Much comment has been made about how ultra-conservative the Republican Party has grown over recent decades. Its agenda today is truly reactionary: especially with the rise of the ultra-wealthy Koch Brothers-supported Tea Party and Dick Armey's shadowy Freedom Works movements, it now seems hell-bent on returning the nation both socially AND economically back to the 1890s! The Republicans have been captured by a far-out-of-the-mainstream group of government hating, union-busting pirates and extremists who have successfully pashed our national political agenda ever-rightward. In so doing, these so-called lovers of the Constitution have embarked this country on a number of decidedly UNconstitutional practices which threaten our democracy, and especially the type of country we have all grown up in!
As true Republican Engineer of Knowledge, a fellow blogger with a great amount of common sense correctly notes, this has amounted to an invasion and perversion of the Republican Party. I thought it would be useful for readers of today to see what the Republican Party was like before it became captured and enslaved by the far, far right: when Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Glenn Beck would have been correctly regarded and properly ignored by nearly all as being extremist crackpots. For, just a few years prior, the insane claims of Sen. Joseph McCarthy (Ike is an unwitting tool of the Communists, and there are Communists in the US Army) had been largely repudiated, and similar conspiratorial rants had been largely discredited. By 1961, conservative giant William F. Buckley even attacked the John Birch Society for its craziness, and extreme Birchers soon found little comfort in the GOP. It seemed like, for the first time in many years, the Republicans had finally grown more mature and sensible. I will now, then, whisk you back to the golden days when this GOP was far more pragmatic, fair-minded, and forward-looking than it is today...
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the 1960 REPUBLICAN PARTY PLATFORM (in abriged form). Due to its length, I will present part I now and parts II and III in my next two posts. MY own comments will be inserted from time to time in bolded italic form, like this. This platform was drafted and put forth near the end of the Eisenhower administration, in time for the party convention which nominated Dick Nixon to run against JFK for President. You will be amazed when you compare it with today's version of Republican beliefs. For this is the true Republican Party, back in the days when reason and good sense were prominent in its aspirations and pronouncements. Regrettably, the same cannot be said of today's far-right version of that wretched party:
The United States is living in an age of profoundest revolution. The lives of men and of nations are undergoing such transformations as history has rarely recorded. The birth of new nations, the impact of new machines, the threat of new weapons, the stirring of new ideas, the ascent into a new dimension of the universe- everywhere the accent falls on the new. At such a time of world upheaval, great perils match great opportunities—and hopes, as well as fears, rise in all areas of human life. Such a force as nuclear power symbolizes the greatness of the choice before the United States and mankind. The energy of the atom could bring devastation to humanity. Or it could be made to serve men's hopes for peace and progress—to make for all peoples a more healthy and secure and prosperous life than man has ever known.
One fact darkens the reasonable hopes of free men: the growing vigor and thrust of Communist imperialism. Everywhere across the earth, this force challenges us to prove our strength and wisdom, our capacity for sacrifice, our faith in ourselves and in our institutions.
Free men look to us for leadership and support, which we dedicate ourselves to give out of the abundance of our national strength.
The fate of the world will be deeply affected, perhaps determined, by the quality of American leadership. American leadership means both how we govern ourselves and how we help to influence others. We deliberate the choice of national leadership and policy, mindful that in some measure our proposals involve the fate of mankind.
The leadership of the United States must be responsible and mature; its promises must be rational and practical, soberly pledged and faithfully undertaken. Its purposes and its aspirations must ascend to that high ground of right and freedom upon which mankind may dwell and progress in decent security.
We are impressed, but not dismayed, by the revolutionary turbulence that is wracking the world. In the midst of violence and change, we draw strength and confidence from the changeless principles of our free Constitution. Free men are invincible when the power and courage, the patience and the fortitude latent in them are drawn forth by reasonable appeal.
In this Republican Platform we offer to the United States our program—our call to service, our pledge of leadership, our proposal of measures in the public interest. We call upon God, in whose hand is every blessing, to favor our deliberations with wisdom, our nation with endurance, and troubled mankind everywhere with a righteous peace.
In the Middle East, we shall continue to support the integrity and independence of all the states of that area including Israel and the Arab States.
Recognition of Communist China and its admission to the United Nations have been firmly opposed by the Republican Administration. We will continue in this opposition because of compelling evidence that to do otherwise would weaken the cause of freedom and endanger the future of the free peoples of Asia and the world. The brutal suppression of the human rights and the religious traditions of the Tibetan people is an unhappy evidence of the need to persist in our policy. Of course, this was written well before President Nixon recognized China, successfully playing them off agaibst the Soviet Union, and before the Republicans were completely gobbled up by corporate special interests. We now have an ungodly trade imbalance with China which has lent to the destruction of many American industries and jobs. Net result: slightly lower prices for us on these imported items, but huge corporate profits for the importing corporations. Need I mention that, as China's standard of living is rising, ours is DROPPING?
The countries of the free world have been benefited, reinforced and drawn closer together by the vigor of American support of the United Nations, and by our participation in such regional organizations as NATO, SEATO, CENTO, the Organization of American States and other collective security alliances. We assert our intention steadfastly to uphold the action and principles of these bodies. That was true until the rise of the neocons, who held the United Nations in contempt and tried to go around them whenever possible. ARE YOU LISTENING, JON BOLTON?
The firm diplomacy of the Eisenhower-Nixon Administration has been supported by a military power superior to any in the history of our nation or in the world. As long as world tensions menace us with war, we are resolved to maintain an armed power exceeded by no other. MANY cost overruns by defense contractors later, that is still true!
Under Republican administration, the Government has developed original and constructive programs in many fields—open skies, atoms for peace, cultural and technical exchanges, the peaceful uses of outer space and Antarctica—to make known to men everywhere our desire to advance the cause of peace. We mean, as a Party, to continue in the same course.
We recognize and freely acknowledge the support given to these principles and policies by all Americans, irrespective of party. Standing as they do above partisan challenge, such principles and policies will, we earnestly hope, continue to have bipartisan support. Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and George W. Bush simply trashed this idea altogether by lYING about and then attacking, conquering, and occupying Iraq under false pretenses.
We confront today the global offensive of Communism, increasingly aggressive and violent in its enterprises. The agency of that offensive is Soviet policy, aimed at the subversion of the world. Substitute "radical Islamists" or "terrorists" for "Soviets", and we have the same ol' battle all over again. It's great how the GOP has managed to constantly supply us with a deadly mortal enemy to go to war with, isn't it?
Recently we have noted Soviet Union pretexts to intervene in the affairs of newly independent countries, accompanied by threats of the use of nuclear weapons. Such interventions constitute a form of subversion against the sovereignty of these new nations and a direct challenge to the United Nations.
The immediate strategy of the Soviet imperialists is to destroy the world's confidence in America's desire for peace, to threaten with violence our mutual security arrangements, and to sever the bonds of amity and respect among the free nations. To nullify the Soviet conspiracy is our greatest task. The United States faces this challenge and resolves to meet it with courage and confidence.
To this end we will continue to support and strengthen the United Nations as an instrument for peace, for international cooperation, and for the advancement of the fundamental freedoms and humane interests of mankind. The neocons all but abandoned this strategy when they adopted the policies of pre-emptive warfare, rendition, and torture. Nice job, neocon war criminals!
Through all the calculated shifts of Soviet tactics and mood, the Eisenhower-Nixon Administration has demonstrated its willingness to negotiate in earnest with the Soviet Union to arrive at just settlements for the reduction of world tensions.
We recognize that firm political and military policies, while imperative for our security, cannot in themselves build peace in the world.
We have already created unprecedented dimensions of diplomacy for these purposes. We recognize that upon our support of well-conceived programs of economic cooperation among nations rest the best hopes of hundreds of millions of friendly people for a decent future for themselves and their children. Our mutual security program of economic help and technical assistance; the Development Loan Fund, the Inter-American Bank, the International Development Association and the Food for Peace Program, which create the conditions for progress in less-developed countries; our leadership in international efforts to help children, eliminate pestilence and disease and aid refugees—these are programs wise in concept and generous in purpose. We mean to continue in support of them. These efforts have been supplanted by the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, and the International Monetary Fund, all of which are supported by today's Republicans, and each of which is run by, for, and for the benefit of, huge multinational corporations which prey on poorer countries. What happened here, Republicans?
The strategic imperatives of our national defense policy are these:
A second-strike capability, that is, a nuclear retaliatory power that can survive surprise attack, strike back, and destroy any possible enemy. SECOND strike? That's a HUGE difference with today's trigger-happy pre-emptive strike crowd of Dick and Liz Cheney Republicans!
Economic Growth and Business
To provide the means to a better life for individual Americans and to strengthen the forces of freedom in the world, we count on the proved productivity of our free economy. Today's laissez-faire-infected, "free market" Republicans no longer care about or value individual Americans' needs or wants. Instead, they only care about their own well-being and that of major corporations who supply them with dividend checks. They view American workers as parasites who always want more, even as they themselves are enriched moreso all the time. They don't want to pay taxes, and they don't want anybody or anything to interfere with what they view as their god-given right to maximum profit for themselves. They, of course, are too self-centered and blind to realize that the "free market" only allows freedom for them and others with lots of money. The overwhelming majority of the country no longer has any say in the wages they are paid or the benefits they get or don't get.
Despite the lamentations of the opposition in viewing the economic scene today, the plain fact is that our 500 billion dollar economy finds more Americans at work, earning more, spending more, saving more, investing more, building more than ever before in history. The well-being of our people, by virtually every yardstick, has greatly advanced under this Republican Administration. WERE THAT ONLY TRUE TODAY!Families have lost ground for much of the past 30 years, through 3 different Republican administrations!
But we can and must do better. We must raise employment to even higher levels and utilize even more fully our expanding, overall capacity to produce. We must quicken the pace of our economic growth to prove the power of American free enterprise to meet growing and urgent demands: to sustain our military posture, to provide jobs for a growing labor force in a time of rapid technological change, to improve living standards, to serve all the needs of an expanding population. If only that were on the agenda of modern Republicans! All the current crowd want to do is to increase production but pay LESS for it!
We therefore accord high priority to vigorous economic growth and recognize that its mainspring lies in the private sector of the economy... we favor: Broadly-based tax reform to foster job-making and growth-making investment for modernization and expansion, including realistic incentive depreciation schedules.
Use of the full powers of government to prevent the scourges of depression and inflation... (Unless, of course, the Democrats hold the White House with a black President who initiates a stimulus program. Then the full powers of government become harmful, ineffective, and socialistic. OH, FOR THE COMMON SENSE AND HONESTY OF YESTERDAY'S REPUBLICANS)!
Relating wage and other payments in production to productivity—except when necessary to correct inequalities—in order to help us stay competitive at home and abroad.
Spurring the economy by advancing the successful Eisenhower-Nixon program fostering new and small business, by continued active enforcement of the anti-trust laws, by protecting consumers and investors against the hazard and economic waste of fraudulent and criminal practices in the market place,... Today's GOP would NEVER go for that---they would call it scialistic government regulation!
Continued improvement of our vital transportation network, carrying forward rapidly the vast Eisenhower-Nixon national highway program and promoting safe, efficient, competitive and integrated transport by air, road, rail and water under equitable, impartial and minimal regulation directed to those ends. Again, today's far-right GOP would call this "socialism" and would never pass it!
Carrying forward, under the Trade Agreements Act, the policy of gradual selective—and truly reciprocal—reduction of unjustifiable barriers to trade among free nations. We advocate effective administration of the Act's escape clause and peril point provisions to safeguard American jobs and domestic industries against serious injury. In support of our national trade policy we should continue the Eisenhower-Nixon program of using this government's negotiating powers to open markets abroad and to eliminate remaining discrimination against our goods. We should also encourage the development of fair labor standards in exporting countries in the interest of fair competition in international trade... This would NEVER occur in the types of trade deals current Republicans now favor and shape!
Discharge by government of responsibility for those activities which the private sector cannot do or cannot so well do, such as constructive federal-local action to aid areas of chronic high unemployment... Current privatization-crazy Republicans would NECER support this!
Action on these fronts, designed to release the strongest productive force in human affairs—the spirit of individual enterprise-can contribute greatly to our goal of a steady, strongly growing economy.
Labor and management cannot prosper without each other. They cannot ignore their mutual public obligation. Truer words were never written!
Industrial harmony, expressing these mutual interests, can best be achieved in a climate of free collective bargaining, with minimal government intervention except by mediation and conciliation. Today's fiercely anti-labor Republicans would view this as absolute heresy!
Even in dealing with emergency situations imperiling the national safety, ways of solution must be found to enhance and not impede the processes of free collective bargaining—carefully considered ways that are in keeping with the policies of national labor relations legislation and with the need to strengthen the hand of the President in dealing with such emergencies. Today's Republicans argue that collective bargaining is unnecessary and a threat to free markets. Boy, are THEY ever mistaken!!!
In the same spirit, Republican leadership will continue to encourage discussions, away from the bargaining table, between labor and management to consider the mutual interest of all Americans in maintaining industrial peace. This would mean a stop to outsourcing and union-busting. No current conservative Republican would accept that!
Republican policy firmly supports the right of employers and unions freely to enter into agreements providing for the union shop and other forms of union security as authorized by the Labor-Management Relations Act of 1947 (the Taft-Hartley Act )... NOT ANYMORE THEY DON'T!
Republican action has given to millions of American working men and women new or expanded protection and benefits, such as: Increased federal minimum wage;
Extended coverage of unemployment insurance and the payment of additional temporary benefits provided in 1958-59;... Today's Republicans and teabaggers all violently oppose these measures!
Extension of federal workman's compensation coverage and increase of benefits; ...
Seven past years of accomplishments, however, are but a base to build upon in fostering, promoting and improving the welfare of America's working men and women, both organized and unorganized. We pledge, therefore, action on these constructive lines:..
Upward revision in amount and extended coverage of the minimum wage to several million more workers... Strengthening the unemployment insurance system and extension of its benefits.
Improvement of the eight-hour laws relating to hours and overtime compensation on federal and federally-assisted construction, and continued vigorous enforcement and improvement of minimum wage laws for federal supply and construction contracts.
Current Republicans would cast these as being inflationary, even though they turn a very blind eye to ever-increasing CEO salaries and benefits packages...
Continued improvement of manpower skills and training to meet a new era of challenges, including action programs to aid older workers, women, youth, and the physically handicapped.
Encouragement of training programs by labor, industry and government to aid in finding new jobs for persons dislocated by automation or other economic changes.
Improvement of job opportunities and working conditions of migratory farm workers.
Assurance of equal pay for equal work regardless of sex; encouragement of programs to insure on-the-job safety, and encouragement of the States to improve their labor standards legislation, and to improve veterans' employment rights and benefits.
Encouragement abroad of free democratic institutions, higher living standards and higher wages through such agencies as the International Labor Organization, and cooperation with the free trade union movement in strengthening free labor throughout the world. Today's GOP believes in none of this and would like to trash the free trade union movement altogether.
...To utilize immediately surpluses in an orderly manner, with a minimum impact on domestic and foreign markets, we pledge:
Strengthened efforts to distribute surpluses to schools and low-income and needy citizens of our own country... Today's GOP would rather sell them on the open market to the highest bidder!
Expansion of the Rural Development Program to help low-income farm families not only through better farming methods, but also through opportunities for vocational training, more effective employment services, and creation of job opportunities through encouragement of local industrialization. Today's Republican would rather just let huge agribusiness firms buy out or dispossess the poor family farmer.
Legislative action for programs now scheduled to expire for the school milk program, wool, and sugar, including increased sugar acreage to domestic areas.
Free movement in interstate commerce of agricultural commodities meeting federal health standards.
To prevent dumping of agricultural imports upon domestic markets... The modern GOP would oppose this as government interference in the global market.
A strong and growing economy requires vigorous and persistent attention to wise conservation and sound development of all our resources...
Necessary measures for preservation of our domestic fisheries...
Full use and preservation of our great outdoors are pledged in:
Completion of the "Mission 66" for the improvement of National Park areas as well as sponsorship of a new "Mission 76" program to encourage establishment and rehabilitation of local, state, and regional parks, to provide adequate recreational facilities for our expanding population.
Continued support of the effort to keep our great out-of-doors beautiful, green, and clean... Today's Republican would, at the very best, give tepid support to all of these measures.
Continued support for federal financial assistance... Not any more!
Vigorous implementation of long-range programs for fish and wildlife.
To build a better America with broad national purposes such as high employment, vigorous and steady economic growth, and a dependable currency, responsible management of our federal finances is essential...
Government that is careless with the money of its citizens is careless with their future. George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Bill Frist, and Tom DeLay certinly never adhered to this principle! They WASTED half a trillion dollars!
Because we are concerned about the well-being of people, we are concerned about protecting the value of their money. To this end, we Republicans believe that:
Every government expenditure must be tested by its contribution to the general welfare, not to any narrow interest group.
Except in times of war or economic adversity, expenditures should be covered by revenues. More principles ignored by current and recent Republicans!
We must work persistently to reduce, not to increase, the national debt, which imposes a heavy economic burden on every citizen... Dick Cheney and his friends said the defict doesn't matter. I guess it doesn't if you're a self-centered Republican who is almost dead... We must resist assaults upon the independence of the Federal Reserve System; we must strengthen, not weaken, the ability of the Federal Reserve System and the Treasury Department to exercise effective control over money and credit in order better to combat both deflation and inflation that retard economic growth and shrink people's savings and earnings... Ron Paul, his son Rand, and numerous other Republicans today HATE the Federal Reserve Board and want us to return to the gold standard...
National security and other essential needs will continue to make enormous demands upon public revenues. It is therefore imperative that we weigh carefully each demand for a new federal expenditure...
This document was revealing in that it reflected the great hope and optimism of an America that was not saddled with debt from two very expensive unpaid-for wars, and not suffering the disastrous consequences of excessive deregulation of banks and derivatives, which the modern conservative Republicans pushed for and passed and caused our Great Recession. It also reflected respect and recognition granted our then very prevalent trade unions, entities whose destruction was begun by conservative President Ronald Reagan and was nearly achieved through industry outsourcing and the further efforts of George W. Bush, the worst President in all of our history. This platform also accorded government MUCH more respect and inclusion than we see in the rabid anti-government Republicans we now have. Stay tuned, folks: there will soon be more!
COMING UP NEXT IN PART II: Government Administration, Education, Science and Technology, HUMAN NEEDS, Older Citizens, Health Aid, Juvenile Delinquents.