Whitewashing History at The New York Times

The New York Times today printed an example of one of the most tedious op-ed genres: the cri de coeur by a Republican who, as the standard formulation goes, "no longer recognizes" his party. This time the nostalgist is John G. Taft, who writes:

They call me MISTER Republican.Five generations of Tafts have served our nation as unwaveringly stalwart Republicans, from Alphonso Taft, who served as attorney general in the late 19th century, through William Howard Taft, who not only was the only person to be both president of the United States and chief justice of the United States but also served as the chief civil administrator of the Philippines and secretary of war, to my cousin, Robert Taft, a two-term governor of Ohio.

As I write, a photograph of my grandfather, Senator Robert Alphonso Taft, looks across at me from the wall of my office. He led the Republican Party in the United States Senate in the 1940s and early 1950s, ran for the Republican nomination for president three times and was known as "Mr. Republican." If he were alive today, I can assure you he wouldn't even recognize the modern Republican Party, which has repeatedly brought the United States of America to the edge of a fiscal cliff -- seemingly with every intention of pushing us off the edge.

Guns across the river aimin at ya. Lawman on your trail, he'd like to catch ya. Bounty hunters, too, they’d like to get ya. Ted Cruz, they don't like you to be so free.The younger Taft goes on to contrast his grandfather with the Texas senator Ted Cruz, asserting that there "is more than a passing similarity between Joseph McCarthy and Ted Cruz, between McCarthyism and the Tea Party movement." At this point, the supposed Cruz/McCarthy parallels have become such a familiar cliché that the author doesn't bother to make an argument for them; he believes both men are embarassments to the party, and apparently that's enough. What's striking is that he makes this comparison in the context of praising his grandfather, who wasn't exactly unstained by McCarthyism. As Larry Ceplair wrote in Anti-Communism in Twentieth-Century America,

Republican leaders rarely spoke out against McCarthy, impelled by both their hope that McCarthy could lead the way to national political power and their fear of splitting the party. For example, Taft, who was the Republican leader in the Senate, underwent, in Richard Rovere's estimation, "a prolonged manic period" from 1950 to 1952, "when he stooped to encouraging and echoing McCrthy." Rovere had been following Taft closely since 1948, and thought of him as "a man of principle" and a committed civil libertarian. He quoted Taft as saying, after McCarthy's speech to the Senate defending the charges he made at Wheeling, "It was a perfectly reckless performance." But one month later, Taft told a group of reporters that while he had no particular faith in the accuracy of McCarthy's claims, he had urged McCarthy to go ahead anyway and had advised him "to keep talking, and if one case doesn't work out, proceed with another." In fact, Taft did publicly criticize McCarthy's attack on George Marshall in late 1951, but early the next year he gave the senator a strong public endorsement.

There is some doubt about whether that "keep talking" quote is accurate, but the larger pattern is plain: Taft zig-zagged back and forth between criticizing and supporting McCarthy. At one point he told a constituent that he has "always said that I thought Senator McCarthy was responsible for bringing to the attention of the American people the danger of Communist influence in government and did a great service in this respect." In the end Taft and McCarthy did end up at odds with one another, but it took Taft a while to get there.

The elder Taft deserves criticism for his dalliance with McCarthy, and for much else in his career. But he was a genuine fiscal conservative, a critic of excessive executive power, and a man whose foreign policy instincts, while inconsistent and contradictory in many ways, were anti-interventionist enough that he opposed the creation of NATO. Given all that, it's possible that he really would have trouble recognizing the modern Republican Party, or at least those portions of it that gave us the Bush administration. But I don't think he'd have trouble comprehending Ted Cruz.

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  • Killazontherun||

    You know who else raked the Roosevelt administration over the coals during WWII, yeah, that guy, Robert Taft. Merciless against their lies. But somehow his wuss of a name holder here thinks that if alive he would side with those in the party who condemn those in their party who do the same to the Obama administration. Grow a fucking spine and show you care more about your goddamned careers in proper society.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Well, just remember, Warren Buffett's father (Howard Buffett) was one of Taft's compatriots. It seems to be a pattern with the children of the prominent. They confuse their parent's prominence with their own personal worth, even while parroting a brainless consensus that has little to support it.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    The younger Taft goes on to contrast his grandfather with the Texas senator Ted Cruz, asserting that there "is more than a passing similarity between Joseph McCarthy and Ted Cruz, between McCarthyism and the Tea Party movement."

    Yes, McCarthy might have been right by accident (depending on who you read), and the Tea Party is right on purpose.

  • Killazontherun||

    Some documents I have come across over the years, as well as reading The Web of Subversion: Underground Networks in the U. S. Government convinces me McCarthy was the tool of Trotskyites who used him to get revenge on the Stalinist that had them blacklisted during the 'Great Alliance' days of Roosevelt. Burnham was one of Leon's on, some say right hand man in US ops, before turning anti-Communist.

    Paul Johnson writes about how this played out in Hollywood in Modern Times as a series of internecine backstabs within the professional guilds, this is just the East Coast version.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    So that would be right on purpose, with an icepick twist.

  • Root Boy||

    Mind Blown.

  • John||

    Johnson also makes the point that McCarthy was an opportunist who showed up to solve a problem that had already been solved. The Roosevelt and Truman Administrations really were crawling with committed communists and Soviet Agents. But those people had already been exposed by the time McCarthy got involved. The Left only ever talks about McCarthy and never mentions anything before that because what happened before that did not reflect well on them.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Until Elizabeth Bentley came along, their story of Soviet spies being a myth had a lot of traction. I suppose it still does the closer you get to the faculty lounge.

  • John||

    There were still people who honestly believed the Rosenbergs and Alger Hiss were innocent all the way up until the 1990s. Clear through the 1970s, all right thinking people were certain that everyone in the entire era had been framed.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    It didn't stop in the 1990s.

  • sarcasmic||

    Too bad for the guy on the Time cover, with is face melting and all that.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Cruz isn't my ideal, but I'd take ten of him over this jackass.

    What on Earth is supposed to be McCarthyite about Cruz, anyway? Attacking government wasn't McCarthy's focus, except for commies in government.

  • sarcasmic||

    Commies like... I dunno... shares initials with body odor... can't think of the name...

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yes, a current McCarthy would focus his ire entirely on one man.

  • sarcasmic||

    If you want to make a comparison to McCarthy-like behavior, what about using the IRS to target political enemies? Oh wait. It wasn't a Republican who did that. Nothing to see here. Move along.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Say, that's a good point. I thought political witch hunts were bad.

  • sarcasmic||

    Haven't you learned yet that it's not what someone does that matters, but who does it?

  • Pro Libertate||

    I dream of a world where my children will be judged by birthright, not character.

  • Killazontherun||

    We're not dreaming it, we are living it, with the prime benefactor of it having won the presidency.

  • Zeb||

    Birthright? Seems like the current president has neither birthright nor character.

  • timb||

    Really, because Nixon did it and he was a republican and to this date, there is no evidence --outside of the fever swamp -- that Issa has found anything

  • timb||

    Wellll, there was that time he used made up bullshit to accuse Chuck Hagel of being a secret terrorist. But, don't let that get in the way of someone observing the bloody obvious: that the Republican Party has moved rightward

  • Fluffy||

    You know the #1 reason I can think of to abandon the current political and cultural order?

    The absurd comparisons between Cruz and McCarthy.

    McCarthy knowingly lied, and knowingly abused the investigative machinery of government to try to punish private citizens for their political views.

    Cruz doesn't support Obamacare.

    Fuck anyone who thinks these are remotely the same thing. Fuck the political culture that produces such an accusation, and fuck the media culture that laps it up and repeats it. Just fuck them.

  • John||

    We have stopped using words with meanings. What politicians and the media do is turn everything into an invective, a symbol. Most people have no idea who the hell McCarthy even was or what he did. They just know he was a Republican and he was bad. The word doesn't have any meaning anymore.

    You can't blame the media enough for this. Politicians have always lied and misused words. The difference is that the media enables them. Its the media, by using the word over and over again in contexts it doesn't apply, who have robbed it, along with a lot of other words like racism and Jim Crow, of all of its meaning. Sure the American people should know better than to believe this crap. But that doesn't excuse the media. The New York Times' editors should have never allowed him to use the word in that context. They should have sent his draft back to him telling him that needed to be changed. But they didn't because they want people to believe this lie.

  • ||

    "The New York Times' editors should have never allowed him to use the word in that context."

    You should know by now that the Times doesn't have editors.

  • John||

    That too. But they certainly pretend they do and pretend they have standards. I was talking to a friend the other day about the movie Network. You could never make that movie today. First, Hollywood would never be that subversive. But more importantly, people wouldn't get the joke. The stuff Howard Beale says in the movie is pedestrian when you compare it to the crazy that real news anchors like Special Ed Shultz and real opinion writers like Pauli Krugnuts say every single week.

  • Root Boy||

    NYT does have editors, it's just that they are mendacious in the untruths they allow in their paper.

    It's not just the talking monkey's like Schultz either. You have to include major network flacks as well in all their unbiased glory.

  • ||

    I've never seen that. I'll have to check it out now.

  • John||

    It is a classic. Other than the Bad News Bears, I can't think of another movie from the 1970s that is still so timely today.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I dunno, The Godfather movies seem apropos. Except in reality, Fredo is the new don.

  • Brett L||

    I was kind of hoping this was the phase where Sunny ran around half-cocked, and that in 2017 a Michael will take over.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Nope, Fredo. It's all Fredo. With Sunny's viciousness.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    I don't think you can even blame the media. They're just as big morons as those they're supposed to be editing or correcting. I suspect you'd probably have to blame academia.

  • John||

    They are morons. But they know what they are doing.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Not so sure. I get the impression they largely believe this bilge. It's not that they are diabolically manipulating language and the news. They really aren't capable of thinking with words as anything more than impressionistic constructs. Hence,

    libertarian ~ anarchist
    Tea Party ~ conservative Republicans
    racism ~ anything disadvantageous for minority groups.
    pro-2nd Amendment ~ gun nut militia member
    journalist ~ someone with press credentials

    and so on. You tend to think in precise terms with meaningful definitions. Sadly, that isn't a trait shared by much of the political class or by much of the punditry.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    I don't know if sportscasters are considered part of the media, but they increasingly don't use words correctly.

    2 examples:
    - They always use the word "inconsistent" to describe someone who sucks. "Blaine Gabbert is inconsistent". Or "Blaine Gabbert needs to be more consistent" No, he sucks, or needs to stop sucking.

    - The newest one, and this drives me nuts, is their use of the word "tempo" to describe "uptempo" offenses.
    "Uh oh, they're going with tempo now!"

  • Boba||

    "What do you predict in the market going forward?"

    "Volatility"

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    What and who did McCarthy like about? The "private citizen political views" were to enslave US citizens under Stalin.

  • Fluffy||

    McCarthy lied when he said he had a list of known Communists in the State Department and Army. He lied when he gave out the numbers.

    There WERE Communists in the State Department and Army, but Joe didn't have their names, he didn't have a list, and he didn't know the number.

    The "private citizen political views" were to enslave US citizens under Stalin.

    So what?

    Compelling people to testify before the Congress when your only purpose is to expose people to private retribution was McCarthy's real abuse, and was HUAC's real abuse. In fact, that should be the definition of "McCarthyism", as far as I'm concerned - abuse of the Congress' subpoena power to force private citizens to reveal facts that expose them to retribution.

  • kbolino||

    The worst thing you can do to someone with a persecution complex is prove them right.

  • timb||

    You are an AWESOME libertarian

  • timb||

    Again, someone missed the Hagel confirmation hearings....

  • wareagle||

    good thing the Dem Party never changed. I'm sure a tax-cutting, pro-business, near-warmonger like JFK would as welcome today as he was then.

  • Tim||

    JFK was also first to bring unprecedented numbers of women into the Whitehouse.

  • WTF||

    I'm just gonna leave this here.

  • JD the elder||

    The whole "So-and-so would never be accepted in today's _________ party!" thing is so goddamn dumb. It's a rhetorical cheap shot, not a reasoned argument. Does anybody out there really think that political parties never will and never should change? The governor of Alabama put his name on a campaign letter stating "You must vote - if we're to keep Alabama white!" and "The Democratic Party of Alabama was formed under the banner of White Supremacy. We believe it should continue as the White man's Party", and that was in 1960. Does anybody think he would be accepted in today's Democratic Party, or should? Is there some reason we should always be ruled by the dead hand of the past?

  • JD the elder||

    I should clarify, btw, that he was the _former_ governor of the state at that point.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Yes, but they would use nicer words.

  • ||

    Guys like that are still in the Democratic Party. They've just changed their tactics (which is why we will never actually see a decrease in the WoD). Hell, wasn't it Johnson that said he'd have those niggers voting democrat for 100 years?

  • Tim||

    You're a foul one, Mr. Grinch.
    You're a nasty, wasty skunk.
    Your heart is full of unwashed socks
    Your soul is full of gunk.
    Mr. Grinch.

    The three words that best describe you, are as follows, and I quote:

    STINK< STANK< STUNK!

  • WTF||

    "...the modern Republican Party, which has repeatedly brought the United States of America to the edge of a fiscal cliff..."

    Just a re-phrase of "Bush drove the economy onto a ditch" talking point. Unlike the Democrats, who have been nothing but fiscal responsibility for the past couple of decades.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    BOOOOSSSSHHH!

    When the truth hurts you wear it proudly.

  • WTF||

    Where did I defend Bush, you lying little shit?
    BUSHPIGS!!1111!CHRISTFAGS!!111!!

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    So you agree that Dumbya drove the economy into the ditch and caused our deficit problems?

    Fine. No problem.

    Reason has the graphs to back you up.

  • Root Boy||

    But would Taft say W was a good Republican or is he an evil McCarthyite?

    Rhetorical question, but points out how some people have their fingers in the wind.

  • Seamus||

    Taft would have said that Bush 43 was a drunken-sailor spender who would have made FDR blush, and a foreign interventionist worse than Harry Truman. But then he'd say that Barry Obama had managed the impossible: to make Bush 43 look good by comparison. (In point of fact, he wouldn't have had much use for any president since 1953 except Reagan (and even the Gipper didn't do such a good job of holding the line on spending). (He'd have given Ike props for balancing the budget twice, but been disgusted by the way he consolidated rather than rolled back the New Deal.)

  • ||

    So you agree that Dumbya drove the economy into the ditch and caused our deficit problems?

    Unequivocally. We had no deficits before George W. Bush took office. And we have had none since he left.

  • WTF||

    Amazing, isn't it, that they are still blaming BOOOSH!! while Obama is into his second term and the democrats have had control of the Senate since 2006, and had super-majorities in both houses from 2008 to 2010.

  • ||

    History began on January 20, 2001 and ended on January 3, 2007.

  • JD the elder||

    Hell, half of them are still blaming Reagan.

  • WTF||

    So you agree that Dumbya drove the economy into the ditch and caused our deficit problems?

    Sure, moron, it was all BOOOSH!!! by himself, the democrats had nothing at all to do with it.

    So the little shit proves once again that he is incapable of making an honest argument. FOADIAF asshole.

  • ||

    We've had deficits for 50+ years. Never mind that reducing the deficit from your all time spending binge isn't some magical feat. And it still leaves your budget (and the debt) higher than when you started.

    Fuck off and let the adults talk demfag.

  • ||

    Damn it, why'd you have to send up the retard signal.

  • WTF||

    I didn't think he was stupid enough to respond with long-discredited talking points, but I guess I actually over-estimated him.

  • ||

    Never over-estimate Tony or Shrike's stupidity. That way lies madness.

  • B.P.||

    Hey John Taft, you forgot to toss out some glib accusations of racism; you fail at talking points.

    Also, your grandpappy couldn't even secure a conviction for George Remus.

  • Tony||

    Ooh let's debate which variety of grandstanding fascist is better. Right-wing movements in this country have never succeeded in the long-term, and have never been considered on the virtuous side of any issue. (They would simply blame that on a conspiracy of liberal historians.) These are pointless men and women, with not a single actual idea among them. Total reactionaries. They would disappear in a puff of smoke without an enemy to be against, and in the absence of real ones, they are perfectly happy inventing them out of thin air. They do nothing except destroy and sow fear and hatred of the vulnerable. They are, always have been, and always will be the worst of people (full of passionate intensity). And it looks like reason mag will be one of the last men standing in their defense.

  • John||

    These are pointless men and women, with not a single actual idea among them. Total reactionaries.

    Tony it is really nice to see you take a stand against your fellow Progs like that. But don't you think that is a little harsh? Surely some prog somewhere has an actual idea. But otherwise, yeah, you do a hell of a job of describing pretty much the entire Prog left. My compliments.

  • Hyperion||

    The progs have plenty of ideas. They've had them for about 100 years now. The problem is that all of them have already been proven to not work.

  • John||

    But remember, it is everyone else who is a reactionary. The people trying to recreate the 1950s and think every new political figure is either the new Kennedy or the new FDRs are not reactionaries.

  • WTF||

    Oh yeah, the people clinging to the failed ideas of the New Deal and the Great Society are forward-looking visionaries.

  • sarcasmic||

    100 years? This was written in 1848.

    Actually, it is not strange that during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the human race was regarded as inert matter, ready to receive everything — form, face, energy, movement, life — from a great prince or a great legislator or a great genius. These centuries were nourished on the study of antiquity. And antiquity presents everywhere — in Egypt, Persia, Greece, Rome — the spectacle of a few men molding mankind according to their whims, thanks to the prestige of force and of fraud.

    --Bastiat

    The idea that force and violence wielded by the right people can fix mankind is as old as civilization itself.

  • Hyperion||

    Yes, but the collectivist movement didn't really get started until the early 20th century, right?

  • sarcasmic||

    My point is that their ideas are neither new nor original. Individual liberty is a relatively new concept. Collectivism is as old as civilization, and most likely the reason why civilizations fail.

    Another Bastiat quote:

    "Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else."

    Or Margaret Thatcher:

    "The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money."

    Progressivism is totally and completely regressive.

  • Hyperion||

    Progressivism is totally and completely regressive

    Well, all of us here know that. But the progs think there is some meaning to that shiny new name that they put on the same stinky old pig.

  • Root Boy||

    With the lefty fascist Wilson I seem to recall.

    Prog movements have only succeeded due to their baby steps of creating a welfare state that has slowly grown government and turned people to look to the Feds for solutions to every problem they have. Took 90 years or so.

  • ||

    Every idea is novel when history starts afresh everyday when you wake up in the morning.

  • sarcasmic||

    Derptastic!

  • WTF||

    Fuck off you mendacious little twat.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Why would he do that? You see everyone keeps masturbating him.

  • KDN||

    Total reactionaries.

    So hey, about we talk about individualizing contributions to or partially privatizing Social Security? Maybe premium support for Medicare? Wait, was that Democratic America? They're completely perfect and always will be? Well, I'll be damned.

    Well then, let's move on to voucher programs for public schools since public education is apparently terrible in this country, particularly for the worse off. What did you say? Instead we should keep pursuing the exact same policies only harder and with more money? Well, I mean, uh, okay.

    You really are the king of projection. It's a sight to behold.

  • Hyperion||

    Tony couldn't win a debate with a rock. He would just call the rock juvenile names and run away.

  • sarcasmic||

    Oh yeah? Well, well, you're just recycling right-wing talking points that have been refuted over and over! I don't need to debate you!

  • Hyperion||

    The science is settled! I'm totally serial!

  • sarcasmic||

    Obamacare is settled law! Just like The Fugitive Slave Act and Prohibition!

  • Hyperion||

    It would be treason and an act of sedition to try to change it!

  • ||

    Hey, at least you have finally admitted that politicians on both sides are fascists. That's real growth right there Tony.

  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

    " Right-wing movements in this country have never succeeded in the long-term, and have never been considered on the virtuous side of any issue."

    Court-packing. Pay up.

  • Hyperion||

    Not sure if this link has been posted here or not yet, but, our good friend Joan has a sad.

    Joan has a sad

    Read the comments, seriously, she gets eviscerated by Salon readers. When even Salon readers think you are stupid, maybe you have reached the elusive peak derp.

  • WTF||

    We will never reach peak derp.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    I'm willing to make an exception for Joan Walsh.

  • John||

    She is kind of a Plato's form of derp.

  • WTF||

    Nice - I like that - the Platonic ideal of derp.

  • Killazontherun||

    I never thought I would see the day I would see someone who could count numbers in a Salon thread, not only that but she makes a damn good point with it:

    charlene sussan 1 hour ago

    The ACA attempts to force everyone to buy insurance. It is a major expansion of Medicaid and the tax payers pick up the tab for these costs. Medicaid doesn't have it's own fund that we all pay into from the minute we start working like Medicare does thus making it a true entitlement. In Washington state close to 10k have signed up, but only about 600 are paying customers.

  • Hyperion||

    That was one of the best comments on the thread. It contained most everything that the lefties don't want to admit to about the ACA.

  • Ron||

    McCarthy went after private citizens for their political views. That is more similar with Obama and the IRS, and the NSA under his administration going after Tea Party members, Fox news, and from the very begining going after Joe the Plumber. McCarthy = Obama

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Pastor Ezekial over at Landover Baptist Church has posted a video sermon wherein the father of Ted Cruz depicts the Senator as the "annointed one" from the Bible.

    http://www.landoverbaptist.net.....hp?t=93677

    The Solid South is his.

  • Hyperion||

    I'm sure that's blasphemy to you, since you know that your master, Obama, is the true anointed one.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    You doubt Pastor Ezekial? Go look at his merit badges. He is a true Flat Earth, ex-masturbating, queer punching Republican.

    Shame on you!

  • John||

    Unlike people like Reverend Wright, who are total middle of the road.

    It is okay shreek. I am sure God will smite these people for doubting his prophet in the White House. Don't get so angry. Just have faith in the Chocolate Jesus and everything will be just fine.

  • ||

    It's hilarious how he keeps punching out stereotypes of Republicans trying to get a rise out of people who largely aren't Republicans.

  • sarcasmic||

    He is an expert slayer of straw men!

  • John||

    It is not even a straw man. He specializes in the bizarre non sequiter. You see, it totally doesn't matter that the Left has pissed all over the term McCarthism and now applies it to anyone who dares disagree with them because Ted Cruz's father said he was an agent of God or something.

    Don't you see that sarcasmic? Don't you see how something Ted Cruz's father said totally puts this entire thread in a different light and disproves everything in it?

  • tarran||

    Not only do they piss all over it, they don't recognize that they are engaging in it.

    Remember Mayor "Mumbles" Menino's Chick-Fila blacklist?

  • Hyperion||

    Almost every leftist hack does this. All you have to do is read the comments at HuffPo as proof. The topic can be about anything at all, and as an argument half of the commentariat will say something to the effect of:

    But when Bush...

    The Koch Brothers!

    Rethuglican teabagger, you lost, we won!

    Seriously, if there are 10k comments on a HuffPo thread, the three lines above or some variation thereof will comprise 90+% of the comments. And these people seriously believe they are the smart ones.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    "largely" - OK.

    But there are some real Team Red players here besides John.

  • ||

    Lol. He doesn't even dispute that he's a griefer. Only that his audience is more vast than I suggested.

  • John||

    Unlike you. It is not like you spend the entire day posting shit and lies and sucking Obama's cock all the while claiming to be a Libertarian.

    Face it shreek. You are a failed griefer. Griefing only works if you do it in such a way people don't realize that is what is happening. You were too retarded to do it successfully. Tell your handlers to send you to another website.

  • John||

    Yeah Shreek we know. Obama is really the anointed one. Take your holy war against the unbelievers somewhere else. The adults are talking here.

  • WTF||

    CHRISTFAGS!!111!!!BUSHPIGS!!111!!!1

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Wow, those Taft guys are practically clones. That Time Magazine photo is a dead ringer for former Governor Taft.

  • ||

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    This is all just a progressive response to the comparisons of Obama to Nixon.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "The elder Taft deserves criticism for his dalliance with McCarthy"

    Really? The post indicates that he took a nuanced position, criticizing some of McCarthy's more "reckless" statements while praising the Wisconsin Senator for "bringing to the attention of the American people the danger of Communist influence in government." And didn't McCarthy do just that? There *was* a nest of commie spies and agents of influence in the U.S. government. The respectable people, not wanting to embarrass the Democrats, *did* minimize it and rally to the defense of people who were actually guilty (Secretary of State Acheson, Adlai Stevenson, and Justice Frankfurter, IIRC, were character witnesses for Alger Hiss). McCarthy wasn't even the most effective commie-hunter, but he's cited basically to indicate that the whole enterprise of exposing commies in government was illegitimate.

    Handed this issue on a silver platter, Taft as both a patriot and an opponent of the Democrats would have been foolish *not* to pursue the commies-in-government issue.

    And I suspect the concern-trolls of the time contrasted Taft with the Virtuous Republicans of the past, who would never have condoned witch-hunts against loyal civil servants like Hiss, White, etc.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I repeat my suggestion: Let tomorrow's concern-trolls get to work *now* writing up their praise of Cruz and other contemporary Republicans, so that when Cruz retires and a new generation of Republicans emerges, they can then express their nostalgia for the era of Responsible Republicans like Cruz.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Couldn't agree more. If you listen to the left and the media (but I repeat myself), conservatism and libertarians perpetually started with the current crop of conservatives and libertarians. You could see it percolating with Gingrich until he ruined it for a while by running for president in 2012. And you know perfectly well that Cruz and Amash and the Pauls will all be portrayed as supporters of tomorrow's leftists in the future.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I still equate the real Republican Party with Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater--being a true Republican is about opposition to the New Deal and all its cousins and grandchildren...

    I consider everyone who calls themselves Republicans and yet are afraid to embrace the legacy of Goldwater and Reagan complete traitors to the Republican cause.

    That means the religious right that invaded the party are a bunch of traitors. That means the people who voted for the prescription drug benefit are a bunch of traitors. There are all sorts of traitors calling themselves Republicans out there--and so far as I can tell Ted Cruz isn't one of them.

    He certainly isn't a traitor for opposing ObamaCare.

  • John||

    What part of the New Deal is the religious right demanding remain?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Duh - the internment of the Japanese-Americans. That operation was supervised by Billy Sunday - FDR didn't know anything about it!

  • Ken Shultz||

    Any time they sacrifice an economic policy for social policy, they're betraying the legacy of both Ronald Reagan (who never even threw them a bone) and certainly Barry Goldwater...

    "Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise. I know, I've tried to deal with them."


    "The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom.... I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in 'A,' 'B,' 'C,' and 'D.' Just who do they think they are?... I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of "conservatism."

    "I think every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass."

    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Barry_Goldwater

  • John||

    Any time they sacrifice an economic policy for social policy, they're betraying the legacy of both Ronald Reagan (who never even threw them a bone) and certainly Barry Goldwater...

    And how are they doing that? And since when does one have anything to do with the other? All you are saying here is that you don't like the SOCONS. Well good for you. A lot of people don't. But how that makes them traitors to Reagan and Goldwater is not entirely clear.

    And Goldwater's quote is idiotic. What he fails to understand is that the religious right are not the agressors in the culture war. It is the Left. The Religious was never a political movement until the Left went out and started fucking with them.

    You want to know why the Left has been successful since Reagan? Because they have successfully played the religious right as a bogey man and gotten people to vote on bullshit cultural issues rather than the issues that matter. The left took the Religious right and made them into the new Goldstein and made voting for the Dems a way of showing that you were not like that. That you were cool and not white trash. And people on the right like you on the Right helped them do it.

    Our entire political culture has been turned into a culture war between the cool and the right thinking and the evil white trash other. That single issue drives every damn thing we do. Let me ask you, from a political stand point how is that working out for you?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "And how are they doing that?"

    What about the "Republican" scumbags that championed the prescription drug benefit, even as they touted the "Culture of Death" and the Terry Schaivo case--as if that were the reason to vote Republican for president?

    Fuck them with a real Republican elephant dick.

  • John||

    The SOCONS didn't demand that. Medicare Part D is not a SOCON program. That is idiotic Ken. You are a bigoted idiot. Why do I say that? Because you blame your designated hate group for shit they had nothing to do with. You are no different than some half wit screaming about he Jews running the banks.

    And you are exactly the kind of person the Left loves and wants to cultivate. Just let the hate flow and keep voting based on culture. That way you won't be in any danger of ever voting on any important issue.

  • ||

    Yes John, Ken's just a big meany without a single honest bone in his body. I mean, it's not like the social conservative wing would rather support a fiscal liberal as long as he was a social conservative. Oh wait, they just did this last election. But don't you worry about mean ol' facts John, anyone who disagrees with you is just a lying bigot.

  • John||

    . Oh wait, they just did this last election.

    That would be news to the Romney campaign. The SOCONS didn't turn out in 2012 like they did in 2010 and that is why Romney lost.

    Why do you insist on inventing fantasies to support your biases? Just admit you don't like them and move on. You don't help yourself by writing your own little protocols of Zion.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "What he fails to understand is that the religious right are not the agressors in the culture war. It is the Left. The Religious was never a political movement until the Left went out and started fucking with them."

    Gay people fighting for their right to marry are aggressors?

    And what are the people who are amending their constitutions so the government has to discriminate against them? That's not aggression?

  • Ken Shultz||

    If amending state constitutions to make gay marriage illegal isn't aggression, then is the Drug War merely defensive, too?

  • John||

    Gay marriage wasn't an issue in the 70s when the religious right started. The religious right started basically because of schools and the left taking over the curriculum. The whole thing started in school board elections.

    There is more to life than the gayz there Ken. What planet do you live on where you think the Left are not cultural aggressors? Jesus Ken, the SOCONS are the one people left you can freely hate in this country.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Because they have successfully played the religious right as a bogey man and gotten people to vote on bullshit cultural issues rather than the issues that matter."

    Karl Rove, anti-immigration people like Pete Wilson, and others have done more than enough to live up to the bogey-man image.

    Nothing makes people believe the Republican are bogey-men quite like having real, live Republican bogey-men running around acting like bogey-men.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Karl Rove farts socon wedge issues in his sleep.

  • John||

    Ken, the majority of the country wants closed borders. Immigration is wildly unpopular in this country. Poll after poll says that.

    And anti immigration is not the bogey man the left plays and you know it. It is all about the hill billies and the white trash and women and so forth.

    Ever occur to Ken that maybe you let your personal dislike and cultural tastes effect your ability to rationally assess the situation? Just a thought.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Ever occur to Ken that maybe you let your personal dislike and cultural tastes effect your ability to rationally assess the situation? Just a thought."

    Here's a thought for you:

    The reason Obama is practically a carbon copy of George W. Bush isn't because Obama is actually a Republican. The reason Obama is practically a carbon copy of Bush--on economic policy, especially--is because Bush was a phony Republican.

  • John||

    The reason Obama is practically a carbon copy of Bush--on economic policy, especially--is because Bush was a phony Republican.

    Okay. But Bush was a country club Republican establishment guy. He wasn't a SOCON. Bush was a fake Republican. But that doesn't tell me anything about the SOCONS. You hate Bush. Well a lot of people do. How that hates translates to a group Bush wasn't apart of is rather curious.

  • Killazontherun||

    The odd thing about Bush is he is not a comfortable fit in any of the GOP camps. His roots are North Eastern Establishment, but they treated him like they needed tongs to handle him. He didn't pursue the cultural objectives of the Socons any harder than Reagan, any tendency to be fiscally prudent he may have had were rebuffed by 9/11 both in military build up and mitigating the recession dip sparked by it, as well as the decision to nominate Paulson to appease the Wall Street democrats, so that wing wasn't a good fit. He's authentic certainly, but was always very much an outsider, which was part of his appeal for many people. I be there was a huge correlation between his supporters and those of Ross Perot.

  • Killazontherun||

    that, the fiscal conservative, wing wasn't a good fit.

  • Ken Shultz||

    George W. Bush was exactly like Lyndon Johnson in every way that mattered.

    In other words, George W. Bush was Southern Democrat. All those old school Southern Democrats came into the party as part of the Reagan Revolution, and then they started rearranging the furniture like they owned the place.

    But George W. Bush's positions--on everything from Medicare expansion to War in the name of Democracy--are virtually indistinguishable from those of Lyndon Johnson and the Southern Democrats.

    No, he did not fit in the Republican Party. He fit in the with what used to be called conservative Democrats.

  • Killazontherun||

    In Goldwater's defense, I believe at that point with not much time left on the planet he was trying to appease a hot, much younger, a more socially liberal wife. I'd probably do the same for those last tumbles in the sack.

  • John||

    Here is the other problem Ken, SOCON has become an all purpose epitath for anyone who doesn't fit into the cultural elite. There are not that many actual SOCONS out there. But what there are are millions of people who live in unfashionable places and who do unfashionable things and are center right without being Libertarians who get tagged as being "SOCONS" because they may agree with the SOCONS on a few things and SOCON is just a way of saying you hate someone.

    This is the great divide in the U.S. today. It is not between blacks and whites – or rich and poor; it is between the elites in California or New York and ordinary people who wouldn’t know a Wagyu beefburger from an heirloom tomato. The pundits who cannot imagine how anyone can live in Nebraska’s farm country also can’t imagine why anyone ever voted for George W. Bush; they do not and cannot understand the Tea Party. And, they are scornful of what they do not understand.

    http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/.....KVci0.dpuf

    SOCON is nothing but a stand in word and invective for the real fight which is about class.

  • Killazontherun||

    I can attest I've been tagged as one by an ignoratti, and if I can be, and I have never promoted anything short of debauchery in my entire life, anyone can.

  • ||

    Anyone can be tagged as anything, that doesn't mean there's no such thing as a social conservative. And I have no doubt that many real social conservatives, such as Santorum for example, are in utter betrayal of fiscal conservatism. John's delusional if he thinks the the deep religious wing isn't willing to throw fiscal conservatism under the bus for political gains (Santorum again, anyone?).

  • John||

    And again you live in a fantasy world. Go back and look at the 2012 primaries. Santorum, despite claiming to be a SOCON actually did not even capture a majority of SOCON support. Santorum was a crank populist. His support was primarily not SOCONs. If you don't believe me, go look it up. There are about a million articles talking about how shocked Santorum was when he didn't get the SOCON vote.

    Again Darius, you just pretend the facts fit your narrative. Your are doing exactly what Ken is doing. Letting your disagreement with the SOCONs on culture cause you to believe that they automatically must disagree with you on everything else. Why is it so hard for you to grasp that people can agree with you on some things but not others?

  • ||

    Not that there aren't a lot of things about Reagan that I like, but name a single New Deal-era program that was eliminated, privatized, or meaningfully reformed during his presidency? Bear in mind that pushing off social security's insolvency a generation through tax and retirement age increases really shouldn't properly be thought of as "meaningful reform".

    No Republican has ever seriously considered doing away with those programs. Largely because they are among the more popular inventions in history. Probably rivaled only by internet porn and Hostess snacks in the top 3.

  • Paul.||

    Didn't Hostess go bankrupt?

  • ||

    Yes, but...

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Reagan may not have, but the Supreme Court, Nixon and Roosevelt himself abolished some of them.

    Where now are the National Recovery Administration, the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Selective Service? Where did all these agencies go? Long time passing...

  • ||

    Ummm, the Selective Service system is still very much operational. The NRA got killed in the cradle by SCOTUS. Of the New Deal programs that outlived their inventor, none has been touched.

  • ||

    Certainly none of the New Deal programs that survived to Reagan's administration were touched, which was the real point.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Sure, and I forgot the Sel Ser was still around - careless.

  • Paul.||

    Where now are the National Recovery Administration, the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Selective Service? Where did all these agencies go?

    They're now rolled into the Department of Stomp Your Ass.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I think Reagan rightly estimated that he couldn't do away with those programs--regardless of whether he wanted to. I think there was a lot of that going around. I don't think Reagan ever had a Republican majority in the House.

    But I think his acceleration of the deregulation trend was a direct attack on the proliferation of regulatory agencies that happened during the New Deal, and I think his "starve the beast" tax slashing was an attack on the whole premise of the New Deal, too.

    There's no doubt that Reagan was pragmatic, and some of his goals (in the short term) were conflicting; you could point out that some of things he did were ineffective, too. Some of the things he tried, he failed at.

    But you could say the same thing about Ron Paul. The Fed has not been abolished, etc., etc. Doesn't mean that what Paul stood for wasn't what he stood for. And, I think that if we ever have a president that's as good from anti-New Deal perspective as Reagan, again, we should count ourselves very lucky.

  • sarcasmic||

    Reagan... The Patron Saint of Conservatism...

    Wasn't he the guy who started the tradition of doubling the debt every presidential term, who ratcheted up the war on drug users, and perfected the art of blackmailing states into passing laws as a condition of receiving federal funds?

    If that's what it means to be conservative, I say fuck conservatives.

  • Ken Shultz||

    There was actually more to it than that.

    It starts with starving the beast, and in the end, it had something to do with a strategy that won the Cold War. When he chose to side against Stockman, I think he did the right thing. It's certainly hard to argue with Reagan's results.

    Say what you will about starving the beast, I wish our rate of spending growth were only what it was during the Reagan Administration again, and I wish we could suffer the rate of innovation and growth that followed Reagan's tax slashing, again, too.

  • sarcasmic||

    Starving the beast doesn't work.

    Citizens! In all times, two political systems have been in existence, and each may be maintained by good reasons. According to one of them, Government ought to do much, but then it ought to take much. According to the other, this two-fold activity ought to be little felt. We have to choose between these two systems. But as regards the third system, which partakes of both the others, and which consists in exacting everything from Government, without giving it anything, it is chimerical, absurd, childish, contradictory, and dangerous. Those who parade it, for the sake of the pleasure of accusing all governments of weakness, and thus exposing them to your attacks, are only flattering and deceiving you, while they are deceiving themselves.
    --Bastiat

    It only results in that third system.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Actually, what we need right now are steep, deep cuts in marginal tax rates.

    That we didn't slash tax rates during the last downturn is criminally incompetent. ...almost as bad as heaping regulation on lenders, even as millions were losing their homes for lack of financing.

  • sarcasmic||

    Fuck you. Cut spending.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I'm not against cutting spending.

  • Winston||

    Of course if Bob Taft were alive today he would attacked as one of those Tea Party nutballs.

    So even when the Dems are right and are praising more libertarianish Republicans they are doing it in bad faith.

  • Winston||

    I suppose next the Dems will be issuing hosannas to Harding and Coolidge? Never mind that the Dems hated them then and would hate any modern Republican attacking like them.

  • ||

    Five generations of Tafts have served our nation...

    What was it Holmes said? Five generations of rapacious parasites is enough? Public servants my ass. Those men served their own self interest.

  • Root Boy||

    Agreed! The founders warned against hereditary privilege and now that is all we see - Bush, Clinton, Kennedy, and on.

    And quit elevating public service as some noble sacrafice. How Susan Rice became a millionaire should be a fucking scandal.

  • Boisfeuras||

    If there exists such a thing as a good politician, Robert Taft comes about as close as any.

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