Day: March 28, 2010

From Alf Landon And Gerald Ford To John McCain And John Boehner: Nothing Changes! :(

It is amazing how history repeats itself!

In 1935, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration passed the Social Security Act into law. The Republican party immediately denounced it as “Socialism”, and campaigned on repealing it. Kansas Governor Alf Landon ran his Presidential campaign of 1936 on that issue, and he ended up winning two states!

Social Security was never repealed, and Barry Goldwater suffered the biggest landslide defeat in percentage, greater than Landon, when he suggested in the 1964 Presidential campaign that Social Security be made “voluntary”!

George W. Bush tried to promote privatization of Social Security in 2005, and in 2006, the GOP lost control of both houses of Congress. And yet, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, one of the young future leaders of the party, is promoting privatization of both Social Security and Medicare as part of the Republican plan for the future when the GOP gains control of Congress again!

In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson was able to enact Medicare legislation, and the GOP denounced it as “Socialism”. Determined to repeal it, Minority Leader Gerald Ford (later to be President), appeared on Meet the Press in January 1967 to promote the effort!

Medicare was never repealed, and when Senator Bob Dole, who voted against it in the House of Representatives, ran for President in 1996, he bragged that he had opposed it, and proceeded to lose the election to President Bill Clinton!

Now, with the Health Care reform bill passed, the 2008 GOP Presidential nominee, Senator John McCain, is calling for its repeal, and Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio is sounding very similar in his rhetoric and arguments to Gerald Ford!

And it is a certainty that the law will NOT be repealed, but instead improved over time, and that it will be an albatross around the Republican party’s neck, as Social Security and Medicare proved to be, keeping the Democratic majority in voter registration, which now has been continuous since 1932, longer than the GOP advantage in registration from 1860 to 1932!

The Republican party, by opposing these three major forms of path breaking and landmark social legislation, have “shot themselves in the foot” politically, as it is very clear that once the American people know the details of the legislation, they will embrace it. The problems that the legislation poses will be overcome by further legislation down the road, but Health Care reform in outline is here to stay no matter what 14 states’ Attorney Generals do or Tea Party people protest!

It would be nice if the Republican party would change its historical image, which for so long, has been negative, promoting fear and insecurity. Rather than moving toward the social justice that this nation needs and demands, to promote the American dream of a true democracy, they continue to obstruct to their own detriment!

The Controversy Surrounding General Benjamin Mixon And Gays In The Military

A controversy has erupted in the US military over Army Lieutenant General Benjamin Mixon, who has been advocating opposition to any changes in “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy toward gays in the military. He has also stated that if this change in policy goes through, then gay and straight soldiers should not be housed in the same rooms on Marine bases, where soldiers share private rooms.

This has led to harsh criticism by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen, with Mullen suggesting that maybe Mixon should resign!

Mixon is a three star general who commands the US Army in the Pacific. This is becoming a major controversy, and the likely result is his resignation, as it is clearly understood that military personnel keep their thoughts to themselves, and are not permitted openly to criticize the policies of the Commander in Chief, the President of the United States.

One thinks back to General Douglas MacArthur, dismissed under President Truman for opposing openly his Korean War policy, and General John Singlaub, who was removed in 1977 by President Carter for his criticism of Carter’s removal of a number of US forces in South Korea.

This controversy will certainly fuel anger from Republicans and conservatives who oppose any change in the gays policy adopted during the administration of Bill Clinton.

But the trend is definitely toward changes in the policy, despite criticism, as both the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are moving toward adoption, and Colin Powell and many other military and political leaders have spoken up in favor of the end of discrimination, as almost all European countries, Canada, Australia, and Israel have had no problems in accepting gays in the military on a nondiscriminatory basis over many years. It is time for change!