The GOP, Rest in Peace

This is really interesting.

Republican Party Platform of 1956

It really is amazing–and appalling–how much they’ve changed. At first glance, you would think this is the platform of a modern-day centrist Democratic administration. There are a few bones thrown out at the beginning towards balancing budgets and lowering taxes and such (though it’s telling that this is in the context of “Further reductions in taxes with particular consideration for low and middle income families“). Italics mine.

However, when you get into the specifics of what they want to accomplish, it’s literally a drumbeat of the Good That Government Does, and a trumpeting of the Government Programs We Want To Implement, Continue and/or Expand. There is none of Saint Ronnie’s “Government is the problem” nonsense. These Republicans know that government does good things, and they want to keep on doing those good things.

This section in particular floored me. (Sorry for the length, but I think posting the whole section is necessary to experience the mind-blowing context of what today’s so-called Republicans are so callously turning their backs on.)

Labor

Under the Republican Administration, as our country has prospered, so have its people. This is as it should be, for as President Eisenhower said: “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.”

The Eisenhower Administration has brought to our people the highest employment, the highest wages and the highest standard of living ever enjoyed by any nation. Today there are nearly 67 million men and women at work in the United States, 4 million more than in 1952. Wages have increased substantially over the past 3 1/2 years; but, more important, the American wage earner today can buy more than ever before for himself and his family because his pay check has not been eaten away by rising taxes and soaring prices.

The record of performance of the Republican Administration on behalf of our working men and women goes still further. The Federal minimum wage has been raised for more than 2 million workers. Social Security has been extended to an additional 10 million workers and the benefits raised for 6 1/2 million. The protection of unemployment insurance has been brought to 4 million additional workers. There have been increased workmen’s compensation benefits for longshoremen and harbor workers, increased retirement benefits for railroad employees, and wage increases and improved welfare and pension plans for federal employees.

In addition, the Eisenhower Administration has enforced more vigorously and effectively than ever before, the laws which protect the working standards of our people.

Workers have benefited by the progress which has been made in carrying out the programs and principles set forth in the 1952 Republican platform. All workers have gained and unions have grown in strength and responsibility, and have increased their membership by 2 millions.

Furthermore, the process of free collective bargaining has been strengthened by the insistence of this Administration that labor and management settle their differences at the bargaining table without the intervention of the Government. This policy has brought to our country an unprecedented period of labor-management peace and understanding.

We applaud the effective, unhindered, collective bargaining which brought an early end to the 1956 steel strike, in contrast to the six months’ upheaval, Presidential seizure of the steel industry and ultimate Supreme Court intervention under the last Democrat Administration.

The Eisenhower Administration will continue to fight for dynamic and progressive programs which, among other things, will:

Stimulate improved job safety of our workers, through assistance to the States, employees and employers;

Continue and further perfect its programs of assistance to the millions of workers with special employment problems, such as older workers, handicapped workers, members of minority groups, and migratory workers;

Strengthen and improve the Federal-State Employment Service and improve the effectiveness of the unemployment insurance system;

Protect by law, the assets of employee welfare and benefit plans so that workers who are the beneficiaries can be assured of their rightful benefits;

Assure equal pay for equal work regardless of Sex;

Clarify and strengthen the eight-hour laws for the benefit of workers who are subject to federal wage standards on Federal and Federally-assisted construction, and maintain and continue the vigorous administration of the Federal prevailing minimum wage law for public supply contracts;

Extend the protection of the Federal minimum wage laws to as many more workers as is possible and practicable;

Continue to fight for the elimination of discrimination in employment because of race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry or sex;

Provide assistance to improve the economic conditions of areas faced with persistent and substantial unemployment;

Revise and improve the Taft-Hartley Act so as to protect more effectively the rights of labor unions, management, the individual worker, and the public. The protection of the right of workers to organize into unions and to bargain collectively is the firm and permanent policy of the Eisenhower Administration. In 1954, 1955 and again in 1956, President Eisenhower recommended constructive amendments to this Act. The Democrats in Congress have consistently blocked these needed changes by parliamentary maneuvers. The Republican Party pledges itself to overhaul and improve the Taft-Hartley Act along the lines of these recommendations.

These Republicans were solidly behind unions. It’s also good to note that in 1956, not uncoincidentally part of the “Golden Age” today’s conservatives want to return us to, corporate and individual tax rates were the highest ever. This last link goes to an IRS Pdf file–scroll down to page 5, which shows the corporate tax rate for the years 1952-1963 was 52%. If this rate was in effect today, the government could be getting half of Exxon Mobil’s nearly $14 billion in profits, or Chevron’s $19 billion. Gee, maybe all this has something to do with the fact that those Republicans could rightfully say that “The Eisenhower Administration has brought to our people the highest employment, the highest wages and the highest standard of living ever enjoyed by any nation.”

They were proud of all this. Obviously, if they put it in their party platform, they were both boasting about it and running on it.

What happened to these Republicans? They’ve faded into the mists of history, to be replaced by tax-cutting, reality-denying idiots, and the country is not better off for it. Go read John Dean’s Conservatives Without Conscience, which I just finished. In it, he details how the party has been taken over by what he calls “right-wing authoritarians.” He describes these people as “enemies of freedom, antidemocratic, antiequality, highly prejudiced, mean-spirited, power hungry, Machiavellian, and amoral.”

Sound familiar?

On a small scale, it’s Wisconsin governor Scott Walker to a T, trying to bust the unions his party once stood for; on a larger scale, it’s the entire said party, along with the even more extreme Tea Partiers.

I hope the country is waking up to realize what a huge frakking mistake they made in allowing these people anywhere near Congress or state governorships. Yeah, you’re frustrated about the economy. But the Republicans are not going to help you–they’re only going to make things worse.

Finally, for the female half of the country: here are two little tidbits from the Republican 1956 party platform. One is from the “Labor” section above.

Assure equal pay for equal work regardless of Sex; and

Equal Rights.

We recommend to Congress the submission of a constitutional amendment providing equal rights for men and women.

Now contrast this with what today’s so-called Republicans are doing.

The War on Women

This is downright disgusting. They aren’t Republicans, not anymore. They should just call themselves the Authoritarian Party and be done with it. And if we let them do what they want to do…the United States of America won’t exist any more, either.

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