Tag Archives: 1956 platform

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.