We know that the Republican Party resulted from the failure of the Whig Party to maintain its unity across the the Mason-Dixon line along with the growth of Abolitionist sentiments. The early GOP was an amalgamation of Abolitionists and Northern Whigs, it also tended to accumulate the Free-Soilers, and the Know Nothings in the north. Probably others as well but, its not really germane to the discussion today. The GOP was a regional party of the north. There was very little to suggest that it would be a party of small government, the Whigs (including Abraham Lincoln) certainly weren’t. They were the party of protectionism, some would say even mercantilism. In truth the Democratic Party of Andrew Jackson was the party of small government, and little interference.
If you remember this, post Civil War history becomes quite a bit clearer. The democrats had, by default , become the party of secession, and the Confederacy, and thus were pretty much discredited, as a quick look at the presidents between 1860- and 1900 will show,
If you remember the Progressives got their first real convert in Theodore Roosevelt, especially in regard to the dispute in the coal industry. He was a Republican, remember, he formed the Bull Moose party when Taft proved considerably more conservative, essentially he gave the election to Wilson, rather similar to Perot in 1992. TR was a great man and a good President but, he had (like all of us) his weaknesses.
And here is where things change, Wilson was a thoroughgoing Progressive, universal this and that, one world government, giving away American sovereignty and all. He also, it should be noted, resegregated the military, this was the end of the Buffalo Soldiers, from this time till 1948, blacks would be segregated into noncombat roles. This was also the age of Margaret Sanger, and her racist vision of the superior race, which included the extermination of American blacks, and much more. Hitler had nothing on these folks in theory, he just had enough power to try it in practice.
And so it went, back and forth, always with the center moving a bit left on the spectrum.
In 192o, there was a huge recession, the worst since the Revolutionary War. It was caused by, 1. The end of World War I; 2: Monetary Policy; 3: a decline in labor strife and; 4: Deflationary Expectations. A note here: from the end of the Civil War until about 1896 prices had been almost uniformly deflationary as America industrialized but, from 1896 on it had turned mostly inflationary, and remember this was on the gold standard.
Anyway, the governments response is phrased pretty well in Wikipedia:
Some economists and historians argue that the 1921 recession was a necessary market correction, required to engineer the massive realignments required of private business and industry following the end of the War. Historian Thomas Woods argues that President Harding’s laissez-faire economic policies during the 1920-21 recession, combined with a coordinated aggressive policy of rapid government downsizing, had a direct influence (mostly through intentional non-influence) on the rapid and widespread private-sector recovery. Woods argued that, as there existed massive distortions in private markets due to government economic influence related to World War I, an equally massive “correction” to the distortions needed to occur as quickly as possible to realign investment and consumption with the new peace-time economic environment.
It worked so well that most Americans have never heard of the Recession (some say Depression) of 1920. It was over in 18 months and the “Roaring 20’s” was the result.
Compare that to the next one, in 1929, with the malign influence of Keynesian economics and the policies of Hoover and FD Roosevelt, which were both hugely interventionist. It took the combined efforts of Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo to get us out of that depression.
So what are we doing now? Of course, more power to the government, screw the people.
What all this got to do with the Republican Party?
I’m noticing in the last week or so that many of us conservatives are getting very tired of the pusillanimous ways of the party in Washington, sometimes called the ‘ruling class’ or the establishment, we used to call them the Rockefeller wing. They are the reason that America has been sliding leftward for the last hundred years. They are every bit as much Statists or even Progressives as Obama himself. They come to us every two years and tell us that we have compromise to get conservatives elected. You know, real conservatives like Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney? Conservative? I wonder what color the sky is in their universe? Romney’s a good man, a good businessman (as understood in 21st century America, anyway), but conservative he’s not, he’s barely moderate. But perhaps I’m judging him too harshly, people can change. But, I’ll still go with what I’ve learned over the years: “By their works shall ye know them”. If he’s nominated, I’ll vote for him on the theory that it’s better to drive towards a cliff at 30 miles/hour rather than 60.
MarkAmerica has had a lot to say about this in the last few days, I agree with him. My only difference is that I still intend to vote for Romney, for the reasons I stated above. After the election, it’s going to be time for a reckoning. Here’s a bit of Mark.
My friend Carl likens the GOP establishment’s strategy to the idiotic way in which the US lost in Vietnam. Too often, the Republican Party creates a safe haven for the left by placing off-limits to attack such programs as education in which they hold complete sway. More than this, the party adopts rules of engagement that hamper the effort, for instance when John McCain refused to use Obama’s middle name, or when Romney used every Alinskyite tactic to secure the nomination, but will not use them in the general election campaign. I’m prepared to take it one step more: When we elect establishment candidates, we provide the left with a safe haven in government, as most of them are permitted to remain in place. Permitting establishment Republicans to call themselves “conservative” without challenge, we encourage the denigration of actual conservatism. Mitt Romney isn’t conservative. He’s a “moderate Republican,” which is to say he is a liberal. If he takes the White House in November, it will remain staffed by people who are statists. There will be no change in philosophy, but merely a slow-down in the rate of its pursuit. We shouldn’t expect to restore our constitutional republic by harboring the enemy.
Mitt Romney says he’s been “severely conservative.” I don’t know how one who knows the first thing about conservatism could begin to make such a claim. If anything, his history as Governor of Massachusetts tells us something quite different. Romney-care is an abomination to any free people, and the mere fact that he helped enact such a program as law puts the lie to his claim of conservative credentials, much less a “severe” one. No, he enacted regulations that pushed the entire farcical global-warmist agenda, and he helped to create and fund programs such as “Welfare Wheels” that are all in keeping with a big-government statist. The most telling part of his claim is the use of the word “severe” as his adjective of choice. It is only the most liberal Republicans who attach the impression of severity to conservatism. For mainstream conservatives, we believe we do not need to say we are “compassionate” because compassion is implicit in our policy ideas. To the degree we are “severe,” it is in the realm of truth-telling and logical analysis. To apply the modifier “severely” to conservative is to admit that he doesn’t know what conservatism is all about. It confesses a philosophical distance from conservatism that cannot be bridged by our desire to win in November.
There’s more, lots more, here, and in the posts around it, read them all.
This has gotten to the point that Erick Erickson, the editor of RedState had this to say the other day.
Senator Max Baucus of Montana receives campaign donations from the parent company of Phillip Morris. Senator Baucus then puts a provision in the highway transportation bill banning roll your own cigarette operations, a business that does not exist in Montana.
Forty people in Harry Reid’s Nevada and elsewhere will lose their jobs because a transportation bill actively and willfully legislated a legal business out of business by driving up the regulatory burden so excessively. Major cigarette manufacturers championed the legislation and Republicans supported it because it will increase tax revenue without them voting to raise taxes.
Put bluntly, Republicans voted to do exactly what they they accuse the Democrats of doing — shut down businesses by driving up regulatory burdens in an effort to increase taxes.
Max Baucus may have inserted the provision, but it made it through Republican House of Representatives. Maybe we do need a third party to do the job Republicans campaign on doing, but then get to Washington and don’t actually do.
Continue Reading Maybe We Really Do Need a Third Party.
Note also that RedState’s editorial policy is explicitly: “Conservative in the primary and Republican in the general”. It’s that bad.
I’m going to be saying a lot more about this in the coming days and weeks, I expect but, there is going to be a reckoning, the only question is. Will it be before or after the election. Conservatives in America have had enough of being used in this way.