Boehner weeps for his dad. Cantor mumbles. Palin communes with bears. One of the least diverse, least intellectually-equipped group of freshmen Congressmen invades Washington soon--to lead, create, fix? Nah, to attack and tear up. I was asking many of these folks' supporters what portraits of famous Republicans they felt these folks would hang on the walls of their new offices.
Ronald Reagan, of course. But do any one of these folks understand the man and his policies, his struggles, any more than the devil marxist kenyan muslim mythology with they find refuge regarding Obama (or climate change, or science/evolution for that matter?). Or...
Joseph McCarthy. Yikes. Ayn Rand--huh? She wasn't a Republican (or even a citizen?). Rush Limbaugh. Stands to reason. NASCAR pioneer Richard Petty. Ditto. John Wayne. Phyllis Schlafly. Strangely, no Dick Cheney, or either Bush. Thomas Jefferson. Um, no--he founded what is the Democratic Party now. Jefferson Davis. Of course. But yeah, he was a Democrat before he was a traitor. Hmmm....
Well, I decided to stop the madness, and the ignorance. A fool's errand, given this Congress. I compiled my list of Hero Republicans of Yore-- people who should be on the walls of the new Congress. Given the backgrounds of the victors, and the demographics of their supporters, I doubt they will agree. Thus they sow the seeds of their own failure, just like Newt in '97-98.
So...here it goes:
Abraham Lincoln. A no brainer; without him there is no GOP. Funny that he was even more unpopular than his illinois cohort with the darker skin, Mr. Obama. When he was elected many of the ancestors of the GOPs principal human power base decided to tear up the Constitution they crow about now (as hammered home by Roger Taney in Dred Scot), leave and declare war on the Stars and Stripes....all because some wanted to keep black folks as pets, most wanted the economic and political power slavery provided, and poorer ones, as now, needed someondy...anybody...lower than them on the totem pole. Indeed three years and thousands of dead, wounded, homeless and starving American later, Abe would have lost the election had William T. Sherman not brought great news of conquest in Georgia. What might have been? Well the nails in that coffin, so to speak, began to hammer tightly around 1948 when the Dixiecrats changed parties; by Nixon's election in 1968 the South was solidly Republican, but not the GOP Abe expressly envisioned post war.
Thomas Nast, political cartoonist. Invented the Republican Elephant (and Democratic Donkey); arch foe of urban Democratic machine politics (and sadly, by implication, ethnic white voters). Still he supported black folks rights and progressive/reform causes, including corruption within his own party, which was turning increasingly into the party of Wall Street and railroad interests.
James Garfield. 20th President of the US. Union war hero, so that takes him out of the running a lot of rednecks presently. But this man died...LITERALLY DIED...fighting the corruption of federal government workers and patronage, as well as a bloated federal budget. Half of these sots coming to Congress likely have no clue what happened to this man, and the debt, again literally, they owe him.
James G. Blaine. Senator from maine in the 1870s and 80s and US Secretary of State. He kept the GOP on a moderate, overtly pro-big business course, opposing Radical Reconstruction (was he the Evan Bayh and Blanche Lincoln of the 19th century?) and buffering liberal Republicans like Carl Schurz and Sen. Roscoe Conkling. But more so, he envisioned the US as a world power, and advocated military readiness to extend American influence not only in the rest of the Americas & the Caribbean, but also to make the Pacific an "American Lake." Blaine was also a hypocrite who tried to play both ends, and in that, he's a good role model for modern Republicans. Lost a close election to fellow Princetonian and Democrat Grover Cleveland--first Dem to win the White House since before the Civil War.
Mary Hay. Suffragette, Temperance and Prohibition leader, founding member of the League of Women Voters and one fo the first women to sit on the Republican National Committee. Getting the 19th Amendment passed for the 1920 election produced nowhere near the blood and tears spent in the quest for civil rights for African Americans, but it was still a feat no one thought possible during the time of the FOUNDING FATHERS--about whom the Tea Party bumpkins bleat. Yes, things sucked back then for women. Republican Mary Hay changed all of that. She transformed the GOP and transformed America. Of course her pushing Prohibition may have been a terrible idea, but it was the Volstead Act that helped push WOMAN POWER to the fore. She was also a Progressive, a la Republican Sen. Bob LaFollette, reformer-writer Upton Sinclair (who went from Republican to Socialist!) and fellow suffragette and Michael Moore prototype Ida Tarbell (who did to Standard Oil and the railroads what Moore wanted to do to GM, gun and tobaccomakers et al). And yep, Ida was a Republican. Imagine that. So was Margeret Sanger, who fought for reproductive rights--birth control, the right to receive and disseminate family planning information and...uh oh...abortion. She wasn't vindicated in Roe. Rather, she was vindicated in Griswold v. Connecticut. And guess who opposed his own state's position in that case? Sen. Prescott Bush--W's granddad, hater of McCarthy & friend of fellow liberal Republican Nelson Rockefeller. Yikes.
Theodore Roosevelt. Again, a no brainer. For some reason, Teddy's on Glenn Beck's shit list, as if trust busting and creating the national parks/conservation is big government and social engineerign run amok? Teddy was a Progressive too, married to political reform. He tried, half-assedly but still tried, to quell racial terrorism in the South, and held Booker T Washington as one of his close advisors. Under TR, the US legitimately became a world power, and the navy and US Marine Corps truly came into their own as the fist of that power. Then there was the Panama Canal. But again, current Republicans don't seem to give a damn. He's too East Coast. Too...Yale. And that canal: Big Gov, alright. Stimulus money...too many black workers on the payroll. But hey, Jimmy Carter gave it away. The wimp!
Edward Brooke. Senator from Massachusetts, 1967-79. Howard University grad, DC native, like yours truly. And supposedly, Barbara Walters' chocolate lover. That miscue aside, one of the sharpest minds and cagey legislators in the Senate. Was he lead on Fair Housing Act, Equal Credit Act, banking Reform, foreign aid, less restrictive trade/tariff policies. Early supporter of Nixon but then turned on Tricky Dick when he nominated racists/unqualified pols Haynesworth and Carswell to the US Supreme Court. He was the first GOP Senator to openly call for Nixon's resignation as Watergate came to a climax in '74. A statesman. Remember them--folks like Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, Everett Dirksen (another prominent Republican who jousted with JFK and LBJ, and would likely laugh at McConnell, DeMint...and snicker at Boehner and Cantor). The next time these pathological Uncle Toms & self-promoters...from Clarence Thomas to Allen West to Mike Steele and MLK's niece...open their mouths, may Ed Brooke sting their tongues. Learn from this dude, brothers & sisters. Learn.
Dwight D. Eisenhower. 34th President of the US. A moderate. Yes, a moderate. Would look at these folks today and grin a bit and say, "darn fools." Despite the revisionist conservative view, he didn't regret appointing Earl Warren to the Supreme Court, or setting the 101 st Airborne Division loose on good patriotic white Christian folk in Little Rock, Arkansas, when these evil Commie agitators likely convinced dopey blacks to try to attend Central High School. Yes, we were locked in the Cold War, and yes, John Foster Dulles was his bulldog Secretary of State. But in 1956, Ike came about as close as any US President to putting a foot in the ass of three of our closest allies: Britain, France...and Israel. ISRAEL--no lie? No lie. Over the Suez Crisis. Nat wrote his Princeton thesis on that. Get it along with Kagan's, Sotomayor's and Michelle's at the Seely Mudd Library, fanboys. Indeed, Israel's actions allowed the Soviets' cover to invade Hungary to put down a democratic revolt against Communism...and the world was on the brink yet again. What did regret: bailing out France in Vietnam. Lord have mercy. And GOP stalwarts in 2010 might want to recall that it was he who warned of the military-industrial complex. see here. Note this preamble to a clip from the film "Good Night and Good Luck," here.
Ike don't sound like no Patriot Act fan in that second clip, do he? LOL. Well general, your party needs you, for even your twisted VP from Cali. was downright tame compared to what we have now. Abe, Teddy, James, can you help, too?