Sunday, July 16, 2006
Found this on Atrios
I know that we tend to roll our eyes at history thinking, "Why should we study the exploits of dead white men?" (as my History 4C professor would say, not the why should we study part). However, there are lessons we can learn from history so that we do not repeat the same mistakes over and over again. Rewind back to the middle of the century, the year is 1948. The 80th Congress, made up of Republicans has just alienated many interest groups such as farmers amd especially labor. After all, back then Congress' priorities included the highly unpopular Taft-Hartley Law or as Truman called it, the "slave-labor" law which included allowing states to ban the closed shop through the passage of "right-to-work: laws, forbidding unions from contributing to political campaigns (funny, how that was considered bad but Big Money wasn't), calling for an 80-day cooling-off period in strikes that threatened national security (there goes that word again, but the Republicans could potentially point out that EVERY strike threatened national security). President Truman asked Congress for stronger price supports for farmers, but the 80th Congress responded by weakening them. He asked them for national health insurance, but they of course refused. Public housing funding and aiding public education were deemed not as priorities that the 80th Congress should persue. Antilynching, anti-poll tax, and fair employment legislation fell by the wayside along with increased unemployment comp and the minimum wage. Everything that TRUMAN proposed, Congress spit in his face by rejecting them.
The cocky Republicans believed that they had the 1948 election in the bag. After all, the Democratic Party was badly split as segregations defected to form the States RIghts Democratic Party while Progressives saw Henry Wallace as their savior. It looked glum for the Democrats and Thomas Dewey, the Republican nominee confidently predicted victory. Instead of rolling over and playing dead like many of our Democrats do (witness the DCCC ad debacle where the Democrats were intimidated into pulling their ad down while Republican (naturally) Senator Dewine continues to exploit 9/11 images for yes, a political ad. BY the way, when will HE be held accountable? Of course not, the Democrats won't do a thing.), Truman went on the offensive. He called the GOP Congress into a special session and dared them to enact all the planks in their platform, but the GOP Congress did nothing. Truman then went across the nation by train condemning the "do-nothing" 80th Congress.
Well, we're in the 109th Congress right now, and yes, things are different, I admit. Instead, we have a hostile press that deems it its duty to print Republican talking points as if it were the Gospel Truth while simultaneously twisting and taking out of context quotes by Democrats. For example, the New York Times which is supposedly considered liberal by the Litterbox Right starts an article with this propaganda gem which can be found on Atrios' site.
Anyone reading this quote in its FULL CONTEXT can see that Mrs. Clinton is talking about the GOP-Dominated Congress which thinks our priorities involve destroying the middle-class while satisfying the rabid hunger of Jerry Falwell and his ilk. The similarities are the 80th Congress and 109th Congress are basically both do-nothing Congresses. Sure, the 109th Congress is quick to act when they sniff an opportunity to pander to the Religious Right such as in the Terri Schiavo case or when it comes to issues like gay marriage which causes the Rapture Right to come barking, foaming at the mouth. You never saw the National Litterbox rush to Washington when he was warned on an August 6, 2001 memo basically declaring that Osama was intent in attacking the United States INSIDE OUR BORDERS. You never saw him rush back when Hurricane Katrina struck. You never saw him Instead of doing something about rising gas prices and reducing our addiction to oil, the GOP Congress thinks that we want to waste our time on issues such as gay marriage and flag-burning. Well according to this poll, the BIGGEST concern we have is Iraq (24%) while the economy is a close 2nd (23%).
What has the Congress accomplished of significance for middle-class citizens? Well, let's see the flag-burning amendment which came up short of the necessary 2/3 votes. Can't see how that affects the middle-class. An energy bill! OMG it'll lower gas prices, right? Wrong, even its supporters said it wouldn't immediately. Basically the GOP Congress thought that the middle-class' top priority or one of them included in giving the oil and gas industry major subsidies that they don't need. Apparently they thought we really wanted our tax dollars to go into such endeavors instead of conservation and renewable energy. A bankruptcy bill that rewards the banking industry at the expense of those who might fall into bankruptcy due to medical emergencies or a death in the family...Yeah, I'm sure the middle-class wanted to be told by holier-than-thou bastards that they were shiftless and lazy and should get another job even though they had to spend a good portion of their money on surgery, because well people should have taken personal responsibility in not getting injured or sick. The Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 which basically was a payback scheme to the asbestos industry and the tobacco industry because it's really your damn fault you were exposed to asbestos even though you didn't know it...Yeah, this helps us.
(Now, let's give Congress credit for passing the Respect for America's Fallen Heroes Act which prohibits protests 300 feet away from the cemetery an hour before and after a funeral with a fine of $100k and up to a year imprisonment and H.R. 539: Caribbean National Forest Act of 2005.)
We need MORE Democrats denouncing the GOP-dominated Congress for neglecting the nation's top priorities. We need them to be like Harry Truman was in that MAJOR Upset he pulled off in 1948 by telling ordinary Americans that the GOP Congress' priorities don't match theirs and that instead it is in the pockets of big business. Of course, the Republicans have their wild card, a media which is not willing to chronicle Democratic complaints about the cronyism and willing to distort everything that Democrats say while allowing Republicans to say anything without holding them accountable.