An opinion piece in the NYT points us to new docs on former President Eisenhower:
LAST week the National Archives released a trove of drafts and notes that shed new light on President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s farewell address, in which he warned America about the “military-industrial complex.”
More can be found here.
On Oct. 31, 1960, another speechwriter, Ralph E. Williams, warned of a “permanent war-based industry” run by former military officials.
Also see a post from Econospeak
The following is a shortened version of Rachel Maddow’s opening monologue from her show on Wednesday on MSNBC:
For the next hour, we begin with the president of the United States addressing the nation and calling for a massive investment in this country’s infrastructure, rebuffing the idea of giant tax breaks for the richest Americans, and warning anyone who would dare touch Social Security to keep their hands off.
You want to talk about red meat for the base? Listen to some of the language the president used. “Workers have a right to organise into unions and to bargain collectively with their employers. And a strong, free labour movement is an invigorating and necessary part of our industrial society.” Wow.
How about this one? “Only a fool would try to deprive working men and women of their right to join the union of their choice.”
Listen to the way he goes after the right here. “Should any political party attempt to abolish Social Security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labour laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things, but their number is negligible and”–and the president says–“their number is negligible and they are stupid.”
That is not what Barack Obama said last night. That is way to the left of any national Democrat at this point. That was all Republican President Dwight David Eisenhower. That was all the stuff he said when he was president.
Republican President Dwight Eisenhower, president when the top tax bracket for the richest people in this country was 92 per cent. President Eisenhower defended that tax bracket. He said we cannot afford to reduce taxes until, quote, “the factors of income and outgo will be balanced.” Eisenhower insisting there must be a balanced budget and that taxes on the rich are the way to balance it. Dwight Eisenhower, you know, noted leftist.
The Republican Party platform of Eisenhower’s 1956 called for expansion of Social Security, broadened unemployment insurance, better health protection for all of our people. It called for voting rights–full voting civil rights for D.C. It called for expanding the minimum wage to cover more workers. It called for improved job safety for workers, equal pay for workers regardless of sex.
This is the Republican Party circa 1956. The Republican Party.
The story of modern American politics writ large is the story of your father’s and your grandfather’s Republican Party now being way to the left of today’s leftiest liberals. If Dwight Eisenhower were running for office today, he would have to run, I’m guessing as an independent, and not as some Joe Lieberman, in between the parties, independent. He’d be a Bernie Sanders independent.
In 1982, who passed the largest peacetime tax increase in U.S. history? That would be Ronald Reagan.
Who called for comprehensive health reform legislation during in a State of the Union address in 1974, a program that was well to the left of what either Bill Clinton or Barack Obama ultimately proposed? That would be Richard Nixon.
Eisenhower and Reagan and Nixon–they were not the liberals of their day. They were the conservatives of their own time.
But the whole of American politics has shifted so far to the right in the last 50 years that what used to be thought of as conservative, what used to be thought of as a conservative position, is now considered to be off-the-charts lefty.