Friday, April 18, 2008

Quote, The Natural Processes of Free Competition, Unquote.

The internet is so damn awesome. I found this audio from the 1948 election in which a dirty liberal named Ronald Reagan is giving a campaign pitch for President Truman and the Senate campaign of future-VP Hubert Humphrey. He also speaks out against the greedy, dishonest economic policies of the Republican party.

Note that one of his complaints there was that while corporate profits had doubled (up 200%), worker wages had merely gone up... by one quarter (25%)! Americans today would kill for such inequality. While corporate profits are up by thousands of percent, workers are likely to see merely a 1 or 2% wage increase over many years. All thanks to policies enacted by recent Presidents like you-know-who.

I wonder when exactly it was that he stopped caring. Clearly he underwent a complete 180 in his personal and political principles between 1948 and 1964 (when his support for Barry Goldwater cemented his status as a conservative hero). He'd hardly be the first guy to get a little conservative in his old age, but Ronald Reagan became conservatism, and of a variety that had previously been relegated to the fringes in the post-war era. At the risk of being cynical (who, me?), I believe that some dishonesty and corruption by power and money may have played a part.

Reagan famously did say, in the early 1960s, that "I didn’t leave the Democratic Party. The party left me." But that's clearly not true. If anything, both parties are far more conservative-- on matters of economics, and maybe also everything other than civil rights/tolerance-- than they were back then. The words spoken by 1948 Reagan were those of a proud FDR Democrat. So what did he mean... the party wasn't progressive enough for him anymore? Clearly not. No, the Democratic party did not leave anyone. That infamous quote just proves the dishonesty of his transformation.

Moreover, this audio shows how, 60 years later, we're still fighting the same battles, only from a much worse position now, thanks in no small part to leaders like Ronald Reagan.


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