[Last save : 9/11/2011]
Big Tent Republicanism

Hosted by robtshepherd
How do you like my blog?

see Charles R. Morris

The tea party attacks on BIG TENT Republicanism is mostly just a rehash of the old gripe of the hard right since the days of Limbaugh, at least.

The Scandal of

Big Tent Republicanism

George H.W. Bush became a lightning rod for hard-right critics

George H. W. Bush
Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls him synonymous with civility

Our 41st President : George H. W. Bush
Blamed by hard right as a 'Lincoln Republican' or as they now say, a RINO

Pundits retrospectively call him the liberal Bush (in disparagement of the son)

Now hailed [2/22/12] by Nancy Pelosi as "synonymous with CIVILITY"

Campaigning against "The Government"

Source of all Evils
Notwithstanding Bush-bashers' rhetoric to the effect that government is the problem, in actuality the fact of the matter is rather different -- government is often an important part of the solution.

Earliest America faced overwhelming obstacles that pressed them to unite together for sheer survival. "We're all in this together," the early yankees determined. Religious fanaticism (for all its hubris) probably helped them with the needed inspiration, passion, and commitment their almost insurmountable challenges required. Two hundred years later, the Frenchman Tocqueville expressed his admiration for the success of their experiment -- the middle class democracy they had created.

Tocqueville credited the prevalence of basic education in new England, religiously based as it was. Both boys and girls were taught. Illiteracy was non-existent, and no one was allowed to slip into the kind of degrading poverty that Europe saw plenty of. Tocqueville's message to Europe was, Democracy can work. Copy the Americans.

Early liberals like America's founding fathers made handy use of anti-government rhetoric in their ideological war against British elitism, imperialism, and absolutism. Rather than tax their own elites, British parliamentarians voted onerous taxes on the struggling colonists of North America. And why not, reasoned the King's men, the colonists had benefitted from British intervention against the French and Indians. Struggling or not, poor or not, let the Americans pay.

The Tea Party movements in the revolutionary period were a grass-roots American phenomenon wherein colonial hostility was vented against British economic imperialism. They was AGAINST the elites, not a defense of them. If anything, the tea "parties" of Boston and other cities were a protest AGAINST the trickle-down mercantilism of the Crown, allied with the corporatocracy of the British East Indies Company.

The success of the Revolutionary War can be laid at the faithfulness and self-sacrifice of a relatively small number of Americans (with timely French intervention). Without Washington's single-minded commitment, for example, or Franklin's astute diplomacy, or the sacrifices on the field and through the winters, of that small band of patriots, there surely would never have been an America for future generations. Alas, let us not forget that General Washington was many times compelled to plead with a parsimonious Congress to vote needed money for the troops securing America's freedom. Once he even had to appear in person to entreat the penny-pinching Representatives to speedily allocate badly needed funds.

With independence won, it became apparent to many, including Hamilton, and Washington himself, that a stronger government was necessary, and financial stability ultimately called for the creation of banking, lending, borrowing power -- along with our own manufacturing sector.

Government was put to use building up the people themselves -- both for the responsibility of self-government, and as the future labor supply of America. So doing they began a two-century American tradition. Thomas Jefferson helped found the University of Virginia and can fairly be described as the first "education president." Almost all American states began investing heavily in free public education starting in the 1820s. At the height of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Congress created the land-grant college system; it was the first time any government had imagined that higher education should be available to working people. The post-WWII GI Bill made America the world's first nation with a college- educated middle class.

Taxes are the price we pay for civilization

Do we want a kinder and gentler future, or don't we?

And while we're at it, thank our troops, Freedom isn't free

Since the beginning of the republic, public works investments -- canals, railroads, highways, airports -- have generally paid high returns. In the nineteenth century, a British parliamentary commission identified America's greater investment in public education as a major competitive advantage.

Perhaps because he seemed to remember the importance of the role government can play, President George H.W. Bush was treated by some 'born-again' government-haters as if he had betrayed the True Conservative agenda. Rush Limbaugh famously grouched about him so much that it was rumored that Rush supported Perot. As it turned out, it was only the last moment when he finally "endorse" Bush, and even then only tepidly.

But with Clinton sailing to electoral college victory in the three-way race, Rush -- far from mourning, seemed to gloat over "his" triumph over the Big-Tent (Lincolnesque) Republican -- ie, a secret liberal -- Bush. He could now call himself the "real" leader (instead of President Bush) of the conservative movement. Alas, a month after Bill Clinton's defeat of the Elder Bush in 1992, Ronald Reagan sent Limbaugh, a man he never met, a letter in which he thanked Limbaugh "for all you're doing to promote Republican and conservative principles ... you have become the Number One voice for conservatism in our Country."

In the eyes of some conservatives, the seeming blessing from Reagan himself represented proof positive that the Bush "kinder and gentler" Republicanism was an aberration from (or betrayal of) "True" Conservatism -- of which Limbaugh was the authentic voice. But contrary to the grandstanding and sound-bytes of Limbaugh and his imitators, Americans may one day look back and be grateful for the wisdom and level-headedness of the first President and his so-called "Big Tent" Republicanism.

Just look around you. How much we have, and use, and depend on -- we owe to the participation of MANY, and government is a necessary nexus for bringing the energy and intelligence of many people together. Local governments are pivotal in providing roads and schools, fire and police departments, and even such matters as vital statistics and licenses of various kinds.

The federal government lavished a great deal of money and talent on the semiconductor industry -- and was responsible for the veritable inception of the INTERNET. In fact, capitalism itself was in some ways almost a creation, historically, of government. And still today, without a whole host of government rules, capitalism could not exist. Even regulations and social programs help sustain a market economy by fixing many of its serious social and economic problems.

Professor Douglas Amy writes on his blog, "Americans need to realize that our economy has thrived not in spite of government, but in many ways because of government."

Going back in history, we find that today's Tea Party (and laissez faire) "campaign against government" is in no sense unprecedented. Government has often, like parents or any other authorities, been a handy target or scapegoat on which to vent popular resentment -- or rage. The great Reformation itself certainly had an aspexct which appealed to human rebelliousness and legitimate anti-authoritarianism.

Then, centuries later, the romantic movment, the "Sturm und Drang" impulse, likewise idealized an idyllic barbarian past, prior to Civilization, prior to northern Europe's "enslavement" by Romans, and mental subjugation by Christians. The myth is appealing. Rugged masculine tribesmen, free of government, free of rules, hunting the wild boar and the wild stag, defending kith and kin by main force. Yet the myth belies the facts.

Hobbes writes that nothing could be worse than a life without the consolidation and security offered by the state. The good old days were anything but good for most people. Every man was enemy to every other man, and the only rule was might makes right. The bully wins, till another bully catches him unawares. Starvation was always lurking. Sure, he was "free" to uproot at any time, and free to ravage the weaker clan, or man. But they were "free" to ravage and plunder him, too.

He did not have to "till the soil" (as Romans did), but hunter-gatherer subsistance was iffy, and often dangerous. The golden age was anything but golden. "No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."

Rethinking the first Bush presidency. Bush, a product of, and participant in, the greatest generation seemed intuitively aware of the huge good that can come from government, at least if government is directed and administered judiciously, with inegrity and wisdom. Patriotism is inseparable from responsible government, and government as such, is certainly not the enemy, nor are taxes. Sacrifice, in an of itself, is not the worst possible thing.

Indeed, taxes are the price we pay for civilization.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

See Obama praises Bush 41 (Thousand Points of Light)

The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and
they that exercise authority on them are called benefactors

Anti-authoritarian, anti-elitism in Christianity
It has been said that much of the anti-authority bias in the creation of America was due to its puritan inception, a refuge or haven for the outcast groups of England and the continent. True enough, the northern colonies, particularly, seemed to emerge from the ferment of the Puritan century in England. English puritanism was never a single unitary denomination as it later became in Boston. Rather it was a movement, perhaps like the so-called counter-culture or hippie movement of the sixties. It consisted of scores of variations, divisions, and groupings, including the earliest (very liberal) Baptists and Re-Baptists, the Pilgrims, the Quakers, the Levellers, the Ranters, the Diggers, Seekers, Familists "Family of Love," Fifth Monarchy men, the Sabbatarians, the Brownists, the Robinsonians (of Scrooby and Gainsborough), Millenarians, etc. The Presbyterians, while related to the others, lacked the anti-authoritarianism and independent spirit that many of the separatist groupings promoted. Much of the Puritan movement, obviously, had what might be called a Leftist or liberal bent

In no way does this deny the theological (and even political) anti-authoritarian of the somewhat earlier Reformation on the continent. Luther's attack against ecclesiastical domination echoed, to some extent, the German princes revolt against political dominance from beyond (south of) the Alps. For the American context, England's low-church mileu had been a formative hearth. And that background gave rise to a restless spirit that often manifested a brewing revolt against the dominance of alien authority, whether pope or lord, bishop or king.

Oh, we are weary pilgrims; to this wilderness we bring
A Church without a bishop, a State without a King.
Reading between the lines of our record of the historical Jesus, we detect a possible revolutionary premise. The Hellenistic age and then Roman imperialism was working to end the ancient Hebrew and Judaic isolation. But whatever the advantages, there were also strains and challenges to the old ways. The Maccabees represented a defining moment of Jewish patriotism, in their defiance of the pagan bullies and oppressors. It would appear that Jesus was conciously following in the footsteps of Maccabee sentiments. Hugh Schonfield argues powerfully that Jesus political and anti-Roman message, for its very radicalism, had to be carefully disguised from the Romans -- and from untrustworthy countrymen and collaborators. [see Schonfield]

Thus in Luke 22: 25 Jesus contrasted the Roman style of government with God's style (the Hebrew way). For Jews, ideally,

"he that is the greater among you, let him become as the younger; and he that is the leader, as he that serveth."

But was Jesus an anarchist? Did he foresee the "withering away of the state"? (It was Engels and Marx who used this phrase, predicting the coming age of Communism. That is, after the seizure of power by the working class, the dictatorship of the proletariat will be used to abolish capitalism and, hence, classes. Since states only exist to regulate class conflict, the state will thereafter be redundant and will wither away.)

Jesus, at least for the multitudes, was officially in favor of giving unto the Roman imperial state the tribute and taxes they were "due."

give unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and unto God that which is God's
But to Jewish hearers this innocuous statement of seeming acquiescence to Rome had another meaning. Every Jewish boy had learned from TORAH that Man was created in the IMAGE of God. Thus, Jesus in effect was reminding them that if taxes belonged to Caesar, the Jew himself belonged only to God.

Christianity seemed to take a negative stance toward this-worldly materialism. Consider the expressions "filthy lucre" (Titus 1:11); and "the love of money is the root of all evil" (I Timothy 6:10 ). Yet by contrast, Jesus himself urged his followers, "Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness." (Luke 16:9).

In medieval times, Christianity's sanctimonious attitude toward usury, credit and lending may have hurt the ones embracing it economically for many generations. The biblical passages used in justification of the anti-usury stance actually wound up being used to set Jews apart, but in fact could not negate the simple pragmatic benefit of the existence of capital, of mechanisms of lending, and of a handy class or people available for the purpose of credit and lending lending, with legitimates rates allowed for "renting" out money and credit.

baggage of history
Friends of Diversity

Thanks to Your Government, you have

Workmen's Compensation (1908)
Federal Trade Commission (1914)
Women Suffrage - ratified (1919)
Federal Deposit Insurance FDIC (1933)
Federal Home Loan Program (1934)
Securities & Exchange Act(1934)
Social Security Act (1935)
Unemployment Insurance (1935)
Unemployment Compensation (1935)
Rural Electrification Act (1936)
40-hour Work Week (1938)
Overtime (1938)
Minimum Wage Law (1938)
GI Bill (1945)
School Lunch Program (1946)
Guaranteed Student Loan Program (1965)
Operation Head Start (1965)
Medicare (1965)
Medicaid (1965)
Occupation Safety Act (1968)
Family and Medical Leave Act (1993)
AmeriCorps (1993)
HIRE Act (2010)
Affordable Care Act (2010)

How can we love our country and not love our countrymen, and loving them, reach
out a hand when they fall, heal them when they're sick, and provide opportunity to
make them self - sufficient so they will be equal in fact ... and not just in theory?

[President Ronald Reagan]

Infant Industries Thrive with Strong Nurturance
Was Alexander Hamilton Right -- all along?

University of Latvia
Beyond Economic Growth, encouraging development and free market institutions in third world nations, declares:

There are certain areas where government involvement is indispensable: providing for universal health care and education, protecting the economically vulnerable, creating and maintaining an effective legal system with strong law enforcement and well-functioning courts.

Supporting the preservation and development of national culture is another important role for government, particularly where the private sector and civic associations are weak. Cultural values can serve as a strong cohesive force when other forces are being weakened by rapid change. Cultural development is not a luxury, but a way to strengthen social capital and thus one of the keys to successful social and economic development.

In the economic sphere, the government is indispensable in promoting and safeguarding market competition in the private sector. The government can also play an important role in improving public access to the information and knowledge needed for development- for example, by supporting modern means of communication (telephones, faxes, Internet), investing in fundamental research, and creating a favorable environment for independent media and civic associations.

Some government roles are still highly debatable, however. For example, it is not clear to what extent governments should support and protect from foreign competition those industries identified as areas of a country's comparative advantage. Nor is it clear how best to monitor and supervise private banks and other financial institutions to avoid restraining private initiative while protecting society from the risk of painful financial crisis.

More on Alexander Hamilton

Big Tent Republicanism
America is never wholly herself unless she is engaged in high moral principle. We as a people have such a
purpose today. It is to make kinder the face of the nation and gentler the face of the world.
[George H. W. Bush]

How About a Little Honesty Here

Democrats have been known to gleefully attack the lavish spending that occurred under Republican administrations, especially those of Reagan and the second President Bush. But in both cases the spending, at least much of it, was absolutely needful and beneficial -- if not altogether unavoidable. Growth demands adjustment. It can't be helped. But there is a slight hypocrisy when Democrats blast Republicans that their own adminstrations are also doing, quite unabashedly.

taxes enable growth

Related Links

Great GOP leaders saw government as source for constructive good

Combatting the war on government with patience and facts

The great irony of our time: Nixon was our most liberal president

Joe Orovic's review of Bulls Bears and the Ballot Box - by Deitrick & Goldfarb

GOVERNMENT: an unapologetic defense of a vital institution

Government rules make markets, banking and capitalism possible

Prof. Mott : challenging you to think about government in your own life

Willie Horton and the roots of violence in US history : Gordon Allport

Whither Republicanism : a GOP redeemed by the KKK from Lincoln's liberalism

GOP "Lynching" of Lincoln shows their real racism, misogyny, & hostility to poor

Political anomaly : President Bill Clinton's economic "luck of the Irish"

George W. Bush (43) : Won't you bring us together, Mister President

Rush Limbaugh the anti-Bush (or has he hurt Republicans chances?)

Alexander Hamilton : founding father of American economic conservatism

Jurist Learned Hand : integrity & probity the core of authentic Americanism

The Bible urges compassion and mercy toward the poor (Powell was right)

Fox 'News' dishonest War against Bush and the moderate RINO Republicans

Hamilton's economic genius and the emergence of American capitalism

Charles Morris : the banker who predicted 2008 mortgage & credit crises

The welfare of each of us is dependent fundamentally upon the welfare of all of us.
~Theodore Roosevelt~

God is our Refuge and Strength

get along?
can we all just get along?

Site maintained by
Robert Shepherd

Robert Shepherd
friend me (facebook)

Obama has been labelled an Eisenhower Republican (as if that is a horrible thing)

no veteran left behind


Jaffa : New Birth of Freedom

Jaffa : Crisis of the House Divided

Jaffa : New Birth of Freedom

< - FOOTER ->

Jesus Walks

Jesus Walks

God is our Refuge & Strength

From the Heart : Laura Bush

walking the walk
Sarah Palin
IS ~ talking the talk