Had a hectic few days doing client work that pulled me away from blogging. Back now though, and ready to continue!
One of the more popular refrains from the right these days is that when Democrats (or liberals, or progressives–remember, all of these are synonyms in the language of the right, along with “socialist”, “statist”, “communist”, and “fascist”) point out some particular piece of rightie legislation or rhetoric as proof of their extremist beliefs, the right responds with a collective roll of the eye and a dismissal of that evidence as an aberration.
“Of course we don’t hate Latinos…we “merely” want to enact mass deportations and (draconian) border patrol laws!”
“Of course there’s no war on women…republicans believe that gummint should stay OUT of your life (except in any case involving a woman’s vagina, and people of the same sex living together…and, you know…maybe one or two others).”
“Of course there’s no war on the middle class from the right (except that we want to lower taxes on the wealthy and raise them on the poor and middle class)…that’s a myth!”
And so on.
That works for a while, because when you first hear it, if you’re a rational human being, it makes you do a double take and reexamine yourself to see if the charge is true.
The trouble is though, the more times that excuse gets used…the more times that particular card gets played, the less convincing it becomes.
I took a stroll through the pages of history (and some state level republican party platforms) to see what sorts of goodies I could unearth.
What gets revealed isn’t anomalous. It’s a clear trend, and some of what follows might shock and dismay you.
Then again, it might not surprise you at all.
Highlights from various state-level republican party platforms:
The Texans want to ban critical thinking. Niiiiice! Read all about it here.
The GOP wants to make it illegal “to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple and for any civil official to perform a marriage ceremony for such.” Gay marriage is already banned in Texas-so, for people to break this proposed law, they’d have to be … already breaking the law?
Republicans want to abolish the seventeenth amendment, because having state legislatures appoint U.S. senators again would “[restore] the constitution’s checks and balances that protects the rights and sovereignty of the states.” Apparently, states’ rights trump those of individual voters.
Republicans want to get rid of the federal agriculture and energy departments, the federal and state education departments, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the International Revenue Service (IRS). The party also calls for “the reintroduction and ratification of the original 13th Amendment, not the 13th Amendment in today’s Constitution.” The original amendment would have outlawed the taking of noble titles and foreign offices; the final amendment, of course, abolished slavery.
Republicans “oppose the concept of ‘gun free zones’ in any form or in any place except detention facilities.” Schools need not apply.
The GOP “oppose[s] any effort to implement Islamic Sharia law in this country.” I have yet to see a bill in Congress-or the Iowa legislature-that would legalize caning or stoning. Also, percentage of Iowans who are Muslim: less than 0.5.
“We support eliminating bureaucratic prohibitions on corporal discipline … in foster homes to help alleviate the shortage of foster parents.” So the GOP thinks there are Texans who would take in foster children if they were allowed to hit them. And the party supports them.
The GOP wants to “[r]eject the UN Treaty on Rights of the Child.” The only countries in the world that haven’t approved the treaty are the United States and Somalia.
Back to Texas, you could write a whole book on what’s wrong with the Texas GOP platform, not the least of which is the portion that opposes the “teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills” and “critical thinking skills.”
Then of course there’s the call for the return to the gold standard, and oh so many more! Read it for yourself here. It’s just…amazing. And I don’t mean that in a good way.
Just so we’re clear.
So after having read what real, rank and file republicans around the country want to do to the good ol’ US of A, I went on a quest to find some of their greatest hits from days gone by.
Past progressive measures that were met with by dire predictions and general hysterics from the right. GREAT stuff! (note that I’m an equal opportunity conserva-basher…some of these quotes are from conservative Democrats!)
“It may be impracticable that our distinctively American experiment of individual freedom should go on.”
-Senator David Hill (D-NY), in 1894, bemoaning the creation of a federal income tax
“Woman suffrage would give to the wives and daughters of the poor a new opportunity to gratify their envy and mistrust of the rich. Meantime these new voters would become either the purchased or cajoled victims of plausible political manipulators, or the intimidated and helpless voting vassals of imperious employers.”
-Former President Grover Cleveland (member of the HIGHLY Conservative Burbon Dems…what we would call Blue Dogs in today’s parlance…big time conservative icon of his day), in 1905, on why women shouldn’t be able to vote
“[T]he child will become a very dominant factor in the household and might refuse perhaps to do chores before six a.m. or after seven p.m. or to perform any labor.”
-Senator Weldon Heyburn (R-ID), in 1908, on why child labor should remain unregulated
“I fear it may end the progress of a great country and bring its people to the level of the average European. It will furnish delicious food and add great strength to the political demagogue. It will assist in driving worthy and courageous men from public life. It will discourage and defeat the American trait of thrift. It will go a long way toward destroying American initiative and courage.”
-Senator Daniel O. Hastings (R-DE), in 1935, listing the evils of Social Security
“[I]t would make it practically impossible for any publisher in the United States to accept any food, drug, or cosmetic advertising without facing squarely into the doors of a jail.”
-Federal Trade Commission Chair Ewin L. Davis, in 1935, on the dangers of empowering the Food and Drug Administration to regulate the food, drug, and cosmetic industries
“I do not think we can take the Chinese with their habits and mentalities in this year and time into our great American melting pot and in ten years or a hundred years bring them up to our standards of civilization.”
-Representative Compton I. White (D-ID), in 1943, on why we shouldn’t allow Chinese nationals to immigrate or become U.S. citizens
“[The Act represents] a step in the direction of Communism, Bolshevism, fascism, and Nazism.”
-The National Association of Manufacturers, in 1938, condemning a national minimum wage and guaranteed overtime pay
“It is destroying the amicable relations between the white and Negro races that have been created through 90 years of patient effort by the good people of both races. It has planted hatred and suspicion where there has been heretofore friendship and understanding.”
-Senator Strom Thurmond (D-SC), Senator Richard Russell (D-GA), and other Southern legislators, in 1956, describing the perils of integrating public schools
“It is socialism. It moves the country in a direction which is not good for anyone, whether they be young or old. It charts a course from which there will be no turning back.”
-Senator Carl Curtis (R-NE), in 1965, opposing Medicare
“[T]his bill could prevent continued production of automobiles . . . [and] is a threat to the entire American economy and to every person in America.”
-Lee Iacocca, executive vice president of Ford Motor Company, in 1970, on why the government shouldn’t regulate airborne contaminants that are hazardous to human health
“The effects include serious long-term losses in domestic output and employment, heavy cost burdens on manufacturing industries, and a resultant gradual contraction of the entire industrial base. The irony of this bleak scenario is that these economic hardships are borne with no real assurance they would be balanced by a cleaner, healthier environment.”
-The National Association of Manufacturers, in 1987, on the perils of an emissions reduction program to combat acid rain
“The doctor begins to lose freedoms; it’s like telling a lie, and one leads to another. First you decide that the doctor can have so many patients. They are equally divided among the various doctors by the government. But then the doctors aren’t equally divided geographically, so a doctor decides he wants to practice in one town and the government has to say to him you can’t live in that town, they already have enough doctors. You have to go someplace else. And from here it is only a short step to dictating where he will go.”
-Ronald Reagan, in 1961, arguing against the creation of Medicare
Update 1: And, lest you think that some of these golden oldies have vanished from the conservative RADAR, think again. Here’s a relatively current rant about the evils of those women voters. Jesus.