[IT’S] not just that today’s GOP has turned its back on its own profound responsibility for the terrible mess this country is in - that might be expected. It has also turned its back on what previously had been shared American values, decisions and practices.
“If you make a bad decision in business, you ought to pay,” Bush [W., on initiating the Chrysler bailout, ed.] told the auto dealers. “The problem is, sometimes circumstances get in the way of philosophy.” For that rather commonplace, common-sense admission, today’s GOP would denounce him as a “socialist”. It’s easier simply to forget him.
But by those standards, every Republican president in history is a socialist. They all used government money to help businesses in trouble - and some who weren’t in trouble, too. The very first Republican congress and administration was as socialist as all get-out. In 1862, they passed the first of the Morrill Land Grant Acts, funding public state colleges; and the first of the Pacific Railway Acts, funding the transcontinental railroad. The private sector alone was clearly incapable of taking up either of these momentous tasks, and yet, these profoundly socialist acts were the foundations of enormous private wealth that was generated over the next several generations of staggering growth.
More recently, Ronald Reagan passed numerous tax increases after his initial tax cuts initiated an era of ballooning deficits - any one of which would have been enough to disqualify him from national office in today’s GOP. He also struck a deal to preserve Social Security, while his successor, George H W Bush, responded to thesavings & loan crisis with a bailout later estimated at half a trillion dollars.
Today’s GOP sees the Chrysler Super Bowl ad as partisan because they have unilaterally abandoned the once-shared goal of building American prosperity. And that is a recipe for political irrelevance. No one forced them to do this. They have freely chosen to turn their backs on American industry, and on the United States itself. It’s only natural if the United States should return the favor. [more]