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When the GOP was progressive





 

 

I’ve found it! I’ve discovered the original document from which today’s tea party pontificators have drawn their political creed.

Tea-infused Republicans are the “anti” party — anti-science, anti-public, anti-worker, antienvironment, anti-Obama … anti-anti-anti. Where does all this unrelenting bombastic negativity come from? It turns out that their sour philosophy is rooted in “Horse Feathers.” It’s a 1932 Marx Brothers musical comedy that features Groucho belting out a song with these lyrics:

“ Your proposition may be good/ But let’s have one thing understood

Whatever it is, I’m against it!/ And even when you’ve changed it

Or condensed it/ I’m against it!”

So it’s no surprise that the GOP’s Senate leaders and presidential seekers have taken a preemptory “we’re agin’ it,” head-inthe sand stand against anyone President Obama would nominate to fill the current Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Antonin Scalia. We won’t let logic, fairness or our duty to the Constitution reverse our petulant, purely partisan, knee-jerk “NO,” they vaingloriously proclaim. Maybe if he nominates a corporation or a sack of corporate cash to sit on the court they’d change their tune, but otherwise they’re a big, fat no, no, no!

Actually, their recalcitrance is no surprise, for the right wing has consistently been an obstructionist group throughout our history. Indeed, there wouldn’t even be a USA if the reactionaries of the 1770s had won the day — their Tory faction adamantly opposed Jefferson, Adams, Washington, and the other “radicals” who broke from the British Monarchy to forge our independent nation. And they’ve fought every progressive advance since — abolition of slavery, extending the vote to women, civil rights, Social Security and Medicare, women’s rights, gay marriage, etc. etc.

The “Grouchos” of today are just singing the same old reactionary song, still trying to shove America back into a monarchy of the rich. So I really didn’t expect this!

The National Republican Party has published an official policy document showing that the GOP really might be more than a gaggle of serve-the-rich plutocrats and wacky, Trumped-up right-wingers. Just when you thought the party was consuming itself in the know-nothingism of its presidential pretenders and the recalcitrant donothingism of its congress critters, out comes a sign of sanity.

Right at the top of this 18-page manifesto, the party proclaims that, “Our government was created by the people for all the people, and it must serve no less a purpose.” ALL the people! Forget pontifications by Wall Street billionaires dividing America into virtuous “creators” (like themselves) and worthless “moochers” (like you and me) — this document abounds with commitments to the common good. “America does not prosper,” it proudly proclaims on page three, “unless all Americans prosper.” Wow — that’s downright democratic!

And how’s this for a complete turnaround: “Labor is the United States. The men and women, who with their minds, their hearts and hands, create the wealth that is shared in this country — they are America.” Holy Koch brothers, share the wealth?

Yes, and how about this: “The protection of the right of workers to organize into unions and to bargain collectively is the firm and permanent policy of the [Republican Party].” Eat your heart out, Scott Walker, and you other labor-bashing GOP governors!

The document also supports our public postal service, the United Nations, equal rights for women, expanding our national parks, “vigorous enforcement of anti-trust laws,” and raising the minimum wage. New enlightenment in the Grand Old Party. Hallelujah!

Can all this be true? Yes — except it’s not new. This document is the Republican Party Platform … of 1956.


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