Remembrance of Things Past

The Republican candidates for President continue to appeal to the current GOP base with what passes for policy in the party these days: Romney has just promised to cut funding for the arts by half; Santorum promises not just a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage, but also to retroactively “annul” those marriages that have already occurred (good luck with that, Rick); Gingrich wants poor children with no “role models” or a “work ethic” (i.e., black kids) to clean public school toilets, and Ron Paul wants the US to withdraw from contact from the rest of the world. They all pooh-pooh climate change and vow to reverse current measures to protect the environment. They all promise to control my uterus, and to charge me big bucks if I am impertinent enough to demand birth control. They all want to eviscerate labor unions and cut what’s left of the social safety net.

And none of them will ever, ever, ever raise taxes on rich folks. Promise.

I remember when the Republican Party didn’t resemble the Gong Show. I remember when Republicans were fiscally prudent adults who paid for the wars they waged, were pro-equality (okay, maybe not the southern ones), and were concerned about the health of the planet.

Young people to whom I defend the “old” GOP tend to be skeptical of my recollection, but I have proof of a sort. The other day, cleaning out some files, I came across a summary of the national Republican Platform of 1956. To today’s GOP, it would read like the Communist Manifesto.

A sampling:

  • We are proud of and shall continue our far-reaching and sound advances in matters of basic human needs–expansion of social security–broadened coverage in unemployment insurance–improved housing–and better health protection for all our people.
  • We favor a comprehensive study of the effects upon wildlife of the drainage of our wetlands.
  • We recognize the need for maintaining isolated wilderness areas.
  • We favor a continuously vigorous enforcement of anti-trust laws.
  • We must continue and further perfect…programs of assistance to the millions of workers with special employment problems, such as older workers, handicapped workers, members of minority groups, and migratory workers.
  • We must extend the protection of the Federal minimum wage laws to as many more workers as is possible and practicable.
  • We must continue to fight for the elimination of discrimination in employment because of race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry or sex.
  • We must revise and improve the Taft-Hartley Act so as to protect more effectively the rights of labor unions, management, the individual worker and the public.

I miss that party. RIP.


  1. OMG… if this was the Republican platform, what for heaven’s sake was the Democratic platform? The 30-hour work week? Lowering the retirement age to 50? FREE healthcare?? It boggles the mind.

  2. We can’t afford the unaffordable delusions of either political party.

    The Keynesian mode of government spending more as a sort of investment has had some success. But, when double and triple digit trillions in the hole, our manufacturing base severely decimated, education systems mediocre, work ethic declining, global competition ascending, and our non-homogenous populace stirred into a quasi class war from denial of accumulated benefits and perceived “rights”- who says this is going to work out when you no longer have the means to pay for it? If what goes up must come down, what is the limit of government “investment”? Of “compassionate” solutions? Right now, it appears no one in Washington D.C. believes there are limits.

    Is this how you practice your household finances? Buy a new suit for a job interview on credit- Ok. Invest in college education- Historically, it’s paid off. Make payments on a car to go to work or school- OK, I’m generally onboard. But then, do you also continue to spend money you don’t have, increase your overall level of deficit spending, and not have the means to pay it back in the foreseeable future? If you’re somebody doing that at home- how’s it working out for you? Nobody at your kitchen table is telling you that things are getting out of control, and that you need to keep your wallet in your pocket?

    If I’ve got it all wrong, I’d very much like to hear an economist tell me where I’m mistaken. What about our global contemporaries, maybe they’ve got it figured out….

    Britain? They’ve figured out they have to change the policies of the NHS. They’ve undertaken severe reductions in spending.

    Canada? They never let their loan standards degrade to what our government and fiscal industry permitted during “everybody can own a home.” They’re coming to America (while they still can), if they need surgery in a hurry.

    Greece, Portugal, Italy, Spain…. Do we want to discuss how paying for European social policy is going?

    Where is the fiscal model of success in taxing the devil out of the rich, and then keep spending money that’s still not coming in? When your currency is devalued, when a dollar buys less food because it’s worth less- will that be helping the needy?

    I don’t disagree with the notion of a “remembrance of things past.” I just think it’s wider and deeper than any one party, sex, race, or any other demographic. Again, I think avoidance of reality is a common human failing, but incredibly disappointing and downright despicable when coming from our supposed public servants.

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