Tuesday, September 9, 2008


A little long but worth it:

"...the Republicans were back at it last week at their convention. Mitt Romney wasn’t content to insist that he personally knows that “liberals don’t have a clue.” He complained loudly that the federal government right now is too liberal.

“We need change, all right,” he said. “Change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington.”

Why liberals don’t stand up to this garbage, I don’t know. Without the extraordinary contribution of liberals — from the mightiest presidents to the most unheralded protesters and organizers — the United States would be a much, much worse place than it is today.

There would be absolutely no chance that a Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton or Sarah Palin could make a credible run for the highest offices in the land. Conservatives would never have allowed it.

Civil rights? Women’s rights? Liberals went to the mat for them time and again against ugly, vicious and sometimes murderous opposition. They should be forever proud.

The liberals who didn’t have a clue gave us Social Security and unemployment insurance, both of which were contained in the original Social Security Act. Most conservatives despised the very idea of this assistance to struggling Americans. Republicans hated Social Security, but most were afraid to give full throat to their opposition in public at the height of the Depression.

“In the procedural motions that preceded final passage,” wrote historian Jean Edward Smith in his biography, “FDR,” “House Republicans voted almost unanimously against Social Security. But when the final up-or-down vote came on April 19 [1935], fewer than half were prepared to go on record against.”

Liberals who didn’t have a clue gave us Medicare and Medicaid. Quick, how many of you (or your loved ones) are benefiting mightily from these programs, even as we speak. The idea that Republicans are proud of Ronald Reagan, who saw Medicare as “the advance wave of socialism,” while Democrats are ashamed of Lyndon Johnson, whose legislative genius made this wonderful, life-saving concept real, is insane.

When Johnson signed the Medicare bill into law in the presence of Harry Truman in 1965, he said: “No longer will older Americans be denied the healing miracle of modern medicine.”

Reagan, on the other hand, according to Johnson biographer Robert Dallek, “predicted that Medicare would compel Americans to spend their ‘sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was like in America when men were free.’ ”


Without the many great and noble deeds of liberals over the past six or seven decades, America would hardly be recognizable to today’s young people. Liberals (including liberal Republicans, who have since been mostly drummed out of the party) ended legalized racial segregation and gender discrimination.

Humiliation imposed by custom and enforced by government had been the order of the day for blacks and women before men and women of good will and liberal persuasion stepped up their long (and not yet ended) campaign to change things. Liberals gave this country Head Start and legal services and the food stamp program. They fought for cleaner air (there was a time when you could barely see Los Angeles) and cleaner water (there were rivers in America that actually caught fire).

Liberals. Your food is safer because of them, and so are your children’s clothing and toys. Your workplace is safer. Your ability (or that of your children or grandchildren) to go to college is manifestly easier.

It would take volumes to adequately cover the enhancements to the quality of American lives and the greatness of American society that have been wrought by people whose politics were unabashedly liberal. It is a track record that deserves to be celebrated, not ridiculed or scorned."

—Bob Herbert in today's (9/9/08) NY Times Op-Ed section


harryn said...

all very true michael ...
but there's a flaw in the logic that presupposes that the 'entitled' [most of which are and have been the republican party] give a damn about the health, safety, quality of air, food, etc... any more than the ruling classes of the past couple of thousand years ...

they've always been insulated ...

unfortunately for them, we have a constitution that requires an electorial process that's difficult to bypass - but they're learning ...
in the meantime let caesar tell the huddled masses whatever they think they want to hear and then just carry on with business as usual ...
there's a reason why politics is riddled with lawyers - they have a license to lie - and the strategists and writers preparing their briefs have party lines to follow - so the only change the mccain/palin ticket represents is a new flavor for the republicans made possible by the dems - just like the catch-phrase "change" - they saw as what the 'people' wanted and figured out a way to sell it - but its' all a facade to make them more believable ...
palin's going to be as inconsequential a vp as ever - [if america don't wake up] - performing the 'avon lady' routine to the heartland, selling the snake oil spin in a personable, down-home kinda way that should infuriate the women voters of america - but hey, it's all very normal rockwell - so why not believe it ...
and yes it could be scary - look what happened to any of the ancient/older civilizations when they followed a higher standard ...

JIm said...

Social Security and Medicare are two noble experiments that have the ability to destroy this country. For a hint of things to come,look at the US auto industry. Unions brought misguided management to their knees exacting benefits that made the industry non competitive. Management also made major product blunders. Unless the lecacy costs are cut or eliminated the US auto industry will die. They must also find finacing to retool for a more efficient world.

Both parties have failed to face up to their responsibilty of either cutting benefits, privatize, or tax. The tax option would make our economy less competive and within 20 years bankrupt the economy(the aging of the population just doesn't allow the tax option).

Obama has never gone against his party. McCain and Palim have. Who do you think has the better chance of getting the vital change we need?

Another Lally said...

The labels as descriptive of philosophy really ended after Nixon ended Nam. This was the first Neo-Con Revolution (approx. 1973). Liberals and radicals who supported some ideas were incompatible. It is similar to today's 'civil union' of anarchism and the Democrat Party. Liberals were joined by former Democrats in creating the Reagan Era. Radicals moved to the Democrat Party.

During the Reagan Era when the Dem party became totally confused, they became the 'Liberals' with a strong Radical bent. Their policy was not Liberal, but the tag stuck.

The ethic of punishing the rich today is based on times when the rich were landed monarchs and their supporters. In our society where people have to work to become rich, this ethic is foolish. People are touted because they often rise from nothing to become wealthy.

The GOP would have been served better to have attached the 'Progressive' tag to intself rather than allowing the press to attach the 'Conservative' tag. The GOP has been from its inception a party of fairness and modernization.

Progressives were termed Liberals in the past. The difference between a Liberal and a Progressive was that Liberals thought great ideas while Progressives instituted their ideas. Simply becoming the incumbent never caused the Conservative tag to be so easily shifted.