Thank you for visiting Ohio.com. We noticed you are using an outdated browser that may not give you the best user experience. We recommend current browser versions of Google’s Chrome, Microsoft’s Edge, Mozilla’s Firefox. For more specific information on how to update your browser --Click Here or visit your browser’s website.
"Never in the history of the world has any measure been brought here so insidiously designed as to prevent business recovery, to enslave workers and to prevent any possibility of the employers providing work for the people," said Rep. John Taber (R-NY).
That sounds familiar, doesn't it? That statement sounds like something today's Republicans have been claiming about raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. The reason that 1935 statement sounds familiar is because American conservatives have always called any initiative, any legislation which helps the non-rich as a business and jobs destroyer.
Compare the following 50 year-old quote from a leading Republican of his day....with what is being said by Republicans in 2014 about the Affordable Care Act....
"If Medicare passes into law, the consequences will be dire beyond imagining," .... If opponents failed to scuttle it, he warned, "One of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children, and our children’s children, what it once was like in America when men were free."
Medicare would mark the end of American freedom.....and the consequences of retired citizens having access to "affordable" health care in their twilight years would be "dire." That quote is from a conservative leader whom Republicans today call the greatest president of the modern era....Ronald Reagan.
But it is this quote from 1964 which best represents today's conservative movement.....
"Having given our pensioners their medical care in kind," he said, "why not food baskets, why not public housing accommodations, why not vacation resorts, why not a ration of cigarettes for those who smoke and of beer for those who drink?"
GOP presidential candidate Barry Goldwater uttered those "compassionate conservative" words before LBJ trounced him in the 1964 election.
It is proudly claimed by its adherents that conservatism never changes or adapts because the principles which define conservatism are eternal....ordained by god, as it were. God changes not......neither does conservatism. Sure, it all sounds lofty and oh-so-principled......but it's not and never has been.
The conservative arguments over the decades against helping Americans who need help have always followed the same script. Poorer people are lazy loafers looking for a handout.....elderly Americans who have access to affordable health care will lead to geezers demanding free smokes and beer.....a modest old-age stipend will mark the end of freedom.....a minimum wage increase will destroy our economy.....adding millions more uninsured to the insured health care rolls is akin to Stalinesque tyranny.
What never changes within conservatism is the contempt with which conservatives defiantly hold those who are most vulnerable in our society. That contempt never changes. This explains the ease with which conservatives like Paul Ryan can propose budgets or policies which bring harm to our nation's most vulnerable citizens while at the same time tenderly protecting the desires of the wealthy few to become even wealthier.
The shamelessness which surrounds every GOP conservative attack on the defenseless.....I admit, is bolder today and seems especially conscienceless. But the "message", the focus, is the same.......conservatism changes not. Conservative policy prescriptions always have the interests of the richest Americans at heart....and never the basic life-needs of the rest of our nation's population.
All the conservative talking points about states rights, small government, fiscal and personal responsibility are nothing but smokescreens to hide the never-changing first principle of conservatism......defend the wealthy few's interests at all costs.
From the FDR-bashers of the 30's.....to the "end of freedom" Medicare doomsday scenarios coming out of the mouth of Ronald Reagan in the 60's.....to Newt's 'Contract on Vulnerable Americans' of the 90's.....to today's inexplicable conservative shamelessness in defense of our New Gilded Age oligarchs.....conservatism never changes.
Finally, over the last few decades conservative forces have worked exceptionally hard to demonize the word "liberal." American liberalism has been responsible for most of what's good and right in our society today. Conservatives know that. Demonizing the word "liberal" through negative daily reinforcement has been the conservative response to that truth.
Now it's time for conservatism to be unmasked for the ugly that it is. Anywhere conservative policies have been enacted, populations have suffered the negative consequences. It will always be so. Because conservatism changes not.....it always has, and always will seek to coddle and reward the wealthy few at the expense of everyone else.
Positive, people-affirming progress will never come from conservatives....positive change will never arrive as long as conservatives control levers of political power. Conservatism can never change or even adapt.....conservatism can only fail.