I’m an “old fart”! At least thats what my kids used to call me (and that was 20 years ago).
I grew up fascinated with politics. I started paying attention in 1952, when I was nine. Joe McCarthy was about on his way out, (Who knew he’d come back as Ted Cruz?) and Eisenhower had just been elected.
For those of you who were not around, Ike was responsible for the interstate highway system. He sponsored and signed the 1st civil rights legislation since Reconstruction. He balanced the budget three times and he ended the Korean War.
Sounds like a damn good Democrat. Except that he was a Republican. (Btw, that “foreign-born?, socialist?, commie?, whatever?, Murica hater” in office now, is politically just a bit to the right of Ike.)
Yes, the Republican party of the time was conservative and pro-business, but most of them were pro-American as well. They understood governing requires compromise and no side gets everything they want.
I grew up in Arizona. Carl Hayden (Dem-AZ) was “Dean of the Senate” and the junior senator, Barry Goldwater had just been elected in ’52.
A lot of people think Barry was the cause of the slide into the “gun-lovin, n***r-hatin’, flag-totin’ (Confederate & U.S.), fake-Christian, ‘Muricans” that the Republican party has devolved into. But, that’s only peripherally correct. It’s a lot more complicated than can be covered in a 500 word blurb. (I cover it more extensively in “The Tea Potty (pt. 3: Civil Rights, Civil Wrongs, Civil Rumps)” on my “Grumbles From an Old Grouch” blog.)
Barry had voted for most of the civil rights legislation prior to 1964. His objection to this particular legislation was that he felt it interfered with the rights of citizens to do business with whoever they chose. But after that “Texas turncoat” rammed through the legislation, the South thought it heard what it liked from Barry.
Barry, btw, warned against a lot of the excesses that the current party has come to embrace. And, he had what is seriously lacking in today’s party: INTEGRITY!
In reality, Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” had a lot more to do with the devolution. I cover that in (pt.4: Viet Nam to Ventura).
But the even bigger villain is still around: NEWT GINGRICH!
No, I’m not talking about the “Contract
on (oops) for America”. He didn’t have all that much to do with it. I’m talking about his 1990 memo “Language, a Key Mechanism of Control”. The memo listed words he recommended Republicans use against Democrats and Democratic policies. Words like sick, disgrace, corruption, cheat, decay, failure, pathetic, destructive, radical, traitor, greed, lie, liberal, betray, unionized bureaucracy, permissive, bizarre and anti-family. Once again, more on it in my series (pt. 8) this time.
If any of the previous paragraph sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve been hearing it for the last two decades.
As for the state of the current party, if Robert Taft and Barry Goldwater were alive today, they would disown it. William F. Buckley did!
Oh, and one last thing. If Saint Ronnie was running for re-election today, he wouldn’t get past the primaries. He not only raised the debt limit, but he also (gasp) raised taxes 11 times.