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Social Security was never repealed, and Barry Goldwater suffered the biggest landslide defeat in percentage, greater than Landon, when he suggested in the 1964 Presidential campaign that Social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Medicare was never repealed, and when Senator Bob Dole, who voted against it in the House of Representatives, ran for President in 1996, he bragged that he had opposed it, and proceeded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And it is a certainty that the law will NOT be repealed, but instead improved over time, and that it will be an albatross around the Republican party’s neck, as Social Security and Medicare proved to be, keeping the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!