Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Those liberal 1950s Republicans

Rachel Maddow on Eisenhower-era GOP platforms
Photo source: Facebook/Being Liberal

A meme has been making its way around the web featuring MSNBC commentator and Justin Bieber look-alike Rachel Maddow. She's quoted as saying “I’m undoubtedly a liberal, which means that I’m in almost total agreement with the Eisenhower-era Republican party platform.”

Leaving aside that Ms. Maddow would gleefully and wrongly pillory any Republican who embraced the Eisenhower platforms for wanting to bring back segregation, it's no secret that the party has become more conservative since the nomination of Barry Goldwater in 1964. Nevertheless, it's interesting to take a look at those old platforms. I suspect Ms. Maddow hasn’t.

The 1956 platform is a mixed bag. Ms. Maddow would no doubt applaud greater antitrust enforcement, expansion of the minimum wage, and a promise to fight employment discrimination. But she would be appalled by proposals to cut taxes, reduce government spending, invest in nuclear power, and counter “Communist aggression or subversion.”

But it’s the 1952 platform that’s really interesting. It reads like something that Thomas Jefferson wrote about King George, or maybe a Facebook post by that guy from the Tea Party who keeps telling us to write in the ghost of Ronald Reagan instead of voting for “Obamney." Check out these excerpts from the preamble:

We maintain that man was not born to be ruled, but that he consented to be governed; and that the reasons that moved him thereto are few and simple. He has voluntarily submitted to government because, only by the establishment of just laws, and the power to enforce those laws, can an orderly life be maintained, full and equal opportunity for all be established, and the blessings of liberty be perpetuated…

We charge that [the Democrats] have arrogantly deprived our citizens of precious liberties by seizing powers never granted.

We charge that they work unceasingly to achieve their goal of national socialism.

We charge that they have disrupted internal tranquillity by fostering class strife for venal political purposes.

We charge that they have choked opportunity and hampered progress by unnecessary and crushing taxation.

They claim prosperity but the appearance of economic health is created by war expenditures, waste and extravagance, planned emergencies, and war crises. They have debauched our money by cutting in half the purchasing power of our dollar.

We charge that they have weakened local self-government which is the cornerstone of the freedom of men.

We charge that they have shielded traitors to the Nation in high places, and that they have created enemies abroad where we should have friends.

We charge that they have violated our liberties by turning loose upon the country a swarm of arrogant bureaucrats and their agents who meddle intolerably in the lives and occupations of our citizens.

Would make a good platform for 2012, don’t you think?

Michael Isenberg is the author of Full Asylum, a novel that shows what happens when government arrogantly deprives its citizens of precious liberties. Check it out on Amazon.com.

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