Abraham Lincoln would not be the only one turning over in his grave at the disgraceful state of the Republican party 147 years after he left office -- other dead progressive Republican leaders would, as well.
Contrast the current Republican leadership with President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who expanded Social Security, sent federal troops to Little Rock, Arkansas to enforce court orders to desegregating public schools, signed civil rights legislation in 1957 and 1960 and implemented desegregation of the armed forces. Oh -- and the four star general had the guts to take on the "military industrial complex," which bribes politicians to spend way too much money on defense -- roughly $1 trillion a year.
When Eisenhower asked Nelson Rockefeller to Chair the President's Advisory Committee on Government Organization, Rockefeller's recommendations led to the creation of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. As undersecretary of the department in 1953 Rockefeller added ten million people to the Social Security program. As governor of New York from 1959 to 1972, Rockefeller turned the State University of New York into the largest system of public higher education in the U.S. and more than quadrupled state aid to primary and secondary schools.
Then there's fellow New York Republican Jacob Javits who, during his first two terms in the House of Representatives from 1947 to 1954, supported Harry Truman's veto of the Taft-Hartley Bill, which he declared was anti-union. A strong opponent of discrimination, Javits also endorsed anti-poll tax legislation and sought to enact a bill banning segregation in housing projects. As Senator, Javits is probably best known for authoring the ERISA Act, which regulated defined-benefit private pensions.
Fast-forward to today, when the party of Lincoln has morphed into the Party of the 1%.
1. Enabling corporate welfare: The GOP's ditzing around the fiscal cliff is only the tip of the iceberg. As I pointed out in a previous post, a whopping 69 percent of U.S. corporations currently pay zero taxes by passing through profits to investors who pay the taxes on their individual returns, a tactic known as "pass-throughs," according to he Wall Street Journal.
2. Redistricting, which enables vote fraud: We're stuck with an obstructionist Republican majority in Congress despite the fact that, reports the New York Times, "Democratic candidates for Congress won 1.1 million more votes, according to a tally of the popular vote kept by David Wasserman, the House editor of The Cook Political Report... making this one of a handful of elections in the last century where the party that won the vote did not win control of the House." According to the New York Times, redistricting very likely played a role in Michigan's decision to pass anti-union legislation a month after Obama won the state by nine points. Michigan Republicans drew the maps in the last two cycles and were able to keep their majority with 54 percent of the seats in the state's House of Representatives despite getting just 45 percent of the popular vote.
3. Enabling the "right to work for less:" Indiana also enacted a right-to-work law early this year. Why do we care? Unions don't just benefit their members but create social contracts that benefit everybody, such as weekends, the eight-hour workday and health benefits. As United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard points out, "federal law requires unions to represent everyone in a workplace, even those who don't pay dues."
4. Prioritizing future jobs on K Street over helping voters on Main Street: Thanks to Grover Norquist, Republicans have enabled the K Street Project, which assures that politicians who get kicked out of office for pandering to special interests can be assured future jobs as lobbyists for special interests.
5. Making college unaffordable: As I pointed out in a previous post, the rising cost of college is linked to Ronald Reagan's cuts to Pell Grants, leaving millions of students saddled with debt.
6. Outsourcing and offshoring jobs: In 1955 GM was the largest company in the U.S, with more than 475,000 employees and only around 75,000 employed by overseas contractors. Today Apple is the biggest company, employing fewer than 50,000 employees here and more than 700,000 abroad. Among the reasons companies decide to outsource are the "unreasonable costs.. associated with... labor union contracts" according to Wikipedia. Not surprisingly, outsourcing is opposed by the vast majority of Americans. From Wikipedia: "A Zogby International poll conducted in August 2004 found that 71 percent of American voters believed that "outsourcing jobs overseas" hurt the economy while another 62 percent believed" that legislative action should be imposed against companies that outsource, including increasing taxes on them.
Democrats need a plan to restore democracy. I don't see one.