Who Are These Democrats?

(Joe Lieberman – once considered a Democrats)

by David Glenn Cox

Times

change and political definitions change as well. The Republican Party

was born of an anti-slavery plank in the days of Abraham Lincoln. The

Republicans were the party of reform and were, dare I say it, liberals.

The Democrats were the party of the status quo, supporting slavery and

big business. In my childhood I was raised with John Kennedy, Robert

Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey, Lyndon Johnson, and all of them basking in

the light of Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman.

Harry Truman

had tried to pass single payer national health insurance, along the

lines of modern Medicare, in 1948. He was defeated by the first

Republican-controlled Congress since Herbert Hoover. Truman always

publicly referred to Republicans as reactionaries; they were the party

of no.



“The Republicans believe that the power of government

should be used first of all to help the rich and the privileged in the

country. With them, property, wealth, comes first. The Democrats

believe that the power of government should be used to give the common

man more protection and a chance to make a living. With us the people

come first.” — A Government as Good As Its People (Harry S. Truman)

Franklin

Roosevelt said it like this: “A conservative is a man with two

perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk

forward.”

Republicans in that era were considered, in many

circles, nuts. So when I see their clients waving posters of Hitler and

bringing guns to rallies today, there is nothing new here. When Barry

Goldwater ran for President his slogan was “In your heart you know he’s

right,” but that was turned around by the Democrats to “In your guts

you know he’s nuts!”

The Republicans are famous for using

emotional sophistry and fear to convince ordinary Americans to vote

against their own interests. Harry Truman once said, “Don’t vote for

me, vote for yourself!” The labels of nut ball or whacko are as

meaningless to the Republican horde as telling a pig it smells bad.

Ronald Reagan was seen in his era as every bit as loony as Sarah Palin

is today. The Republicans of that era, and still today, like

threatening war with all enemies, real and imagined. Goldwater warned

of a nuclear war with Russia and China if they would not give in to our

demands. This is why the campaign ad run by Lyndon Johnson of the

little girl picking daisies with a mushroom cloud in the background had

such an effect.

It asked the simple question: Is this what you

want for your children? Goldwater was at the far right end of the

Republican Party, the end aligned with the John Birch society. At the

other end of the Republican spectrum were the Rockefeller Republicans,

people like George Romney and Gerald Ford, and of course, Nelson

Rockefeller. They were economic Republicans, Republicans from

Democratic-leaning districts who were soft on Republican hot button

issues of the day like “forced integration” and strong on limiting the

power of organized labor.

“Republicans approve of the American

farmer, but they are willing to help him go broke. They stand

four-square for the American home– but not for housing. They are

strong for labor– but they are stronger for restricting labor’s

rights. They favor minimum wage–the smaller the minimum wage the

better. They endorse educational opportunity for all–but they won’t

spend money for teachers or for schools. They think modern medical care

and hospitals are fine– for people who can afford them. They consider

electrical power a great blessing–but only when the private power

companies get their rake-off. They think American standard of living is

a fine thing–so long as it doesn’t spread to all the people. And they

admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like

to buy it.” (Harry Truman)

But since the election of Ronald

Reagan as President in 1980, there has been a shift in the political

landscape. Liberal became a dirty word and politicians of both parties

ran for office on their conservative values. Since that election the

American standard of living has gone only down, and American weapons of

war have never grown dusty from lack of use. What we have seen in that

time has been Republican wet dreams of cutting taxes for the rich and

cutting wages for the working man.

We have a

world-turned-upside-down scenario where Bill Clinton’s welfare reform

program was more conservative than Richard Nixon’s. Bill Clinton was no

more a liberal than Ronald Reagan was a moderate. The media and the

Republicans like to label Democrats as liberals, but in point of fact

there are very few actual liberals in Congress. We do have Dennis

Kucinich, Barney Frank and John Conyers, but you couldn’t fill a

minivan with the actual liberals in Congress.

When Harry Truman

ran for the presidency in 1948, the liberals had split the party

because they wanted Truman to step down. The Southern Dixiecrats had

walked out of the convention over Truman’s strong stand on

desegregation. Truman was a moderate Democrat; Kennedy was a moderate

Democrat, so when judged side-by-side, Bill Clinton was almost as

conservative as either Nixon or Ford.

But since the election

in 1980 we have had endless, and in most cases needless, military

conflicts, and the so-called liberal voices were mainly silenced.

“More

than an end to war, we want an end to the beginning of all wars – yes,

an end to this brutal, inhuman and thoroughly impractical method of

settling the differences between governments.” (Franklin Roosevelt)

“I

never would have agreed to the formulation of the Central Intelligence

Agency back in forty-seven, if I had known it would become the American

Gestapo.” (Harry Truman)

“We prefer world law in the age of self-determination to world war in the age of mass extermination.” (John F Kennedy)

Perhaps

it is this generational difference that puts me at odds with so many of

my fellow Democrats. I see war in the same light as FDR, Truman and

Kennedy, that war is the failure of politics. It is a Neocon wet dream,

bogeymen created to feed contractors and bury young Americans. There is

no Al Queada. The Taliban are, after all, Afghans, and our troops are

not. Just as there were no WMD’s in Iraq, and prisoners were tortured

to support the administration’s lies.

These current

entanglements are Neocon fantasies for unipolar domination, Iraq to

control the oil market and Afghanistan to limit Russia’s ability to

sell her oil. So when I see Barack Obama buying into this, I am less

than pleased. Obama ran for office as a progressive but so far has

governed as a conservative. He has sought bipartisan support for health

care reform when history and logic would tell you that it is not there.

“I

don’t like bipartisans. Whenever a fellow tells me he’s bipartisan, I

know that he’s going to vote against me.” (Harry Truman)

It is

as if Obama began the health care debate with a first down on the fifty

yard line and has been angling for field position to kick a field goal

ever since.

“About the meanest thing you can say about a man is that he means well.” (Harry Truman)

“We shall be judged more by what we do at home than what we preach abroad.” (John F Kennedy)

“It

isn’t sufficient just to want – you’ve got to ask yourself what you are

going to do to get the things you want.” (Franklin Roosevelt)

So

when I see Hillary Clinton advocating military bases in Colombia or

when Barak Obama says, “By moving forward in Iraq, we’re able to

refocus on the war against al Qaeda and its extremist allies in

Afghanistan and Pakistan. That’s why I announced a new, comprehensive

strategy in March — a strategy that recognizes that al Qaeda and its

allies had moved their base from the remote, tribal areas — to the

remote, tribal areas of Pakistan,” I have to ask myself, who are these

people calling themselves Democrats? I guess they mean well but they

don’t sound like the Democrats I remember.

Those newspapers of

the nation which most loudly cried dictatorship against me would have

been the first to justify the beginnings of dictatorship by somebody

else. (Franklin Roosevelt)

Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.