1sunfight’s Weblog

March 1, 2009

Then and Now: A Look at the Recent Past and Modernity

Just this week conservatives held the Conservative Political Action Conference with Rush Limbaugh rallying the base. Normally I do not give demagogues and ideologues the time of day, like Limbaugh and Ann Coulter. It is their job to stir the pot, seek controversy, divide people, not unite people, play the role of McCarthyists, all the while earning a living from it. However, the out of power party invited one of the demagogues to their convention who rallied the base there. Regardless that some factions of conservatives claim that right wing radio has ruined the party and does not represent them, claiming Limbaugh is a reactionary; he still was invited and spoke. Much of what he said at that convention he has been saying on his radio show ever since McCain lost the election and found its reactionary way into the remaining Republican political party in both Houses.

I have been more than patient concerning my position on the harsh criticism on our newly elected president, criticism that began the day after he was elected and now just five weeks into his presidency. The harsh criticism is not justified in any way, shape, or form. What is does reflect on is how bitterly divided we have become, and how it is glaringly apparent that we like to build people up only to tear them down.

That said, much of what Obama is being criticized for, especially by the right that includes its typical paranoia of the media, with claims that Obama is pushing a “liberal agenda of big government” neglects to take an objective look at one of their own in the not so distant past. You see the current state of the Republican Party would be saying the very same about Richard Nixon if their current philosophy was applied to him, but instead they hold Nixon in high esteem.

By 1968 the Vietnam War was no longer popular, with a nation divided, and two political parties claiming to bring the war to an end, though Nixon’s approach was “peace with honor” and the Democratic candidates’ credibility at that time was non-existent. This is not too dissimilar to the 2008 campaign, with the exception that this time the Republicans wanted to continue as costly war with no clear plan and Democrats had credibility. However, this time Obama has been lambasted for “not having a plan”, but when Nixon ran in 1968 he did not have a clear plan either, but was intimated that he must have a “secret plan”. He must know what he is doing. Things sure are different when the shoe is on the other foot, when a liberal is doing the very same thing. For Obama the suggestion is that he does not know what he is doing, but Nixon has a “secret plan”. It took Nixon four years, 1969 to 1973, to end the war, without that kind of criticism, but Obama is facing a two front war who wants to bring one to a close, and ensure the other one is exited with honor, but he is being criticized by the right of the GOP, which is what there seems to be anymore and within some of the “liberal media”. He does not have a plan.

Nixon opened diplomatic relations with China, now unpopular, but is blamed on Clinton. He started the EPA, now he would be referred to as a “tree hugger” who wants big government. He started SSI that today would be criticized as big government interference with state business, which is what Republicans are saying about Obama’s extended unemployment benefits. Richard Nixon also implemented a 90 day wage and price control; today Nixon would be referred to as a socialist. Times were tough back then, and took tough measures, but his approach was socialist in nature and would have been forbidden in this day and age by his party. The list goes on, but the point is Nixon would be called a socialist with no plan and that he is destroying the American fiber.

So they want a laissez-faire approach to today’s economic environment, well, Herbert Hoover took a very similar approach in the early 1930’s that was referred to as volunteerism that did nothing and heralded in the Great Depression. He did attempt some government intervention late in his only term that did not work and left it to his predecessor to fix. This is not all that dissimilar to Bush’s terms in office and what was handed to Obama.

The world has a different view for those on the right who look at history with a cracked rear view mirror.

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