Saturday, October 06, 2012

FDR, the GOP, and our history

OTOOLEFAN (at @OTOOLEFAN on twitter) pointed to a nice version of an Franklin Roosevelt speech, which I've noted earlier.

"Let me warn you, and let me warn the nation..."

Always a great piece. FDR takes it to the Republicans who had begun to realize that the New Deal promises of support to those in need with work, home security, and social security were not something they could really fight head on to destroy and win. You have to sidestep in with a smile, and promise to keep it all going and make it even better.

Add to this the advances like Medicare and Medicaid, that followed from Democratic efforts in later decades, to that list and, gosh, people like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan just want to spruce it all up. That's all they want to do.

Theirs just a faulty light they want to replace. That's all.

Why, why would any Republican threaten these vital services? They have no history of opposing them with dire warnings..

Oh. That.

Yeah.Still, even with that we had some dumb luck with certain Republican presidents, like Eisenhower and Nixon (Yes, Nixon.) Through them we created a public interstate highway system and got the EPA. But by Reagan and the Bushes...not a friendly lot to the social safety net that began with Roosevelt.

By GW Bush it was in no way subtle, they wanted to take a privatize social security. And, now, Ryan and Romney are ready to voucherize Medicare.

And in the process they are eager to play the role of knight errants, out to save the nation in distress.

What a striking pair. Racing to right that beleaguered system by charging into it, again and again, until it works proper.

But, they aren't mad or dumb, and I do put emphasis on the idea of playing a role. Despite the claim of being protectors, they are executioners of the social safety net. Ryan throughout his life has shown a clear hate for public services like these, they are an obscenity to his Randian mindset. And for Romney, it is all something that could get spread out to corporate actors to handle as best they see fit. They're out to support a long held agenda of theirs and their ideological forefathers.

Conservative hardliners have always seen this security for the poor and sick as crimes against their view of this nation. Limbaugh has beautifully put it. You don't have a right to health care. You don't have a right to have your life saved. You don't have a right to not starve to death. In short, if you're in trouble, screw you.

But that doesn't really sell well outside a private $50,000 Supper. So it has been well hidden, as Roosevelt noted, behind smiles and platitudes, or at the think tanks where they worked out ways to work and word a war on the social safety net. They called social security, and Roosevelt, a communist (A claim they still fall back on. It seems to never get old for them.). And that has not worked, except for hardline conservatives. They've also worked to spend the available money to create a crisis, or work the numbers to simulate one. Then, as we have seen again and again from conservative leaders, they announce it is time to "fix" the system. Not to worry, the conservatives just want to help you, Cindy Lou. So conservatives have come to learn how to dress themselves up as protectors of the system.

And many conservatives like to be able to portrait themselves as such. Protectors. It can be a winner for them. All it takes is a bit of reimagining the past of their party. They weren't opponents of social security and Medicare. They were it's CHAMPIONS...don't ask for a source on that, please.

Conservatives are proving good at reimagining their past.

Republicans had a good beginning with the likes of Lincoln and others, the Republicans stood against forces eager to continue slavery in the US, and against forces eager to dismantle the nation for their own interests and ideology.

But from their problems arose, like every party they had their heroes and villains in the decades that followed. People with a hope for the country and people who were quite corrupt. But by the 20th century they were ready for a major shift. Democrats began moving into more populace positions that bore fruit under Roosevelt and Republicans became a counter. Hence a hard fight against things like social security. And when Democrats came into conflict with the more racist parts of their party and began pushing more on civil rights, the Republican party was ready to embrace these largely Southern voices. They were a new home for the Dixiecrats.

Over one hundred years, the party of Lincoln remade itself the party of Dixie.

But, not to worry, the old Lincoln banner gets pulled out now and then. And they play at being that lot that once had war instigated on them when they got into power, pretending at not being the ones that actually started the war against...It's almost funny.

And in much the same way, they play at being a source of advocacy of social safety nets. They weren't it's opponents. Reagan didn't make himself a major advocate against Medicare. Oh, no. They were always in support. They can say that, they can pretend that, but their plans and their view of this nation cry out, "Listen to Roosevelt." He saw what they were then and what they are now.
Let me warn you and let me warn the Nation against the smooth evasion which says, "Of course we believe all these things; we believe in social security; we believe in work for the unemployed; we believe in saving homes. Cross our hearts and hope to die, we believe in all these things; but we do not like the way the present Administration is doing them. Just turn them over to us. We will do all of them- we will do more of them we will do them better; and, most important of all, the doing of them will not cost anybody anything."
It won't cost a thing. Remember? Mitt Romney promised us all, things will be fine. The safety net is trouble, but he's going to fix, and he won't need anymore tax dollars. He just knows how to run it better. Trust him...Sure.

Social Security.
Student Loans.

And more.

For Mitt Romney, and the Republicans, it can all be done better and cheaper if we just make it a product that a business can sell you. But we've seen with much of what has been privatized, it is seldom cheaper AND better. Private prisons drop large bills on states to pay up, and force them to guarantee prisoners for their prisons. Charter schools help some kids, but many of the these schools don't measure up. And insurance...anyone have trouble getting, keeping, or affording that in the better/cheaper happy sunny private world? Some things do work better when they don't exist to make someone a hefty profit first, and to help you fifth (Hey, think just one person is going to want a cut?).

In this world we all actually live in. We need and should have many private options. Stores. Services. And so on. But we also dearly need public options (Hell, we need a Public Option.). Medicare. Medicaid. Social Security. PUBLIC Education. And so on.

We the Democratic Party of the United States, are not Communist (no matter how emphatically Glenn Beck rubs his blackboard and wishes). We don't want absolute state control. We clearly need a proper balance in this country. People need to be assured certain basic needs will be supported and maintained by government and society for when you are old, when you are sick, when you and/or the country have misfortune, or just as part of the social contract Americans have with one another (Like access to basic preventative health care.).

But this Republican Party. Once their were some of them, who understood this. They may not have agreed on the necessary balance level, but they agreed government had a role to do more than just push an agenda. But the likes of Reagan, Romney, Ryan, and GW Bush have helped carry in an age where common sense in a malady to be eradicated from the party.

They can't be left to run this country. And they certainly can't be handed social security and Medicare.

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