Tag Archives: Paul

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.

Out of Iowa

At least the Iowa caucuses are over.

The attention Iowa gets has long been a mystery to me. Sure, they’re first, but it would be hard to imagine an electorate less representative of America as a whole than this rural, virtually all-white state. And history confirms that Iowa’s choice of nominee (except when that choice was an incumbent) has rarely been predictive, rarely won the nomination.

I guess it’s sort of like reading the entrails of a small animal and looking for omens.

So–what did the omens tell us? Well, Pander Bear eked out an 8 vote victory over Vengeful God Theocrat. At Least I’m Authentic came in third.

Meanwhile, Marlboro Man learned that old, valuable lesson: better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.  He and Crazy Eyes Lady finished at the bottom of the pack.

On to New Hampshire.

Luck of the Draw

A friend of mine used to have a saying to the effect that he’d rather be lucky than smart. While I think President Obama is pretty darn smart, if current trends continue, he may also prove to be very, very lucky.

Conventional wisdom–which is conventional because it tends to be right fairly often–is that Presidents presiding over poor economies have a hard time getting re-elected. Ordinarily, then, even a President who didn’t have a lot of people who already hated him for the color of his skin would be in trouble in 2012. But the Republicans, bless them, are helping him out.

The GOP field–filled with embarrassingly retrograde candidates–is one thing. These are mostly people who would have trouble running for City Council in normal times, and they have even some reliable Republican voters wincing. Those voters may not switch in November–but they also may not vote.

But if Obama is REALLY lucky, here’s the scenario: Gingrich wins the nomination, and Ron Paul runs as an independent. As conservative columnist Kathleen Parker has pointed out, no one thinks Gingrich can win the general election. He’s an unstable megalomaniac, without the discipline to run a sustained campaign. And Ron Paul–who will not run again for his House seat–has sent signals that suggest he’s contemplating a third-party run. He’s done it before, and he has the donors and volunteers to sustain such a candidacy. None other but George Will speculated that Paul would pull 80% of his votes from the eventual GOP candidate.

Paul could be a spoiler if the candidate is Mitt. If the candidate is Gingrich, Obama will have quite a mandate.

Hard to believe that anyone could be THAT lucky, but you never know.