Hey everyone. It has been a while since I summoned the energy to write a diary given my other commitments, but after yet another political discussion online, I went into a long rant that I felt I may as well post here as well. It is my views of the current state of the Republican Party. Like if you want, read if you want, doesn't much matter. Hope you are all having a pleasant evening.
People, you included, like to assume I break down everything into red and blue, and maybe to some extent I am guilty of that. But it isn't how I think. I take a long view. And through this view, I actually have a tremendous amount of respect for the Republican Party.
I admire President Eisenhower, who realizing his country was in debt after the double whammy of the Great Depression and a Second World War, enforced tax policies to pay this debt down. These included a top marginal rate of 91% and a capital gains tax of 50%. These now stand at 36% and 15% today. General Ike also was the catalyst for building the expensive interstate highway system, which has been obviously invaluable for our economy.
I admire President Nixon, despite all his flaws, for having the most successful foreign policy of the postwar era, probably up until Barack Obama. He also called for Universal Healthcare.
I admire Ronald Reagan for having the courage to stand up to the base that elected him and say that yes, poor people should not have to pay income tax for that would simply lead them to welfare anyway. It was under Reagan that the earned income tax credit was created, and had his thorough support. (CORRECTION: In the comments, someone brought to my attention that it was actually under President Ford that the Earned Income Tax Credit came around, but Reagan did expand it.)
I admire George Bush Sr. for his well executed oversight of the aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union, and his willingness to raise taxes despite it probably costing him reelection. He also toppled Saddam in a matter of days, and showed great restraint in not taking over the country in what we now know would have become a quagmire.
And George W Bush, well, I don't admire him much but I don't doubt that he was at least sincere, he honestly believed his many incorrect views.
So what is going on today? THe President wants to invest in infrastructure which is badly needed, and he is a "government-solves-everything" radical. He thinks we should make the wealthy pay 30% of their income to help pay down the debt, and he is a socialist. What would Eisenhower have to say about what has become of his Grand Old Party? Would he dare even be a Republican?
What would Richard Nixon have to say about the Republican Opposition to healthcare reform? Would he not think that the United States of America should not be the only advanced industrialized democracy to NOT have universal coverage?
And Reagan. That Saint of Republicanism would not even carry his home state of California in today's GOP primaries. Raised taxes when needed, for the earned income tax credit they now spit on, and had friends who were gay? For shame, Mr. President! It is also interesting to note that despite ll the talk of him cutting government, under him we had 300,000 more federal government employees than under Obama. This despite a lower population compared to today.
George Bush Sr. had originally called Reagan's plan to strengthen the economy and increase revenues by cutting taxes "voodoo economics". Though he shut up once he became VP, his original uncensored instinct was correct. Revenues did not grow, though the economy did. We only found out later that this was phantom growth going primarily to the wealthiest of society. If President Bush Sr. could speak freely, do you think he would endorse the tea party?
And even W knows deep down that Barack Obama has been very successful in the war on terror. Again, something you will never hear him say except in a future writing maybe. Though Condolezza Rice recently did praise the President's Handling of foreign affairs.
And now, we have incidents like this with Governor Brewer. I had the displeasure of watching Sean Hannity when I was at the gym today. He discussed what happened. He went on a diatribe about Obama being weak on border security. When one of his guests pointed out that Obama has actually been very strong on this issue, and had put more boots on the ground near the border than any other President, Hannity said "blah, blah, blah" and continued his diatribe. I kid you not. Facts do not matter at all anymore. They have become irrelevant, a hindrance to bashing Obama.
Now, this is nothing new. Even in the 90s talk radio neocons were regularly drowning out facts that were inconvenient to whomever they were currently bashing.
The difference is, this dangerous wing of the party has BECOME the GOP. Think about it. For all the partisanship of 2000-2008, when push came to shove, President Bush always got more troops, or a higher debt ceiling, or a tax cut, and the Democrats backed down for various reasons.
This past summer, the Republican Party showed its willingness to put the country on the verge of insolvency unless it got what it wanted by refusing to raise the debt ceiling. These are bills by the way, money, we have ALREADY SPENT. Most of it, in fact, went towards Bush policies. All their radicalism got us was a credit downgrade for the first time in American History. They put their radical ideas ahead of the welfare of the United States of America.
So yes, both parties are to blame for the partisanship illustrated in Governor Brewer spitting on the Presidency as she did this past week, and many other events like it.
But one party is more to blame. President Obama has been by today's standards, a moderate Democrat. By the standards of the 50s, 60s, and 70s, he is a Conservative. Even his "socialist" healthcare plan was largely lifted from the plan Bob Dole and the GOP proposed in the early 90s to counter "Hillarycare". A mandate making sure Americans take responsibility for themselves by buying healthcare so we won't have to pay when they go to the emergency room? It reeks of a Conservative Value, in a good way. Even the subsidies for the poor so they could get help paying for their bills has been supported in the past by Republicans. It is why Mitt Romney's succesful plan in Massachusetts was modeled of it. In turn, today's national plan was modeled off of "Romneycare".
But not anymore. Once Obama took office, Mitch McConnell put it best, "our primary goal is to make sure the President does not get a 2nd term." At least he was honest. They have stopped supporting many things they would have supported if the Black Democrat wasn't President. Obstructionism is king, NO is always the answer if Barack Obama is the one asking the question.
Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan would have no quarter in today's Republican Party. They would be ashamed of what their Grand Old Party has become. I am ashamed of what it has become. Because no matter what I believe, a reasonable opposition is necessary for the good of the country.
Governor Daniels offered a ray of hope in his response to the President's state of the union speech. Can't say I agreed with him, but he was at least someone who showed a willingness to be reasonable. I am confident he would not have risked the good of the country like his party did this past summer.
Moderate Conservatism, and even the Conservatism of Ronald Reagan is acceptable. I don't like much of it, but it is a worthy adversary in growing the grand experiment in Democracy that is the United States.
The radical conservatism that has choked the Republican Party is not interested in this, its only goal is to insure its own survival by pretending that anyone who opposes it is a "Radical Socialist", even if history shows that its own party was apparently just as guilty to such "radicalism". Calling Obama a socialist for wanting to tax the ultra rich at 30%? What the HELL does that make the much-beloved President Eisenhower?
Sometimes, you can blame someone, it isn't "both parties." Most of the blame for the current state of our nation can be laid at the feet of radical neoconservatism. It is not an opposition that should be compromised with, that would be normal conservatism. It is a cancer that must be sent back into remission.
12:13 PM PT: Wow community spotlight. Thanks guys!