Eisenhower and Reagan Quotes Are Still Pertinent Today

I posted the following two posts on Facebook recently:

“President Eisenhower supported trade unions, Social Security, and progressive taxation. Ike said that opponents of trade unions were “fools.” He called opponents of Social Security “stupid.” And he said that the way to balance the budget was to “tax the rich.””


“Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost.” ~Ronald Reagan”

I received a comment that basically implied that a past quote does not make it pertinent in today’s context. I think there is a lot of relevancy in those quotes today.  I think you would have a hard time finding a quote from FDR, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter or Clinton that so contradicts the current Democratic agenda of national healthcare, the rights of worker, the importance of a strong public education system, the need to eliminate poverty or a fair taxation system.  Those are all major tenets today of Democratic policy, as they have been for decades.  And while the Democratic Party has moved to the right during that time, the Republican Party has moved rapidly and unsustainably far to the right recently.  The quotes from the above Republican standard bearers reflect that that move to the right. 

The Party is becoming so dogmatic that icons of the party would probably be excluded today.  Recent attitudes have seen moderate Republican after moderate Republican drummed out of the party.  Arlen Specter, Lincoln Chafee, Lisa Murkowski, the Override Six… Jim Ramstad, a good Congressman, probably would have had GOP opposition in the last couple elections if he had stayed, and Arne Carlson is a pariah. 

I think there will be a return to moderation at some point.  I think Republicans who are more willing to follow Reagan’s ideals rather than using his name as some sort of conservative badge to prove their worthiness, will begin taking back the party. There are Independents today who are true Republicans, but have left the party officially because of Tom Delay, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, John Boehner and even celebrities like Glenn Beck.  These people are not mainstream Republicans like Reagan was who appealed to so many independents.  They are not the future of the Party.  They are temporary attention seeking zealots in the mode of Joe McCarthy. 

They place Reagan on a pedestal, but only seem to remember the things that pertain to today’s agenda.  They ignore the deficit growth, tax increases, his hatred of nuclear weapons and his desire to avoid conflict.  One of the stupidest things I heard around the recent election was a series of interviews with Republican candidates who were asked living or dead who they would like to have dinner with.  A few conservatives said a family member or Jesus, but the majority said Ronald Reagan.  It seemed very contrived to me.  These no compromise, no middle ground Republicans don’t belong in Reagan’s company.  Reagan said if 80% of what he wanted passed, it was a success.  80% is a loss in the mind of so many Republicans in power, Walker, the Fitzgerald brothers, Boehner, Pawlenty…  The only correlation between Reagan and some of these extremists is the little “(R)” after their name.  It certainly isn’t intelligence or an understanding of political success.


One thought on “Eisenhower and Reagan Quotes Are Still Pertinent Today”

  1. Joe Lieberman & Arlen Specter lost their Democratic primaries for not being liberal enough. Blanche Lincoln squeaked by her primary last year with 52% in a primary runoff. Ideological purging to the fringe certainly isn’t a sole characteristic of the Republican Party.

    Consider this quote:

    “What’s the difference (between) 59 votes with Blanche Lincoln or 58 voters without her? If we lose the seat, we’re losing it to someone who’ll vote just like her.” – United Steelworkers International President Leo Gerard.

    Of course, that’s an absurd statement, but that’s what happens when you’re trying to drive every member of a party to one ideological point of view.

    I also think it’s really easy to pull a one-sentence quote and run with it without providing any context. For example, I think Reagan’s quote, which was addressing events going on in Poland, has to be considered in light of his position on the air traffic controllers’ union. Simply put, Reagan was no friend of unions. Even as the head of the Screen Actors Guild he was considered by many to be more of a friend of management than the actors.

    Every party has members who just won’t go with the flow. One of the 19 Wisconsin Senate Republicans voted against the recent collective bargaining bill. He’s been a senator for a long time and while he may receive a primary challenge for his vote (and for other votes – he’s definitely a moderate), he’ll likely continue representing his moderate district in a seat he won even in Obama’s 2008 sweep.

    The fact that each party has factions trying to eliminate moderates doesn’t tell me that either party is turning more conservative or liberal. It simply indicates what we all know: 2 parties simply aren’t enough to represent all of our ideals.

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