Not Your Father’s PartyThe media and many not-too-informed folks complain about the inability of the Democrats and Republicans to get along and compromise. They want everyone to get along and to “get something done.” It’s not going to happen, and I think I can explain why, but it will take a bit of history to understand why this is true.
I grew up in Missouri and contrary to most folks in our neighborhood and town, we were conservative Republicans. St. Joseph was a down-the-line Democratic bastion. The mayor, the city council, the county council, the state representatives, and the state senators were all Democrats. They were patriots, but Democrats.
Harry Truman grew up about 50 miles south of St. Joseph in the Kansas City area. He was a part of the Prendergast machine, a very corrupt and powerful political organization. Truman may have been a part of that machine, but as a US Senator, he was a red, white and blue American. He fought in World War I and when the time came as President to decide whether or not to save millions of American and Japanese lives by dropping the atomic bomb and bring World War II to a swift conclusion, he did it. Harry loved his country and would have given his life to defend her.
My father-in-law, W.H. Mitchem, was a Harry Truman Democrat, lots of people were. He loved the feisty spirit of Truman and the fact that he had the courage to end World War II swiftly. That was personal because my father-in-law was a proud United States Marine who fought at Guadalcanal. He saw some terrible fighting there and in other parts of the Pacific Theater of WWII. And, he might have died (along with hundreds of thousands, perhaps more than a million Americans) if Harry Truman had not had the courage to drop the bomb. So supporting Harry Truman was personal for my father-in-law. But as a son of Georgia, he grew up as an FDR, Harry Truman Democrat.
When Norman Thomas, who ran for President six times on the Socialist Party ticket, finally presided over the demise of the Socialist Party in the late 1950s, he said, “I no longer need to run as a Presidential candidate for the Socialist Party. The Democrat Party has adopted our platform.” And indeed that is
1948 was a strange election year. The Republicans nominated the choice of the Eastern Liberal Establishment, New York Governor, Thomas Dewey. Dewey was a progressive, i.e. liberal Republican who could have been comfortable in either party. Today we would call him a RINO—Republican In Name Only.
An early front runner, Dewey lost to Truman in spite of a strange split in
the Democratic Party.
That year the Dixiecrats split off and ran Strom Thurmond, a war hero and Governor of South Carolina, as their candidate for President. Theirs was a Jim Crow segregationist ticket.
But something much more important happened at the Democratic National Convention. There was a delegate to the Convention from South Dakota, another war hero, George McGovern. When Truman was nominated, McGovern, along with some other “prairie radicals,” split off and left the Democratic Party to support the Socialist candidate Norman Thomas. McGovern and Thomas saw eye-to-eye on almost every issue.
After Truman won in a squeaker, McGovern came back into the Democratic Party with the goal of taking over the Party and making it into a political vehicle to carry the socialist cause in America. McGovern was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1956 and re-elected in 1958. After a failed bid for the U.S. Senate in 1960, he was elected to there in 1962 and served for several terms.
McGovern and others of his ilk were quite successful in moving the Truman
Democratic Party to the far left. In fact, in 1972 he won the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. Never before had someone on the far left of the political spectrum won the nomination of a major political party. Political observers call McGovern’s defeat by Richard Nixon a political debacle, but it was far from it. It was in many ways a great political triumph, just as Goldwater’s defeat in 1964 was a triumph for conservatives who took over the apparatus of the Republican Party and have held it ever since. The 1972 election allowed the socialists and prairie radicals to seize the organizational apparatus of the Democratic Party. They have never
Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980 could not have happened without the Goldwater nomination and Barack Obama’s election in 2008 could not have happened without the McGovern nomination in 1972. In both cases the financial base and the philosophical base of the Party changed hands.
Today’s Democratic Party is a far cry from the Party of Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson. It gets much of its muscle and money from far left union bosses whose outlook is radically different than George Meany, the man who served as midwife to the creation of the AFL-CIO union. Meany was a tough, but honest labor leader. He knew politics and he knew how to wield power. But George Meany was a patriotic American in every respect. He drove the Communists and their far left travelers out of the union movement and he gave aid to union movements behind the Iron Curtain. He was a ferocious anti-Communist.
In 1972, only one union, the far left National Education Association, supported the candidacy of George McGovern. All the others either sat out the contest or endorsed Richard Nixon. But when George Meany died in 1979 it paved the way for the far left to seize control of the American labor movement. Today far left union bosses in both the public and private sphere provide manpower and hundreds of millions of dollars to the newly empowered radicals who have an iron grasp of the Democratic Party apparatus.
Today’s Democratic Party is no longer the Party of Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy and other patriotic Democrats like Senator Henry Jackson. It is now the Party of the far left. It is the Party who sees America as growing strong and prosperous by exploiting minorities and raping other countries of their natural resources. It is a Party that loathes the thought of American Exceptionalism.
Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy and scores of other patriotic Democratic leaders must be spinning in their graves. Loyal Americans and staunch anti-Communists, these traditional Democrats would not have been welcome in the new Democratic Party.
To understand the dramatic difference between today’s Democratic Party and the Party of Truman and John Kennedy, you need to go no further than their Thanksgiving Day Proclamation and that of our current President, Barack Obama.
What follows is the first paragraph of President Truman’s 1950 Thanksgiving Day Proclamation…
“In keeping with the custom established by our forefathers
and hallowed by faithful observance throughout the years,
it is fitting that once again at this season we set aside a day
for giving thanks to God for the many blessings which He has
bestowed upon us. We are deeply grateful for the bounties of
our soil, for the unequaled production of our mines and
factories, and for all the vast resources of our beloved country,
which have enabled our citizens to build a great civilization.
We are thankful for the enjoyment of our personal liberties and
for the loyalty of our fellow Americans.”
Consider in contrast, this paragraph from the 2010 Thanksgiving Day Proclamation of President Obama…
“What began as a harvest celebration between European
settlers and indigenous communities nearly four centuries
ago has become our cherished tradition of Thanksgiving.
This day's roots are intertwined with those of our Nation,
and its history traces the American narrative.”
In fairness, President Obama’s Thanksgiving Day Declaration does make reference to President George Washington’s first Thanksgiving Day Declaration, “…we recall President George Washington, who proclaimed our first national day of public thanksgiving to be observed ‘by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God’” but nowhere does the President make such an acknowledgement himself. It’s more of a historic reference point than a continuum of the practice of all past Presidents to give thanks to God. For instance, consider the Thanksgiving Day Declaration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933 as the Great Depression set in…
“May we on that day in our churches and in our homes
give humble thanks for the blessings bestowed upon us during
the year past by Almighty God. May we recall the courage
of those who settled a wilderness, the vision of those who
founded the Nation, the steadfastness of those who in every
succeeding generation have fought to keep pure the ideal of
equality of opportunity and hold clear the goal of mutual help
in time of prosperity as in time of adversity.”
Or consider the first paragraph of the 1961 Thanksgiving Day Proclamation of President John F. Kennedy…
“‘It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord.’ More than
three centuries ago, the Pilgrims, after a year of hardship and
peril, humbly and reverently set aside a special day upon which
to give thanks to God for their preservation and for the good
harvest from the virgin soil upon which they had labored. Grave
and unknown dangers remained. Yet by their faith and by their toil
they had survived the rigors of the harsh New England winter.
Hence they paused in their labors to give thanks for the blessings
that had been bestowed upon them by Divine Providence.”
President Barack Obama exemplifies today’s Democratic Party, left of center, secular, and embarrassed by the prosperity and wealth that freedom and free markets have created. The Democratic Party of 2011 has far more in common with the radicals of the French Revolution than it does with the founders of the American Revolution.
No wonder Ronald Reagan, and more recently, Texas Governor Rick Perry, have said that they didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left them. And indeed, that’s exactly what my patriotic father-in-law and most of his relatives did—they became Republicans because they could no longer recognize the new Democratic Party. It was not, as they say, their Father’s Democratic Party.
With all its flaws, and they are many, there is today only one Party that remains faithful to the vision of the Founders and to the United States Constitution—the Republican Party—and too often even the Republicans get wobbly in their commitment to the Founders’ vision of a limited, Constitutional government. Thank God for the Tea Party Republicans who are principled and uncompromising in their dedication to the US Constitution and to Founding principles. They are the only hope for freedom for future generations of Americans. May their vision and commitment to the United States as the land of the free and the home of the brave never waver. These patriots are the friend of all Americans, but especially those in poverty, who seek to climb the ladder of opportunity and create a better world for themselves and their families. Men and women who understand Founding principles are the sole hope of men, women and children of all races who seek to realize the American Dream.
For nearly 150 years there were at least two political parties in the US that may have disagreed on many issues, but in no instance did they disagree on their love of the United States of America or their belief that it was the greatest nation on the face of the earth. Sadly, that is no longer true today. May God continue to bless America.