Times Have Certainly Changed…

Here’s a quiz. Identify the party whose national platform called for changes to the anti-union Taft-Hartley Act to “more effectively protect the rights of labor unions” and to “assure equal pay for equal work regardless of sex.”

Hint: The same platform advocated for federal assistance to low-income communities; for protecting Social Security, providing asylum for refugees, extending the minimum wage and improving the unemployment benefits system so that it would cover more people.

According to Politifact, those provisions were prominent elements of the 1956 Republican platform.

The Republican Party I joined 50 plus years ago was absolutely nothing like the collection of fanatics and lunatics who will gather in Cleveland this week to endorse a narcissistic blowhard atop a radically right-wing platform.

In this year’s platform, economic prescriptions are unremittingly anti-union. They include “a National Right-to-Work law to promote worker freedom and to promote greater economic liberty” and a promise to “aggressively enforce the recent decision by the Supreme Court barring the use of union dues for political purposes without the consent of the worker.” (Nothing about barring corporate use of proceeds that would otherwise fatten dividends without the consent of shareholders…).

The platform promises to reduce “marginal tax rates by 20 percent across-the-board in a revenue-neutral manner” and to “eliminate the taxes on interest, dividends, and capital gains altogether for lower and middle-income taxpayers.” (Because you know how many low-income taxpayers have interest, dividend and capital gains income.) They’ll also end the “death tax” that makes it more difficult for the uber wealthy to transfer all of that wealth to their children.

And then there’s the “values” part of the platform, which “reaffirms our support for a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” and includes affirmations of what we used to call “state’s rights” (more accurately, the right of states to ignore federal anti-bias laws).

There are pious endorsements of efforts to protect “electoral integrity”–aka voter suppression tactics. In this section, the previous calls for “state’s rights” give way to a list of things that states should not be permitted to do: vote by mail, or get together to eliminate the electoral college.

Those pesky “good government” efforts get short shrift too; the platform promises to

“ support repeal of the remaining sections of McCain- Feingold, support either raising or repealing contribution limits, and oppose passage of the DISCLOSE Act or any similar legislation.”

Just in case we missed it, the platform lets us know in no uncertain terms that the GOP is God’s party. It opposes the “war on religion,” advocates for a national RFRA modeled upon Indiana’s version, and wants the bible and prayer back in public schools.

“We pledge to respect the religious beliefs and rights of conscience of all Americans and to safeguard the independence of their institutions from government. We support the public display of the Ten Commandments as a reflection of our history and of our country’s Judeo-Christian heritage, and we affirm the right of students to engage in prayer at public school events in public schools and to have equal access to public schools and other public facilities to accommodate religious freedom in the public square. We assert every citizen’s right to apply religious values to public policy and the right of faith-based organizations to participate fully in public programs without renouncing their beliefs, removing religious symbols, or submitting to government-imposed hiring practices. We oppose government discrimination against businesses due to religious views. We support the First Amendment right of freedom of association of the Boy Scouts of America and other service organizations whose values are under assault and condemn the State blacklisting of religious groups which decline to arrange adoptions by same-sex couples. We condemn the hate campaigns, threats of violence, and vandalism by proponents of same-sex marriage against advocates of traditional marriage and call for a federal investigation into attempts to deny religious believers their civil rights.”

In addition to opposing discrimination against those poor beleaguered Christians, the  party also reminds us that God loves Guns and the Second Amendment.

We acknowledge, support, and defend the law-abiding citizen’s God-given right of self-defense. We call for the protection of such fundamental individual rights recognized in the Supreme Court’s decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago affirming that right, and we recognize the individual responsibility to safely use and store firearms. This also includes the right to obtain and store ammunition without registration. We support the fundamental right to self-defense wherever a law-abiding citizen has a legal right to be..

You might think that this support for your right to blow people away is a bit inconsistent with the party’s purported reverence for life, but that’s because that reverence only persists until the little bugger emerges from the womb.

We assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations which perform or advocate it and will not fund or subsidize health care which includes abortion coverage. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life.

Republicans oppose flag desecration, support keeping “Under God” in the Pledge, and oppose any judicial reference to foreign or international law–the platform even opposes “the adoption or ratification of international treaties that weaken or encroach upon American sovereignty.” (Since all binding agreements, including treaties, “encroach” upon “sovereignty,” I assume the GOP–like Trump–wants America to go it alone.)

There was much, much more.

When I parted ways with the GOP, I said I hadn’t left the Party, the Party had left me. If you want to see how far today’s Republicans have moved from the responsible center-right party that they used to be–and that America still needs–you need only compare the platforms of the 1950s and 1960s with the doctrinal, delusional document they will adopt this week in Cleveland.


  1. Thanks for the history lesson on the GOP’s platform. What a way to bastardize the constitution!

  2. Sorry I couldn’t take the time to study this one, Dr. Kennedy. I’m concentrating on the plagiarism issue this morning.

  3. It’s simple. It’s an attempted “political takeover” that’s all. Just a final step for them in the MASSIVE RESISTANCE to the civil rights legislation that started in the 60’s. Trump is only pressing the issue earlier than the Republican establishment had planned. They will all eventually fall in line. Give them a week or so.


    “Since orthodox or evangelical Protestantism has been the chief shaper of the southern way of life, it is postulated here that religious factors were second only to politics in creating the chain of events that led to Massive Resistance. It is the aim of this section to explore that hypothesis by probing two questions. What are the known facts about the nature and influence of southern religion? And what elements of southern religion might conduce, directly or indirectly, to race prejudice and POLITICAL MOVEMENTS BASED ON RACE? In seeking to answer these questions, it will be important to avoid the fallacy of intended consequences, since religion–like all human institutions–has rational or intended functions but also social, psychological, and any number of adventitious side-effects. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that more often than not in history, it has been the UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES of a thing that really matter.”

    “The majority of social scientists who have studied and written about the South have not paid adequate attention to the overall impact of religion on the region. However one measures it, that impact has been enormous. And its surface manifestations ar obvious even to the casual observer. One thinks, for example, of the profusion of churches in every town and hamlet, the proliferation of old and new sects, the Sunday blue laws, the crazy liquor regulations, the pervasive revivalism, the ubiquitous Bible salesman, the biblical rhetoric of the region’s lawyers, the endless gospel singing and the clergy into almost every area of private life. And yet, a good deal of religion’s impact on the South is variously DISGUISED, and it is that fact that has tended to mislead the EXPERTS.”

    Francis M. Wilhoit, “The Politics of Massive Resistance”(New York: George Braziller, 1973) 255

  5. Marv; years ago, after moving back to Indy from New Whiteland and briefly attending the First Southern Baptist Church there (and, yes I was saved on May 10, 1969) I began attending Birge Terrace Baptist Church. They seemed to be friendly and welcoming so I joined their Bible study group headed by the preacher’s wife. During one lesson I questioned why there were no Blacks in the congregation; the response was that God had separated the races, not the church. When I asked for an explanation of the 12th chapter of Numbers the response was, that is merely a parable and not all Ethiopians were “colored”. That “southern impact” moved north and stayed here. They also weren’t satisfied with my tithe of 10% of my babysitting money and wanted 10% of my husband’s salary – he refused to set foot inside their doors.

  6. This year’s Republican Platform may be the craziest political document ever written in the good old U.S. of A. I’ve seen pandering before, but this document panders to their most extreme elements, giving total control to the crazies.

    And speaking of the crazies, the right wing is now saying that Congress has decided to bypass the FBI and just directly charge Hillary with “Federal crimes”. Congress has no authority to do that. It was an interesting night of Hillary hating, though with Benghazi as the highlight of the evening. Before long the story will be that Hillary actually went there and shot those four men herself.

  7. I’m sure many of you are in shock from the events of last night. For JoAnn and me, it’s just confirmation of what we knew was coming all along. JoAnn is only a few months older than I am. We both observed the beginning of this mess from the inside many, many years ago.

    I remember dancing with my cousin’s bride at their wedding, sometime in the early 60’s. She whispered in my ear, “I can tell, you’re a 1st generation hippie.” This free evaluation was based on the fact that she knew that I had been arrested twice and put on academic probation twice at the U. of Pennsylvania in the 50’s and still survived to graduate and go to law school. So a trolley was overturned in protest…. little deal, but a big deal back then. Luckily, there weren’t any passengers on the trolley at the time.

    Nevertheless, I might not have graduated except for the fact, or act of G-d, that the son of the top donor to Penn was arrested with me. I have to admit I’ve been very fortunate ….So far.

  8. Wow Marv; with all of your credentials, being termed “a 1st generation hippie” touched my heart. I was 34 years old before I found and used MY voice; had my family been able to arrest me, I would still be in prison. I consider most of my first 34 years as what they hoped would be a life sentence.

  9. JoAnn,

    You had it a lot easier than I did. Both of my parents wanted me dead. Fortunately, as you can tell, things didn’t work out for them the way that they had planned. Like you, I really didn’t get my real voice until I was 34 or 35. Before then most of my success was delivering my message physically through “body language.” I was very good at that. You can deliver your message that way, but it’s not a very good way to go in the long run. I will also have to admit that my style didn’t attract too many followers….. Generally around zero.

  10. It seems that GOP platform builders believe that if they act in every way completely differently than they did in the 50s, we can all return to the 50s.

    They have no concept of the difference between culture and government and they are running on electing a culture. (Given the odiousness of their candidates perhaps packaging them as culture change is the only way to get them elected.)

    It irks me that they can get away with unfurling the Constitution when it’s clear they are rejecting it in almost every way. I think that Sheila’s Public Policy students should edit the platform and strike everything from it that would be unConstitutional and see would would be left. I’ll bet I hat it could be written on a 3X5 card. No wonder the Republican Congress feels the need to shut down the Supreme Court.

    They’ve gone from being a major political party representing Americans to a farce to a failure to a menace to the entire world. They and Trumpence and Duck Dynasty deserve each other.

    The rest of humanity has culturally and politically adapted to changing times. The GOP has become roaring dinosaurs enraged that the environment no longer bows to their superiority. They will of course eventually suffer the fate of the dinosaurs but the question that remains is how much damage will they do while going extinct.

  11. Reading the parts of their platform that you wrote today really made the ugliness, bigotry and mean-spiritedness of the extreme right members of the GOP stand out to me. It has left me speechless.

    Sheila, your blog posts did not come to my email yesterday or today. Did something change again?

  12. Been having issues with the subscription service–some getting double transmissions, others missing. We think we have it fixed.

  13. Here’s an interesting article about the split in the Republican Party.



    A term used in the article refers to the Cleveland Circus is the “White Resentment Party”, pretty apt I would say.

    The WRP is trying to accomplish two impossible tasks: legislating culture and demographics. Maybe 3. Add legislating reality by denying science.

    It is an outlandish dream fueled by entitlement. We deserve superior status.

    So the establishment GOP old guard, horrified at what their political shinanagans have resulted in, would like a do over but have accepted that even they aren’t entitled enough to pull that off right now.

    So they’re waiting for the crash of the Trumpence rocket before they sweep up the pieces and rebuild. (Of course what they only know how to rebuild is in the image of Bush II and that’s another undeniable failure.)

    History is replete with the downfalls of entitlement and history as it always does is repeating itself in an effort to instruct those not paying attention to it.

    I wish it would stay a circus but am afraid it will turn out to be another human tragedy.

  14. Pete,

    “So the establishment GOP old guard, horrified at what their political shinanagans have resulted in, would like a do over but have accepted that even they aren’t entitled enough to pull that off right now.

    So they’re waiting for the crash of the Trumpence rocket before they sweep up the pieces and rebuild. (Of course what they only know how to rebuild is in the image of Bush II and that’s another undeniable failure.)”

    We better watch out. The capitalists who funded Hitler thought he was going to crash also. They somewhat missed the boat. My apologies to the Germans for comparing Trump to Hitler.

  15. If you read the article that I referenced even the Republican old guard expects Trumpence to spectacularly fail.

    Of course they can as easily be wrong as I can.

  16. Trump’s entrance last night at the convention should serve as fair warning for what is ahead if he is elected. He ego is charging ahead, dragging the entire Republican party behind him like an incomplete abortion. His mindset defies all logic; but the GOP and his supporters will still be with us to contend with if he loses. I say again; the November election, even if we vote out Republicans at all state levels will leave them in control till January 1, 2017. Look at the damage the first night of the RNC caused their own party; then think of the amount of damage they can do to the country in seven weeks time.

  17. “Should any political party attempt to abolish social security unemployment insurance and eliminate labor laws and farm programs you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group of course that believes you can do these things. Among them are a few other Texas oil millionaires and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.”

    ― Dwight D. Eisenhower
    Privatizing Social Security has been on the Republican Agenda for years. Bernie Sanders was accused of being out to destroy AmeriKa when he discussed raising taxes on the wealthy. The Income tax rate under IKE’s topped out at 91%.

    Night One of the Republican Convention was Fright Night. Let’s scare everyone, and offer up Law and Order and Pruuyer (as it is pronounced by Bible Thumper’s). Some things that were missing was having the Convention Broadcast in Black and White to complete the Scare Tactics of the 1950’s.
    A bit off subject but I hear Roger Ailes of FOX may get canned for the throw back casting couch interviews with female employees. Roger has all the sex appeal of Jabba the Hut. Recall Princess Leia in her Gold Bikini??? Interesting enough there is a comic book –
    Star Wars – Jabba the Hutt: Art of the Deal Paperback – June 3, 1998 — No kidding.

  18. Louie; am I, or possibly you, the only people who remember that neither Bernie Sanders or President Obama want to raise taxes on the wealthy? They want their tax rate to return to what it was before George W. lowered it. There is a difference between those two actions. President Obama’s biggest mistake was NOT to allow the tax break to end on the date George W. originally set. Trying to compromise; his “Audacity Of Hope” didn’t work in this case and we are still paying for that attempt, his belief he was dealing with honest elected officials who were working for their constituents.

  19. I’m an old, white, heterosexual, Christian, American male.

    Either my ego is dreaming or it used to be that we were generally respected; not all of us or none of us all of the time, but people generally thought that we were hard working, responsible, problem solvers.

    Is it different now? If so there might be two explanations. One is that we are somehow less respectable now, the other is that many others have caught up.

    That’s what I choose to believe. All of that hard work and responsible problem solving spread to others.

    More equal. That’s such a good thing.

  20. JoAnn, here’s something to refresh your memory about the Bush tax cuts.


    They do point out a difference between Bernie and Obama.

    As a candidate Bernie was free to promise anything.

    As a President Obama was restricted to following governmental checks and balances even though Congress did not.

  21. This GOP platform largely copies the Koch Bros.–ALEC playbook. It sounds like the platform committee was called into their office to take dictation.

  22. Ken, from your reference.

    “Governor Brownback put his faith in the private sector to grow the Kansas economy, rather than the government. By eliminating the income tax for small business, the Brownback administration effectively put money back in families’ pockets and provided promising new businesses with an environment primed for growth.”

    The taxes that he stopped collecting would have been used for some public good which Kansas residents now have to give up in order to reward business owners.

    How do you know that’s a net gain for we, the people?

  23. Peggy, you mean she didn’t pull the trigger herself?
    Oops, if someone in the Trumposhere reads this we will be hearing about it on the campaign trail. Tell a joke some people and see what happens.

    Pete, right year, but wrong century I think they are longing for the 1850s, although many of them seem to pine for the Articles of Confederation. Of course, for some of them, like Trump, the idea of a legislative branch seems such a nuisance and they long for the 1750s (please King George, take us back – or on second thought, King Donald I?)

  24. Is Donald Trump running for President or trying to re-enact Custer’s Last Stand? That’s the real question we should all be asking. Let’s be fair….sociopaths do have problems too.

  25. Pete! In a post a while back, there was much discussion about how the Brownback tax cut had devastated the Kansas economy. This article seems to indicate that tumors of Kansas’ death were greatly exaggerated. You speculate that reduced tax rates reduced revenue which has not been demonstrated. You assume the change in revenue you expect means government provides less “essential” services. You further assume that government would care for citizens better than the results of stimulated economy.

  26. Pete. For the record, I assumed nothing. The article reported positive results from the tax cut that don’t square with your narrative, so you dismiss them with your biased assumptions

Comments are closed.