware Senator offered another painful plea for the people in his neighborhood. The man who takes the train each work day, from Wilmington to Washington, and who has remained active in his home community for decades spoke from the heart, as only one who lives with the supposed “little” people who are large in spirit can. Joe offered . . .
Look, all you have to do is go down Union Street with me in Wilmington or go to Katie’s Restaurant or walk into Home Depot with me where I spend a lot of time and you ask anybody in there whether or not the economic and foreign policy of this administration has made them better off in the last eight years. And then ask them whether there’s a single major initiative that John McCain differs with the president on. On taxes, on Iraq, on Afghanistan, on the whole question of how to help education, on the dealing with health care.
Look, the people in my neighborhood, they get it. They get it. They know they’ve been getting the short end of the stick. So walk with me in my neighborhood, go back to my old neighborhood in Claymont, an old steel town or go up to Scranton with me. These people know the middle class has gotten the short end. The wealthy have done very well. Corporate America has been rewarded. It’s time we change it. Barack Obama will change it.
When asked to respond, the Governor from the great state of Alaska and the representative on stage from the Grand Old Party smiled. Then Sarah Palin pounced on a pronouncement that might hurt the image she and her running mate Senator McCain had hoped to project. The former Mayor from Wasilla with a note of spite said, “Say it ain’t so, Joe, there you go again pointing backwards again. You preference your whole comment with the Bush administration. Now doggone it, let’s look ahead and tell Americans what we have to plan to do for them in the future.” The crowd chortled quietly. The point was made. Indeed, John McCain would not be as the current President was or is. Yet, the Arizona Senator has long been in agreement with the present Administration, and still is.
In an attempt to defer the discussion of deregulation, Sarah Palin so sweetly spoke of education. The daughter of an educator told Joseph Biden she and he shared a common bond. Sarah Palin expressed her awareness as she diverted the discussion. The proud Palin proclaimed, “You mentioned education and I’m glad you did. I know education you are passionate about with your wife being a teacher for 30 years, and God bless her. Her reward is in heaven, right?”
Yet, again the Governor might have forgotten the history that is not hers personally, but is the position of the man she runs with. On Education, John McCain stands solid with George W. Bush, the President Sarah Palin professes is the past. In a comparison on the issues, the nation’s Chief Executive, Bush and Senator McCain agree.
Mr. McCain generally supports No Child Left Behind, Mr. Bush’s signature education policy. Calling it a “good beginning,” he has said, “there’s a lot of things that need to be fixed” about it. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a McCain adviser, has said “the law needs to start addressing the underlying cultural problems in our education system.”
This position is but one of many in which there is agreement. The potential Republican President and the current Grand Old Party leader concur on much. Americans may wish to glimpse into the abyss Senator Biden sees. The Democratic Vice Presidential nominee verbalizes his vision as he pronounces, “(The) past is prologue. Perchance, in frustration Joseph Biden beseeches his adversary in this debate, the person who decidedly espoused she would not answer directly. He exclaims, “The issue is, how different is John McCain’s policy going to be than George Bush’s? I haven’t heard anything yet.
I haven’t heard how his policy is going to be different on Iran than George Bush’s. I haven’t heard how his policy is going to be different with Israel than George Bush’s. I haven’t heard how his policy in Afghanistan is going to be different than George Bush’s. I haven’t heard how his policy in Pakistan is going to be different than George Bush’s.”
Sarah Palin stood solid silent on the specifics. Possibly in that moment she thought to voice again, “Say it ain’t so Joe” Yet, it is. Perhaps, that is why earlier she had decided not react to the questions unswervingly. The Governor knew, she could not say what was not, as it surely was and is.
Both men oppose use of federal money for abortions, including aid to groups that help women obtain them. Both support the ban on Partial-Birth Abortion Act of 2003 and parental notification for minors. Mr. McCain says Roe v. Wade “should be overturned,” altering his 1999 stand, and says he would appoint Supreme Court justices who “strictly interpret the Constitution.” He voted for both of Mr. Bush’s picks to the court. Mr. Bush has not publicly called for repealing Roe.
Diplomacy With Iran and Syria
Like the president, Mr. McCain has ruled out direct talks with Iran and Syria for now. Mr. McCain supported Mr. Bush when he likened those who would negotiate with “terrorists and radicals” to appeasers of the Nazis, a remark widely interpreted as a rebuke to Senator Barack Obama.
Mr. McCain supported a 2007 bill, strongly backed by Mr. Bush, that called for establishing a guest-worker program and setting up a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. He sponsored a similar bill in 2006 but this year he said he would not vote for his own proposal now. “Only after we achieved widespread consensus that our borders are secure, would we address other aspects of the problem in a way that defends the rule of law,” he said in February.
Mr. McCain supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003 but strongly criticized the Bush administration’s handling of the war in the first four years. He was a vocal advocate of the troop increase strategy, eventually adopted by the president, and has supported Mr. Bush in resisting calls for a withdrawal timetable. Last month, Mr. McCain said he believed the war could be won by 2013; but this month he said a timetable was “not too important,” in comparison with the level of casualties in Iraq.
Mr. McCain was a key backer of the 2006 legislation that allowed detainees to be tried in military courts and abolished habeas corpus rights for detainees labeled “enemy combatants” by the administration. He would close the Guantánamo prison and move prisoners to a maximum-security military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
Mr. McCain’s proposal to eliminate tax breaks that encourage employers to provide health insurance for their workers is very similar to one that Mr. Bush pushed last year, to little effect. The Bush plan offered a $15,000 tax deduction for families buying their own insurance, while the McCain plan would give a refundable tax credit of $5,000 to families for insurance whether or not they pay taxes. Both men opposed a 2007 bill to expand a children’s health insurance program for lower- and middle-income families.
Both support having wealthier Medicare recipients pay higher premiums for prescription drug coverage. In 2003, Mr. McCain voted against the bill that added a prescription drug benefit to Medicare.
“I’m totally in favor of personal savings accounts,” he told The Wall Street Journal in March, “along the lines that President Bush proposed.” Mr. Bush did not find enough support in Congress for his proposal to allow workers to divert a portion of Social Security payroll taxes into personal investment accounts in exchange for reduced guaranteed benefits.
Mr. Bush supported a constitutional amendment to ban such marriages, but Mr. McCain voted against it, saying states should enact such bans. He said he would consider a constitutional ban if “a higher court says that my state or another state has to recognize” same-sex marriages.
Both would leave the matter to the states. Mr. Bush said in 2004 that he would not “deny people rights to a civil union” if a state chose to legalize it. Mr. McCain supported a 2005 initiative in his own state, Arizona, that would have blocked civil unions and domestic partnerships. Last month he said that “people should be able to enter into legal agreements” for things like insurance and power of attorney.
Mr. McCain would make permanent the large Bush tax cuts he opposed in 2001 and 2003. He has also proposed four new tax cuts of his own: a reduction in the corporate tax rate, immediate tax breaks for corporate investment, a repeal of the alternative minimum tax and doubling the value of exemptions for dependents to $7,000 from $3,500.
Both are proponents of free trade and support opening up markets with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. They also support education programs to help displaced workers.
Wiretapping and Executive Power
Mr. Holtz-Eakin, a top adviser to Mr. McCain, said last week that Mr. McCain believes that the Constitution gave Mr. Bush the power to authorize the National Security Agency to monitor Americans’ international phone calls and e-mail without warrants, despite a federal statute that required court oversight. When Mr. McCain was asked about the same issue in January, he had said: “I don’t think the president has the right to disobey any law.”
What do you talk about when you, a Presidential or Vice Presidential candidate have nothing good to say of yourself? What can be said to encourage people to endorse you when your proposed policies will hurt them? What do you talk about when you cannot explain, the last years that define the failure of your Party?
You speak of others. Then, no one will notice what you do not want them to acknowledge. When you are not as wondrous as people hope you will be, criticize someone else. Slice, dice, and place people on the defensive. Lessen the worth of one who looms too large for your liking. Then, attention will be diverted away from you. A common enemy can be your cause. If people in your Party have someone to actively oppose they will joyfully join you in a quest to conquer.
If you have nothing good to say of yourself or your plans, consider the options. You might lie by omission. Certainly, what someone does not know will not hurt him or her, or more importantly, you will not be scathed. Build on a your personal tale. We have all experienced pain and suffering. A real-life crisis will cause a heart to bleed. People relate to a sad saga or a situation. Perceived strength can be an asset. Everyone loves a survivor. As a society, we admire those who sacrifice. Be that person, the saint who suffers in silence, or share the story of a sympathetic son, a daughter, a husband, or wife.
When you have nothing to say that might help endear you to those you most wish to influence, then say nothing of the economic decline that you helped to create. Do not remind the many of a corporate culture that endorses you and yet, denies people adequate pay or employment. If your words will cause worry to those who have lost income and a sense of self then do not dare mention the numbers out of work. As a Party or person who permits big business to outsource jobs, you must not speak of opportunities that no longer exist for the poor and Middle Class here at home.
The unemployment rate jumped to 6.1 percent in August, its highest level in five years, pushing the troubles of American workers to the center of the political debate as the presidential campaign enters its final weeks.
For the eighth consecutive month, the nation’s employers shed jobs, 84,000 last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. In all, 605,000 jobs have been lost since January. The steady rise in unemployment, from 5.7 percent in July and 5 percent in April, is one that many economists associate with recession.
If you are among the rich or the Right who deny health care coverage to all children, and to every citizen do not speak of the millions who must declare bankruptcy due to an illness. Do not tell the tale the will push people away from you at the polls. If you have nothing, good to say of the medical coverage your Administration will offer say nothing at all. Surely, you cannot quote the analysis. You do not wish for people to ponder.
In the July 23 update of its analysis, Tax Policy Center (TPC) added a preliminary estimate of the candidates’ health care proposals. Because the campaigns did not provide complete plans, TPC assumed certain details. We conclude that the McCain plan, which would replace the current exclusion for employer-paid premiums with a refundable income tax credit of up to $5000 for anyone purchasing of health insurance and make other changes to the healthcare system, would increase the deficit by $1.3 trillion over 10 years and modestly trim the number of uninsured.
The Obama plan, which would make relatively low-cost insurance available to everyone through non-group pools and subsidize premiums for low and moderate-income households, would cost $1.6 trillion, but would also cover virtually all children and many currently uninsured adults.
As a candidate who wishes to tax the Middle Class, and not the affluent, do not tell the masses what you will do once in the Oval Office. They cannot know for a common man or woman will not cast a ballot if they see or hear the projected statistics. There is no need to remind millions of Americans of what will alienate them, the actual reality.
The Obama plan would reduce taxes for low and moderate-income families, but raise them significantly for high-bracket taxpayers (see Figure 2). By 2012, middle-income taxpayers would see their after-tax income rise by about 5 percent, or nearly $2,200 annually. Those in the top 1 percent would face a $19,000 average tax increase-a 1.5 percent reduction in after-tax income.
McCain would lift after-tax incomes an average of about 3 percent, or $1,400 annually, for middle-income taxpayers by 2012. But, in sharp contrast to Obama, he would cut taxes for those in the top 1% by more than $125,000, raising their after-tax income an average 9.5 percent.
Say nothing or say what will generate gratitude for you, for your service, for your chutzpah. Be bold. Be brave. Be brassy. Be brazen, just be safe. Say nothing of what will bring attention to you. Divorce yourself from your political past and your Party. Be the agent of covert change. Certainly, that is what citizens who know nothing of what you have not said will believe in.
“History consists of a series of accumulated imaginative inventions.” Voltaire [Author and Philosopher -1694 ?” 1778]
On Saturday, January 29, 2005, while reading The Los Angeles Times I discovered an interesting article by Peter Wallsten. Initially, it appeared innocuous, though newsworthy. First, I noticed a large photograph of Condoleezza Rice; she was taking her oath of office, being sworn in as Secretary of State. Granted, this event is important; yet, it was not the occasion that intrigued me, the title of this exposé did. It read, “Recasting Republicans as the Party of Civil Rights.”
I knew that the Republican right was working to write history, paying pundits to promote their propaganda and using taxpayer monies to do so, nonetheless this title implied more. It seems that the Republicans are not only writing history, now they are re-writing history!
As I read further, I felt great trepidation. Apparently, Yale University history professor David Blight does as well. He proclaimed that, "It’s appalling to me as a historian and as an American citizen. It necessitates ignoring and avoiding at least 80 years of the history of the Republican Party, that the Republican Party became the bastion of white solidarity, white comfort.”
When historians consider the legacy of the Grand Old Party, they note that it is quite “complex.” The Republican Party came into being in 1854 and while it was founded on the philosophies of freedom, free people, free minds, and free expression, the focus quickly became that of free enterprise. Shortly after the Civil War, [1861 – 1865], the Republican Party adopted policies and practices that emphasize the individual. The Party offered opportunities, though not equally or for all. Increasingly, businesses were befriended and the GOP showed far less concern for civil rights issues. This was and has been the character of the Grand Old Party for nearly a century now.
These qualities are still strongly served in the Republican bequest. As recently as three short years ago this vein was still apparent. Senator Trent Lott (R-Mississippi) voiced a segregationist stance. He mused that the country might have been better served under a Strom Thurmond, Presidency. After this admission, Lott was forced to resign as the Party’s Senate leader.
Words may amend the actions of the party or its proponents; however, the affects of these do not change. This administration is known for its use of language; they give languishing circumstances a new light. Agendas are reframed; conservatives are compassionate. Policy is under a kinder and gentler guise. Nonetheless, we cannot escape what we have witnessed.
In May 2004, we read reports, one from the AFL-CIO, of how this administration was attempting to “write history” in questionable manners. Through a General Accounting Office report, it was discovered that the Department of Health and Human Services and its Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services generated, what appeared to be news broadcasts, those that are presumed to report history in the making. In actuality, these were advertisements praising the Medicare Reform program proposed by the Bush Administration. The GAO stated that this practice of paying for and producing propaganda with taxpayer funds was and is illegal.
Then, almost a year later, we learn that the Department of Education is also giving rise to create as they crave. They worked to assure a supportive following for the “No Child Left Behind” program. They paid commercially successful conservative commentator, Armstrong Williams money to sing the praises of the Bush plan. This endorsement cost the taxpayers a mere quarter of one million dollars. Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post wrote of this conflict of interest in January of 2005.