Back to 1910: This Congress is Eerily Similar to Those from the Past

Fifty years ago, the Chad Mitchell Trio sang these lyrics:

We’re the bright young men
Who wanna go back to 1910
We’re Barry’s boys
We’re the kids with a cause
Yes a government like grandmama’s
We’re Barry’s boys
We’re the new kind of youth at your Alma Mater
Back to silver standard and solid Goldwater
Back to when the poor were poor and rich were rich
And you felt so damn secure just knowing which were which

I was reminded of this 1964 folk era ditty when I was reading a great editorial by Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post the other day. I was acquainted with Gene a million years ago when he was editing the Style section of the Post and I was a theatre flack in town. I’m not sure that editing the arts was his bailiwick, but he’s one of my very favorite columnists. Not just me: he won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary a few years back.

But, I digress. This particular editorial he takes the Republicans in Congress to task for moronically assuming that they can tell the American people they are there to protect the middle class and then, the first chance they get to actually do something meaningful, the House passes utterly and completely unsustainable legislation regarding rape and abortion. Yet another example of extremists in the party controlling the agenda. These bills won’t pass the Senate — and even if they did because everyone in the Senate was drugged and in a stupor and had their minds controlled by a cartoon super villain — the President would never sign such a thing.

So what is the point?

As Robinson points out:

People, we are in an economic recovery whose fruits are not reaching the middle class. We have a crucial need to address U.S. infrastructure and competitiveness. We face myriad challenges abroad, including Islamic terrorism and global warming.

If a renewal of the culture wars is your answer, Republicans, you totally misheard the question.

Yes. Yes they have. But, then again, haven’t they been mishearing the question for at least a half-century?

Back to silver standard and solid Goldwater…. *sigh*

Wyoming Gay Rights: Conservative State Takes Small Steps Forward

“I think people are beginning to realize that this is just not a big deal. The sky doesn’t fall,” said Sen. Cale Case, R-Lander, who signed on as a co-sponsor on the anti-discrimination bill. He said recent decisions on gay rights in the courts, the military and other states are bleeding into the state’s consciousness.

In this year’s session, for the first time in years, no one sponsored “defense of marriage” legislation seeking to prevent the state from recognizing same-sex unions performed elsewhere.

via Wyoming Gay Rights: Conservative State Takes Small Steps Forward. Huffington Post Gay Voices.

Barry_Goldwater_2

The late Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-AZ) famously supported gay rights.

This may surprise people who are only familiar with today’s conservative movement, but old line conservatives get it. The late Barry Goldwater, the Republicans’ 1964 presidential candidate, was known as “Mr. Conservative” but he had little to do with a conservative movement that he saw as co-opted by the religious right.

[In 1989, he] stated that the Republican party had been taken over by a “bunch of kooks.” In a 1994 interview with the Washington Post the retired senator said, “When you say “radical right” today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican party and make a religious organization out of it. If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye.” (Conservpedia)

He had no use for Jerry Falwell, either. He famously said, “Every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass.”

As to gay issues, Goldwater claimed that gay rights just made good conservative common sense. When the military’s ban on gay and lesbian service members was under fire in the early ’90s, Goldwater said flatout, “Everyone knows that gays have served honorably in the military since at least the time of Julius Caesar.”  He also said, “You don’t have to be straight to be in the military; you just have to be able to shoot straight.”

My dad was what I liked to refer to as a “Goldwater wingnut.” When I was a little kid, I’m sure we had the only Volkswagen bus with Goldwater ’64 bumper stickers. Later in life, Dad got “religion” and became a Clinton Democrat and we stopped arguing about politics and started agreeing on issues. It was weird! HA!

Today, I wish Dad was still around to knock around these issues with me. I think we’d both agree that gay rights, women’s rights, all civil rights, in fact, are real conservative values. Like Goldwater — and perhaps, Wyoming’s own famously conservative thinker Alan Simpson — Dad and I would likely agree that today’s Republican party has no roots in the historic Republican party.