AFP Editorial: Roosevelt Republicans
TODAY’S BREED OF REPUBLICANS is certainly not the party of the late, great Sen. Robert Taft of Ohio, the “isolationist” who opposed unnecessary wars, and championed small government, frugal budgets and states rights as defined in the 10th Amendment.
It was Taft who had the courage to stand up and say there was no precedent, no so-called international law authorizing the Nuremberg war crimes trials. (It was especially ironic that the Soviet Union, with its ruthless record of tyranny, was one of the judges at the trials.)
With notable exceptions—Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) comes quickly to mind— today’s Republican Party has morphed into “Roosevelt Republicans” (as in FDR, not Teddy).
Bob Taft bravely tried to seek the GOP nomination for president in 1952 but was thwarted by the Rockefeller, or liberal, wing of his party. He gathered convention delegates favorable to him from coast to coast.
But it wasn’t to be. The establishment had pre-chosen Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, then the candidate of the military-industrial-banker complex. At the convention the credentials of the Taft delegates were challenged. Ike’s handlers successfully packed the convention and he got the nomination.
In 1953 Taft returned to the Senate and died shortly thereafter from a sudden cancer.
Today’s Republicans are ideological twins of the Democrats. Taft would be disappointed in the GOP but would not be surprised. Members of both parties want to spend more of your hard-earned dollars on silly projects, such as funding Alaska’s “bridge to nowhere,” bike trails, a Cowgirl Hall of Fame—the list is endless. In 2005, the “one-party” Congress approved 15,268 pieces of pork—a four-fold increase over the past decade when Democrats were in power.
President Ronald Reagan, in 1982, vetoed a huge highway bill because of 150 “earmarks”—the term for pork projects inserted in a spending bill to get support from recalcitrant congressmen for their vote.
Despite political posturing, both parties supported the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. The cost in lives, as of Feb. 8, was 2,262 in Iraq and 259 in Afghanistan. That is a total of 2,521 dead Americans—including some women, in this era of political nonsense. Many women “soldiers” are sidelined by pregnancy, a condition to which males contribute.
Estimates of the additional billions of dollars the wars that this country will cost are estimates. Steven M. Kosiak, director of budget studies at the Center for Strategic and Budget Assessments, guesses that the total of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan has been $331 billion since Sept. 11, 2001. The wars are costing some $800 million each month, with no end in sight.
Nobody has even a close estimate of the hundreds of billions of dollars these unnecessary wars will cost. And now there is pressure among the neo-conservative “chicken hawks” to invade Iran.
See Paul Craig Roberts’ column, on page 11 of this issue for more on this.
It was Dubya who promised in a speech before Congress that he, meaning the taxpayers and the loyal members of the military, would pursue the “axis of evil”—Iraq, Iran and North Korea—blasting these countries into oblivion.
He even vowed to carry this undeclared, unconstitutional warfare to any place on the Earth where “terror” can be identified.
It was Democratic President Bill Clinton who left office with budget surpluses that began to pay down the national debt. It is “compassionate” Republican President George W. Bush who is running huge deficits and bulking up the national debt. The deficit for fiscal 2005 was $318 billion and it is expected to exceed $400 billion in 2006.
Republicans should either come home to their traditional principles or change their registration to the party of their spiritual guide, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
(Issue #8, February 20, 2006)