One of the numerous Right Wing propaganda posts is called the “Patriot Post” by someone or some people who use the pseudonym “Sartre.” That in itself is hilarious. That could be an entire stand-up comedy routine.
Nevertheless, “Sartre” writes a page or so about what he or they know of Populism. It is actually about one sentence of what they know about Populism and the rest of the page filled up with nonsense.
It should be noted that this “Patriot Post” has a list of contributors that makes up many of the leading latter-day U.S. fascists like Michelle Malkin, Michael Barone, Brett Brietbart, (or Brite Bedbug, or Bret Bartbutt or whatever his name is) and naturally the spoiled physician, Charles Krauthammerschlemmer, with nothing to do now but write—apparently whatever comes to mind or whatever he is told to write by Roger Ailes and the GOP propaganda machine.
The “Patriot Post” and “Sartre” (I love that counterpoint, and the fact that they have no idea what it means) write about Populism as having some kind of connection with…not joking…Taft-Goldwater. Of course, Taft was a real Republican and Goldwater was a military hard liner, and a fiscal conservative…but not nuts. He was, after all, a Jew who therefore understood persecution, fairness, tithing (the principle of which is that we need to spread the wealth around a little to keep society functioning) and Democracy.
When Goldwater said that the end justifies the means, he was talking about protecting Democracy, about military preparedness, not about creating a plutocracy. He was the farthest thing (as was Bob Taft, whom it must be assumed is the Taft “Sartre” was talking about) from some kind of dictator who would walk into a state and demand complete control over all levers of power from the state level, to the county, down to the smallest village. Barry Goldwater would be the first one to hop into a fighter-bomber to counteract that kind of behavior.
You see, the one thing that these Tea Party Republicans and their billionaire supporters (for now) don’t realize is that, at one time, Republicans were actually human beings. They were not partially informed robots. They did not give away their civil rights along with their donations to the nuclear industry and the oil industry and the mining cartels and the six big banks that control everything.
On the other hand, the differences between Bob LaFollette and Barr Goldwater (and apparently by extension supposedly Reagan and Dumbya Bush) were gigantic. Barry Goldwater was a Federalist who wanted an efficient government, small and in particular, providing security.
Bob LaFollette was a Populist, meaning that the size or location of government grew out of its utility to the average man. Goldwater and Taft were federalists who wanted strong, imperialist, but small federal governments. LaFollette started with human beings and how best society could help them. Whatever government was necessary was what he wanted.
The Tea Party Republicans, let’s be clear, are Republicans, not Democrats. They are not for the people or, these days, they would be Democrats. They supported the following, which are Republican programs: Tax cuts for billionaires, one war of dubious need, one war of no necessity (costing untold lives, pain and national treasure), $7 billion in additional national debt, lax regulations on Wall Street that brought down the economy and created 14.9 million unemployed and another 10 million underemployed.
Bob LaFollette would have proposed what current Democrats propose: do something to alleviate the suffering, create jobs to build the economy and seek help for the virtually one out of every five people in the country who are in deep trouble.
It really should be noted that during the Great Depression, when there were no safety nets, one out of four people was unemployed. So we could make a strong case that Bush created a Depression, not a Recession. It may sound better for the Republicans, but it is not a Recession. It’s a Depression.
Speaking of Republicans and so-called “populism” let’s take the current situation in Wisconsin. The governor, Scott Walker, gave $116 million in tax breaks to corporations and wealthy individuals. That hole in the budget he filled with $120 million in assessments to public workers, cutting health care benefits. Most of those whose benefits were cut were public high school and grade school teachers. The Republicans, including the Tea Party members support Walker against the workers. Here’s what the “Patriot Post” has to say:
“The prime directive and accomplishment of the government school system is the development of a society of fools and idiots. Here, here to the union of public thugs and sophists, who work diligently to destroy the American Nation.”
So the public school system that sent Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton off to Wellesley and Georgetown respectively, that provided the foundation for Colin Powell, for Dwight David Eisenhower, and even Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan…is not good enough for the current Tea Party members and “Sartre?”
Do you recall your high school teachers as “thugs” working diligently to “destroy the American Nation”? This kind of rhetoric is why so many people, educated people, “sophists” according to the Patriot Post, refer to these commentators as Nazis.
This is what the Nazis did. They simply lied and lied and lied and lied until the people of Germany, not hearing anything to the contrary, were…not destroyed…oh, no—but actually destroyed themselves. The Nazis took them to war (sound familiar) and to death, destruction, a country totally laid waste, millions killed and three generations destitute before they could recover.
That is where we are heading with these people, these “patriots.” Let’s “take back our country” they say, on their posters, paid for by the Koch family of Right Wing billionaires, successors to the John Birch Society, whom Barry Goldwater detested. Bill Buckley’s last essay shows that Goldwater looked for rationality, small government, fiscally sound policies, and no real nut jobs, like the Birchers (or “birthers”) in the Party.
Today, the nut jobs have, unfortunately, gained control of the GOP. A group of very sinister people, like Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, the Koch Family, a number of the top military brass, George Schultz, Jim DeMint, Jeff Sessions, Eric Prince, Rupert Murdoch, Newt Gingrich and a few others are in control and want to bring about a Fascist state (in the case of DeMint and Sessions for obviously racist reasons.)
Populism, as defined in practice by Bob LaFollette was the organization of political activity to support legislation that would help the people in their struggle against the rich and powerful. That was true in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century, and it has returned in the 21st Century.
But the former Populists are not the current Republicans. They would like to have you think so, and many Americans today are outraged at the lies they were told to get them to vote for people like Scott Walker and Ric Snyder and Rick Scott. And of course they voted in a Republican House of Representatives that is now creating havoc with government. They are running around like a bunch of high school kids, beholden to the very rich and powerful forces who have caused the financial woes for the great mass of American People.
The Patriot Post tries to make a connection between the “Bull Moose” party of Teddy Roosevelt, not the Populists of LaFollette who were a different group. They want you to believe that Populists were people like Robert McCormick of the Chicago Tribune (a despot if there ever was one) and Charles Lindburgh (married to the daughter of the richest man on Wall Street and an eventual and very public Nazi sympathizer.) They were the farthest thing from Populist.
The Populist tradition—and this is so basic as to be virtually childish for the opposition to argue against—followed on through Franklin D. Roosevelt. They would like to go back and re-write history but they can’t. There are still too many people alive who know the overwhelming support of the People for Roosevelt, which is why they elected him FOUR TIMES! Yes, the policies can be called Liberal. But they were people-centered policies.
As has been said in this blog before, if the traditions of Bob LaFollette were with the Republicans then the remaining LaFollette, Wisconsin Secretary of State, Doug LaFollette, who follows in his ancestor’s political traditions would be a Repubican. But he is not. He is a Democrat.
The crooks and liars are those who have hoodwinked the American voter into thinking that Republicans are still Republicans, as they were under Taft and Eisenhower, Nixon and, yes, Goldwater. But these Republicans are not merely pro-business as the Eisenhower Republicans (‘what’s good for General Motors is good for America”) were. Today’s Neocon Republicans, including the so-called Tea Party members are now wholly owned subsidiaries of the great corporations. LaFollette would run from them like the plague.
Bob LaFollette would never have tolerated the attempt to take over the public school system by private organizations. He would not accept a system that is dedicated to creating private schools with excellent performance for some, and then the more Southern traditional “separate but equal” schools where there is virtually nothing taught.
We now have a public school tradition where the children of immigrants can go to Harvard or Yale through hard work and keen intelligence. And other children have the opportunity to attend many fine state universities, which, despite the Republicans, still have some of the finest educational standards in the world.
Once again, a reminder of what Republican attitudes towards education really look like. Here is how Republicans regard education. As a useful tool for their political ambitions. When George W. Bush took office, 150 graduates of Regent Law School were appointed. This law school was virtually dead last among accredited law schools and itself only accredited a few years before he took office.
In addition, U.S. Attorneys from the Clinton era were all fired and political appointees, all Republicans, all screened by the Right Wing Federalist Society were appointed. It turned out that they were all supposed to be following political rules laid out by Karl Rove. The only reason we know this is that the mere 8 out of 92 U.S. Attorneys who did not were fired.
This means that all the others did what they were told. So, if an election were rigged, for example, in DuPage County, Illinois, the U.S. Attorney who might have looked into that, to protect the People, could have been told to look the other way. We’ll never know.
“Sartre” says that his authorities point out that LaFollette fought against the railroads, against involvement in war, against statism, against imperialism and plutocracy. If you look in any newspaper on any given day you will see that this is exactly the opposite of what the current Republican Party is all about. They have completely sold out to the elitists on all these points. The statement that the old Populists are the new Republicans is a preposterous lie.
In total, nearly a half-million people in Wisconsin have demonstrated in the state capitol on behalf of the union employees. In one town with a population of 1,100, the local paper for that area of Wisconsin said that about 2,000 people actually attended a rally there.
Petitions for the recall of 8 Wisconsin Republican state senators has already gained almost all the necessary signatures. And in Ohio 5,000 people protested the same kind of tactics, or worse by their governor. Hundreds of millions of dollars for tax breaks to corporations, repeal of the estate tax for the rich, and challenges to public education, to government supervision of prisons are all being done by a Right Wing, elitist Republican Party. None of these things are good for the People. They are not “Populist” proposals.
Republican Governor of Ohio John Kasich, the son of a postal worker, traded in his Right Wing Republican House of Representatives seat for a plush seat in Wall Street, where he made a ton of money. Now he is back in Ohio, paying back the billionaires who made him wealthy, having used more of their money to hoodwink the people of Ohio into making him governor. His job now is to screw the people, which job he arrogantly seems to relish.
Let’s understand something. Kasich, for example, was one of the Republican leaders in the house who led the fights for and voted for…2 wars, the prescription drug bill (cost:$800 billion), loosening Wall Street rules leading to a crash, (cost so far: $3.8 trillion and climbing), three tax cuts for the rich, (cost: $4.5 trillion) and billions in government giveaways to corporations (example of costs: $20 billion to Halliburton alone. Another $9.2 billion from the provisional government run by Paul Brenner that was simply lost. Gone. Disappeared.) The corruption was almost beyond imagining.
So now John Kasich wants to help the People? By cutting schools and selling off prisons? And what about Republican Governor Rick Scott of Florida. He used, (just as Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin did) $8 million of his own money to win the governorship. He is the “populist” who cheated the American people out of so much Medicare money that the fine alone by the Justice Department was $1.3 billion! His $8 million came from the $100 million he made when he left that same company.
So here’s what we want our kids to learn from Rick Scott’s example: Cheat the People. Get fined. Be disgraced. Get paid a huge amount of money. Take some and use it to lie to the people to be elected as governor. It is not Rick Scott’s fault. If you vote in bank robber Willie Sutton to be bank commissioner then don’t be surprised if he steals from you.
Rick Scott has already done the following: Said he will cut 8,700 jobs from the government rolls despite the fact that Florida has, per capita, half the workforce of every other state. He will slash $4.6 billion from the current year’s budget and 15% or $3.3 billion from one of the nation’s worst school systems, even as former governor Charlie Crist had it moving up. With 12% unemployment in Florida, he turned down 5,000 jobs from the transportation department’s new high-speed rail project.
So much for the People of Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida. Do they deserve it? Absolutely they do. If you elect a Nazi, then your obligation is to salute and follow orders.
So let’s have no more talk about Republicans as Populists. Here’s a populist idea. Lower health care costs and create millions of jobs. That’s populist but Republicans are trying to repeal health care reform. Oh, that’s right. They took $400 million in 2009 from the health insurance and the hospital lobbyists to fight health care reform.
OK, here’s another populist proposal. Let’s create new jobs. Well, sorry “Sartre” but the Neocons and the Tea Party Neocons have filibustered, i.e. killed, every Obama jobs proposal…which would have created at least several million jobs by now…in the Senate.
The reason nothing is getting done in this country, to put it simply, is because the Republican Party has sold out to the very rich, the global corporations, the billionaires, the oil, gas, mining and timber industries, the looters, the Wall Street con artists…and sold the American people down the river.
Don’t every be fooled into thinking that Republicans like Scott Walker or Rick Scott are for the people. The only people they represent are: Scott Walker and Rick Scott. As long as the money flows, they will work for special interests and lobbyists and the very wealthy at the expense of the American People.