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Cross-posted at Immizen.com

One of my moderate Republican friends made the very anti-GOP claim that the role of the government is to regulate.

He finds it ridiculous that the House Republicans signed a pledge never to raise taxes and are not willing to give up their stance even when the debt continues to grow.

He says it is best if the Republican Party loses big so that they realize they are going in the wrong direction and hopefully go back to the good old days (from 40+ years ago).

He mentioned that the Republicans from the generation of his parents used to support and sign into law many regulations. He told me, and this surprised me, as I was not aware of it, that Nixon signed into law many environmental regulations. But he forgot to tell me that it was the Democratic Congresses that passed the environmental initiatives; it was therefore a shared effort between Republicans and Democrats, back in the olden days when these two species coexisted.

The environmental laws included:

The National Environmental Act of 1969, the Clean Air Act in 1970, the Clean Water Act of 1972, the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and last but certainly not least, the Safe Drinking Act of 1974. Not only did Richard Nixon sign all this legislation but he took a big step on his own when he signed an executive order creating the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970.
The big question is why a conservative like Nixon created the EPA and why he signed the green legislation.

There are any number of explanations.

To begin with, Nixon was much more interested in foreign policy than he was in domestic policy…  And the president was busy fighting the war in Vietnam at the time and making overtures to the communist governments of the Soviet Union and China.

And there was a tradition of progressive GOP environmentalism in the form of Teddy Roosevelt. It's hard to believe but, in the 1970s, there were moderate Republicans. Of course, they should have been put on the Endangered Species list before they died off, became Democrats, or were herded into re-education camps during the Ronald Reagan's presidency.

I am not sure Republicans can go back to the Nixon era. Too much time, money and effort has been invested by the corporate cronies, big oil, the Koch brothers and many among the 1% to buy Republican politicians to help each other stay in power. I don’t see how they can go back.

But hey, I don’t mind if they believe this voting for Obama strategy may work.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (12+ / 0-)

    In the 2008 elections there were 15 million less people who identified themselves as "liberals" than as "conservatives" (L/C ratio: 65%). Face it, this country is center-right. Moving it to the left is up to us!

    by healthy on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 05:37:41 PM PDT

  •  Hey Healthy, you want to be even more surprised (8+ / 0-)

    About Nixon; look up the National Health Care plan he tried to get passed. It was even more comprehensive and 'socialist' than Obamacare!

    Once again I have to mention how passing strange things have become, when we look back on Nixon wistfully.

    (romney)/RYAN 2012 - My fellow Americans; when I was a boy, I dreamed of being a baseball. But I say to you now; we must go forward, not backwards. We must go upwards, not forward. And always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!

    by Fordmandalay on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 05:54:02 PM PDT

    •  Paul Krugman pointed this out (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a gilas girl, HugoDog, Calamity Jean

      Obama is governing to the right of Richard Nixon.

      Nixon was an honors student, and had some concept of the good of the country. Republicans could have started with the idea of Nixon and added sanity and ethics, but instead they deleted the intelligence and patriotism.

    •  All true (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      healthy, CoyoteMarti, Onomastic

      but it is also Nixon who was the father of the strategy which has overtaken the GOP and created its own monster: the Southern Strategy that divide and demonize using race mentality that now dominates the party and most of its problems.

      Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

      by a gilas girl on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 07:09:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  True dat. He had a very bad side. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        healthy, a gilas girl

        Which makes the good things all the more remarkable. And vice versa. He's a hard guy to figure out - I compare him to Captain Queeg in 'The Caine Mutiny'. His feelings of inadequacy and paranoia drove him over the edge.

        (romney)/RYAN 2012 - My fellow Americans; when I was a boy, I dreamed of being a baseball. But I say to you now; we must go forward, not backwards. We must go upwards, not forward. And always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!

        by Fordmandalay on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 07:48:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Republicans have not always been batshit crazy. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    healthy, Wee Mama

    of course, you have to be my age to remember that.

    You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

    by sewaneepat on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 05:56:24 PM PDT

    •  I wonder what I would do if Republicans were (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HugoDog

      a bit more sane like back then... would I even care to get all riled up about politics?

      Since you say you can remember... did people back then still complain or hate the "other" party?

      In the 2008 elections there were 15 million less people who identified themselves as "liberals" than as "conservatives" (L/C ratio: 65%). Face it, this country is center-right. Moving it to the left is up to us!

      by healthy on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 06:24:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not the party so much (5+ / 0-)

        individuals, yes. Nixon was not liked - he did sign the off on the EPA, the Clean Air & the Clean Water acts, etc., but that's only because he was under a lot of pressure to do something, and the Dems were proposing stuff much stricter. People did remember Nixon being Joe McCarthy's right hand man in the house. But I remember people respecting. NY Gov. Rockefeller. And then there was Lowell Weicker, a republican senator who would now be labelled as a fringe left winger.

        These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people... -Abraham Lincoln

        by HugoDog on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 07:38:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  As HugoDog said, people hated Nixon, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        healthy

        or hated the way he used the Presidency to get at his "enemies," but I don't remember either party demonizing the other party - or most politicians - back then.  They actually worked together. And neither party had a significant crazy wing. Goodness, we all thought Goldwater was way right back then, and he would be a liberal Republican these days.

        What there was then was a lot of racism, not that it has disappeared now, but it was more overt then. For instance, some people hated Dr. King and Mohammed Ali. Maybe it was after it became unacceptable to overtly express racism (and yes, I know there has been a lot of overt expression since President Obama was elected) that some people, needing someone to hate and blame for their problems, chose to express it as hatred for a political party.

        I would not like to go back to those days, but there are some areas that it would be nice to go back to, such as respect for one's opponents and the ability to work together to get things done for the American people.

        You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

        by sewaneepat on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 06:29:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  You don't have to go as far. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    codairem

    Most of President Obama's environmental agenda is policy ideas first proposed by the administration of Bush Sr, and discussed at length on the pages of the National Review in the early 90's.

  •  There is only one way for the Repubs to reform (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    healthy

    And that is take such a consistent thumping in elections, such a beating, that they get to wander in the wilderness for awhile, and the old dinosaurs have much needed heart attacks, and the new younger generation comes into play and reforms the party in spite of itself.
        There is a template for this: Britain's labour party in the 70s, when it really was left wing (i.e when being left wing really meant left wing. Nationalization of major industries and so forth). They got beaten so badly by Margaret Thatcher's tories that eventually they were receptive to the rise of Tony Blair and the whole 'New Labour' kind of thing. In fact, that sort of happened to the Tories themselves after Blair thumped them a few times...I have a theory as to why this happens quicker in Great Britain than the U.S, but that can wait for another comment

    An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head. -- Eric Hoffer

    by MichiganChet on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 06:10:58 PM PDT

  •  The NY Republicans of the sixties were for (4+ / 0-)

    public education, clean government, balanced budgets and cautious foreign policies. Crazy, I know.

    The younger folks around here may not know about the Democratic machines of the old days or the Democratic racists that Nixon wooed in the Southern strategy.



    Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

    by Wee Mama on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 06:23:07 PM PDT

  •  Restoring Sanity in the Repubican Party (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    healthy
    He says it is best if the Republican Party loses big so that they realize they are going in the wrong direction and hopefully go back to the good old days (from 40+ years ago).
    I have thought for sometime that the Republican party will only return to sanity if it gets repeatedly crushed in several consecutive cycles.  2006 and 2008 were both good starts, but unfortunately 2010 sent us back to "Go" on that and we now have to start that over.

    Maybe a HUGE loss this year will cause enough Republicans to restore sanity to their party by showing the Flat Earth Society the door but I think it will take more than that.

    “I believe all Southern liberals come from the same starting point--race. Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything.” ― Molly Ivins

    by RoIn on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 06:52:37 PM PDT

    •  Well, follow the money... I think the insanity has (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      codairem

      a lot to do with where the money comes from.

      Wealthy donors and big corporations are buying the votes of the less wealthy but racist, religious extremists, scared white people by promoting politicians that lie and say crazy stuff, just so they can continue to get a free ride.

      In the 2008 elections there were 15 million less people who identified themselves as "liberals" than as "conservatives" (L/C ratio: 65%). Face it, this country is center-right. Moving it to the left is up to us!

      by healthy on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 07:25:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Congressional Roll Call distributions reveal... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    healthy, codairem, saugatojas

    ...that until 1992 the two parties overlapped on the Conservative-Liberal dimension and that compromise came from within the overlap region. Around Nixon's time the overlap comprised around 25% of each party. Since the Gingrich retraction in 1994, the parties have ceased to overlap as the GOP became more and more "conservative". With this rise in polarity has also come a rise in partisan gridlock as evidenced by the GOPs skyrocketing use of the fillibuster. Sadly, this has also correlated with an increase in the US GINI index of income inequality.

    (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

    by Enterik on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 06:53:26 PM PDT

    •  Two snapshots of Republican past (0+ / 0-)

      The Civil Rights Act that Lyndon Johnson signed into law passed Congress with the support of half of the Democratic Senators and Members of Congress. And the support of two-thirds of the Republicans.

      At Martin Luther Kings funeral a contigent of several dozen Republican Senators and Congressmen marched together in the funeral procession through Atlanta singing 'We Shall Overcome'.

      The 1960's were a very strange time.

      Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.

      by saugatojas on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 12:38:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  signing a pledge not to do your job (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    is a strange phenomenon, isn't it?

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 07:08:08 PM PDT

    •  depends who you are really working for... nt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      In the 2008 elections there were 15 million less people who identified themselves as "liberals" than as "conservatives" (L/C ratio: 65%). Face it, this country is center-right. Moving it to the left is up to us!

      by healthy on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 07:26:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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