William Jennings Bryan, Hubert Humphrey, and the Jeffersonian Legacy
by Jeff Taylor
University of Missouri Press
(preface : page viii)
Mencken was predisposed toward antidemocratic sentiment even before he observed decade after decade of cynical politicians. Early on, he became a great admirer of Nietzsche. Mencken had libertarianism in common with Jefferson, but not populism.
(pref : viii)
[ wisdom of democracy ] * James Surowiecki, The Wisdom of Crowds : Why the Many are Smarter than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies, and Nations (New York: Doubleday, 2004).
(chapter 1 : page 1)
In 1926, William Allen White called William Jennings Bryan an “apostle of liberalism.” *
* William Allen White, “The End of an Epoch: The Passing of the Apostles of Liberalism in the United States.”
(2 : 9)
[ TJ and democracy ] * Ed McGaa, Crazy Horse and Chief Red Cloud (Minneapolis: Four Directions, 2005), intro.
(2 : 11)
In the 1810s, Jefferson advocated the creation of “ward-republics.” His proposed system was an effort to democratize and decentralize the American republic as much as possible. It was grounded at the ward level with face-to-face assemblies of the citizens, who would elect representatives to the county level, which would then send representatives to the state level, and on up to the national level. All government officials within the ward-republic would be elected by the people and each level would have an assigned sphere of responsibility. *
* R. Matthews, Radical Politics, 81-87.
(2 : 12)
In 1933, Amos Pinchot called Alexander Hamilton “the first strong advocate of plutocratic fascism in America” who spoke at the Constitutional Convention “for an absolutism almost as extreme as that of Lenin, Mussolini, or Hitler.” *
* Pinchot, “Walter Lippmann: III. Obfuscator de Luxe,” The Nation, July 19, 1933, 68.
(2 : 31)
[ original list of some of the aristocratic Bourbons who were ideological heirs of Calhoun ] Oscar Underwood (AL), John Sharp Williams (MS), Joseph Robinson (AR), Pat Harrison (MS), Walter George (GA), James Byrnes (SC), and John Sparkman (AL) -- [ original list of some of the populist southern Democrats who were more in the Jefferson-Jackson tradition ] Thomas Watson (GA), Benjamin Tillman (SC), Jeff Davis (AR), James Vardaman (MS), William Murray (OK), Theodore Bilbo (MS), and George Wallace (AL)
(2 : 32)
Those looking for southern political figures who represented aspects of Jeffersonian thought that were neglected or rejected by their more famous contemporaries could consider someone like Robert Jefferson Breckinridge. He was a son of John Breckinridge (a key advocate of the Kentucky Resolutions and an Attorney General under Jefferson), an uncle of Vice President Breckinridge, and a grandfather of both the social reformer Sophonisba Preston Breckinridge and the Presbyterian theologian Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield. Another illustrative Kentucky family would be the Blairs. Journalist Francis P. “Frank” Blair Sr. was a member of Andrew Jackson’s “kitchen cabinet” who went on to support Van Buren’s presidential campaigns (including his 1848 nomination by the Free Soil Party) before becoming a founder of the Republican Party. Blair did not give up his Jeffersonian principles, however, and he objected to perceived federal overreaching after the Civil War. He and his sons Frank Blair Jr. (of Missouri) and Montgomery Blair (of Missouri and Maryland) eventually returned to the Democratic Party. Montgomery had an interesting career as a leading backer of free-soil Senator Thomas Hart Benton (D-MO), a Mayor of St. Louis, an attorney for Dred Scott, and a Postmaster General under Lincoln. Frank Jr. was an early Republican before returning to his roots as the 1868 Democratic vice presidential nominee. B. Gratz Brown of Kentucky and Missouri, a grandnephew of Mrs. Frank Blair Sr., was even more of an abolitionist and social liberal than were his Blair cousins. As a journalist, U.S. senator, and governor, Brown followed his kin in being a Benton-style Democrat, and then an early Republican, and, eventually, a Democrat once again. He directly followed in the footsteps of his cousin Frank Blair Jr. as the 1872 Democratic and Liberal Republican vice presidential nominee. *
* Southwick, Presidential, 314-21, 329-37.
(2 : 33) (and 3 : 54-56)
The Democratic Vigilant Association was organized in October 1859 by big-business Democrats in New York City. It was designed to protect northern investments in the South by opposing abolitionism and pushing for compromise with slaveowners. It was pro-Union with a joint northern/southern economic elite perspective. Founders included August Belmont, William B. Astor, Moses Taylor, William Havemeyer, and Samuel Tilden. *
* Laurie Robertson-Lorant, Melville: A Biography (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1998), p. 405; Philip S. Foner, Business & Slavery: The New York Merchants and the Irrepressible Conflict (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1941).
(2 : 38)
“Isolationism” was widely used first as a term of attack in the 1930s and later of derision in the 1940s by American advocates of world war and imperial power.
(3 : 51)
(3 : 54)
Historian Jeff Hummel ranks Martin Van Buren as “the greatest president in American history.” An admirer of Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson, Van Buren--in the view of Hummel--presided over “an administration marred by none of their inconsistencies” and “remained truer to Old Republican principles” than either of these more famous “champions of liberty.” *
* Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, “Martin Van Buren: The American Gladstone,” Ludwig von Mises Institute site, June 24, 2006, http://www.mises.org/story/2201; see also Joel H. Silbey, Martin Van Buren and the Emergence of American Popular Politics (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002).
(4 : 65)
In the early 1920s, former Senator Richard Pettigrew (R-SD) gave this assessment: “Woodrow Wilson was not a Democrat after 1896. In that year he left the party for the same reason that I joined it. He came back and voted for Parker in 1904, and for the same reason that led me not to vote for Parker. Wilson did not support Bryan in 1908. At no time was he an advocate of the principles of progressive democracy.”*
* Pettigrew, Imperial Washington, 240.
(4 : 67)
A Godly Hero, the new biography of Bryan by historian Michael Kazin, is a mostly admirable book and is well worth reading, but it is mistaken when it concludes that Bryan was a forerunner of FDR and the New Deal. He wasn’t. Roosevelt was an elitist, statist, militarist, and imperialist. Bryan was none of those things. Sean Scallon is the author of a new book about agrarian-based third parties of the Upper Midwest (Beating the Powers That Be). Scallon is correct about Bryan: “He was a populist pure and simple. He bolted from the Wilson Administration when he dealt with the real forerunners of the New Deal.”
(4 : 67)
In early 1933, President Roosevelt offered former Governor James Cox (D-OH) the chairmanship of the Federal Reserve System. While Cox declined the Fed position, he did accept an appointment as delegate to the London Economic Conference, where he served as chairman of the monetary commission. Prior to the 1920 convention, Governor Cox was “the anointed candidate of the northeastern bosses.” As a “great admirer” of Grover Cleveland, Cox “appealed most strongly to the business-oriented conservative Democrats who deserted Bryan over the free-silver issue.” Before the national convention, Bryan described Cox’s candidacy as a “disgrace,” and afterwards wrote, “ The nomination of Governor Cox signalizes the surrender of the Democratic party into the hands of the reactionaries.” * This is the man who selected FDR to be his running mate and was later entrusted with influence over the nation’s financial policies.
* Craig, After, 282, 17-19; Levine, Defender, 169.
(4 : 67)
After John W. Davis was nominated, Senator Hiram Johnson (R-CA) privately wrote, “Mr. Dwight Morrow, of Morgan and Company, is the real manager of the Coolidge campaign. Other members of the firm will be the real managers of the Davis campaign. ...We have, therefore, in this campaign, as between the two major parties, the right of determination of what members of the House of Morgan shall lead us...” *
* Johnson, Diary, 4:7-10-24.
(4 : 68)
In 1940, opposition to the appointments of Secretary of War Henry Stimson and Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox centered on their roles as leading pro-war Republicans at a time when President Roosevelt and most GOP presidential hopefuls were promising to keep the nation out of war. There was also an economic component to the opposition. Senator Burton Wheeler (D-MT) and many other liberals were convinced that a “handful of international bankers in New York” were once again trying to drag the country into a world war. Stimson and Knox were political representatives of the investment banking community. Newspaper publisher and 1936 vice presidential nominee Knox was in the J.P. Morgan & Co. orbit. Stimson had longstanding ties to the eastern establishment and was an architect of the dollar diplomacy of the Taft and Hoover administrations. Wheeler observed that Stimson had been an attorney for “some of the most important interests in New York” and that Knox was “one of the most reactionary Republicans in the United States.” Scoffing at their reputed liberalism, he told the Senate, “Does it mean that the Democratic Party has abandoned all its principles of liberalism? Does it mean, if you please, that now we Democrats are going over into the heart of Wall Street and taking the very essence of Wall Street representatives and putting them into the Cabinet under a Democratic administration?...The country ought to know that both these gentlemen are the most conservative of the conservative Republicans…Great liberals? Of course. The minute the Democrats take a man from Wall Street he becomes a liberal, and the minute he does not come along with us he is a reactionary.” *
* Wheeler, Yankee, 387; Wheeler, “Nomination of Joseph C. Grew,” Congressional Record, December 19, 1944, 9713; Wheeler, “Nominations of Henry L. Stimson and Frank Knox,” Congressional Record, June 20, 1940, 8694-95.
(4 : 69)
(4 : 69)
Franklin Roosevelt followed in Woodrow Wilson’s footsteps. In fact, Roosevelt seems to have patterned his presidency after Wilson’s: Jeffersonian rhetoric during his first campaign, Hamiltonian policies once elected, pulling of a reluctant nation into a world war, and business-government partnership made overt during wartime. According to Arthur Schlesinger Jr., “The New Deal completed the exorcism of Jeffersonian inhibitions about strong government, committing liberals ever after to the Hamilton-T.R. faith in the state as a necessary instrument of the social welfare.” * It was Wilson, not Bryan, who began this “exorcism.” Bryan was a faithful follower of Jefferson. Bryan was under no illusion that Hamilton had a tender regard for “the social welfare.”
* Schlesinger, Vital, 181.
(4 : 70)
[FDR]: Only a master thespian could have retained his liberal reputation with so many people while doing such illiberal deeds. He was, of course, aided by friendly journalists, academicians, and politicians, but Roosevelt’s ability to play a part exceeded that of most politicians. H.L. Mencken called Roosevelt “one of the most adept and impudent demagogues in American history.” * Senator Hiram Johnson, a longtime liberal and Theodore Roosevelt’s running mate in 1912, crossed party lines in 1932 to support FDR but he had doubts by the mid 1930s about the genuineness of the president’s liberalism. The same was true for Senator Burton Wheeler, who was La Follette’s running mate in 1924 and an influential early advocate of Roosevelt for president.
* Johnson, Diary, 7:9-9-40.
(5 : 82)
Agribusiness magnate Dwayne Andreas was a close friend of both Humphrey and former Governor Thomas Dewey (NY), a longtime leader of the plutocratic wing of the Republican Party. In 1968, Dewey “remarked to Andreas that there weren’t five degrees separating Nixon and Humphrey on the political spectrum.” * This was an assessment by someone in a position to know.
* Richard Norton Smith, Thomas, 631.
(5 : 86-87)
Examples of the Humphrey fraternity in 2008 include Hillary Clinton and Bill Richardson; examples of the Kennedy fraternity include Barack Obama and Chris Dodd.
(5 : 94)
(5 : 98)
(5 : 101)
¶ - While Bryan had few ties to academia and the intelligentsia, Humphrey had many ties. Humphrey himself possessed an advanced degree and spent some time as a college instructor. Academicians and intellectuals surrounding Humphrey included Paul Douglas, Evron Kirkpatrick, Irving Kristol, Nelson Polsby, Seymour Martin Lipset, Eugene McCarthy, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Samuel Huntington, D.P. Moynihan, Ben Wattenberg, and Jeane Kirkpatrick. Humphrey Democrats generally stood in marked contrast to the intellectual populism of both the New Left and the New Right. Conservative activist Richard Viguerie has written, “Populists stand in opposition to the elitists who believe that people are not smart enough to manage their own affairs and that, therefore, the government should select intelligent, qualified persons to run society--‘intelligence’ and ‘qualifications’ being measured by the degree to which a person conforms to an establishment stereotype.” While the Left and the Right include a fair number of highly educated individuals, even those with college degrees tend to be somewhat suspicious of the sociopolitical impact of public education. In many cases, they view coursework as propaganda and political socialization as political brainwashing. C.S. Lewis contends that “educated readers” (those who read the highbrow weeklies) have been conditioned to be gullible. The specific beliefs and resulting concerns of liberal populists and conservative populists often differ, but both are worried about perceived indoctrination of young people by the Power Elite through public education. Hubert Humphrey could be pointed to as a possible example of this. In 1942, Humphrey said, “My father was a total Populist--he wanted to break up everything [i.e., use anti-trust laws against large corporations]. But I’ve been studying political science over at the University and down at Louisiana State, and I know you can’t do that sort of thing.” *
* Richard A. Viguerie, “A Populist, and Proud of It,” National Review, October 19, 1984, 42; Lewis, That Hideous Strength, 99-100; Barnet, Roots, 247-50; Zinn, People’s, 482-83; Chomsky, Radical, 180-81; Chomsky, Towards, 89; Loewen, Lies, 297-303; Solberg, Hubert, 89.
¶ - Over the years and across the miles, liberal writers such as Leo Tolstoy, Harry Elmer Barnes, Dwight Macdonald, George Orwell, and Noam Chomsky have criticized the intelligentsia of their nations for their role as defenders of the ruling class. In the United States during the twentieth century, the elitism of mainstream intellectuals can be seen in their attitude toward the separation of powers. Robert Connery and Gerald Benjamin note, “A strong, activist, aggressive executive has been the preferred model at every level of government in the United States since Franklin D. Roosevelt. An entire generation of political scientists argued for the chief executive as the center of energy in the political system.” The same could be said for historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., who was a prominent advocate of the “Imperial Presidency” until one of the emperors (Nixon) brought the notion into disrepute. Most American intellectuals have also supported the official foreign policy of the U.S. government. For example, most supported U.S. entry into World War II by 1940 (despite widespread popular opposition to such a move). Most also supported U.S. involvement in the Cold War and the Korean War (involvement spurred on by elite opinion, not popular opinion). In January 1951, about 900 leading “liberal” historians and social scientists signed a manifesto supporting President Truman’s policy of intervention in Europe and Asia. * Hubert Humphrey was intimately tied to mid-century “court historians” and “new mandarins” acting in the service of elitism and empire.
* Robert H. Connery and Gerald Benjamin, Rockefeller of New York: Executive Power in the Statehouse (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1979), 419; Macdonald, Discriminations, 304-7; Vidal, United, 6-7; Schlesinger, Imperial; H. Barnes, Chickens, 20; Cook, Harris, and Radosh, Past, 341; Chomsky, American.
(6 : 104)
(6 : 119-20)
(6 : 126)
[ Gore and corporate wealth ] * Ianthe Jeanne Dugan, “Gore Warms Up to Wall Street,” Washington Post, January 11, 1999, A1; Jill Abramson, “Al Gore's Money Problem,” New York Times Magazine, May 9, 1999, 58-61; Erin Arvedlund, “Wall Street Leans Left in 2000 Fundraising Binge,” September 27, 1999, http://www.thestreet.com/stocks/brokerages/787421.html; Russ Tisinger, “Vice President's Quarters Draws Fund-Raisers' Bucks,” December 14, 1999, http://publicintegrity.org/report.aspx?aid=603.
(7 : 143)
W. Averell Harriman switched from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party in 1928. He recalled, “I thought Republican isolationism was disastrous.” He was referring to GOP opposition to the League of Nations and to the views of Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman William Borah (R-ID), an old Bryan-La Follette ally. Gore Vidal comments, “After all, Averell Harriman was involved in German zinc mines, Polish iron mines, and Soviet manganese….The rulers of the country are…not isolationist. They know that money is to be made overseas either from peace or war, from the garrison state and its attendant machismo charms.” * One of Harriman’s partners in Brown Brothers, Harriman & Co. was Prescott Bush, father of one president and grandfather of another. The international investment banking firm was bipartisan: over time, Harriman became a Democratic governor of New York and Bush became a Republican senator from Connecticut.
* Vidal, Homage, 442-43; see also Isaacson and Thomas, Wise, 104-5.
(7 : 151)
Another indicator of the Council on Foreign Relations’ elitism is the hereditary, aristocratic nature of its leadership (and, by extension, the leadership of the U.S. government). Many examples could be cited, but three will suffice. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles was a grandson of Secretary of State John Foster, a nephew of Secretary of State Robert Lansing, and the husband of John D. Rockefeller Jr. cousin Janet Avery. Dulles, a founder of the CFR, exemplified the organization’s bipartisanship. His grandfather served under a Republican president, his uncle under a Democratic. In 1924, Dulles was chief foreign policy advisor to Democratic presidential nominee John W. Davis. In 1944 and 1948, he filled that role for Republican presidential nominee Thomas Dewey. He advised the Democratic Truman administration before joining the Republican Eisenhower cabinet. While Dulles was heading the State Department in the 1950s, his brother, Allen Dulles (past president of the CFR), was heading the Central Intelligence Agency. In addition to his campaign and government work, John Foster Dulles was chairman of the Rockefeller Foundation, chairman of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and a member of the U.S. Senate (R-NY). Allen Dulles later became a member of the Warren Commission. William Bundy, CIA official, Assistant Secretary of Defense, and Foreign Affairs editor, was a son-in-law of Secretary of State Dean Acheson. His brother, McGeorge Bundy, was a Harvard University dean, National Security Adviser to Kennedy and Johnson, and president of the Ford Foundation. Acheson’s granddaughter, Eleanor Dean Acheson, was a close friend of Hillary Rodham and became an Assistant Attorney General under Clinton. Cyrus Vance was Deputy Secretary of Defense and a Paris Peace Talks negotiator under Johnson. He went on to be vice chairman of the CFR, chairman of the Rockefeller Foundation, Secretary of State, and a director of numerous corporations. Vance was the favorite nephew of John W. Davis (J.P. Morgan attorney and founding CFR president). It stretches credulity to believe that such individuals rose to the top of the economic and political ladders on merit alone.
(7 : 154)
Jeane Kirkpatrick, wife of Humphrey mentor Evron Kirkpatrick and a political scientist in her own right, described herself as a “Humphrey-Jackson Democrat” when she joined the Reagan administration as United Nations Ambassador. She supported Hubert Humphrey for president in 1968 and 1972 and Henry Jackson in 1976. Like many neoconservatives, Kirkpatrick had a Marxist background.
(8 : 170)
During the 1896 campaign, Bryan was heckled on some college campuses by economically upper-class students. At Yale, he told the disruptive students, “I have been so used to talking to young men who earn their own living that I hardly know what language to use to address myself to those who desire to be known, not as the creators of wealth, but as the distributors of wealth which somebody else created.” *
* Werner, Bryan, 105.
(8 : 173)
A question might occur to the reader: “Was U.S. involvement in World War II a choice consciously made by FDR or was he forced by circumstances to do what any good leader would have done?” After the fact, historians--especially those who idolize American presidents--have a way of making everything that occurred seem logical, just, and inevitable. They are like Pangloss in thinking that we must be living in the best of all possible worlds. At minimum, we should be clear that Roosevelt’s desire to bring the U.S. into the war against the will of most Americans had nothing to do with stopping the Holocaust, which had not yet occurred. It was a real desire on his part that may look good in retrospect, but certainly had some unseemly elements to it at the time (namely, its undemocratic and deceitful nature, its enthusiastic embrace of Stalin, and its cavalier disregard for the lives of many Americans who would be sent to the frontlines under at least partially false pretenses). It is inaccurate to claim that Roosevelt was a man of peace who was forced by circumstance or principle to bring the country into war. He was a militarist who helped to arrange circumstances so that entry into the war would occur. Entry may have been ultimately necessary and for the best, but if Roosevelt is given credit for the good things that came out of American involvement, he must also receive some blame for the bad things. They include not only modernization, but the iron curtain of Soviet domination and Communist enslavement of eastern Europe, a U.S. foreign policy of perpetual war for perpetual peace, and the garrison state at home. By the way, when speaking of fascism and anti-Semitism, it is worth noting that Roosevelt showed little interest in helping European Jews who were being persecuted by the Nazis throughout the 1930s and early 1940s. It also true that he allowed U.S.-based corporations to collaborate with the Hitler regime in the form of lucrative business deals--and for some this continued even after December 1941. * These may have been the actions of a modern, pragmatic man at the center of an increasingly imperial presidency, but they have little in common with his historical reputation or his idealistic wartime talk of “Four Freedoms.”
* J.M. Burns, Roosevelt: The Lion and the Fox, 51-52, 60-63; Johnson, Diary, 7:3-19-39, 1-5-40; Schlesinger, Imperial, 120; Bill Kauffman, “Heil to the Chief,” The American Conservative, September 27, 2004, http://amconmag.com/2004_09_27/review.html; postwar descriptive phrases popularized by Winston Churchill, Charles Beard, and Gore Vidal, respectively; Arthur D. Morse, While Six Million Died: A Chronicle of American Apathy (New York: Random House, 1967); Antony C. Sutton, Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler (Seal Beach, Calif.: ’76 Press, 1976); Edwin Black, IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance Between Nazi Germany and America's Most Powerful Corporation (New York: Crown, 2001); Guido Giacomo Preparata, Conjuring Hitler: How Britain and America Made the Third Reich (Ann Arbor, Mich.: Pluto Press, 2005).
(9 : 187)
According to Bryan, “A government is strong in proportion as it rests upon justice; it becomes weak in proportion as injustice is substituted for justice.” * “Justice” implies the negative state. It is a standard that judges actions; it is not a vehicle for actions. It does not imply positive, activist government.
* Bryan, Under, 249.
(9 : 187)
In Bryan’s view, the declaration that all men are created equal does not “mean that all men are equal or can be equal in the possession of this world’s goods, for if wealth is a reward of merit, it must differ in proportion to merit. Those who believe in the doctrine that all men are created equal are not trying to level society by taking from the industrious to give to the idle, or from the economical to give to the spendthrift....The declaration that all men are created equal means that men are created equal in their natural rights....Jefferson condensed this fundamental principal [sic] of government into a political maxim: ‘Equal rights to all and especial privileges to none.’”*
* Bryan, Under, 266.
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In the early 1900s, Bryan said, “The whole question of socialism hangs upon the question: Is competition an evil or a good? If it is an evil then monopolies are right and we have only to decide whether the monopolies should be owned by the state or by private individuals. If, on the other hand, competition is a good then it should be restored where it can be restored. In the case of natural monopolies where it is impossible for competition to exist, the government would administer the monopolies not on the ground that competition is undesirable, but on the ground that in such cases it is impossible.” *
* Bryan, Under, 75.
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¶ - Supposed “laissez-faire” Republicans of the Gilded Age like Grant and McKinley were quite different from earlier liberals such as Jefferson, Taylor, and Jackson. The former were plutocrats; the latter were democrats. The former wanted government to keep its hands off of business in terms of breaking up monopolies and protecting the masses, but they were far from being hands off when it came to government subsidies, protective tariffs, and overseas markets. The Cleveland wing of the Democratic Party is often referred to as having been laissez-faire in orientation. Bryan-era conservative Democrats used the Jeffersonian image when it was convenient (when common people asked government for help) and ignored it when it was inconvenient (when big business wanted government help). This was not true free enterprise or political decentralization. *
* Rae, Decline, 11, 15; Garson, Power, 285; Stanley L. Jones, Presidential, 264.
¶ - Referring to 1920, historian Douglas Craig writes, “The Democratic party entered that year as a political body responsible for reforms that had significantly expanded federal power in areas such as banking, industry regulation, and labor law. In the twelve years between 1920 and 1932, however, new platforms were devised which emphasized the Democrats’ solicitude for the interests of the corporate sector and disavowed the federal interventionism and activism of the Wilsonian era. They now leaned toward the negative statism and economic conservatism of Grover Cleveland.” There is much confusion in this analysis. Bryan was a negative statist on most issues, while Cleveland was a positive statist when it came to special privileges for large corporations and wealthy individuals. In 1894, Governor J.P. Altgeld (D-IL) objected to President Cleveland’s decision to send in federal troops to break up the Pullman strike, protesting that it was an insult to the people of Illinois and a “violation of a basic principle of our institutions.” Four other governors subsequently informed Cleveland, “You are notified that you may not feel called upon by the plea of any alarmist to use United States troops here unless requested by State authority.” In this instance, Cleveland was using federal troops to violate states’ rights and the positive state to defend corporate power. With his Jacksonian roots, former Senator Lyman Trumbull (R-IL) was appalled by Cleveland’s use of court injunctions and federal troops. * Like Altgeld, Trumbull was ideologically close to Bryan.
* Craig, After, 3-4; Hollingsworth, Whirligig, 24; Roske, His Own, 172.
¶ - Cleveland Democrats were opposed to control of corporations, period--not just centralized control of corporations. For them, the real problem was the control, not the method of control (state vs federal); the end of anti-monopoly, not the methods of anti-monopoly; the targeting of trusts, not the growing of governments. In many cases, the economic conservatives--and Wilson certainly fell into this camp--found centralized “control” to be preferable because it was easier to co-opt. * It is important to distinguish between rhetoric and reality. Obviously, conservatives had to portray themselves as defenders of traditional values and individual liberty rather than of special privileges and economic exploitation because they were posing as followers of Jefferson and Jackson rather than of Rockefeller and Morgan. It is difficult to believe that supporters of monopoly and imperialism had sincere ideological objections to political centralization.
* Kolko, Triumph.
¶ - Robert Burk, author of The Corporate State and the Broker State, has analyzed the political activities of Pierre, Irénée, and Lammot du Pont. During the 1925-1940 period, they were influential within the Democratic Party through the conduit of DNC chairman John Raskob and within the Republican Party through the American Liberty League. Burk argues that the du Ponts “wrongly described themselves as Jeffersonians” and that they “did not oppose centralization as long as they could direct that process to serve their own purposes.” * During this period, the “antistatism” of conservative Democrats was manifested through their endorsement of states’ rights and opposition to economic justice. The former should be interpreted in the light of the latter. Just as John C. Calhoun was more of a slavocrat than a decentralist, John W. Davis was more of a plutocrat than a decentralist. In both cases, “states’ rights” was used as an attractive banner to cover of the essence of their ideology (devotion to slavery and devotion to monopoly, respectively). From the Bryan perspective, states’ rights can sometimes be, like patriotism, the last refuge of a scoundrel. **
* Craig, After, 7.
** Ibid., 10-11, 19, 53, 56-57, 123, 147, 251.
¶ - Concerning plutocratic Governor Al Smith (D-NY), Craig writes, “Smith’s distrust of extensive state action led him to champion states’ rights throughout his public career. Although he could countenance government intervention at the state level to address pressing problems, he was considerably less tolerant of federal activism.” Why? Government intervention within his own state by the Tammany Hall-Wall Street machine was okay because such “reform” was safe. Smith and his allies could make sure that the proper solutions were applied to pressing problems in New York. They were concerned about proposals at the national level by people like Bryan that would go far beyond their own measures. Would Smith have had the same attitude toward intervention at the state level had he been a minority-bloc legislator working with a liberal governor in Wisconsin, Colorado, or Louisiana? It’s doubtful. He probably would have found some other justification for his opposition to liberal measures. Was Smith merely opposed to the means or was he actually opposed to the end? If it was just a question of means, he would have pushed for liberal reforms at the state level which he opposed at the federal level (e.g., child labor, prohibition, inheritance tax). During the 1928 presidential campaign, DuPont-General Motors executive Raskob praised Democratic nominee Smith by saying, “No man could have higher, finer ideals with respect to the relations which should exist between government and business. He is a strong advocate of less government in business and more business in government.” * How convenient!
* Craig, After, 119, 155.
¶ - When it comes to rhetoric concerning individualism, personal liberty, minimalistic government, and states’ rights, one should consider the source. These words, these ideas, mean something different coming from a democrat compared to a plutocrat. For most Jeffersonians, decentralization is not an end in itself--it is a means to an ultimate end. The ultimate end is democracy or self-governance (there is a distinction between the two, but democracy is as close to self-rule as we are likely to get since anarchy does not seem viable to most Americans). If someone uses the rhetoric, or even the reality, of decentralization in an attempt to reach plutocracy, it is a misuse of decentralization. Such a corruption of means is not Jeffersonian; it is a new strategy of Hamiltonianism, something to be set aside at the moment it ceases to provide utility for the cause of corporate wealth and power. *
* Wolfskill, Revolt; Bill Kauffman, America, 57, 189-90.
¶ - Think about the conservative Democrats who were so concerned about the issues of states’ rights, individual freedom, and bureaucratic government during the 1920s and 1930s. Where were they during World War I? They were pushing for U.S. entry into the imperial European bloodbath. They were favoring conscription of American boys. They were supporting adoption of the Espionage and Sedition Acts. They were demanding universal military training. They were helping to send government spending through the roof. They were assisting with the War Industries Board. They were cheering on Woodrow Wilson as he created a “war welfare state.” * They were sanctioning federal police activity through the Palmer Raids and other manifestations of the Red Scare. When the Liberty League failed to mobilize popular sentiment in the mid 1930s, did its leaders channel their efforts into the campaign to prevent U.S. entry into the new international bloodletting, realizing that participation in another world war would invariably lead to political centralization, a loss of civil liberties, and huge government expenditures? No. On the contrary, these leaders muted their criticism of President Roosevelt and worked hand-in-hand with him in the effort to bring about U.S. involvement. American participation in a second world war held the prospect of a burgeoning national debt (largely borrowed from the big banks), a large infusion of federal funds into heavy industry and munitions, and a likelihood of expanded global markets as the U.S. superseded the collapsing European empires. The combination of centralization, domestic repression, and profligate spending was apparently a small price to pay in return for these tangible benefits. Ideological consistency is fine, but it doesn’t put food on the table…or gas in the limo or yachts in the water.
* Ronald Schaffer, America.
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In the early 1900s, Bryan asserted, “The natural man has inalienable rights--rights which the government did not give, rights which the government can not take away--the corporation has no rights which the government did not give and no rights which the government can not take away when the welfare of society requires it.” Responding to conservative Democratic criticism of his trust policies, in 1901, he wrote, “Under the Constitution, Congress has the power to regulate interstate commerce, and it does not tend towards centralization for Congress to exercise that power in behalf of the people. The law proposed would not take from the state any right that it now has; it would not encroach upon the domain of the state, it would simply provide that the state, while at liberty to create corporations for domestic purposes, could not create corporations to prey upon the people of other states.” *
* Bryan, Credo, 60; Bryan, Commoner, 204.
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Over and over again, Bryan contended that trusts (big business) controlled the U.S. government. That is what “plutocracy” is all about. What is the point of giving an instrument more power if it is in the wrong hands? Satan does not try to cast out Satan. From the Bryan perspective, adding to the power of the federal government in a plutocratic context is positively harmful not only because it increases assistance to monopolistic corporations but because it serves to squelch genuine reform at the state and local levels. Herbert Croly, a Progressive Era intellectual who acknowledged his debt to Hamilton, referred in 1909 to the consequences of Bryan’s Jeffersonian ideas: “He dared to advocate openly and unequivocally the public ownership of the railway system of the country; and he has proposed, also, a measure of Federal regulations of corporations…But the value and effect of his radicalism is seriously impaired by the manner in which it is qualified. He…betrays the old Democratic distrust of effective national organization. He is willing to grant power to the Federal authorities, but he denies them any confidence, because of the democratic tradition of an essential conflict between political authority, particularly so far as it is centralized, and the popular interest.” *
* Kolko, Triumph; Croly, Promise, 158-59; see also Forcey, Crossroads, 28-29.
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In 1908, Bryan declared, “I am jealous of any encroachment upon the rights of the States…It is, however, entirely consistent with this theory to believe, as I do believe, that it is just as imperative that the general Government shall discharge the duties delegated to it, as it is that the States shall exercise the powers reserved to them. There is no twilight zone between the Nation and the State, in which exploiting interests can take refuge from both, and my observation is that most--not all, but most--of the contentions over the line between the Nation and the State are traceable to predatory corporations which are trying to shield themselves from deserved punishment, or endeavoring to prevent needed restraining legislation.” Bryan supported states’ rights and recognized “the dangers of centralization.” *
* Bryan, Speeches, 2:398-99; see also Ibid., 2:181-87, and Bryan, Second, 498-99.
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The “countervailing force” of the New Deal-Great Society was much different from that of the Progressive Era as advocated by Bryan. He sometimes advocated a positive state, but these positive functions were to be used sparingly and to address fundamental problems that could not be solved in more traditional Jeffersonian ways. They were designed to prevent corporate exploitation of the citizens. Thus, Bryan sought to break up monopolies in order to preserve the free-enterprise system and to prevent big business domination of the government in order to preserve democracy. Examples of positive measures include public utilities (only for natural monopolies--not state socialism across the board), railroad regulation or ownership (viewed as a natural monopoly and/or threat to democracy), child labor laws (public safety), and conscription of wealth during wartime (remove profiteering as a motive for creating wars). Bryan did not advocate or envision a welfare state. He did not want government--especially the federal government--to replace families, neighbors, and churches in caring for the poor, the weak, and the old.
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In 1908, Bryan criticized the Republican Party for trying to “centralize the Federal Government.” This was one of the “Republican Tendencies” that was leading the nation into state socialism. *
* Schlesinger, History, 5:2081.
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Bryan addressed the tendency that eventually flourished as state socialism under Lenin and his heirs, and also as statism under FDR and his heirs, and he was not favorably disposed toward government by centralized bureaucracy. In 1906, he wrote, “Probably the nearest approach that we have to the socialistic state to-day is to be found in the civil service. If the civil service develops more unselfishness and more altruistic devotion to the general welfare than private employment does, the fact is yet to be discovered. This is not offered as a criticism of civil service in so far as civil service may require examinations to ascertain fitness for office, but it is simply a reference to a well-known fact--viz., that a life position in the government service, which separates one from the lot of the average producer of wealth, has given no extraordinary stimulus to higher development.” Bryan went on to praise the embattled ideal of individualism, noting, “The trust magnates and the [state] socialists unite in declaring monopoly to be an economic development, the former hoping to retain the fruits of monopoly in private hands, the latter expecting the ultimate appropriation of the benefits of monopoly by the government.” *
* Orwell, The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell (New York: HBJ, 1968), 4:163; Rudolf Rocker, Nationalism and Culture (St. Paul: Michael E. Couglin, 1978), 238; Dwight Macdonald, Henry Wallace, 36; Bryan, William: Selections, 88-89.
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In 1939, Humphrey commented, “This can be an omen of good fortune, if we look upon centralized direction and control as a means toward efficiency and democratic planning. But it may lead to an impersonal relationship between government and citizen that will be destructive of individual initiative and personal integrity. People may grow to regard government as something separate from and above them. A bureaucracy may find a firm foothold in our governmental system and cease to be responsive to the will of the people. Congress may be in the process of signing away its powers to a principle of strong executive leadership, which within itself, although not destructive of democratic principles, may give rise to a spirit of noblesse oblige, or paternalism, that is not conducive to a government of the people and by the people and for the people.” * Of course, these “possibilities” were already flourishing in 1939. And what was FDR if not a paternalistic leader with an aristocrat’s sense of noblesse oblige?
* Humphrey, Political, 77-78.
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In the late 1930s, Humphrey wrote, “The history of the first century of our national existence records numerous constitutional debates of momentous importance. The issue of ‘state rights’ rang through the halls of Congress until the issue was finally settled on the battlefields of Gettysburg and Atlanta.” * So much for the Tenth Amendment!
* Humphrey, Political, 60.
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In the mid 1970s, Humphrey wrote, “The argument between those who venerated states’ rights and the advocates of big federal government made for good theoretical discussion and good newspaper copy, while too many times the people’s needs were ignored. The doctrine of states’ rights, narrowly construed, frequently prevented any expression of the national will or adequate solutions for problems on a national basis. What was reasonable in a small nation, largely rural and agricultural, hog-tied an increasingly urban, expanding population whose commerce and industry and problems swept across geographic boundaries of the states.” Once again, political scientist Humphrey has little if any interest in political theory. He wants results. Jeffersonian means or Hamiltonian means, dashes of capitalism, fascism, or socialism…it doesn’t matter as long as it works to “help people.” *
* Humphrey, Education, 190 (hardcover -- Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1976); see also Don Oakley, “Non-Candidate’s Non Sequitur Pitch,” Charles City (Iowa) Press, April 15, 1976.
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By 1964, Humphrey was praising big business for being “liberal,” “humanitarian,” and “progressive.” So why was big government still needed as a countervailing force? It is a rhetorical question because the type of liberalism embraced by Humphrey had never acted as a countervailing force anyway. It did not try to curb the power of big business; it left it alone--with the exception of a handful of well-publicized cases involving economic/political rivalry--while the government tried to act as the father, mother, doctor, and nurse of every citizen. The welfare state can be seen as humanitarianism writ large but it can also be seen as a seemingly benevolent form of totalitarianism. *
* Solberg, Hubert, 261, 451; Humphrey, Cause, 14-15; Humphrey, Education, 47 (hardcover).
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It could be argued that the Great Society was largely a manifestation of and monument to the colossal ego of Lyndon Baines Johnson. *
* Solberg, Hubert, 266.
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Arguing that the phrase “public servant” tends to be a cynical joke, analyst Joseph Sobran writes, “Politics is about ruling, about power, not ‘service.’ If you want to ‘serve,’ go to a soup kitchen. I can’t help observing that for all their altruistic and humanitarian rhetoric, politicians who lose elections don’t often turn to feeding the hungry or changing bedpans. They frequently become highly paid lawyers or lobbyists. I don’t want to shock anyone, but to me that suggests that their real interests are power and money, not charity.” *
* Sobran, “Semantic Fog.”
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In his autobiography, Humphrey wrote, “Democrats seem to love government, while, I suspect, high-level Republicans too often really do not.” * Are Americans supposed to love government? Maybe use, maybe respect, maybe obey, maybe fear. But love?
* Humphrey, Education, 179 (hardcover).
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In 1901, Bryan discussed criticism of himself by Henry Watterson of Kentucky, a leading conservative Democrat. Accusing Bryan of being too idealistic and too tied to theory, Watterson wrote, “Mr. Jefferson allowed no theory to stand between him and the purchase of Louisiana, though in making the purchase he had to cross his own tracks.” Bryan replied, “There was no moral principle involved in the acquisition of the Louisiana Territory. Jefferson doubted whether the letter of the constitution permitted it, but having an opportunity to purchase it, not for the exploitation of a colony but as an integral part of a republic, he did so expecting to ask for a constitutional amendment approving of it. The act, however, was so universally commended and the opinion that the act was constitutional was so general that no effort was made to amend the constitution.” Later that year, Bryan criticized the Supreme Court’s decision regarding the Downes case. According to Bryan, the court decided that Congress could deal with Puerto Rico “without regard to the limitations of the Constitution,” thereby drawing this response from Bryan: “It not only declares Congress is greater than the Constitution which created it--the creature greater than the creator--but it denies the necessity for a written Constitution.” *
* Bryan, Commoner, 137, 161.
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Humphrey approved of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s loose construction of the Constitution. According to Humphrey, the New Deal “demanded that the [Supreme] Court recognize that the American experiment required liberal interpretation of the interstate commerce and due process clauses and an enlargement of the idea of a public utility. The President contended that the general welfare clause of the Constitution should be construed broadly to include anything conducive to the national welfare, unaffected by the specifically enumerated powers which follow the clause ‘that, pursuant to it, the Congress may raise taxes and appropriate the proceeds to promote the general welfare.’” In defense of this position, Humphrey even quoted Jefferson (“no society can make a perpetual constitution or even a perpetual law”). But Jefferson was noting the ability of the people to change or even replace the Constitution, not the ability of one man or a few judges to “liberally interpret” it. Humphrey also quotes Jefferson’s statement that “to lose our country by a scrupulous adherence to written law would be to lose the law itself, with life, liberty, and property and all those who are enjoying them with us; thus absurdly sacrificing the end to the means.” These words were taken from a letter to J.B. Colvin and they are about specific extraordinary actions taken in the face of self-destruction, not adoption of a general philosophy of constitutional interpretation. *
* Humphrey, Political, 71, 68, 73; Jefferson, Life, 606-7; Wiltse, Jeffersonian, 174; Dwight Macdonald, Discriminations, 304-7.
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The struggle between gold bugs and silverites could be seen as a battle over “whether the bankers were to control the government or the government was to control the bankers.” In 1895, Bryan declared, “There is no question now that the campaign of 1896 will be fought on the money question…between the capitalists of the Northeast and the rest of the people of the country.” When notified of his 1900 nomination, Bryan included this statement among his remarks: “Republicans who were formerly attached to the greenback are now seeking an excuse for giving national banks control of the nation’s paper money.” Believing that only government should issue currency, Bryan opposed the issuing of paper money by national banks. *
* Werner, Bryan, 50; Coletta, William, 1:96; Bryan, Under, 309; see also Bryan, Second, 173-75, and Bryan, William: Selections, 41-42.
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A Humphrey biographer comments, “As vice president he forfeited the liberal essence that was the source of his commanding autonomy. Lyndon Johnson took his measure--and took him captive. Back in 1945 his father, reading in the newspapers that the young mayor had eaten with bankers, telephoned next day to warn him not to succumb to the flatteries and attractions of these men of wealth, but to remember how many farmers the bankers had foreclosed in the Depression. Now Lyndon Johnson sent him out to make friends with Wall Street.” Carl Solberg writes that by hobnobbing with bankers in the mid 1960s, Humphrey “changed, becoming part of the establishment,” but the change was only one of scale, not principle, since he was hobnobbing with Minneapolis bankers twenty years earlier. *
* Solberg, Hubert, 469.
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In his autobiography, Humphrey revealed that he was planning to appoint establishment pillar Clark Clifford to be his Secretary of State had he been elected in 1968. Clifford was a close and important friend of Wall Street. He was the most influential corporate attorney in Washington during the 1960s, with clients including Standard Oil of California, General Electric, McDonnell Douglas, and DuPont. He moved with ease within the military-industrial complex as an advocate for military contractors and then as Secretary of Defense at the close of the Johnson administration. * In subsequent years, Clifford became chairman of Washington’s biggest bank: First American Bank, an institution owned by BCCI and mixed up with drugs, terrorism, fraud, and the CIA. Clark Clifford would have been an able practitioner of dollar diplomacy in a Humphrey administration.
* Humphrey, Education, 7 (hardcover); Isaacson and Thomas, Wise, 688-89.
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Ironically, Franklin Roosevelt favored Herbert Hoover for the 1920 Democratic presidential nomination. While Roosevelt was pushing for Hoover, liberal Senator Hiram Johnson was writing, “Hoover was a representative of the Morgan firm before we entered the war, practically a partner…He’s the international bankers’ white hope now. His New York committee is Wall Street.” In 1928, Roosevelt refused to write an article against Hoover even though he was competing against Al Smith because Hoover was “an old personal friend.” Following the defeat of the Cox-Roosevelt ticket in 1920, FDR went to Wall Street. A testimonial dinner was given for him at Delmonico’s in New York City in January 1921. Those attending the dinner in his honor included Federal Reserve Board governor W.P.G. Harding, Morgan-affiliated publisher Frank Munsey, Adolph Ochs of the New York Times, Edward Stettinius of U.S. Steel, Daniel Willard of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and Owen Young of General Electric. From 1921 to 1928, Roosevelt was an insurance executive, bank director, international speculator, and Wall Street attorney. He was intimately involved with investment bankers and big businessmen. In the summer of 1928, Roosevelt was planning to accept the presidency of “a proposed multimillion-dollar Wall Street bank.” Thus, it is not surprising that the Roosevelt administration of 1933 to 1945 largely “reflected the objectives of financial elements concentrated in the New York business establishment.” Harry Truman filled the top slots of his administration with international bankers and supported one--Governor Averell Harriman (D-NY)--for president in 1956. John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson continued the tradition of enlisting bankers for cabinet positions and relying on the “Wise Men” of Wall Street for private advice. Not surprisingly, the financial policies of the New Frontier and Great Society were generally opposed to those advocated by House Banking and Currency Committee chairman Wright Patman, a Jefferson-Bryan Democrat from Texas who spend his long political career trying to expose and thwart “the concentration of economic power in the hands of a small number of bankers, business executives and government officials.” *
* Johnson, Diary, 3:2-6-20; Freidel, Franklin, 2:56-58, 226, 93, 248; Sutton, Wall Street and FDR, 13; “The Last Populist,” Newsweek, January 14, 1963, 57-58; “Wright Patman: A Lonely ‘Populist,’” Business Week, July 23, 1966, 51-54; Abraham, Call, 57; Eileen Shanahan, “Wright Patman, 82, Dean of House, Dies,” New York Times, March 8, 1976, 1.
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¶ - In 1946, Robert Taft led Senate opposition to Truman’s plan to draft striking mine and railway workers into the Army, saying, “I am not willing to vote for a measure which provides that the President may be a dictator. It offends not only the Constitution, but every basic principle for which the American Republic was established.” * This sounds melodramatic, but it may have been an understatement. Not far from Capitol Hill, an exasperated Truman was in the White House writing a private memo to himself: “Declare an emergency--call out troops. Start industry and put anyone to work who wants to go to work. If any leader interferes court martial him. [John L.] Lewis ou[gh]t to have been shot in 1942, but Franklin didn’t have the guts to do it....Adjourn Congress and run the country. Get plenty of Atomic Bombs on hand--drop one on Stalin, put the United Nations to work and eventually set up a free world.” Interesting thoughts. Truman backed away from his plan in the face of congressional opposition. Senator Taft also denounced President Truman’s planned seizure of the steel industry during a steel workers strike in 1952. The Supreme Court rejected it as unconstitutional.
* Caroline Thomas Harnsberger, A Man of Courage: Robert A. Taft (Chicago: Wilcox and Follett, 1952), 169; McCoy, Presidency, 58, 291-93.
¶ - Two of Humphrey’s political heroes, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt, were also criticized by some Americans for their dictatorial tendencies. * Wilson was a political scientist before entering politics. In 1911, Governor Wilson wrote, “One of the greatest of the President’s powers…[is] his control, which is very absolute, of the foreign relations of a nation. The intitiative in foreign affairs, which the President possesses without any restriction whatever, is virtually the power to control them absolutely.” Charles Beard was probably the only person to serve as president of both the American Political Science Association and the American Historical Association. In 1938, he wrote, “It is said that the President alone has the right to determine foreign policy, that Congress has nothing to do with expressing the attitude of the American people toward foreign governments. In reality, this is a fiction sedulously propagated by parties interested in exalting the Executive over Congress and above the people represented by the Legislative branch. The Constitution of the United States does not vest sole power over foreign affairs in the Executive.” **
* Johnson, Diary, 2:4-13-18, 7-12-18, 11-23-18, 3:1-1-19, 6:11-9-36, 11-10-36, 3-20-37, 7:7-27-41, 8-1-43; Thelen, Robert, 152-53; “Dictator Feared by Amos Pinchot,” New York Times, February 15, 1937, 3; “Roosevelt ‘Course’ Decried by Pinchot,” New York Times, April 26, 1937, 7; “Dictatorial Aims Laid to President,” New York Times, July 26, 1937, 6; Pinchot, History, 82-84; Meriwether, Jim Reed, 262-63; “An Ominous Nomination,” Christian Century, July 31, 1940, 942-44; Divine, Foreign, 52-53; Burton K. Wheeler, “The American People Want No War: We Must Act Now Before It is Too Late,” Vital Speeches of the Day, June 1, 1941, 491; Flynn, As We Go Marching; “The Question of Civilian Conscription for War,” Congressional Digest, April 1944, 102.
** Maxwell, ed., La Follette, 46; Beard, “Should Congress Approve the Proposed New National Defense Program?” Congressional Digest, March 1938, 90.
¶ - In January 1944, Franklin Roosevelt proposed conscription of all adult civilians for the duration of the war in order to prevent strikes and to acquire personnel for war production and other “essential services.” The proposal was so “novel and revolutionary” that its constitutionality was immediately called into question. * Roosevelt did not press the issue when four other parts of his war program were not enacted by Congress.
* “The Question of Civilian Conscription for War,” Congressional Digest, April 1944, 101-5.
¶ - Roosevelt “issued more executive orders during World War II than all previous presidents had during the entire history of the nation. The most powerful politicians in the country, after Roosevelt, were men he appointed to run the war agencies. The president recruited most of these ‘war lords’ of Washington from the ranks of business.” Kennedy “believed in a strong, centralized presidency that operated free of the restraints of Congress, public opinion, and the media.” Johnson opposed congressional “interference” with foreign policy even while he was a leader of Congress. *
* Moss, Moving On, 17, 140; Schlesinger, Imperial, 160-1, 177-78; for the Bryanite perspective on these developments, see Thomas Gore, “Is the Increasing Power of the President Improving the American Government?” Congressional Digest, November 1933, 279.
¶ - Political scientists James Underwood and William Daniels write, “Many observers, correctly we think, have noted that the Nixon administration inherited in the presidency an institution whose norms legitimated practices that were inconsistent with ideals often professed as part of our democratic tradition….Some leading examples include manipulating public opinion through dissembling, outright lying and secrecy, and using dirty tricks such as wiretapping citizens of the United States and harassing leaders of foreign countries with a variety of devices and schemes, even including assassination. The fact that such practices occurred under a variety of presidents before Nixon, including Kennedy and Johnson, suggests that more than just the personality of one bad apple was at fault. Specifically, we agree with those who suggest that the modern liberal’s excessive promotion of strong executive leadership as both necessary and desirable produces a context in which such practices were likely to be employed.” * Humphrey criticized Nixon for abuses of power; he did not do the same with Kennedy or Johnson.
* James E. Underwood and William J. Daniels, Governor Rockefeller in New York: The Apex of Pragmatic Liberalism in the United States (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1982), 9-10.
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In his Cross of Gold speech, Bryan said, “They criticise us for our criticisms of the Supreme Court…If you want criticisms, read the dissenting opinions of the court.” Fifteen years later, he quoted one written by Justice John Harlan, the sole dissenter in the Standard Oil and American Tobacco cases (1911): “When the American people come to the conclusion that the judiciary of this land is usurping to itself the functions of the legislative department of the Government, and by judicial construction only is declaring what is the public policy of the United States, we will find trouble. Ninety millions of people--all sorts of people with all sorts of opinions--are not going to submit to the usurpation by the judiciary.” * Of course, we know that Harlan was wrong. The American people have submitted to usurpation.
* Bryan, William: Selections, 41, 122.
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Conservative Cleveland Democrats appreciated the undemocratic nature of the Supreme Court and other parts of the federal judiciary. They were far from the denunciations of “judicial tyranny” unleashed by Jefferson, Jackson, and Bryan. This was true from the days of the Palmer-Buckner splinter party in 1896 to John W. Davis’ campaign in 1924. *
* Bryan, Second, 333; Craig, After, 67.
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Modern progressives who are uncomfortable leaving the fold of childlike faith in federal judges to protect us from bigots and bullies would do well to consider the words of Senator Robert La Follette (R-WI), an ally of Bryan and a man with impeccable progressive credentials. In both of his major campaigns for president, he warned against the tyranny of judge-made law. In 1912, he wrote, “The judiciary has grown to be the most powerful institution in our government….By usurping the power to declare laws unconstitutional and by presuming to read their own views into statutes without regard to the plain intention of the legislators, they have become in reality the supreme law-making institution of our government...what may indeed be termed a ‘judicial oligarchy.’” In 1924, he said, “I offer this challenge to all those who regard judges as the sole defender of our liberties. Show me one case in which the courts have protected human rights and I will show you twenty in which they have disregarded human rights to protect property.” *
* La Follette, Political, 180-81; Maxwell, ed., La Follette, 82.
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When thinking about concern by Supreme Court justices for the poor, downtrodden, and oppressed, we should understand that this was a noblesse oblige concern far removed from the actual lives of such plaintiffs. These were not men who had been living in Harlem or Watts, who had been driving a truck or working on an assembly line or tending a family farm before joining the High Court.
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According to political scientist Wayne McIntosh, “It is the resource-rich and politically powerful parties who are most visible and most persuasive at the U.S. Supreme Court during eras of intense nationwide socioeconomic change and dislocation. Generally speaking, such parties use the court to protect their interests in the wake of changes taking place around them. Such parties also have the means and wherewithal to make the system work to their advantage, utilizing any and all courts to harness the forces of more gradual and long-run socioeconomic change.” *
* Gates and Johnson, American Courts, 290.
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In his 1900 nomination notification speech, Bryan touched on the subject of Filipino subjugation with unfortunate prescience: “That the leaders of a great party should claim for any president or congress the right to treat millions of people as mere ‘possessions’ and deal with them unrestrained by the constitution or the bill of rights shows how far we have already departed from the ancient landmarks and indicates what may be expected if this nation deliberately enters upon a career of empire.” *
* Bryan, Under, 322.
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[Full Bryan quote on sacralism, 1906] “The attempt to unite church and state has never been helpful to either government or religion, and it is not at all certain that human nature can yet be trusted to use the instrumentalities of government to enforce religious ideas. The persecutions which have made civilization blush have been attempts to compel conformity to religious beliefs sincerely held and zealously promulgated.” *
* Bryan, William: Selections, 86.
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Dominated by Roosevelt’s eight appointees, the Supreme Court in the 1940s “refused to intervene in cases involving wartime violations of civil rights, except to affirm the relocation of Japanese Americans from the Pacific coast.” *
* Moss, Moving On, 17-18.
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In supporting civil liberties for all Americans, historian Harry Elmer Barnes placed himself in the company of “Old Liberals” such as Amos Pinchot, Charles Beard, Randolph Bourne, George Norris, John Flynn, Oswald Garrison Villard, Robert La Follette, Clarence Darrow, and Burton Wheeler. Barnes contrasted this group with the new, “totalitarian liberals” who were “chiefly responsible, directly and indirectly, for launching intolerance” in his generation and for “perfecting the techniques employed.” Barnes believed that the trend toward intolerance, suspicion, name-smearing, and investigating in the early 1950s had been “produced almost exclusively, if not entirely, by the totalitarian liberals themselves.” He went on to write, “The chickens which were hatched from this evil interventionist movement have now come home to roost and the liberals who so lightheartedly laid the eggs are now clucking with alarm and indignation. Had we not entered into the second World War, the Cold War, and the Korean War, the trends and events which the liberals now protest against with such vehemence would have been unthinkable.” Referring to Orwellian, Big Brother-ish liberals, Barnes contended, “They remain just as intolerant of any who do not swallow their globaloney dogmas as the so-called ‘inquisitors’ are of Communism and fellow-travelling.” He specifically included Senator Humphrey among this group of hypocritical “homogenized liberals.” *
* Barnes, Chickens, 3-4, 15, 26, 17.
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During the Kennedy and Johnson years, the executive branch of the federal government systematically spied on and attempted to destroy various civil rights, peace, and anti-establishment organizations in America. *
* R. Griffith, Major, 189.
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The term red-baiting means to imply or accuse someone of being a Communist or at least a Communist sympathizer (“fellow traveler”). Red-baiting by Humphrey and others was dubious in nature not because genuine “reds” and “pinkos” were not around. They were. The CPUSA, after all, was a legal political party. A relatively small number of well-meaning Americans imbibed the materialistic teachings of Marx, recognized some evils in western capitalism and imperialism (and could see no better alternative than state socialism), and donned rose-colored glasses when it came to the horrendous record of the Soviet regime (starting with Lenin and Trotsky, not with Stalin). Genuine anti-Communists who simultaneously detested Marxism-Leninism and held to traditional liberal views believed in upholding constitutional protections for Americans even with these incorrect and unpopular beliefs. Red-baiting was unfortunate not only because of its harm to civil liberties but also because it targeted not just real Communists but also traditional, all-American populists and isolationists who refused to support Cold War imperialism. This targeting was often cynical and selective. Political opponents and economic critics were crippled by smears and innuendos. Thus, the patriotism of a Burton Wheeler or Robert Taft was impugned while an actual Soviet spy like Alger Hiss was protected by the bipartisan establishment because he seemed to share their perspective on global management by New York-based monopoly capitalists. *
* Daugherty, Inside, 167-68; Wheeler, Yankee, 233; Radosh, Prophets, 183-84; Quigley, Tragedy, 935-56, 1244-46.
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In 1951, Senator William Langer (R-ND), an old-school liberal, said, “[I come from] the Great Middle Northwest--the home of the Senior La Follette and George Norris and of other leading exponents of progressive thinking and legislation. We believe in the Constitution out there and we bitterly resist any invasion by any group of war profiteers, corrupt politicians, so-called 100 percent self-loving hypocritical patriots, or by any other enemies of constitutional government.” * These words were aimed as much at President Truman and the Democrats as they were at Senator McCarthy and the Republicans.
* R. Griffith, “Old Progressives and the Cold War,” 338.
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Exploitation of cheap immigrant labor by wealthy individuals and large corporations is often disguised as humanitarianism and anti-xenophobia. In 1901, Bryan noted that Professor Edward A. Ross of Stanford University was forced to resign his teaching position after he publicly condemned the coming of Japanese laborers to America in the light of our nation’s experience with imported Chinese laborers. Mrs. Stanford asked for his resignation, evidently sensitive to the subject because her late husband, Senator Leland Stanford (R-CA) of the Southern Pacific Railroad, “had the habit of importing coolie labor, and for this he was frequently denounced by those opposed to that labor.” Ross was a liberal who supported free silver and opposed corporate power. Who was being progressive in this situation? The Stanfords or Ross? Bryan believed that Chinese emigration was defended by two kinds of people: the relatively small number “who believe that universal brotherhood requires us to welcome to our shores all people of all lands” and the much larger number who realize that “it will furnish cheap labor for household and factory work.” *
* Bryan, Commoner, 17, 322-23.
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Some Bryan Democrats, including Senators William Stone (MO), James Reed (MO), and James Martine (NJ), opposed immigration restrictions aimed at southern and eastern Europeans. While recognizing homogeneity and labor concerns about immigration, they believed that an open door to legal arrivals was, on balance, good for America. They were among the handful to oppose the Burnett Immigration Act that required a literacy test. *
* William Stone, “Regulation of Immigration,” Congressional Record, January 8, 1917, 996-97; James Reed, “Regulation of Immigration--Veto Message,” Congressional Record, February 5, 1917, 2619-21; James Martine, “Regulation of Immigration--Veto Message,” Congressional Record, February 5, 1917, 2621-22.
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Besides being a pioneer liberal, Louis Brandeis was the first Jewish person to be nominated for the Supreme Court. This fact somewhat muddies the water when examining his confirmation vote in the Senate. Were opponents voting against him because of his political/economic views or his ethnic/religious identity? Significantly, Brandeis was supported not only by Bryan but by openly racist Bryan allies like Senators Benjamin Tillman of South Carolina and James Vardaman of Mississippi. A few years later, Bryan suggested Justice Brandeis for the Democratic presidential nomination.
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In his detailed analysis of Bryan and race relations, Willard H. Smith refers to a “paradox and contradiction in his attitude in that he was not a consistent racist. In some respects,…he was generous and broadminded; and in others, especially as regards the Negroes, his attitude was acceptable to the strict segregationist.” In comparison to Jews and Catholics, African Americans were on the receiving end of a “much less generous” attitude. Why? Some point to Bryan’s southern heritage. Others, to his political reliance on the white-dominated Solid South. Bryan’s belief in white supremacy was taken for granted by the vast majority of Americans. It was a virtually unquestioned assumption. Neither major party cared about equality for blacks. Rayford Logan notes, “Party platforms were frankly hypocritical on the constitutional rights of Negroes. Presidents of both parties uttered pious platitudes, but said nothing and did nothing, except to give a few jobs to professional Negro officeholders.” *
* W.H. Smith, Social, 41-42, 52; Logan, Betrayal, 61.
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In 1901, Bryan approvingly noted that Jefferson “argued in favor of freeing the slaves three-quarters of a century before Lincoln issued his emancipation proclamation.” *
* Bryan, Commoner, 95.
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Bryan cautiously courted black voters when he ran for president in 1908. Political scientist Louis Koenig writes, “The logic of his religious conceptions required him to embrace all races into the brotherhood of man. Both he and Mary indeed contributed to Negro charities and causes, and in his contests for Congress he openly solicited Negro votes. But in running for the Presidency, ever mindful of the Southern Democracy as the foremost bastion of his strength, he was affected by a hardheaded calculation of what Negroes could do for him.” In addition to the endorsement of Bryan by Du Bois and some other prominent African Americans, the 1908 campaign included Democratic publicity about Bryan’s giving of money to black schools and the fact that his running mate, John Kern of Indiana, had appointed a Negro as his chief clerk. Koenig comments, “His pioneer endeavor of striving to bring the Negro voter into the Democratic coalition remained a young unnoticed fruit on the vine until a far day when Franklin Roosevelt nurtured it and plucked it in its ripeness.” *
* Koenig, Bryan, 449, 450.
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Writing in The Commoner in 1903 about “The Race Problem,” Bryan expressed racist sentiments. Amidst a discussion about lynching and prejudice, he wrote, “It must be remembered, too, that the negro has as much prejudice against the white man as the white man has against the negro, and if the negro was in a position to rule the white man there is no reason to doubt that the white man would have reason to complain. This was apparent in the carpet-bag days and is apparent today wherever it can find expression.” Noting that skin color is not a matter of choice, Bryan remarked, “It is, therefore, as unkind to taunt a man with being black as it is unreasonable to be angered by such a taunt.” Bryan was writing as though there was parity in the race relations of his day. Obviously, this was not the case. He also wrote, “The fact that a negro is lynched by a mob because of an outrage upon a woman ought not to increase the race prejudice that exists. White men are lynched for the same crime. Neither must the white man’s feelings toward the negro be judged when under great excitement. Man mad is an entirely different creature from man deliberate.” It is difficult to believe that the number of white men lynched was equivalent to the number of black men, especially in those states that had the highest rates of lynching. Bryan also ignored the fact that those being lynched were accused but untried and unconvicted, that they were, in the eyes of the law, innocent until proven guilty. He was not always so fuzzy in his thinking and callous in his feeling. A couple years earlier, Bryan wrote, “The burning of another negro, this time in Kansas, again calls attention to the tendency to return to the cruelties and torture of former times....Such atrocities are inexcusable, no matter when or where they are practiced. Lynch law must be condemned on general principles because it temporarily suspends government and its enforcement amid excitement and without a careful examination of the evidence often leads to the doing of great injustice.” *
* Bryan, William: Selections, 70-71; Bryan, Commoner, 393.
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Senator David Walsh (D-MA) was an Irish Catholic. Bryan was a hero of the youthful Walsh and a friend of the mature Walsh. Bryan touted him for the 1920 Democratic presidential nomination. Walsh himself favored Governor Al Smith for president in 1924, 1928, and 1932. At the 1924 convention, Walsh led the fight to condemn the Ku Klux Klan by name. Bryan opposed the resolution but this disagreement about party strategy did not affect his regard for Walsh. The following year, he suggested Walsh as co-counsel for the Scopes trial. Senator James Reed (D-MO), another Bryan ally, was also an important opponent of the KKK. NAACP co-founder Oswald Garrison Villard called it “one of his bravest fights.” *
* Wayman, David, 24-25, 44, 80, 147-50; Villard, Prophets, 97.
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[ Full Bryan quote about KKK ] In 1922, Bryan referred to the Klan in a letter to his friend, Senator Thomas Walsh (D-MT), an Irish Catholic: “This organization combines all the race prejudices we have in this country....It is unfortunate that we should have any organization built upon prejudice against any group, and superlatively unfortunate to have an organization built upon all the prejudice combined. The question is how to deal with the situation....Prejudice is a factor that has to be reckoned with and it implies ignorance on the part of those prejudiced. The only remedy for ignorance is enlightenment and I am sure that enlightenment will prove a remedy in this case.” *
* W.H. Smith, Social, 50-51.
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In his speech opposing the anti-KKK plank at the 1924 convention, Bryan said, “We can best exterminate the Klan by recognizing the honesty and sincerity of the members and teaching them that they are in error.” After the 1924 election, George Fort Milton, a member of the Bryan-McAdoo bloc, told Thomas Walsh that he believed the subject of the Klan had been raised at the convention by “political tricksters who cared little about the merits of the issue” but who wished “to destroy the progressive candidate [McAdoo] whose victory they feared for economic and social reasons. The big trouble with the Klan politically,” he concluded, “is that its mere existence allows a vicious band of re-actionaries to shelter behind the anti-Klan cry, and to attract to them the assistance of right-thinking people everywhere.” * The accusation of trickery and reaction certainly does not apply to Senator David Walsh, but it may well apply to some of the other supporters of Governor Al Smith (specifically, those associated with Tammany Hall and Morgan-DuPont). It is interesting that the Bryan of 1924 is usually portrayed by historians as a “conservative,” while Smith is called a “liberal” despite his ties to corruption and corporations.
* Springen, William, 177; Craig, After, 63.
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In the 1968 election, third-party candidate George Wallace received significant support from “ethnic Americans.” Nationally, he garnered approximately 13% of the Jewish vote, 18% of the Slavic vote, and 22% of the Italian vote. *
* Brzezinski, Between, 244.
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¶ - Bryan’s racism should be neither excused nor exaggerated. It does get tiresome to hear self-righteous liberals of the New Deal-Great Society sort sneering at “Bryan the bigot” since their own political heroes also had feet of clay. The “progressive” and “enlightened” stance of modern liberalism, in terms of ethnic inclusiveness and equality, looks better at a distance than it does up-close. Woodrow Wilson was the primary ideological antecedent of the New Deal. Wilson’s prejudice against blacks and support for segregation are well-known, but, as a snob, he also disparaged Catholics and Jews from southern and eastern Europe. A discreet form of bigotry was common in upper-class WASP circles. Similarly, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a product of a snobbish, elite upbringing, and was privately known for anti-Semitic remarks. In 1937, when asked in an off-the-record conversation with reporters about the opposition of Senator Herbert Lehman (D-NY) to his Court-packing scheme, FDR responded, “What else could you expect from a Jew?” In 1939, Roosevelt refused to allow a German ship carrying almost 1,000 Jewish refugees to dock in the United States. Roosevelt’s placing of Japanese-Americans into concentration camps added to his administration’s record of ethnic exclusiveness. Even Humphrey acknowledged the civil rights shortcomings of Wilson and Roosevelt, two men he greatly admired. *
* Schaffer, America, xv, 76; Lasky, It, 164; Morse, While Six Million Died; Lundberg, Myth, 83; Humphrey, Beyond, 34-35, 40-41.
¶ - Franklin Roosevelt supported Governor Al Smith for president in 1920, 1924, and 1928. When he was finally nominated in 1928, the Smith campaign made assurances to the white South that he was “reliable” on race issues. Eleanor Roosevelt assured an Alabama voter that Smith did not believe in racial intermarriage and that he had “a full understanding of conditions as they are in the South and would never try to do violence to the feelings of the Southern people.” President Roosevelt did little or nothing to end segregation and other forms of racial discrimination. When he died in 1945, a columnist for the Pittsburgh Courier, the nation’s leading black newspaper, wrote, “I am sure that no one can show where the jim crow pattern was abandoned or any steps taken to eliminate racial segregation. What concessions were won by Negroes toward the goal of full equality came as a result of terrific pressure on their part….There is no record that F.D.R. used his vast powers and prestige to influence his Party in the South to change its traditional policy of disenfranchising Negroes.” *
*Craig, After, 174; Bernstein, Towards, 279; George S. Schuyler, “F.D.R.” Politics, May 1945, 137.
¶ - Despite his reputation as a supporter of Zionism, Harry Truman occasionally engaged in anti-Semitic slurs. As president, he took some tentative steps in the direction of justice for African Americans, but his actions were apparently grounded in pragmatism, not principle. The sincerity of his publicly-expressed concern for racial equality must be questioned in the light of his privately-expressed racism. The grandson of slaveowners, Truman “grew up detesting the meddlesome abolitionists, decried the racial experimentation of Reconstruction, and sneered at Thaddeus Stevens…He also acquired an abiding belief in white supremacy.” Truman sought the support of the Ku Klux Klan when he ran for a judgeship in Missouri in 1922. In order to receive the Klan’s backing, he decided to join the group. Truman later claimed that he was not inducted and his membership fee was returned, but at least one source indicates that he became a KKK member. Truman privately “expressed strong racist sentiments before, during and after his presidency.” Throughout the 1930s, he referred to blacks as “coons” and “niggers.” When Truman became the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 1944, he assured racist Governor Chauncey Sparks of Alabama that he was “the son of an unreconstructed rebel mother.” Truman earned a reputation as a champion of civil rights in the late 1940s, but his public actions were apparently motivated by the upcoming 1948 election. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, he opposed the sit-ins, opposed the freedom rides, and considered Martin Luther King Jr. to be a “troublemaker.” In 1960, he “reacted to the lunch counter sit-ins of black students in the South by telling an audience at Cornell University that they were inspired by Communists. When he was asked for proof of this, Truman said he had none. ‘But I know that usually when trouble hits the country the Kremlin is behind it.’” *
* Lasky, It, 164; Bernstein, Politics, 13, 269-304; William E. Leuchtenburg, “The Conversion of Harry Truman,” American Heritage, November 1991, 56, 57, 58, 66; Alfred Steinberg, The Man from Missouri: The Life and Times of Harry S. Truman (New York: Putnam, 1962), 63-64; “Writer Focuses on Truman’s Racial Slurs,” Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune, October 25, 1991, 12A; Zinn, Declarations, 260.
¶ - John F. Kennedy was not the champion of civil rights he has been made out to be. JFK is often linked to MLK and the civil rights movement, but Kennedy’s involvement with the issue of racial justice appears to have been based more on political calculation than personal belief. According to historian Thomas Reeves, “Jack had never had a deep moral commitment to racial equality….The Kennedys failed to initiate or achieve any significant or lasting progress in this critical area of American life for the basic reason that, being pragmatic politicians primarily interested in winning and maintaining political power, they put votes ahead of principles....He refused to honor his pledge to end discrimination in federally assisted housing with a stroke of the pen because it was politically disadvantageous….The president opposed sending new civil rights legislation to Capitol Hill for equally pragmatic reasons.” As a payback to white-supremacist politicians who had supported his campaign for the 1960 nomination, Kennedy appointed several arch-segregationists as federal judges in the deep South. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy considered most blacks to be “hopelessly naïve about big-time politics” and had a condescending attitude toward them. RFK authorized FBI wiretapping of King. *
* Clinch, Kennedy, 228-38; Reeves, Question, 336-37; Branch, Parting, 699-700, 811, 906-9; Miroff, Pragmatic, 223-70.
¶ - Malcolm X referred to black support for the Kennedy-Johnson ticket of 1960 as “your dumb vote, your ignorant vote, your wasted vote.” Noting that Johnson was from “a lynch state,” Malcolm dismissed him as “a Southern cracker” and noted that under the leadership of Kennedy and Johnson the Democrats had not “kicked the Dixiecrats out of the party.” He was not impressed that Kennedy and Johnson had appointed a few “Uncle Tom handkerchief-head Negroes” to jobs in Washington. He attacked the motivation behind the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Malcolm declined to support the Johnson-Humphrey ticket, expressing the view that Johnson was no better than Goldwater and was, in at least one sense, more dangerous because his racism was covert while Goldwater’s was overt. He pointed out that Johnson was proclaiming civil rights to be “a moral issue” while the president’s best friend was Senator Richard Russell (D-GA), “the Southern racist who led the civil rights opposition.” In 1966, black power advocate Stokely Carmichael accused Johnson of hypocrisy for preaching nonviolence and lawfulness to American blacks while he was bombing and looting Vietnam. Dick Gregory, candidate for president under the Freedom and Peace label in 1968, revealed that he would have voted for Goldwater over Johnson if he had voted in that election: “The only thing wrong with Barry Goldwater in 1964 was that he dared to be the more honest of the two candidates.” *
* Arthur L. Smith and Stephen Robb, eds., The Voice of Black Rhetoric: Selections (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1971), 217, 218, 219, 247, 257, 259, 281-82; Malcolm, Autobiography, 373; Gregory, Write Me In!, 25.
¶ - Liberal journalist Robert Sherrill writes, “During the 1964 Democratic convention, a top official of one of the national networks was surprised to receive a personal telephone call from the President himself. The message: ‘Get your goddamn cameras off the niggers out front [the MFDP pickets protesting the seating of the Mississippi white delegation] and back on the speaker’s stand inside, goddamn it!” Johnson saying “We shall overcome” in May 1965 to a black audience at Howard University can be seen as either an inspirational advance or a grotesque stunt. After Martin Luther King’s speech on April 4, 1967 against the Vietnam War, Johnson told cabinet members, “That goddamn nigger preacher may drive me out of the White House.” Limousine liberals tried unsuccessfully to keep the black civil rights movement in safe channels through their financing. G. William Domhoff comments, “So the liberal commitment to bringing civil rights to the South is deadly serious despite the disturbances it causes within the Democratic Party. It has cost many millions of dollars, and it may encourage Southern Democrats to mend some of their coarser ways. On the other hand, the commitment of the limousine liberals decidedly does not include a direct challenge to the national Democratic Party, to leaders of ADA, or, for that matter, to any American institution that is cherished by the enlightened rich.”*
* Sherrill, Accidental, 22; Solberg, Hubert, 276; Colby and Dennett, Thy Will Be Done, 589; Domhoff, Fat Cats, 136; see also Ibid., 126-36.
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In 1948, Mayor Humphrey and ADA successfully sponsored a strong civil rights platform plank supposedly over the objection of the party’s leaders, including President Truman. However, Truman needed something special to appeal to northern black voters because he was competing against the natural appeal of Republican nominee Thomas Dewey (representing the party of Lincoln) and Progressive nominee Henry Wallace (VP under FDR running on a very pro-equality platform). It is difficult to believe that Truman could not have pressured Humphrey into backing off had he truly wanted to do so. It is even possible that Truman and his strategists privately encouraged the northern urban liberals to propose the plank because they saw a net political gain for the president. Truman himself had made some civil rights gestures during the previous year that had already alienated some Democratic racists. Clark Clifford and other Truman advisors may have gambled that the Solid South would stick with the party despite some civil rights symbolism, just as it had done during the Roosevelt years. This did not happen because the Dixiecrats bolted and they took four southern states, but Truman still captured most of the South and the convention controversy did prove helpful to him. It had removed a possible issue from Republican hands and deflated the Progressive effort. *
* Schlesinger, Elections, 8:3106-7; R. Griffith, Major, 150; Solberg, Hubert, 125, 133.
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Senator Humphrey had many black delegates at the 1972 national convention. Unlike McGovern’s mostly young, radical blacks, Humphrey supporters tended to be older and more traditional. Many of Humphrey’s black delegates ended up voting for Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm (NY), while many of his white delegates moved to Senator Henry Jackson (WA).
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Governor George Wallace condemned Chief Justice Earl Warren and other limousine liberals for being hypocrites because they “demanded integration in the South but sent their own children to nearly all white private or suburban schools rather than the predominately black District of Columbia public schools.” *
* Lesher, George, xv.
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¶ - Unlike Bryan’s southern supporters, Humphrey’s most important friends in the South were Bourbons (i.e., champions of the economic elite). Humphrey’s 1948 convention speech and 1950 attack on Harry Byrd (D-VA) angered and alienated many southerners, but by the mid 1950s, Humphrey was on good terms with Senate Bourbons. While they were more refined in their segregationism and racism than the fiery populists of the South, his new friends were segregationists and racists nonetheless. By the end of his first term in the Senate, even “the conservative Southerners of the Dixiecrat stripe thought well of him.” Humphrey and these men supported one another in contests for national office--one example is the support Humphrey gave to John Sparkman (D-AL) as Stevenson’s running mate in 1952 and Sparkman’s support for Humphrey in 1956--thereby tainting Humphrey in the eyes of some liberals. His close relationship with Lyndon Johnson (D-TX), an ambitious Bourbon, proved to be his ultimate undoing in the eyes of many liberals. Always serving as a junior partner in Johnson & Humphrey, the Minnesotan found himself in all kinds of strange situations (e.g., protecting the cloture rule in 1955, supporting a “defanged” Civil Rights Act in 1957, praising Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus in 1964, opposing legislation to outlaw the poll tax, courting Georgia Governor Lester Maddox in 1967, reassuring Texas Governor John Connally in 1968). *
* Berman, Hubert, 50; Southwick, Presidential, 585-87; Schlesinger, Elections, 8:3239-40; R. Martin, Ballots, 419; Solberg, Hubert, 169, 179, 306; Sherrill, Accidental, 160; Lokos, Hysteria, 152; Ryskind, Hubert, 320; Chester, Hodgson, and Page, American, 542, 556-58.
¶ - Of course, it is not fair to blame the lapses of HHH on LBJ. Humphrey’s role in dealing with the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party delegation at the 1964 convention included presidential pressure, but Johnson pressure would have been ineffective without Humphrey ambition. In his autobiography, Humphrey devoted less than one page to the MFDP challenge to racism. He did not refer to the MFDP by name. He referred to it as one of “two contending Democratic groups from Mississippi, one essentially black, the other essentially old-line southern white.” He blamed the two groups for “creating public turmoil, which none of us, particularly Johnson, wanted.” Humphrey found the role he was forced to play in the affair to be “aggravating.” He wondered, “Had I failed [to publicly resolve the conflict], would Johnson have chosen [Eugene] McCarthy or someone else [as his running mate]?” Many younger blacks viewed the pro-segregation “compromise” worked out by Humphrey, Minnesota Attorney General Walter Mondale, and ADA chairman Joseph Rauh as a treacherous sell-out. Describing the MFDP challenge four years later, Humphrey expressed no regrets about his role in the “considerable victory,” dismissing Fannie Lou Hamer and her friends as “an extreme group.” SNCC leader James Forman saw it differently: “The whole liberal-labor syndrome saw the possible election of Humphrey [as vice president] as their finest hour, the crowning glory to years of sellout, compromise, and so-called coalition. Humphrey was the shining knight of Americans for Democratic Action; he was the darling of some segments of the labor movement. No upstarts from Mississippi were going to destroy his chances. No ‘wild-eyed, idealistic bunch of kids’ was going to say what’s good for poor people in this country. But the people of Mississippi had no faith in Humpty or Dumpty or any of those other smooth-talking jackals.” *
* Humphrey, Education, 299 (hardcover); James Forman, Making, 386-406; H. Rap Brown, Die, 60-63, Sherrill and Ernst, Drugstore, 136-40; Humphrey, Beyond, 112; Forman, 389.
¶ - Lyndon Johnson had nothing to do with two other notable Humphrey compromises. Relying on Bourbon support at the 1956 convention in his quest for the vice presidential nomination, Humphrey defended the value of a weak civil rights plank. During the convention, he told a nationwide television audience “that patience was the essential ingredient in the fight to wipe out racial prejudice. Appearing on the CBS program ‘Face the Nation,’ Humphrey remarked that ‘We know you’re not going to kill it overnight no matter how many platforms you write.’” Humphrey obviously had a far more progressive record on racial equality than did Bryan, but his 1956 stance was not that different from Bryan’s much-criticized position at the 1924 convention. During the 1972 primaries, Humphrey waffled on the issue of forced busing. He tried to co-opt George Wallace’s anti-busing constituency in Florida and then denounced Wallace as a racist demagogue in Wisconsin. *
* Humphrey, Hubert, 144; Ryskind, Hubert, 211; Thompson, Fear, 209.
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Jeffersonians see no contradiction between low taxation and a balanced budget because they also believe in low spending. Hamiltonians in the Republican Party try to combine politically-popular tax cuts with high spending, a combination which usually leads to high deficits. Hamiltonians in the Democratic Party try to combine high taxation with even higher spending, which also leads to high deficits. Neither major party is interested in balancing the budget and paying off the national debt.
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During the 1901-1902 period, Bryan wrote, “Some of the republicans are becoming alarmed at the extravagance of the present congress. The appropriations for this session will not be far from eight hundred millions….Why does not the administration call a halt? Because the tax eaters control the republican organization and their appetite grows with the feeding.” *
* Bryan, Commoner, 389.
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FDR aide Harry Hopkins described the administration’s strategy as “tax and tax--spend and spend--and elect and elect.” *
* “New York: Ouch!” Newsweek, February 9, 1959, 29; see also Johnson, Diary, 6:9-22-36, 7:1-21-39, 1-28-39.
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As Bryan Democrats, Governors William Murray (OK) and Charles Bryan (NE) objected to the extravagant spending of the Franklin Roosevelt administration in the 1930s. In 1940, Congressman Louis Ludlow (D-IN) said, “I want to make it plain that in every fiber of my being I am a Democrat, an old-fashioned liberal--a Jeffersonian Democrat, if you please--and I forswear none of my cherished and ingrained Democratic principles, when I criticize big spending. Rather, on the contrary, I believe that I reassert orthodox and true Democratic principles, for the tutelage of Thomas Jefferson upheld and extolled economy as a primal virtue to be scrupulously applied in government….I yield to no one in my warm personal regard for Franklin D. Roosevelt and my admiration for his noble heart and humanitarian purposes…But I am fed up with big spending. I have voted against $8,000,000,000 of appropriations during the ten years I have been a Member of Congress, and as I look backward my only regret is that I did not vote against more of them.” * Ludlow could be thought of as the Anti-Humphrey.
* Bryant, Alfalfa, 257-60; Osnes, Charles, 376-77; Southwick, Presidential, 482; Louis L. Ludlow, “Should a Joint Committee of Congress be Appointed to Balance the Federal Budget” Congressional Digest, February 1940, 63; see also Ludlow, “Vision of Jefferson.”
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In 1949, the Chicago Tribune editorialized, “Mr. Humphrey has never been deterred by such sordid details as the expenditure of the taxpayers’ money. A compilation of measures he introduced in his first four months in the Senate totted up to 22 billion dollars.” Humphrey was proud of his reputation as a big-spending liberal, but he disputed the expenditure figures used by conservative critics. *
* Solberg, Hubert, 143.
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Senator Harry Byrd (D-VA) sounded like a Jeffersonian when it came to government spending, but overall he did not follow in Jefferson’s footsteps. He was aristocratic and plutocratic, not democratic. * When concerns about the dangers of political centralization, bloated bureaucracies, excessive spending, and high taxation began to be expressed in the 1930s by conservative Democrats associated with Bernard Baruch and the du Ponts’ American Liberty League, they rang a little hollow considering corporate America’s record of monopoly, giantism, greed, and exploitation. Were these men truly concerned about the hard-working citizens of the land…or about themselves? This led many Jeffersonians to suspect a hidden agenda on the part of these Hamiltonian Democrats--perhaps involving a desire to avoid paying income and inheritance taxes, a desire to avoid regulation of their companies, or a desire to use rhetoric as a tool to discredit liberals within the party.
* D. Porter, Congress, 94; Craig, After, 171-72, 235, 239-43, 247.
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In 1964, Humphrey wrote, “There are those who say that we must choose between efficiency and frugality in government, on the one hand, and large Federal expenditures and debts to finance our unmet needs on the other....I think that by now President Johnson and his administration have demonstrated that through judicious planning, these harsh, invidious choices can be avoided.” * It was early in Johnson’s presidency at this point, but even then it is difficult to see how it could have been accurately described as “frugal.” The expensive, sprawling nature of the federal government was one of the main issues Barry Goldwater used against Johnson. He was not known as a budget-cutter.
* Humphrey, Cause, 32.
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The supposed conservatism of the 1950s is called into question by the rise of obsessive “growth liberalism” in economics and politics. In some ways, the decade was quite revolutionary as traditional American values were tossed on a bonfire of credit and materialism. This explains to some extent why the Jeffersonian revival known as the New Left felt some kinship with “value conservatives” of the Robert Taft-Barry Goldwater sort. Jack Kerouac was a Taft supporter in the early ‘50s and Goldwater was Bob Dylan’s favorite politician in the early ‘60s. * Despite their bohemian sexuality or fondness for marijuana, the Beats were in some ways more conservative than Dwight Eisenhower and his interstate highways or Adlai Stevenson and his secular eggheadism. At least we can say with certainty that the vast majority of grassoots Republicans and Democrats were more traditionally American than the cosmopolitan standard bearers guided by the likes of Milton Eisenhower and Arthur Schlesinger Jr.
* Goldwater, “Barry Goldwater Talks About ‘Liberals’ and ‘Liberalism’”; Kauffman, “Don’t Underrate Isolationism,” 759; Kauffman, America, 172; Bob Dylan, Chronicles, Volume One (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004), 283.
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Bryan was an early advocate of a federal income tax and his views on the subject are worth quoting at length. His desire to create a new national tax might seem to contradict the Jeffersonian principle of low taxation. It did not. Jeffersonians who emphasize libertarianism might view Bryan as just another confiscatory state socialist. He was not. His thoughts on who should pay an income tax shed light on the regressive nature of FDR’s Revenue Acts of 1942 and 1943. Bryan had this to say about tax fairness in the early 1900s: “Unjust taxation is nothing less than larceny under the form of law for it takes from one more than he should pay, while it leaves in the pockets of another money that in equity belongs to the government....Is there any rule by which we can determine in what proportion people should pay taxes? Adam Smith suggested a rule a century ago but it is so just that it must have been thought of long before he was born. The rule is that citizens should contribute to the support of their government in exact proportion to the benefits received by them from their government. While all will accept this as an abstract proposition, it is surprising how far we deviate from it in actual practice. Take the Internal Revenue Tax as an illustration. It is paid by those who use liquor and tobacco, and it is paid, not in proportion to the wealth of the consumers, not in proportion to their incomes; and not in proportion to the amount of protection they receive from the government, but in proportion to the liquor and tobacco used; and it is needless to say that the poor, as a rule, contribute a larger proportion of their incomes than the rich to support the government in so far as they are paying taxes through the Internal Revenue Department. The same is true of tariff taxes….The income tax has been suggested as a step toward an equalization of the burdens of government….While there is no scientifically exact means of determining the protection of the government, there is no safer measure than the size of the income, and therefore, no system of taxes more nearly approaches justice than that which makes the contribution to the government proportionate to the income of the contributor. If the income tax were the only system of taxation in use, justice would require that the taxes should be levied on small incomes as well as large ones, but, when the system is used in connection with an Internal Revenue system, which over-burdens the poor, and in connection with a tariff system, which also over-burdens the poor, justice requires that small incomes be made exempt from the income tax in order that the total taxes may be equitably distributed.” *
* Bryan, Under, 268-69.
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Senator Thomas Gore of Oklahoma spoke for old-time Populists and Bryan Democrats when he proclaimed “that high taxation is always and everywhere an unmitigated evil, and that low taxation everywhere and at all times is a blessing to be sought and to be encouraged.” *
* Gore, “Amendment of National Banking Laws,” Congressional Record, May 30, 1908, 7253.
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In 1924, Bryan noted, “Of thirty millions of voters, less than one in four have income enough to pay a tax on.” *
* Werner, Bryan, 279.
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In the hands of wealth-friendly administrators, the federal income tax was not applied as intended. In 1933, Senator Arthur Robinson (R-IN) accused J.P. Morgan & Co. of being a group of tax dodgers: “Not one member of the firm paid a cent of [federal income] taxes during the year 1931, though they were asking--demanding, even--that the Budget be balanced, and that we drive the disabled veterans from the hospitals of the United States in order to balance the Budget.” *
* William Langer, “Secretary of State,” Congressional Record, November 30, 1944, 8612.
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The federal income tax during the Humphrey era was far more progressive on paper than in practice. For example, wealthy Governor Nelson Rockefeller paid only $685 in federal income taxes in 1966. He paid nothing in 1970. In 1974, it was revealed that Rockefeller had, over a period of ten years, brought himself down into the 25% tax bracket. Despite having an annual income of about $5 million, he was paying taxes at the level of someone making $14,000. Some of the largest corporations paid no income tax in 1975: Ford Motor, Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines, Chemical New York, Manufacturers Hanover, Western Electric, Bethlehem Steel, National Steel, Lockheed Aircraft, and Phelps Dodge. Each of the eight largest U.S. banks made profits in 1975 but none paid income taxes. *
* Lundberg, Rockefeller, 89, 93-94, 87, 294-95; “11 Big Firms Paid No ’75 U.S. Income Taxes,” Facts on File, November 13, 1976, 847.
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Despite what Jimmy Carter said during the 1976 campaign about the tax system being a national disgrace, once elected, he showed no interest in meaningful tax reform. His advisors were committed to the socioeconomic status quo and he spurned proposals for tax equity. * As he had been for every Democratic chief executive, Senator Humphrey was a loyal supporter of President Carter’s policies.
* Derek Shearer, “Boardrooms and Backrooms Provide All the Usual Suspects,” Seven Days, February 14, 1977, 4-5.
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Bryan viewed “antagonism to militarism” as one of the “fundamental principles” of the Democratic Party. *
* Bryan, Commoner, 8-9.
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In 1903, Bryan addressed the Jefferson Memorial planning group: “I want this monument to be in keeping with the services of the man. I want it to stand as high as the monuments erected to warriors; I want it to testify to the world that the heroes of peace are as great as the heroes of war; that those who save human life are as great as those who take it, even though they take it in defense of a righteous cause.” *
* Bryan, Credo, 46.
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Bryan was not a pure pacifist in the nonresistant or conscientious objector sense. He volunteered for the Spanish-American War and even after his embrace of Tolstoyan philosophy and opposition to World War I entry, he volunteered to be a soldier in 1917 after war was declared. Similarly, although opposed to capital punishment on moral principle, “Bryan wrote to his son, an assistant prosecuting attorney, that at times he might have to argue for the death penalty in murder cases, and added that he could do this consistently.” * Bryan’s personal inconsistencies in regard to violence came from his deep sense of patriotic duty. Sometimes his patriotism trumped his pacifism.
* W.H. Smith, Social, 129.
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In the early 1900s, Bryan said, “There are some who say that we must now have the largest navy in the world in order to terrorize other nations, and make them respect us….There is a better, a safer and a less expensive plan. Instead of trying to make our navy the largest in the world, let us try to make our government the best government on earth….A large standing army is not only a pecuniary burden to the people and, if accompanied by compulsory service, a constant source of irritation, but it is ever a menace to a republican form of government.” *
* Bryan, Under, 242-43, 318.
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Criticizing universal military training and conscription, Bryan argued, “If we become so Europeanised as to desire to mingle our standards with theirs on foreign battlefields, we will fall an easy victim to the disease of militarism. Our people will then be called from the field and factory to the camp, and to the excitements of the game of man-killing.” *
* Taft and Bryan, World Peace, 114.
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After meeting Tolstoy, Bryan described him as “the intellectual giant of Russia, the moral Titan of Europe and the world’s most conspicuous exponent of the doctrine of love.” *
* Bryan, Under, 96.
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According to historian Harry Elmer Barnes, “the myth of collective security” was an important influence in “transforming the liberals from the most enthusiastic supporters of neutrality, disarmament and peace into the leaders of the armament and war program.” Barnes notes that the “mischievous and lethal doctrine” of collective security first appeared in the League to Enforce Peace, was continued in the principles of the League of Nations, and was more definitely implemented in the Geneva Protocol (1924), the Locarno system (1925), and the Kellogg-Briand Pact (1928). According to historian Paolo Coletta, the thinking behind Bryan’s arbitration treaties was incorporated into the League of Nations, Locarno treaties, and Kellogg-Briand Pact. * Barnes is closer to the truth. Bryan opposed the League to Enforce Peace precisely because he opposed collective security. His arbitration treaties represented more than mere fact-finding. As bilateral agreements with an emphasis on averting war, they represented an alternative to collective security with its creation of entangling alliances and emphasis on military might.
* Barnes, Chickens, 10; Coletta, William, 2:249; Taft and Bryan, World Peace.
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Prior to the U.S. entering World War I, Bryan advocated a national referendum on war, except in case of actual invasion. He later expressed his wish that the idea would be adopted on an international scale: “Nothing would more surely lessen the probability of war than the inauguration of a world-wide system requiring the consent of the people who, in case of war, must furnish the blood needed and pay the taxes that follow in the wake of war….What question more imperatively demands a popular vote?” *
* W.H. Smith, Social, 127-28, 150-51; Taft and Bryan, World Peace, 75.
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In 1908, William Howard Taft and William Jennings Bryan faced each other in the U.S. presidential election. In early 1917, the two participated in a written debate concerning the platform of the proposed League to Enforce Peace. Taft favored the creation of such an international body; Bryan was opposed. Among other things, Bryan objected to a portion of the platform providing for the use of force if diplomacy and economic pressure fail to settle a dispute. He wrote, “Let us consider force as a preserver of peace. Do not reason and experience combine to prove that it provokes rather than prevents war?...What new hope does the proposed employment of greater force hold out? Over and over again, this hope has been found empty and vain….Reliance upon it gives to diplomacy a threatening tone, breeds conspiracies and intrigues, and inspires hatreds instead of friendships. The age-long attempt of powerful nations, sometimes acting alone and sometimes in groups, to terrorize the world into peace has failed and failed miserably. Is it not time to abandon the philosophy of Pilate? The militarists and manufacturers of munitions have been permitted to set up false standards of honour, which increase the reputations of the former and the fortunes of the latter, by the slaughter of masses of men who have no grievances against each other and know not why they are ordered to kill one another.” *
* Taft and Bryan, World Peace, 39.
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Unlike so many Bible-quoting Christians of our day and in ages past, Bryan’s Christianity made him more peace-minded, not less. He wrote, “The plans of militarists, no matter where or by whom drawn, give no intimation that nineteen hundred years ago a Prince of Peace brought into the world a gospel of love which is destined to banish from the earth the old system built upon force and intended to excite fear....When appeals are made for the application of Christian principles to government, the usual answer is that we cannot afford to adjust our governmental methods to the teachings of the New Testament until other nations are ready to do so; but this rejoinder entirely overlooks the basic principle of Christianity, namely, that its truths are to be propagated by example.” *
* Taft and Bryan, World Peace, 78, 140-41; see also Bryan, Commoner, 6-7.
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¶ - Humphrey’s support for every military endeavor by the U.S. government during his lifetime was not out of ideological character. In the late 1960s, two liberal biographers of Humphrey concluded, “Despite his concern for disarmament and humanitarian aid, Humphrey on balance emerges as a war liberal advocating what A.A. Ekrich described as ‘a militant, interventionist nationalism, masquerading as idealistic internationalism.” This ideology is illustrated by the careers of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, and Harry Truman. Nowadays, it is admiringly referred to as “muscular internationalism” by the hawkish Democratic Leadership Council. Wilson invaded Haiti, Mexico, and Russia, solicited increases in Army and Navy appropriations, advocated universal military training, instituted conscription, and pushed America into World War I. * Roosevelt was a “big navy” enthusiast, advocated military preparedness, supported U.S. entry into World War I, created the nation’s first peacetime military draft, helped to engineer U.S. entry into World War II, ordered the aerial bombing of civilians in Germany and Japan, fostered the rise of the military-industrial complex, proposed conscription of all adult civilians during wartime, pushed for universal military training, developed the atomic bomb, and preferred the title “Commander in Chief” to “President.” ** Truman liked war because he felt it advanced civilization, volunteered for World War I, advocated military preparedness, voted for peacetime conscription, dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, wanted to draft striking workers into the Army, launched the Cold War with its perpetual arms race and permanent war economy, pushed for peacetime conscription and universal military training, helped to create NATO, developed the hydrogen bomb, took the U.S. into the Korean War, appointed a high-ranking Army general as Secretary of Defense, and laid the groundwork for U.S. entry into the Vietnam War. *** These actions were an integral part of Vital Center liberalism and were admired by John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Hubert Humphrey. ****
* Tansill, America; Schaffer, America; Gibbs, Great.
** Nathan Miller, FDR: An Intimate History (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1983), 34, 119, 125; J.M. Burns, Roosevelt, 22-26, 51-52, 60-64; W.H. Smith, Social, 90; “Roosevelt Wins!” The Nation, July 13, 1932, 22; Cook, Harris, and Radosh, Past, 177; J. Garry Clifford and Samuel R. Spencer Jr., The First Peacetime Draft (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1986); Beard, American; Beard, President; Tansill, Back; Barnes, Perpetual; Moss, Moving On, 18, 32-33; “The Question of Civilian Conscription for War,” Congressional Digest, April 1944, 101; “Should the U.S. Adopt Peacetime Compulsory Military Training?” Congressional Digest, January 1945; Schlesinger, Imperial, 120.
*** Hannah Josephson, Jeannette Rankin, First Lady in Congress: A Biography (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1974), 172; David McCullough, Truman (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992), 234; Moss, Moving On, 33-34; Zinn, People’s, 413-20; McCoy, Presidency, 57-60; Barnes, Perpetual, 566-68; Frank Kofsky, Harry S. Truman and the War Scare of 1948: A Successful Campaign to Deceive the Nation (New York: St. Martin’s, 1993), 268; Radosh, Prophets, 112-15, 174; Kolko, Main, 360-61; Stanley Karnow, Vietnam: A History (New York: Viking, 1983), 43, 137, 169-81.
**** Noam Chomsky, Rethinking Camelot: JFK, the Vietnam War, and U.S. Political Culture (Boston: South End Press, 1993).
¶ - Like his cousin Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt was a militarist. Assistant Secretary of the Navy Roosevelt had contempt for the pacifism of Secretary of State Bryan and his friend Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels. When World War I broke out in Europe, Roosevelt ridiculed the men’s “faith in human nature and civilization and similar idealistic nonsense.” Roosevelt and Wilson alter ego Colonel E.M. House belonged to the dominant “realistic,” pro-war cabal within the administration. House spoke with Bryan about the war when it began in 1914 and then wrote in his diary, “He talked as innocently as my little grandchild, Jane Tucker. He spoke with great feeling and I fear he may give us trouble.” It could be argued that it was Bryan who truly held a mature, realistic view of war. During this period, he remarked, “The regiment marching through the streets, with banners flying, keeping time to the strains of inspiring music, is attractive to the eye; but this is not war. War is understood only when one visits the hospital, when disease is ravaging the camp of the battlefield where men meet face to face, grimly determined to sell their lives at the highest possible price, paid in human blood; or when one enters the fatherless home from which the breadwinner has been taken and measures the value of the protection withdrawn from the children and the added cares imposed upon the mother. Weight must also be given to the aftermath of prejudice and ill-will, for each war sows the seeds of future wars.” *
* W.H. Smith, Social, 90, 95.
¶ - John T. Flynn, a self-described Bryan Democrat, complained in 1940 that liberals and progressives had “allowed an old-fashioned Mark Hanna Republican program, including a runaway military and naval spree, to be put over on them under the label of liberalism.” He asserted that under FDR, America had moved as steadily “as the most reactionary junker administration towards militarism.” Flynn asserted, “The simple truth is--though Americans have not realized it--that we have a militarist in the White House who would, if he dared propose it, establish an army, with peacetime conscription, on the European model.” Before the year was out, President Roosevelt did dare to propose it and Congress adopted it. Roosevelt’s 1944 running mate, Harry Truman, was fully compatible on the issue of war vs peace. In the 1930s, Senator Truman told Congresswoman Jeannette Rankin, “I’ve always liked war. I feel we made all our advances in civilization from war.” *
* Radosh, Prophets, 212-13; Flynn, Country Squire in the White House (New York: Doubleday, Doran, 1940), v, 101; Hannah Josephson, Jeannette Rankin, First Lady in Congress: A Biography (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1974), 172.
¶ - Charles Garrettson III writes, “In Humphrey’s mind, Wilson and FDR were never examples of leaders who, by committing America to war, had therefore capitulated to conservative pressure. They had acted as they did according to what they fully believed were liberal principles.” This belief may or may not be true of Wilson and Roosevelt, but it was true of Humphrey. It shows how dramatically the word liberal had changed when pushing for war was seen as a tenet of liberalism. After noting that “liberal Democrats” had championed World War II, military aid to Greece and Turkey, and the Korean War, Garrettson comments, “The victories just mentioned were among America’s greatest, moral and otherwise. They were at least in part responsible for America’s paramount place in world affairs at that time. All of them had been wrought under liberal leadership, not conservative. To have regarded, in foresight, Vietnam as an entirely different situation which would demand an entirely different sort of strategy would, in turn, have required uncommon vision--the kind of vision normally provided almost entirely by hindsight alone....The evidence already cited suggests that Humphrey did, at least to some degree, have such vision. Yet to hold it unwaveringly during those most trying of days…would be to expect a very great deal indeed.” Of course, there were consistent advocates of peace during the 1960s (e.g., A.J. Muste, Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, Dwight Macdonald). If Humphrey had wanted to oppose war in Vietnam, there were arguments from which he could have drawn and examples by which he could have been inspired. It wasn’t a case of just fringe pacifists, either. Senator Robert Taft warned against American support for French imperialism in Indo-China in the early 1950s and the La Follette-Taft bloc of Republican isolationists were against the Vietnam War when Kennedy began it in 1962. * Plus, even a liberal Democratic internationalist like Senator Wayne Morse was a principled opponent of the Vietnam War by 1964. And were those days more “trying” than the days leading up to April 1917, when Bryan, La Follette, and a majority of Americans opposed entering a world war despite a deluge of government propaganda? Even with hindsight, the difference between intervention in Vietnam and intervention in Greece is not clear. They were both part of an imperial strategy during the Cold War. The major difference is that the former became discredited in the eyes of most liberal internationalists…but only after its failure became obvious, embarrassing, and politically inconvenient.
* Garrettson, Hubert, 204, 208; R. Griffith, “Old,” 340, 346; Radosh, Prophets, 192-94; Patterson, Mr., 611; “GOP Splits Over Eisenhower,” Facts on File, February 10-16, 1955, 52; John V. Denson, ed., The Costs of War: America’s Pyrrhic Victories (New Brunswick: Transaction, 1999), 112-13; Doenecke, Not, 238-43; Gerald P. Nye, “Interventionist Madness,” The American Mercury, Fall 1966, 26-29.
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In the mid 1930s, many students at the University of Minnesota spoke out against militarism, but Humphrey did not participate. He later said, “I didn’t have much time to join a protest movement. I was concerned about being able to earn enough to eat.” In 1940, he believed that America should arm itself in the face of German power. In May 1941, he volunteered his services to the local chapter of the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies, a pro-war group founded by William Allen White. While Humphrey spoke “often and forcefully for the war,” he chose to not volunteer for military service after the U.S. entered the conflict. *
* Solberg, Hubert, 67, 79-80, 85, 198, 235-36; see also Humphrey, “North,” 9778.
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When Senator Humphrey suggested in 1951 that a U.S. Department of Peace be created, President Truman rejected the idea as unnecessary because the State Department filled that role. *
* Solberg, Hubert, 155-56.
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In 1967, Humphrey made the Orwellian statement, “There is no man who seeks peace more diligently than Lyndon Johnson.” *
* Solberg, Hubert, 301.
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¶ - Johnson started bombing North Vietnam in February 1965. He changed the mission of troops in South Vietnam from support to combat in April 1965. Humphrey had qualms about bombing North Vietnam, sending ground troops to South Vietnam, and escalating the war in general, and he conveyed these qualms to Johnson in a private memo. The vice president reminded the president that in the recent campaign, “Goldwater and Nixon stressed the Vietnam issue, advocated escalation, and stood for a military ‘solution.’ The country was frightened by the trigger-happy bomber image which came from the Goldwater campaign. By contrast we stressed steadiness, staying the course, not enlarging the war, taking on the longer and more difficult task of finding political-military solutions in the South where the war will be won or lost.” Johnson rejected Humphrey’s advice to go slow. Humphrey’s February 1965 memo ended with the words, “I intend to support the Administration whatever the President’s decisions” and that is exactly what he did. Humphrey had privately-expressed qualms, but at no time did Humphrey suggest an American pull-out from South Vietnam. Humphrey later recalled, “As the spring of 1965 moved into summer, the military situation was still deteriorating. Clearly, our choice was either to get out or to shore up the South Vietnamese Government, which was plainly unable to defend itself. The President again asked for advice, and to the best of my recollection, not one adviser recommended getting out.” * In his memo, Humphrey mentioned the fact that the Johnson-Humphrey ticket stood for “staying the course” set by Presidents Kennedy and Johnson in the early 1960s--a course that included military intervention in South Vietnam and active participation in the civil war wracking that country. The Democratic ticket pledged to continue the war within South Vietnam, not to back away from it.
* Humphrey, Education, 321, 324, 325 (hardcover).
¶ - Meeting with Charles de Gaulle in June 1965, Humphrey “made a strong plea for French understanding of U.S. actions” in Vietnam. Humphrey was specifically defending the bombing of North Vietnam and the combat escalation in South Vietnam. In the face of rising opposition to the Vietnam War on college campuses in 1965, Humphrey “hewed to the administration’s official line.” After one campus appearance, Humphrey reported to a presidential aide, “Only about a dozen or fewer persons among the 1200 appeared to show any resistance to our Vietnam policy. Of these dozen, three put down their signs after I had spoken and started to applaud. In other words, they confessed their sins and were saved.” Humphrey was not ignorant concerning the prospects facing American troops in Vietnam. In a July 1965 speech, he said, “The United States must be prepared for a long, ugly, costly war.” A month later, he told Johnson, “[I want you to know] how privileged I feel to be your Vice President and partner. You make me prouder of our country and our government every day.”* By the end of 1965, Humphrey was loyally serving as an advocate for Johnson’s war policies and had, as a result, come back into the good graces of his boss.
* Solberg, Hubert, 275-76, 281, 282.
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[Full Humphrey quote, Saigon, 1967] “Our business is to make history. It’s all right to study it--and I did. It’s all right to teach it--and I have. But it’s wonderful to make history in our own way and our own time….I believe that Vietnam will be marked as the place where the family of man has gained the time it needed to finally break through to a new era of hope and human development and justice. This is the chance we have. This is our great adventure--and a wonderful one it is!” *
* Solberg, Hubert, 312.
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Vice President Humphrey helped to relieve President Johnson’s suffering over Vietnam. Referring to the period following the Tet Offensive debacle in early 1968, Jack Valenti says, “At Lyndon Johnson’s lowest point it was only Hubert who would spend hours holding LBJ’s hand, making him laugh, helping him forget the war--and it was a godsend.” In the summer of 1968, Humphrey said, “Johnson wants to get this war over as much as any of those picketing kids….He has hold of a vicious tiger, and I can’t help but feel sorry for him….He’s suffering like no president I’ve seen before, and I just can’t add to that [by publicly disagreeing with him on Vietnam].” In the fall of 1968, Humphrey said, “Lyndon Johnson is as much a casualty of the Vietnam War as any of our men who have been wounded in battle.” *
* Berman, Hubert, 94, 181-82.
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¶ - Supposedly, Humphrey privately expressed reservations about the war during and after his 1967 trip to South Vietnam, but he continued to publicly support the administration’s policies. A friendly Humphrey biographer sadly notes, “He became known as Johnson’s accomplice in the war, an identification he couldn’t shake for years after.” Berman suggests that neither John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Averell Harriman, nor Eugene McCarthy would have acted differently under similar circumstances. He may well be right, but William Jennings Bryan did act differently under similar circumstances. Averse to President Wilson’s pro-war policies, Secretary of State Bryan “resigned the only high position he had ever held in his long and frustrated political career.” In 1972, Dwight Macdonald noted, “Bryan is the only American cabinet member in this century--including Wallace and McNamara--who resigned on an issue of principle.” Humphrey did not choose to emulate Bryan’s example. Turning from principle to self-interest, Humphrey even resisted suggestions from “doves” that he distance himself from Johnson or resign the vice presidency in order to help himself win the 1968 election. *
* Berman, Hubert, 117, 94, 103, 181; Macdonald, Discriminations, 379.
¶ - At the 1968 national convention, the Humphrey forces came up with a compromise peace plank that was acceptable to the Kennedy-McGovern camp, George Meany, Dean Rusk, and almost everyone else. Johnson rejected Humphrey’s compromise and insisted upon his own weak peace plank. A friendly biographer comments, “The blade was at Humphrey’s neck. There was even the threat that Daley might put Johnson’s name in nomination. Hubert could do little about any of it.” Humphrey later said, “I could have fought it out on the floor of the convention, but it would have been suicidal. It was a tough decision, but I was sure to lose the battle, and the president would have crippled me to boot.” Yet, Humphrey must have known that a decision to support the Johnson plank meant that he would lose the votes of many McCarthy and Kennedy supporters in the fall because it would demonstrate both a lack of leadership and a lack of commitment to peace. Despite Johnson’s unpopularity both inside and outside the Democratic Party, Humphrey chose to support the president’s plank. Humphrey explained his decision by saying, “I want to be loyal, and my guts, my heart won’t let me do it any other way.”*
* Berman, Hubert, 180, 181, 182.
¶ - During the fall of 1968, Johnson “intimated again and again that HHH could hurt the Paris peace talks by not wholeheartedly supporting the war.” Berman comments, “Of course, this was not true, but at the time, Humphrey could not be sure, which put him in a terrible bind. On the other hand, he desperately wanted to let the American people know that he would terminate the war as soon as possible when president.” * Once again, we see Humphrey placing trust in Johnson’s word and hope in Johnson’s largesse. Humphrey’s private intention to end the war (expressed after the campaign) was not much different from Nixon’s “secret plan” to end the war (revealed during the campaign). It should also be noted that Berman’s language is ambiguous to the point of meaninglessness. According to Berman, Humphrey intended to “terminate the war as soon as possible when president.” How did this intention differ from that of Lyndon Johnson? Or Richard Nixon, George Wallace, Eugene McCarthy, or anyone else seeking the presidency in 1968? All wanted to end the war “as soon as possible.” The real question was: Under what conditions? Would President Humphrey have immediately and unconditionally withdrawn U.S. troops from Vietnam in January 1969? Of course not. There is no reason to believe that Humphrey would have pursued a course in Vietnam substantially different from the one pursued by Nixon.
* Berman, Hubert, 209-10.
¶ - After losing the 1968 election, Humphrey was plagued by self-doubt: “Should he have publicized that 1965 peace memo to LBJ? Would that have cleansed him of this terrible Vietnam guilt?” * It is unlikely that a peace memo could have atoned for war guilt in the eyes of people who opposed the presence of American troops in Vietnam. Humphrey had been a supporter of the gradual escalation of U.S. involvement in Vietnam during the Truman and Eisenhower administrations, had been a supporter of Kennedy’s decision to send U.S. troops to Vietnam, had voted for the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, and had been a loyal supporter of Johnson’s policies from 1965 to 1968. A private memo warning of possible political dangers posed to LBJ by the Vietnam War hardly negated Humphrey’s consistent record of public support for the war. Humphrey ran for president as a “peace candidate” in 1972, but when Johnson died the following year, Humphrey included a defense of LBJ’s Vietnam policies in a letter to a friend: “Had we not gone into Vietnam we would see today Indonesia in the hands of the Communist party, and surely all of Southeast Asia would have been taken over by the North Vietnamese Communist forces.” * With his justification of Vietnam intervention and support for Indonesian dictatorship, this suggests that Humphrey remained an unreconstructed Cold War imperialist.
* Berman, Hubert, 229; Solberg, Hubert, 448.
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Congresswoman Jeannette Rankin (R-MT) voted against U.S. entry into both World War I and World War II. She was the only member of Congress to vote against a war declaration on December 8, 1941. She favored Eugene McCarthy for president in 1968. In Rankin’s eyes, Humphrey “was absolutely the worst candidate. She prophesied that he would get the Democratic nomination because ‘the military has selected him as its candidate.’ She went on to say that she would favor Richard M. Nixon or ‘anyone’ over Humphrey.” *
* Ted Carlton Harris, Jeannette Rankin: Suffragist, First Woman Elected to Congress, and Pacifist (New York: Arno Press, 1982), 324.
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Bill Kauffman observes, “An isolationist is simply one who wishes the U.S. government to refrain from military involvement abroad. I never could figure out why this is an epithet. Why are isolationists, who oppose killing foreigners, considered xenophobes, while those who favor killing foreigners are humanitarians? Most Americans are instinctively isolationist. They don't want their kids and their taxes sent overseas to bomb or bribe people they'll never meet.” *
* “A Week with Bill Kauffman, Day Five,” 2 Blowhards, http://www.2blowhards.com/archives/2006/10/a_week_with_bil_4.html#003454.
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¶ - Repeated comparison of the “destiny” of America with that of Britain and other European empires made the embrace of imperialism clear, even if the less-foreign-sounding word expansionism was usually preferred for public relations purposes. In 1894, Theodore Roosevelt asserted, “It is as idle to apply to savages the rules of international morality which obtain between stable and cultured communities, as it would be to judge the fifth-century English conquest of Britain by the standards of to-day. Most fortunately, the hard, energetic, practical men who do the rough pioneer work of civilization in barbarous lands, are not prone to false sentimentality. The people who are, are the people who stay at home. Often these stay-at-homes are too selfish and indolent, too lacking in imagination, to understand the race-importance of the work which is done by their pioneer brethren in wild and distant lands; and they judge them by standards which would only be applicable to quarrels in their own townships and parishes.” *
* The Theodore Roosevelt Web Book, http://www.theodoreroosevelt.org/TR%20Web%20Book/TR_CD_to_HTML282.html [The Works of Theodore Roosevelt , Memorial Edition (New York: Scribner's, 1923-26) XI, 274-75; The Works of Theodore Roosevelt, National Edition (New York: Scribner's, 1926) IX, 57].
¶ - In arguing for the war against Filipino independence, in February 1899, Governor Roosevelt said, “It is infinitely better for the whole world that Russia should have taken Turkestan, that France should have taken Algiers, and that England should have taken India. The success of an Algerian or of a Sepoy revolt would be a hideous calamity to all mankind, and those who abetted it, directly or indirectly, would be traitors to civilization. And so exactly the same reasoning applies to our own dealings with the Philippines....If we refrain from doing our part of the world’s work, it will not alter the fact that the work has got to be done, only it will be done by some stronger race, because we will have shown ourselves weaklings.” *
* Ibid. (Mem. Ed. XVI, 476; Nat. Ed. XIV, 317); H.W. Brands, T.R.: The Last Romantic (New York: BasicBooks, 1997), 386-87.
¶ - In September 1899, he said, “Russia has expanded in Asia, England in Asia, Africa and Australia, and France and Germany in Africa, all with the strides of giants during the years that have just passed. In every instance the expansion has taken place because the race was a great race. It was a sign and proof of greatness in the expanding nation, and moreover bear in mind that in each instance it was of incalculable benefit to mankind. In Australia a great sister commonwealth to our own has sprung up. In India a peace like the Roman peace has been established, and the country made immeasurably better. So it is in Egypt, in Algiers and at the Cape, while Siberia, before our very eyes, is being changed from the seat of wandering tribes of ferocious nomads into a great civilized country. When great nations fear to expand, shrink from expansion, it is because their greatness is coming to an end. Are we still in the prime of our lusty youth, still at the beginning of our glorious manhood, to sit down among the outworn people, to take our place with the weak and craven? A thousand times no!” *
* Thomas W. Handford, Theodore Roosevelt: The Pride of the Rough Riders (Chicago, 1899), pp. 190-1.
¶ - The following year, Roosevelt declared, “Nations that expand and nations that do not expand may both ultimately go down, but the one leaves heirs and a glorious memory, and the other leaves neither. The Roman expanded, and he has left a memory which has profoundly influenced the history of mankind, and he has further left as the heirs of his body, and, above all, of his tongue and culture, the so-called Latin peoples of Europe and America. Similarly to-day it is the great expanding peoples which bequeath to future ages the great memories and material results of their achievements, and the nations which shall have sprung from their loins, England standing as the archetype and best exemplar of all such mighty nations.” *
* The Theodore Roosevelt Web Book (Mem. Ed. XV, 290-1; Nat. Ed. XIII, 339).
¶ - In January 1909, President Roosevelt said, “There is one feature in the expansion of the peoples of white, or European, blood during the past four centuries which should never be lost sight of, especially by those who denounce such expansion on moral grounds. On the whole, the movement has been fraught with lasting benefit to most of the peoples already dwelling in the lands over which the expansion took place.... In India and Java there has been a great increase in well-being and population under the English and the Dutch, and the advance made has been in striking contrast to what has occurred during the same period in the near-by lands which have remained under native rule. In Egypt, in the Philippines, in Algiers, the native people have thriven under the rule of the foreigner, advancing as under no circumstances could they possibly have advanced if left to themselves, the increase in population going hand in hand with the increase in general well-being....In India we encounter the most colossal example history affords of the successful administration by men of European blood of a thickly populated region. in another continent. It is the greatest feat of the kind that has been performed since the break-up of the Roman Empire....Every well-wisher of mankind, every true friend of humanity, should realize that the part England has played in India has been to the immeasurable advantage of India, and for the honor and profit of civilization, and should feel profound satisfaction in the stability and permanence of English rule....The twentieth century will see and is now seeing the transformation of Africa into a new world. Within a few years, its vast domain has been partitioned among various European nations. These nations are expending enormous sums of money and utilizing their best statesmanship and colonizing abilities in the development of colonial empires of wide extent and extraordinary material possibilities.” *
* “Expansion of the White Races,” T.R.., http://www.theodore-roosevelt.com/trwhiteraces.html.
¶ - Senator Albert Beveridge (R-IN) was an important ally of Roosevelt and shared his friend’s enthusiasm for imperialism. In September 1898, Beveridge spoke on “The March of the Flag”: “It is a noble land that God has given us…a greater England with a nobler destiny…It is a mighty people that He has planted on this soil…a people imperial by virtue of their power, by right of their institutions, by authority of their Heaven-directed purposes…It is a glorious history our God has bestowed upon His chosen people…Therefore, in this campaign, the question is larger than a party question. It is an American question. Shall the American people continue their march toward the commercial supremacy of the world? Shall free institutions broaden their blessed reign as the children of liberty wax in strength, until the empire of our principles is established over the hearts of all mankind?...Hawaii is ours; Porto Rico is to be ours; at the prayer of her people Cuba finally will be ours; in the islands of the East, even to the gates of Asia, coaling stations are to be ours at the very least…If England can govern foreign lands, so can America. If Germany can govern foreign lands, so can America….We do need what we have taken in 1898, and we need it now. The resources and the commerce of these immensely rich dominions will be increased as much as American energy is greater than Spanish sloth. In Cuba alone, there are 15,000,000 acres of forest unacquainted with the ax, exhaustless mines of iron, priceless deposits of manganese…The resources of Porto Rico have only been trifled with. The riches of the Philippines have hardly been touched by the finger-tips of modern methods....We can not retreat from any soil where Providence has unfurled our banner; it is ours to save that soil for liberty and civilization.” *
* Albert J. Beveridge, The Meaning of the Times and Other Speeches (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1908), pp. 47, 48, 52-53, 57.
¶ - In September 1900, Beveridge responded to Bryan’s Indianapolis speech accepting the Democratic nomination for president. The national Republican Party reprinted Beveridge’s defense of imperialism, which included these words: “‘Westward the Star of Empire takes its Way.’…And to-day it illumines our path of duty across the Pacific into the islands and lands where Providence has called us....Dare Mr. Bryan say that he would have India back to the condition before England took it?...It is destiny that the world shall be rescued from its natural wilderness and from savage men. Civilization is no less an evolution than the changing forms of animal and vegetable life....And the method of extending civilization is by colonization where the superior nation can establish itself among the inferior races; or in place of them, if the inferior races can not exist under civilization, as in New Zealand, Australia and the like....Every people who have become great, have become colonizers or administrators…Every progressive nation of Europe to-day is seeking lands to colonize and governments to administer. And can this common instinct of the most progressive peoples of the world—this common conclusion of the ablest statesmen of other nations—be baseless? If the Opposition asks why this is the mission of the American people now more than heretofore, I answer that before any people assumes these great tasks it goes through a process of consolidation and unification…We are this at last, a great national unit ready to carry out that universal law of civilization which requires of every people who have reached our high estate to become colonizers of new lands, administrators of orderly government over savage and senile peoples. And being thus prepared, the lands and peoples needing our administration are delivered to our keeping, not by our design, but by occurrence beyond our control. In the astronomy of Destiny, American Opportunity, American Duty and American Preparedness are in conjunction. Who shall oppose their progress?...For God’s hand was in it all. His plans were working out their glorious results. And just as futile is resistance to the continuance to-day of the eternal movement of the American people toward the mastery of the world. This is a destiny neither vague nor undesirable. It is definite, splendid and holy. When nations shall war no more without the consent of the American Republic: what American heart thrills not with pride at that prospect?...When the commerce of the world on which the world’s peace hangs, traveling every ocean highway of earth, shall pass beneath the guns of the great Republic: what American heart thrills not at that prospect?...When any changing of the map of earth requires a conference of the Powers, and when, at any Congress of the Nations, the American Republic will preside as the most powerful of powers and most righteous of judges: what American heart thrills not at that prospect? And yet, that prospect is in sight, even as I speak.” *
* Ibid.,118-19, 120, 128, 130, 131, 132-33, 142-43.
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Referring to anti-imperialism, Bryan contemporary Herbert Croly noted, “The Jacksonian Democracy had always been expansionist in disposition and policy, and under the influence of their nationalism they had lost interest in Jefferson’s humanitarianism. In this matter, however, Mr. Bryan has shown more sympathy with the first than with the second phase of the Democratic tradition; and in making this choice he was undoubtedly more faithful to the spirit and the letter of the Democratic creed than were the expansionist Democrats of the Middle Period.” *
* Croly, Promise, 157.
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In the late 1890s, Bryan wrote, “Imperialism, as it now presents itself, embraces four distinct propositions: 1. That the acquisition of territory by conquest is right. 2. That the acquisition of remote territory is desirable. 3. That the doctrine that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed is unsound. 4. That people can be wisely governed by aliens. To all these propositions Jefferson was emphatically opposed.” *
* Bryan, Second, 114.
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Bryan was not xenophobic. Between his 1900 and 1908 races, he commented, “I am more and more impressed with the broadening influence of traveling. As we visit different countries we learn that people everywhere, no matter what language they speak, or under what form of government they live, are much the same. We find that the things that we hold in common are more important and more numerous than the smaller things which separate us.” *
* Bryan, Credo, 91.
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Referring to the Democratic Party, in 1899, Bryan said, “It opposed an English financial policy in 1896; it opposes an English colonial policy now. Those who in 1896 were in favor of turning the American people over to the greed of foreign financiers and domestic trusts may now be willing to turn the Filipinos over to the tender mercies of military governors and carpetbag officials.” *
* Bryan, Second, 97.
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In 1899, Bryan said, “Other nations may dream of wars of conquest and of distant dependencies governed by external force; not so with the United States. The fruits of imperialism, be they bitter or sweet, must be left to the subjects of monarchy. This is the one tree of which the subjects of a republic may not partake. It is the voice of the serpent, not the voice of God, that bids us eat.” * The following year, he said, “Compare, if you will, the swaggering, bullying, brutal doctrine of imperialism with the golden rule and the commandment, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’” Armed expansion of power and trade were incompatible with Bryan’s religion: “If true Christianity consists in carrying out in our daily lives the teachings of Christ, who will say that we are commanded to civilize with dynamite and proselyte with the sword?...Imperialism finds no warrant in the Bible….Love, not force, was the weapon of the Nazarene; sacrifice for others, not the exploitation of them, was His method of reaching the human heart.” **
* Bryan, Under, 361;
** Bryan, Credo, 82; Bryan, Under, 334.
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Bryan said, “I want this nation to conquer the world, not with its armies and navies, but with its ideas. I want this nation to destroy every throne on earth, not by force or violence, but by showing the world something better than a throne--a government resting upon the consent of the governed.” *
* Bryan, Under, 262.
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In the speech he gave when notified of his 1900 nomination, Bryan said, “If the republicans are prepared to censure all who have used language calculated to make the Filipinos hate foreign domination, let them condemn the speech of Patrick Henry. When he uttered that passionate appeal, ‘Give me liberty or give me death,’ he expressed a sentiment that still echoes in the hearts of men. Let them censure Jefferson; of all the statesmen of history none have used words so offensive to those who would hold their fellows in political bondage.” *
* Bryan, Under, 313.
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Despite his own complicity in the imperialism of the Wilson administration, Bryan later warned that surrendering the Monroe Doctrine in favor of a League to Enforce Peace would bring harm to our southern neighbors: “It would mean the exploiting of Central and South America; republics would be converted into colonies; grievances would be settled by the seizing of harbours; fancied insults would have their price fixed in coaling stations; and commercialism would, by its rapacity, lay the foundation for new wars.” *
* Taft and Bryan, World Peace, 102.
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In 1917, Bryan objected to the League to Enforce Peace partly on sovereignty grounds: “To become a member of such a council…would commit us in advance to any course that the council might adopt and thus put our army and navy under the command of foreign generals and admirals. It is inconceivable that the toiling millions of the United States should place their destiny in the hands of aliens and agree to furnish blood and money, on demand and in unlimited quantities, to settle quarrels between rival trade combinations, rival races, rival militarists and rival royal families.” *
* Taft and Bryan, World Peace, 113-14.
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Senator James Reed’s complete opposition to the League of Nations as an “irreconcilable” was consistent with his background as a Bryan Democrat. Welcoming delegates to the 1900 Democratic National Convention, Kansas City Mayor Reed took a strong anti-imperialist stand. He warned against “entangling alliances” and criticized Republican leaders’ desire for “world supremacy.” *
* “Mayor Reed’s Welcome,” Kansas City Star, July 4, 1900, 4.
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Bryan’s foreign policy philosophy of moral idealism was grounded in his Christianity: “One of the great dangers of the present day is the tendency to limit and amend and qualify great moral principles….We all know that it is a sin for a man to covet a thing of small value, but if a nation covets the territory of another nation and the government of other people, it is sometimes called patriotism and justified as providential. There is still another commandment that reads, ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ You cannot mistake its meaning, but it is being amended to read that you must not kill a man unless he has something you want.” Writing in 1917, he stated, “The real difficulty with Europe is that the governments reject the moral standards that regulate individual life. And, since there is no moral standard except that to which individuals conform, there is no international standard of morals.” *
* Bryan, Under, 250-51; Taft and Bryan, World Peace, 89.
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Carl Solberg recounts, “Isolationism, stridently voiced in the midwestern tradition by Republicans and Farmer-Laborites alike, had seemed unassailably strong as late as 1939, when the entire Minnesota delegation voted for the Neutrality Act. The Scandinavians of the Farmer-Labor party were dead set against European involvement, and the Irish and the Germans of the Democratic party even more so.” But rising stars like Harold Stassen in the Republican Party, Hubert Humphrey (eventually) in the Democratic Party, and Stalinists in the Farmer-Labor Party (after Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941) supported U.S. entry into the war. Prior to seeking his first elective office, in 1941, Humphrey boasted, “I’ve been doing a lot of speaking around the state, raising particular hell with the Minnesota isolationists.” Solberg points out, “World War II never came close to winning the peace and freedom and plenty that Humphrey had proclaimed so often and so ardently as its goals.” * Quite the opposite. It directly led to the colonization and enslavement of eastern Europe and the waging of a 40-year cold war. Britain gave up most of its distant colonies as a result of the war, but America stepped in to fill the void as the world’s leading imperial power.
* Solberg, Hubert, 82, 85, 111.
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Hoping to appeal to pro-Wallace voters in the 1972 Florida primary, one of Humphrey’s radio ads promised, “Humphrey will spend tax dollars on Americans before sending them to foreigners.” * The longtime champion of foreign aid repudiated the ad when liberal internationalists complained.
* Solberg, Hubert, 430.
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¶ - Humphrey’s fight against communists within the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party is suspect in light of the fact that he “worked quite comfortably with the Communists and their sympathizers” from 1941 to 1945. * Also, why would someone who had disdain for ideology, who cared only about action and humanity, care about the ideology of political associates working alongside him for social justice and civil rights? The crime of the DFL reds was not the totalitarian nature of their political philosophy or the bloody record of their hero Stalin. Their real crime was turning against the Truman administration and the national Democratic Party as the Cold War began. The Popular Front internationalist alliance collapsed after World War II. It had been held together through hostility toward isolationists at home and German imperialism abroad. A minority of internationalists rejected American imperialism in favor of Soviet imperialism. The two imperialisms were no longer intertwined and the Truman Doctrine signaled the end of the alliance. All who refused to march in lock step with the new party line drew Humphrey’s ire.
* Solberg, Hubert, 111-12.
¶ - As the Cold War was getting underway in late 1946, Humphrey disagreed with the Soviet-friendly stance of his hero, Secretary of Commerce Henry Wallace. Humphrey said, “Mr. Wallace says there are spheres of influence--I say this is one world.” Humphrey wrote, “Whatever happens in any part of the world finally concerns us….I cannot accept the philosophy that Eastern Europe and Asia should be left to the Russians, and Western Europe and Latin America should be left to the U.S.” By saying “this is one world” and that whatever happens anywhere in the world “concerns” the U.S., Humphrey was revealing his assumption that the “sphere of influence” for the U.S. should not be confined to Western Europe and Latin America--rather, it should be synonymous with the “one world.” In other words, Humphrey believed in the “American Century” idea of Henry Luce and the “People’s Century” idea of Henry Wallace advanced during World War II. * In both cases, American imperialism--“benevolent” and “humanitarian”--was the driving force.
* Solberg, Hubert, 114; Willkie, One World; Macdonald, Memoirs; Macdonald, Discriminations; Macdonald, Henry.
¶ - Humphrey embraced a sort of benevolent or paternalistic imperialism. Reminiscing about his career, he wrote, “India was half a billion people who had just come out of a colonial system and had rejected the usual route of dictatorship of generals….India needed and deserved our encouragement and our generous assistance. It also required our patience and forbearance….Like watching an adolescent come of age, you combined understanding with patience, even as you grew bored with the effort and wished they would get it together. But disagreeable democrats seemed vastly more worthy than pleasant dictators…I became such an advocate that Paul Douglas began to call me the senator from India, and I suppose in a sense I was.” The last line is the clincher. It reveals imperial arrogance (albeit unconscious). In a 1952 letter to Senator William Benton (D-CT), a millionaire businessman and Humphrey supporter, he wrote, “We Democrats have got to challenge our people. We have to make them feel that they are an integral part of a great crusade for human freedom. Mr. American Citizen must realize that he is one of the privileged people of the world--privileged to lead, privileged to give, and privileged to help save his fellow men.” This is the language of paternalism, white man’s burden, manifest destiny, noblesse oblige, and a national messianic complex. In 1949, Humphrey said, “We are the America that is the greatest financial power the world has ever known….Isn’t it wonderful that out of this terrible destruction of World War II God Almighty spared one nation to help its fellow men? Isn’t it wonderful that out of the terrible cost and the torture and the suffering of millions and millions of people, one great economy of this world was spared to lift up the level of mankind? That is our mission. We have a destiny to fulfill.” * Humphrey was probably giving God too much credit and Roosevelt, Davis, Leffingwell, Stettinius, Acheson, Lovett, McCloy, Harriman, et al. too little.
* Humphrey, Education, 167 (hardcover); Solberg, Hubert, 155; Humphrey, Hubert Humphrey: The Man and His Dream, 48, 49.
¶ - In the mid 1970s, Humphrey wrote, “These and other lessons of Vietnam do not teach us that we can turn our backs on international responsibility, in Asia or anywhere else. We need stability in the world, but the search for it will be fruitless and self-defeating unless we help bring about the economic, political and social changes needed to move a billion or more people out of deprivation, starvation and misery and into a process of development, self-help and hope. We cannot be either the world’s policeman or its Santa Claus. But…we can still set an example for people and countries who cherish and yearn for liberty, justice and the good life.” Why do we need “stability” in the world? Humphrey’s Republican counterpart, Nelson Rockefeller, answered the question from the centrist perspective when he referred to the need for “an international climate of political stability” in order for capitalism to reach its highest potential. * Humphrey is referring to American-imposed monopoly capitalism when he speaks of “a process of development.” He ignores his own record of favoring every single attempt by the U.S. to be “the world’s policeman”--from the Korean War (technically, a “police action”) to the Vietnam War. He also contradicts himself. He denies the desirability of being Santa Claus, yet he is not merely talking about setting an example for others; he speaks of helping to bring about “economic, political and social changes.” This is not a passive role of example-setting. It is an active role of remaking the world in our own image.
* Humphrey, Education, 425-26 (hardcover); Rockefeller, Future of Federalism, 72.
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In 1952, Humphrey told a hometown crowd in Doland, South Dakota, “One of the greatest men America has ever produced was Woodrow Wilson. He challenged America to grow up….When we rejected the League of Nations, when we set aside our opportunity to be our brother’s keeper, when we refused to take on world leadership, during that fool’s paradise, we got a Hitler, a Mussolini, the military leaders of Japan, the Bolshevism and Stalinism of Russia….Our government has been trying to create a world order and a world situation in which we could have the opportunity to create conditions conducive to peace.” *
* Amrine, This, 39.
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In 1970, Zbigniew Brzezinski reflected on the global dimension of the New Frontier: “John Kennedy caught the essence of America’s novel position in the world when he saw himself as ‘the first American President for whom the whole world was, in a sense, domestic politics’ [in the words of Arthur Schlesinger Jr.]. Indeed, Kennedy was the first ‘globalist’ president of the United States. [Franklin] Roosevelt, for all of his internationalism, essentially believed in an 1815-like global arrangement in which the ‘Big Four’ would have specific spheres of influence….With Kennedy came a sense that every continent and every people had the right to expect leadership and inspiration from America, and that America owed an almost equal involvement to every continent and every people.” *
* Brzezinski, Between, 307.
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Running for the Senate in 1948, Humphrey said, “We are ready and we shall always be ready to join in any honest program of world cooperation and world government.” In 1952, he referred to “the legal fiction of national sovereignty.” *
* Humphrey, Hubert Humphrey: The Man and His Dream, 16, 99.
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¶ - Zbigniew Brzezinski was Humphrey’s top foreign policy advisor in 1968. In a 1970 book, Brzezinski wrote, “The world is ceasing to be an arena in which relatively self-contained, ‘sovereign,’ and homogenous nations interact, collaborate, clash, or make war….The United States has emerged as the first global society in history. It is a society increasingly difficult to delineate in terms of its outer cultural and economic boundaries.” Brzezinski saw this as a good thing. Quoting A. Barber, he observed, “The nation-state as a fundamental unit of man’s organized life has ceased to be the principal creative force: ‘International banks and multinational corporations are acting and planning in terms that are far in advance of the political concepts of the nation-state.” He approvingly noted that the nation-state was “gradually yielding its sovereignty” to this “new internationalism.” Later in the book, he listed “the fiction of sovereignty” as one of the attributes of “the old framework of international politics” (a framework described as “clearly no longer compatible with reality”). * A few years later, as the right-hand man of Chase Manhattan Bank chairman David Rockefeller, Brzezinski co-founded the Trilateral Commission. In 1977, he became President Carter’s National Security Adviser.
* Roy Reed, “Humphrey Backs a Draft Lottery as Fair to Youths,” New York Times, July 16, 1968, 27; Hersh, Price of Power, 14; Solberg, Hubert, 347; Brzezinski, Between, 3, 34-35, 56, 274.
¶ - It is interesting when someone who does not believe in national sovereignty is placed in charge of “national security.” It raises the question: What is the new meaning of the phrase national security? A clue might be found in the 2001 book Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Demands a Pagan Ethos by Robert D. Kaplan, a senior fellow at the globalistic New America Foundation. Drawing inspiration from Machiavelli and Hobbes, the book was published with glowing blurbs by Henry Kissinger and Newt Gingrich. Kaplan writes, “For American power to endure, it will need to be impelled by a more primitive level of altruism than that of the universal society it seeks to encourage. American patriotism--honoring the flag, July Fourth celebrations and so on--must survive long enough to provide the military armature for an emerging global civilization that may eventually make such patriotism obsolete.” * In other words, short-term disingenuous patriotism in the service of long-term global governance. Kaplan is pulling back the curtain on the mindset of the Washington power structure. His words shed light on how the invasion of Iraq was linked to post-9/11 flag-waving (American flags made in communist China, appropriately enough). The creation of a Department of Homeland Security was a belated acknowledgement by Washington that the Department of Defense has little to do with defending our own country. Instead, it is defending our “vital interests” around the world. The interests are vital primarily to international banks and multinational corporations.
* Jeremy Lott, “Hobbes Lite,” Chronicles, April 2002, 30.
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According to Charles Garrettson, “Humphrey was a veritable political ‘incarnation’ of Niebuhr’s ‘word.’” Niebuhr believed in American exceptionalism. He took at face value the self-proclaimed innocence and altruism of U.S. foreign policy makers, asserting that “no powerful nation in history has ever been more reluctant to acknowledge the position it has achieved in the world than we” and that “our lack of the lust for power makes the fulminations of our foes against us singularly inept.” * Niebuhr had faith in the goodness of the businessmen who sketch, the intellectuals who formulate, and the politicians who administer U.S. foreign relations. Such faith seems more naïve than realistic. To think that our nation’s elite is somehow free of the sin and selfishness that contaminate the rest of the world is a rather unlikely proposition.
* Garrettson, Hubert, 255, 253.
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During his speech at the 1948 convention, Humphrey opined, “Every citizen has a stake in the emergence of the United States as the leader of the free world. That world is being challenged by the world of slavery.” * This was a simplistic, and misleading, analysis of the Cold War. Humphrey was correct in identifying Stalinist communism as a “world of slavery.” However, he did not mention the fact that he and his ideological friends had been members of the pro-Soviet “Popular Front” earlier in the decade. Stalin went from being a loveable ally to being a fearsome foe over the course of a year or two when his reputation as a bloody tyrant had been established for years. The only thing that changed was his position vis-à-vis the U.S. government’s desire for a global empire. Humphrey also neglected to mention that the so-called free world contained many countries that were not free. They were enslaved by capitalistic, pro-Washington dictators. This made them acceptable to the U.S. government and qualified them for faux free status.
* Humphrey, Hubert, 7.
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Humphrey’s relations with Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, better known as the Shah of Iran, can be used as a case study to examine Humphrey’s embrace of political realism by the mid 1960s. In his early days as a senator, Humphrey was “highly suspicious of the shah and his policies.” In 1961, Humphrey believed that a revolution in Iran was imminent. He told an executive session of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “There is a limit to the amount of money that this country can give to those people who are unwilling to do what they ought to do. They ought to just get out before it is too late….The same thing happened in Cuba. We did not pay any attention to it. Nobody from the executive branch ever came into this committee and told us one thing about the illiterate Cubans or the sick Cubans or the poor Cubans or the worker Cubans. All we ever heard about was the Hilton Hotel or the nice big golf course or something else. Now we have Castro….That is what we are going to get in Iran. And all that military aid is never going to save him [the Shah], not one bit.” Humphrey’s words were prophetic, but they were ignored at the time and Humphrey himself soon became “a cautious supporter of the shah” as President Johnson brought the U.S. government even closer to Pahlavi. In 1977, Humphrey supported the controversial sale of AWACS aircraft to Iran. The Iranian ambassador to Washington announced in January 1978 that the Shah had donated $250,000 to the Hubert Humphrey Foundation. Humphrey allies close to President Carter were united in support of the Shah before, during, and after the Islamic revolution of January 1979. Senator Henry Jackson was a “longtime apologist” for the Shah. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski was a strong supporter of his regime. Vice President Walter Mondale favored admission of the Shah into the U.S. for medical treatment. He entered the U.S. on October 22, 1979. In retaliation, U.S. diplomats at the embassy in Tehran were taken hostage on November 4. This event led to saber rattling by Carter and it eventually helped to end his presidency. Carter’s close ties to the House of Rockefeller were also a factor in his decision to shower the Shah with praise in “sunnier” days and to allow him to come to the U.S. following his overthrow. Nelson Rockefeller and Hubert Humphrey symbolized the bipartisan foreign policy of “liberal internationalism” from the 1940s through the 1970s, and David Rockefeller was a power behind the Carter throne. *
* Bill, Eagle, 367, 136-37, 375, 169, 176, 228-30, 502, 283, 375, 249, 251, 331-32, 361, 333; Ibid., passim; Christopher Lydon, “Jimmy Carter Revealed: He’s a Rockefeller Republican,” Atlantic Monthly, July 1977, 50-57; Roger Morris, “Jimmy Carter’s Ruling Class,” Harper’s, October 1977, 37-45; Shoup, Carter Presidency and Beyond; Sklar, Trilateralism.
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Throughout the 1960s, Humphrey advocated increased trade with the USSR and the Eastern Bloc. He lamented that “a tremendous amount of American business” was being lost through trade restrictions and pointed out that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce favored expansion. A biographer comments, “In making his pitch for expanded trade with Communist countries, Humphrey shamelessly pandered to the American businessman’s desire to make money, apparently unconcerned by the fact that these same Communist countries were supplying the enemy in Viet Nam.” *
* Humphrey, Cause, 138; Ryskind, Hubert, 313-14.
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In 1968, Henry Kissinger was Governor Nelson Rockefeller’s right-hand man and foreign policy advisor as Rocky sought the Republican presidential nomination. During the fall campaign, the ambitious Kissinger had a foot in both the Humphrey and Nixon camps. Musing on election day, Vice President Humphrey privately wrote, “Henry Kissinger should be in the White House. I hope he’ll come.” Humphrey’s hope was fulfilled, with a slight twist: Kissinger ended up in the White House as National Security Adviser under Nixon. In 1973, Senator Humphrey voted to confirm Kissinger as Secretary of State. In 1978, Kissinger became chairman of the fundraising committee for the Hubert Humphrey Foundation. *
* Joe Alex Morris, Nelson Rockefeller: A Biography (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1960), 308-9; Seymour M. Hersh, The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House (New York: Summit Books, 1983), 11-21; Humphrey, Education, 9 (hardcover); James A. Bill, The Eagle and the Lion, 328, 502.
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In 1966, Vice President Humphrey said, “I want to show that there is a master plan, a designed conspiracy. I want a report that says that every single official we have seen recognized a threat of Communism in Asia. The public knows that Communism is a danger just like they know that sin is wrong. The danger of China is a plague--an epidemic, and we must stop that epidemic. We must lift the whole thing out of the quagmire in Saigon. China has many different plays in the making.” Yet, six years later, Humphrey supported Nixon’s friendliness to China--a China still committed to Communism, a China still ruled by Mao Tse-tung (Mao Zedong). * Détente was really nothing new. It was a revival of the Popular Front of 1941-1945, with the absence of a shared imperial rival and the addition of a more obvious commercial aspect. The capitalist elite of the West had always been willing to do business with the communist elite of the East under mutually-beneficial circumstances.
* Solberg, Hubert, 289; Humphrey, Education, 437 (hardcover).
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Referring to Richard Nixon, in 1975, Humphrey said, “In foreign policy I believe he will be remembered as essentially a good President.” *
* Clare Crawford, “It’s,” 10.
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Some conservative Jeffersonians condemned détente because they believed that internationalists were seeking a gradual convergence of East and West as a giant step in their march toward world government. Zbigniew Brzezinski, a Humphrey Democrat, advocated “a community of the developed nations that would embrace the Atlantic states, the more advanced European communist states, and Japan.” He identified Romania, under Stalinist dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu, as one of the “more advanced” communist countries. He argued that such a structure “would not sweep aside United States-Soviet nuclear rivalry,” but “in the broader cooperative setting,” the competition between the two superpowers “could eventually resemble in form late-nineteenth-century Anglo-French colonial competition: Fashoda did not vitiate the emerging European entente.” Another analogy would be Orwell’s description of pigs and farmers in the closing pages of Animal Farm. Brzezinski asserted that although this community of developed nations was “less ambitious than the goal of world government,” it was “more attainable.” Brzezinski leaves the impression that the community is a stepping stone, with world government as the ultimate goal--a goal that must be deferred because despite growing global interdependence “a realistic assessment compels the conclusion that there will be no global security arrangement in the foreseeable future.” *
* Brzezinski, Between, 295-97, 308, 275; see also Jesse Helms, “The Pearl Harbor Summit: International Strategic Considerations,” Congressional Record, December 15, 1987, S18145-50; David B. Funderburk, Pinstripes and Reds: An American Ambassador Caught Between the State Department and the Romanian Communists, 1981-1985 (Washington, D.C.: Selous Foundation Press, 1989; and David B. Funderburk, Betrayal of America: Bush’s Appeasement of Communist Dictators Betrays American Principles (Dunn, N.C.: BoA, 1991).
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Another left-wing critic of détente was former Congressman Jerry Voorhis (D-CA), the man who was defeated by Richard Nixon in 1946. Voorhis recognized that the Soviet Communists were “singularly unidealistic, traditionally more comfortable in dealing with amoral capitalists than with principled socialists.” He was in a position to know. He voted for Robert La Follette in 1924 and Norman Thomas in 1928. He was a registered Socialist before becoming a Democrat. With his evangelical Christianity, opposition to Wall Street, and identification with the common people, Congressman Voorhis was a latter-day Bryan. At the start of the Cold War, he wrote, “Ever since I was a boy I have had an abhorrence of the arrogance of power and every sort of totalitarianism--corporate, communist, fascist, or any other kind. Under dictatorship there can be no freedom of conscience. And without freedom of conscience true religious faith cannot flourish. And without such faith no people can be great, since the best single expression of human life is not present to drive them on.” *
* Paul Bullock, Jerry, 303; Voorhis, Confessions, 19.
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¶ - Noam Chomsky, noted linguist and political analyst, identifies with “libertarian socialists and anarchists, who oppose hierarchic structures and authoritarian institutions.” In 1986, he said, “The real meaning of the Cold War is elucidated by a look at its typical events: Soviet tanks in East Berlin in 1953, in Budapest in 1956, in Prague in 1968, the invasion of Afghanistan; U.S. intervention in Greece, Iran, Guatemala, Indochina, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Chile, El Salvador and Nicaragua, and a host of other examples, including U.S.-backed aggression by client states, as in East Timor and Lebanon, among other instances. In each case, when one of the superpowers resorts to subversion or aggression, the act is presented to the domestic population and the allies as ‘self-defense,’ defense against the superpower enemy or its agents. In fact, the actions are taken to ensure control over a certain sphere of influence…The Cold War is in effect a system of joint global management, a system with a certain functional utility for the superpowers, one reason why it persists. Intervention and subversion are conducted in the interest of elite groups, what is called in political theology ‘the national interest,’ meaning the special interest of groups with sufficient domestic power to shape affairs of state.” *
* Noam Chomsky, On Power and Ideology: The Managua Lectures (Boston: South End Press, 1987), 116, 40-41.
¶ - In 1986, a Nicaraguan leftist objected to Chomsky’s criticism of the Soviet empire: “We feel that through what you say and write you are our friend but at the same time you talk about North American imperialism and Russian imperialism in the same breath. I ask how you can use the same arguments as reactionaries…” Chomsky replied, “I think what we ought to do is to try to understand the truth about the world. And the truth about the world is usually quite unpleasant. One of the truths about the world is that there are two superpowers, one a huge power which happens to have its boot on your neck, another, a smaller power which happens to have its boot on other people’s necks. In fact these two superpowers have a form of tacit cooperation in controlling much of the world. My own concern is primarily the terror and violence carried out by my own state…But I am also involved in protesting Soviet imperialism...I think that anyone in the Third World would be making a grave error if they succumbed to illusions about these matters.” *
* Ibid., 51.
¶ - Chomsky went on to say, “It is certainly true that détente is an idea intended by the Soviet Union as a system of joint global management by the two superpowers, in which the Soviet Union will be a junior partner in world management. In this system, each power reserves the right to support allies elsewhere. So, for instance, the U.S. expects to have the right to destroy opposition movements within its own domains. And, in fact, the Soviet Union does not attempt to aid, say, the Salvadoreans or Guatemalans who are being killed by the proxy forces of the U.S. When conflicts take on an international dimension, the story changes. That’s, incidentally, why within the U.S. it was North Vietnam and Nicaragua that became major political issues, whereas the U.S. attack against South Vietnam and its organization of state terrorism in El Salvador did not. The USSR did not raise a finger to try to save the people of South Vietnam, just as they don’t in El Salvador….Of course, they insist that the U.S. not intervene if they decide to crush some opposition movement in their own domains. And of course the U.S. does not intervene. So the U.S. did not support Hungarian workers when Russian tanks were killing them. But when the inter-state system becomes involved, then, in fact, the U.S. does give a degree of support…” *
* Ibid., 135.
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[ CIA traits ] * Dana Priest, “CIA Holds Terror Suspects in Secret Prisons,” Washington Post, November 2, 2005, A1; Andrew Buncombe, “Bush ‘Operating Secret Gulag in Eastern Europe,’” Belfast Telegraph, November 3, 2005; “CIA Allegedly Hid Evidence of Detainee Torture: Report,” Agence France Presse report, November 13, 2005.
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On another occasion, Governor Reagan referred to détente as simply “the right to sell Pepsi-Cola in Siberia.” *
* Clayton Jones, “Ford Has Henry, But Whom Can Candidates Ask on Foreign Policy?” Des Moines Register, March 2, 1976, 4A.
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Some of Humphrey’s centrist allies, including Senator Henry Jackson (D-WA) and those who would later become Republican neoconservatives, were occasional critics of U.S. relations with the Soviet Union, but their simultaneous support for closer ties with the Chinese government suggests that principled anti-communism and support for human rights were not the primary motivations behind their criticism of détente. *
* “Jackson: Running Hard--But Hardly Moving,” U.S. News & World Report, June 9, 1975, 22.
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When National Security Adviser Kissinger was nominated by President Nixon to be Secretary of State in 1973, he was criticized by some for his pragmatism toward Communists, his links to Rockefeller corporate power, his views on civil liberties, his support for military aggression, and his reputation for secrecy and deception. The Senate approved his nomination by a vote of 78 to 7. Opponents ranged from George McGovern and Harold Hughes on the Democratic Left to Jesse Helms on the Republican Right. Humphrey was a member of the bipartisan Center that supported Kissinger. With the U.S. State Department sometimes seeming to be a virtual annex of the House of Rockefeller, it was largely left to the ideological heirs of Robert Taft and Barry Goldwater to criticize the diplomatic establishment for its plutocratic orientation. In 1974, Senator Helms of North Carolina asked if Kissinger was a talented man “nurtured by disinterested generosity” or a “well-paid servant” of “the Rockefeller family interests promoting détente because it is profitable for the international operations of the Chase Manhattan Bank, and seeking Middle East settlements to stabilize the investments of the Rockefeller oil companies?” Thirteen years later, he said, “Anyone familiar with American history, and particularly American economic history, cannot fail to notice the control over the Department of State and the Central Intelligence Agency which Wall Street seems to exercise.” * The concerns of Senator Helms could easily have been spoken by Senator La Follette in the 1920s.
* Jesse Helms, “Issues in the Rockefeller Nomination—Part I,” Congressional Record, December 4, 1974, 38164; Jesse Helms, “The Pearl Harbor Summit: International Strategic Considerations,” Congressional Record, December 15, 1987, S18146.
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In his 1979 memoir, Senator Goldwater devoted two chapters to the political influence of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission. He wrote, “When a new President comes on board, there is a great turnover in personnel but no change in policy. Example: During the Nixon years Henry Kissinger, CFR member and Nelson Rockefeller’s protégé, was in charge of foreign policy. When Jimmy Carter was elected, Kissinger was replaced by Zbigniew Brzezinski, CFR member and David Rockefeller’s protégé.” Goldwater also noted the crucial assistance provided by TC leaders to Carter as he sought the 1976 Democratic nomination. *
* Barry M. Goldwater, With No Apologies (New York: William Morrow, 1979), 279, 286-88.
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Hillary Clinton’s involvement with Wal-Mart has become a small political issue. She joined the corporation’s board in 1986 at the invitation of Sam Walton. She was paid $18,000 each year she served on the board, plus $1,500 for every board meeting attended. In preparation for the coming presidential campaign, the Clintons flew for free on corporate planes 14 times in 1990 and 1991. By 1993, Hillary owned at least $100,000 worth of Wal-Mart stock. In 2005, Senator Clinton received $5,000 from Wal-Mart for her reelection campaign (the money was returned when it became a political liability). *
* Beth Fouhy, “Clinton Quiet About Wal-Mart Ties,” AP report, March 10, 2006; see also Anthony Bianco, The Bully of Bentonville: How the High Cost of Wal-Mart’s Everyday Low Prices is Hurting America (New York: Doubleday, 2006).
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[ financing of Clinton’s nomination campaign ] * Lewis, Benes, and O’Brien, Buying, 40-73; Thomas Ferguson, “Who Bought Your Candidate & Why,” The Nation, April 6, 1992, 441-44; Thomas Ferguson, “The Democrats Deal for Dollars,” The Nation, April 13, 1992, 475-78; “Close-Up: Clinton’s Fundraising,” USA Today, July 27, 1992, 4A; Carol Matlack, “Shaking Democrats’ Money Tree,” National Journal Convention Daily, July 12, 1992, 5; James A. Barnes and Carol Matlack, “Lobbyists: They Love New York,” National Journal Convention Daily, July 15, 1992, 1, 16; Maureen Dowd and Frank Rich, “Smooth Face of Party Can’t Hide the Tension,” New York Times, July 13, 1992, B1.
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In seeking the presidency, Bill Clinton used populist rhetoric to help win the nomination and the election, but his rhetoric did not frighten the owners of capital. They understood that he needed to say certain things in order to attract the votes of common people. On occasion, he publicly dropped hints concerning his deepest loyalties. In August 1992, Democratic nominee Clinton told USA Today, “I believe that the business community and the financial community will be comfortable with me as president.” The response of liberal Jeffersonians was, “Well, isn’t that nice! The Fortune 500 executives and Wall Street insiders can rest easy. They have nothing to fear from a Clinton administration. Big Business and big banking have spent the past century buying politicians, ripping off taxpayers, exploiting workers, trashing the planet, and making lots of money as merchants of death. Instead of doing anything to reverse the trend, Clinton promises he will provide a ‘comfortable’ environment for the continued pillage.” Clinton also said, “Just in the last week, I had a meeting with about two dozen CEOs of major corporations in America in which I asked for their support and got most of them to support me....But mostly what I did was listen to them talk about the condition of the country, their relationship to the government, what they thought ought to be done. And I will spend an inordinate amount of time with people in the private sector if I win this election. I will attempt to bring into the government people who know how to run things.” The word inordinate means “Exceeding reasonable limits; immoderate; unrestrained.” Inordinate “implies lack of balance and an overstepping of bounds imposed by authority or implied by good sense.” * This was one campaign promise that Clinton actually fulfilled. He represented an utter betrayal of the ideals of Jefferson, Jackson, and Bryan. They believed in “equal rights to all, special privileges to none.” Clinton was a big believer in the giving of special privileges to the largest banks and corporations. David Rockefeller Jr. put Wall Street’s imprimatur on Clinton when he endorsed the Democrat in a New York Times editorial entitled “Why I Trust Clinton.” *
* Mark Memmott, “Democrat Breaking Ice with Business,” USA Today, August 14, 1992, 1B, 2B; W. Morris, ed., American Heritage Dictionary, 678, 457; Rockefeller, “Why I Trust Clinton,” New York Times, October 16, 1992, A31.
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After the 1992 Democratic National Convention, syndicated columnist Charley Reese wrote, “Every four years we are handed an ersatz choice between corporate America’s Candidate A or corporate America’s Candidate B. The difference between Bill Clinton and George Bush on any issue corporate America cares about isn’t enough to fill a pin prick. Their differences are all on peripheral issues about which corporate America is indifferent....Just don’t touch the monetary system, the banking system, the tax system and their control of government. Leave those alone, and you can go play any games you wish.” When Clinton talked about “putting people first,” he was talking about people like Pamela Harriman, Edward Kennedy, John D. Rockefeller IV, Lloyd Bentsen, and Robert Rubin. His cabinet selections and public policies soon made this apparent. A news report about the new president noted, “Clinton, who railed against the Bush administration’s ties to the wealthy and powerful, has at least nine millionaires at the top of his administration, more than either George Bush or Ronald Reagan.” *
* Reese, “Brown Stood Alone Among Manipulators of America,” Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune, July 26, 1992, 2D; “Big Bucks,” Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune, January 27, 1993, 14A.
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In 2005-2006, the ideological similarities between the Democratic and Republican establishments became even more obvious as Hillary Clinton and Newt Gingrich unveiled their political friendship, and Rupert Murdoch of Fox News and The Weekly Standard decided to host a fundraiser for Senator Clinton's reelection. On the eve of the election, Murdoch's New York Post endorsed Clinton. Murdoch himself has contributed $500,000 to the Clinton Global Initiative of Hillary's husband. *
* Raymond Hernandez, “Oddly, Hillary and, yes, Newt Agree to Agree,” New York Times, May 13, 2005, A1; Anne E. Kornblut, “What's in a Murdoch-Clinton Alliance? Something for Both Sides,” New York Times, May 10, 2006, B1; “Rupert and Hillary,” Financial Times, May 10, 2006, http://news.ft.com/cms/s/e3a6936e-dfc1-11da-afe4-0000779e2340.html; “Conservative NY Post Endorses Hillary Clinton,” Reuters report, October 30, 2006, http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20061030/us_nm/usa_elections_clinton_dc_1.
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Continuity between Humphrey and the CDM and Clinton and the DLC can be seen in the person of Senator Joseph Lieberman (D/I-CT). Lieberman is a Humphrey Democrat. HHH's son, former state attorney general Hubert "Skip" Humphrey III, was honorary chairman of the Lieberman '04 presidential campaign in Minnesota. Lieberman followed in Bill Clinton's footsteps to become chairman of the DLC in the 1990s, and in 2000 became the running mate of Clinton's veep, Al Gore (a fellow DLC leader). Like Clinton, Gore, and other Humphrey Democrats, Lieberman is statist and elitist on domestic policy, and hawkish and imperial on foreign policy. Bill and Hillary Clinton both supported Lieberman's unsuccessful primary campaign against Ned Lamont in 2006. As a prominent example of "NATO Liberalism" and a New Deal Democrat with deep ties to the Jewish constituency within the Democratic Party, Humphrey was a father of Republican neoconservatism. A common lineage can be seen in the Bush administration's tacit support for Lieberman, running as an Independent, in the November 2006 election. Another sign is the suggestion by neocon writers William Kristol and David Brooks that the GOP should nominate a McCain-Lieberman ticket in 2008.
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The touchstones for professed conservatives are the 1964 and 1976 presidential elections. Where did they stand in relation to Goldwater and Reagan, respectively?
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Even today, neoconservative columnist Charles Krauthammer ranks Truman above Reagan. In a 1997 interview with E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post, William Kristol indicated that he wasn't bothered by the welfare state, New Deal, or Great Society: “Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy and, for that matter, Lyndon Johnson are big facts in American history. Are we willing to say that the country is worse off because of FDR or JFK or LBJ? I'm not willing to say that.” *
* E.J. Dionne Jr., “The G.O.P. Finds the Enemy--Republican Party,” Commonweal, October 24, 1997, http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1252/is_n18_v124/ai_20159016; Samuel Francis, “Neo-Conservatives Abandon Conservative Tradition,” September 30, 1997, http://www.samfrancis.net/columns3/093097.html; D.L. O'Huallachain & J. Forrest Sharpe, eds., Neo-Conned!: Just War Principles: A Condemnation of War in Iraq (Vienna, Va.: Light in the Darkness Publications, 2005), 157-58.
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Michael Ledeen is an expert on Italian politics, including Machiavelli and fascism. His dream of continual, amoral, and violent revolution is not conservative or Christian so it is odd that he wields such influence within the administration of a man who claims to be both. *
* “Flirting with Fascism,” John Laughland, The American Conservative, June 30, 2003, http://www.amconmag.com/06_30_03/feature.html; “Who is Michael Ledeen?” William O. Beeman, Pacific News Service, May 8, 2003, http://www.alternet.org/story/15860.
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Instead of allowing the free market to work by lifting the ban on the purchase of prescription drugs from Canada, Bush aids the pharmaceutical industry through Medicare subsidies. It’s a welfare state solution that pleases neither Left nor Right.
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The cherry on top of the Bush-Humphrey amalgamation may have been the nomination of Bush’s personal attorney, Harriet Miers, to be a Supreme Court justice in 2005. With no judicial record to examine and the appointment seeming to come more from cronyism than conservatism, Bush sought to reassure conservative populists in his party that Miers would be at the same place philosophically 20 years hence. Yet, she was recommended for the seat by Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid (NV) and less than 20 years earlier she gave $1,000 contributions to Humphreyite Senators Al Gore (D-TN) (running for president) and Lloyd Bentsen (D-TX) (running for reelection), as well as the Democratic National Committee. These were not “youthful indiscretions.” She was a mature woman and corporate attorney who knew what she was doing. The contributions were made nine years after her 1979 conversion to evangelical Christianity. For Miers, it was a small step from Gore Jr. to Bush Jr. since both men represented corporate wealth, big government, and armed interventionism.
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In 1968, Newt Gingrich was a Louisiana coordinator for Rockefeller’s presidential campaign. He was a 25-year-old graduate student at the time. He was old enough to know what he was doing. Gingrich entered Georgia politics in 1974 as a Rockefeller Republican. Gingrich’s political action committee (GOPAC) has been the recipient of large amounts of money from big business. He belongs to the Council on Foreign Relations, supported Bush over Buchanan in 1992, and was a key backer of NAFTA and GATT. Possessing a PhD in history, Gingrich’s role models include William McKinley, Mark Hanna, and Theodore Roosevelt. In 1996, he called William Jennings Bryan “a remarkably shallow but emotionally effective demagogue,” which is closer to self-description than an accurate assessment of Bryan. Gingrich is also an admirer of Franklin D. Roosevelt, whom he refers to as the greatest president of the twentieth century. Gingrich has pointed out that Ronald Reagan voted four times for Franklin Roosevelt, which is more to Reagan’s discredit than Roosevelt’s credit (from a conservative perspective). Gingrich approvingly notes that actor Reagan cut campaign commercials for President Harry Truman and senatorial candidate Hubert Humphrey in 1948. C. Douglas Dillon is an international investment banker, was Secretary of the Treasury under JFK and LBJ, and was an important friend and supporter of Governor Nelson Rockefeller in the 1960s. In the 1990s, Dillon contributed nearly $100,000 to GOPAC. * It is inconceivable that Dillon would have given such money to groups controlled by more authentic conservatives (e.g., Taft in the 1940s, Goldwater in the 1960s, or Buchanan in the 1990s). In his personal life, Gingrich does not “walk the walk” when it comes to traditional conservatism. He supports the violent exporting of “democracy” around the world but was a draft dodger during the Vietnam War. He appeals to “family values” conservatives but is currently with his third wife following affairs and divorces.
* Katharine Q. Seelye, “Gingrich’s Life: The Complications and Ideals,” New York Times, November 24, 1994, A14; Jackie Calmes and Phil Kuntz, “Republicans’ Wins Put Their Attack Tactician in a Position to Lead,” Wall Street Journal, November 9, 1994, A6; Andrew Mollison, “PACs Butter the Bread,” Atlanta Journal/Constitution, August 14, 1994, A5; William F. Jasper, “Speaking for Whom?” The New American, December 12, 1994, 5-10; William F. Jasper, “‘Newtered’ Congress,” The New American, February 3, 1997, 21-26; Thomas Fleming, “From Bryan to Buchanan,” Chronicles, March 1996, 10-11; Gingrich, “The Heir to FDR,” The Hill, June 8, 2004, http://www.aei.org/publications/pubID.20665,filter.all/pub_detail.asp; Ted Gup, “The Mother Jones 400,” Mother Jones, March/April 1996, 53.
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When conservatives were upset about Harriet Miers, Bush’s ill-fated choice for a Supreme Court seat, the president supported her during a press conference by saying, “I know her. I know her heart. I know what she believes...” * He mentioned her beliefs, although White House spokesmen were simultaneously arguing that her thoughts on abortion and theology would have absolutely no effect on her rulings as a justice, but he led off with, “I know her heart.”
* Deborah Orin, “W. Calms Miers Ire--Tells Skeptics: ‘I Know Her Heart,’” New York Post, October 5, 2005, 12.
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Albright’s bellicosity did not make Americans safer. Attacks on Iraqis through economic sanctions and air strikes, support for Palestinian oppression, and U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia--policies inherited from Bush Sr. and continued by Clinton--would eventually be contributing factors in the horrible 9/11 terrorist attacks.
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In the summer 1996 issue of Foreign Affairs, William Kristol and Robert Kagan set forth a foreign policy for Dole. It was a blunt endorsement of imperialism and militarism. They wrote, “Conservatives will not be able to govern America over the long term if they fail to offer a more elevated vision of America’s international role. What should that role be? Benevolent global hegemony.” This is the neoconservative prescription: Domination of the planet by U.S.-based elites who possess neither a deep understanding of nor a deep loyalty to our own country. Ironically enough, this is marketed as “conservatism” and “patriotism.” A magazine in the Robert Taft tradition of historic conservatism commented, “The Founders eschewed imperial temptations not because of America’s weakness, but because they recognized no republic in history has maintained a foreign empire without imposing domestic tyranny as well.” This prospect does not faze Kristol with his family heritage of Trotskyism and welfare statism. As chief of staff to the malleable Vice President Dan Quayle, Kristol attacked Pat Buchanan as a “closet liberal” and compared him to George McGovern. Buchanan, a Goldwater-Reagan Republican, was too courteous to compare Quayle to Mortimer Snerd and Kristol to Edgar Bergen. Granted, Quayle was more handsome than Snerd and Kristol was more harmful than Bergen. Kristol posing as a defender of conservative orthodoxy is rich since he's such a johnny-come-lately. He was an FDR-style liberal Democrat until the 1980s. In 1968, he supported Hubert Humphrey for president and was an organizer for Henry Jackson’s campaign when he sought the 1972 Democratic nomination. Bill Kristol’s father is Irving Kristol, member of both the Fourth International and the Council on Foreign Relations (which makes him a personification of the communist/capitalist merging found at the end of Animal Farm). *
* Kristol and Kagan, “Toward,” 20; “The Glories of ‘World Hegemony,’” The New American, September 2, 1996, 17; “Quayle Calls”; Orwell, Animal, 123-28.
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[ Exploitation of evangelical Christians by GOP leaders ] * W. James Antle III, “Republican Stepchildren,” The American Conservative, April 11, 2005, http://www.amconmag.com/2005a/2005_04_11/cover.html; Peter Wallsten, “Book: Bush Aides Called Evangelicals ‘Nuts’,” Los Angeles Times, October 13, 2006, http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-faith13oct13,0,3875008.story?coll=la-home-headlines.
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In the early 1970s, Richard Barnet wrote, “As the oil companies become more ‘multinational,’ in the sense that their producing and marketing activities become truly global, the government-business partnership is changing. The oil companies themselves, as Robert Engler has put it in Politics of Oil, are reaching for a form of world government in which they can rationalize and protect their world-wide activities.” Barnet noted that oil companies were beginning to act like governments themselves and were redefining the concept of “national interest.” The major thing they continued to lack was an armed force to protect their international investments. For this, they continued to rely on the U.S. military. In 1935, Major General Smedley Butler, the most decorated Marine in history at the time of his death, pulled back the curtain on the corporate aspect of military intervention: “I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909–12. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras ‘right’ for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested….Looking back on it, I feel I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three city districts. We Marines operated on three continents.” *
* Barnet, Roots, 204; Hans Schmidt, Maverick Marine: General Smedley D. Butler and the Contradictions of American Military History (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1987), 231.
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Thomas Jefferson foresaw one of the problems with the globalization movement of our day. He wrote, “Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains.” In the 1990s, when Ralph Nader asked CEOs of large U.S.-based corporations to pledge allegiance to the United States of America at their annual meetings, most rejected the idea out of hand. Profit maximization, aggressive internationalism, and the desirability of cheap-and-docile labor outweigh state charters, national sovereignty, and loyalty to the American people. Nader’s proposed pledge of allegiance included the “one nation, under God” wording. * Most corporate leaders do not deign to acknowledge a Creator of humanity and nature. Transnational corporations--“persons” according to the U.S. Supreme Court’s strange reading of the Fourteenth Amendment--are loyal to the Almighty Dollar alone. A case could be made that such “persons” are traitors in every sense of the word.
* C. Wright Mills, Power, Politics and People, 120; Ralph Nader, “U.S. Companies Should Pledge Allegiance,” Washington Times, June 4, 1996 [can be found in: The Ralph Nader Reader (New York: Seven Stories, 2000), 57-59]; Patrick J. Buchanan, “Patriotism in the Boardroom,” June 30, 1998, http://www.buchanan.org/pa-98-0630.html; Alan Keyes, “What Ever Happened to National Allegiance?” WorldNetDaily, July 17, 1998, http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=18625.
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¶ - Speaking of 1896, some radicals at the time and ever since have bemoaned the fact that the Populists were swallowed up by the Democrats and ceased to act as an independent party. Bryan is fingered as the destroyer of the People’s Party. There are several things to consider when dealing with this indictment. The People’s Party did have some success during its existence. It elected many state legislators, dozens of members of Congress, a number of governors, and carried states in the 1892 presidential election. These were notable achievements. However, the party was not poised to capture the White House or Capitol Hill. It was the third largest party in its day, but it trailed the two major parties by a considerable distance. It was grounded in the political thought of Thomas Jefferson, founder of the Democratic Party. When Bryan the Jeffersonian was nominated by Democrats in 1896, it was natural for most Populists to support him in the November election. There is a reason that Bryan received the Populist nomination that year and was supported in all three of his presidential campaigns by 1892 Populist nominee James Weaver. Congressman Bryan supported Weaver for president over Grover Cleveland, a plutocratic Democrat. Weaver and Bryan eventually became close friends. In 1893, Bryan helped to elect his old friend, Senator William Allen (P-NE), by throwing his votes to the Populist when his own bid for the U.S. Senate fell short in the Nebraska legislature. Bryan was supported at the 1896 Populist convention by the permanent chairman, Senator Allen, and the temporary chairman, Senator Marion Butler (P-NC).
¶ - In 1900, the largest faction of the party again joined the Democrats in nominating Bryan. Weaver, Allen, and Butler were among the many Populists backing Bryan. In 1904, a much-diminished party balked at supporting Alton Parker, a plutocrat and a Democratic nominee for whom Bryan had little enthusiasm himself. By 1908, when Bryan was nominated by the Democrats for a third time, the People’s Party was dead. Bryan had carried most--although not all--of the Populist issues into the Democratic Party by this time. When the national Democratic organization permanently fell into plutocratic hands in 1912, ex-Populists were “out of luck.” But the same was true for millions of loyal Democrats who remained true to the principles of Jefferson and Bryan. Senator Thomas Gore (D-OK), a former Texas Populist, was a close ally of Bryan. Senator Thomas Watson (D-GA), Bryan’s 1896 running mate on the Populist ticket, later turned against Bryan but still ended up back in the Democratic Party.
¶ - One could say that the People’s Party was co-opted by the Democratic Party, but one could also say that the former was naturally reintegrated into the latter during a period of Jeffersonian revival. It was not a conspiracy against purity of principle or radical dissent. Bryan was not a malevolent schemer. Populists had been his allies in Nebraska and it was logical for them to become national allies as well. He did not attempt to tame the People’s Party. It collapsed from within as the mantle of dissent was donned by a Democrat who was truly Jeffersonian. The fact that this donning was not sustainable does not negate its validity at the time. In retrospect, populists and leftists may wish that a growing party would have stayed independent of the Democrats as a means of holding the larger party more accountable and as a viable vehicle in the 1916 election. This was not to be. Even if Bryan had never been embraced by Populist leaders, the party might well have peaked in 1892 and gradually declined in the manner of the Prohibition and Socialist parties. Or it could have been co-opted by a group of plutocrats, as the Progressive Party was by Roosevelt, Perkins, and Munsey in 1912. *
* Amos Pinchot, History of the Progressive Party.
¶ - To blame Bryan for killing the party is unfair. It also inflates the purity of Populist leaders who were critical of Bryan after 1896. Were their motives so much purer than Bryan’s? Was there no self-interest involved? No enjoyment of being a “big fish in a small pond”? No personal resentment toward a more famous and more popular “interloper”? As with most political endeavors, motivations were probably mixed. While they may have been praiseworthy in many ways, non-fusion Populists did not have a corner on the market of purity and sincerity. Bryan was a man of honor who naturally appealed to most Populists. He was not perfect but he was not guilty of partycide. There was far more logic behind Populist support for Bryan than there is behind Green support for a Gore, Kerry, or Clinton. Bryan had a realistic chance of being elected president. The same has been true for Gore, Kerry, and Clinton. There is one big difference, however. Bryan had a commitment to the principles that undergirded the Populist Party and he had the record to prove it. This is not the case when considering the relationship between DLC Democrats and the Green Party. It seems illogical and naïve for a third-party member who favors peace and democracy to support a major-party nominee who favors war and plutocracy.
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Competing sacred/secular visions of the world have led to significant political polarization as religion is found at the center of many important issues (e.g., impeachment of President Clinton, Supreme Court nominations, same-sex marriage, abortion, stem cell research, cloning, teaching of evolution, school vouchers, Pledge of Allegiance, relationship with the Israeli government, war on terror, Iraq War). In foreign policy, it is linked to the question, “From whom do we receive our mandate to remake the world in our own image?” Is it from God? From the United Nations? From the Constitution? Or is there no mandate? For believers, appeals to God trump all else so divine mandates (real or imagined) become very powerful for public policy both foreign and domestic.
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¶ - Prior to 2001, most Christian populists in the United States had long been skeptical about the Bush family. For many, the elder Bush had not been their first choice for president in 1980, 1988, or 1992, and it was the same for the junior Bush in 2000. The House of Bush was tainted by its links to international bankers (Brown Brothers, Harriman & Co.), the Rockefellers, Planned Parenthood, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the New World Order. Both Georges are members of the Yale secret society Skull and Bones (a fraternity that also includes John F. Kerry). In his 1991 book The New World Order, former presidential candidate Pat Robertson sounds much like a modern-day Bryan in condemning the monied interests and their dreams of empire. He theorizes that “men of goodwill” such as George Bush Sr. are “unwittingly carrying out the mission and mouthing the phrases of a tightly knit cabal whose goal is nothing less than a new order for the human race under the domination of Lucifer and his followers.” On the heels of a disclaimer about Bush’s honorable intentions, Robertson states that the president’s Persian Gulf War-era “new world order” phrase has been used for two centuries by those who desire to destroy Christianity and “replace it with an occult-inspired world socialist dictatorship.”
¶ - Robertson labels the views toward world government held by CFR leaders--including Rumsfeld and Cheney--to be “so impractical and bizarre as to earn them a place of shame.” He warns that any conservative who attempts to stop CFR domination of the government will be “branded by the Establishment as being narrow-minded, provincial, obstructionist, a defender of fortress America, out of touch with global realities, unskilled in American foreign policy and, of course, the usual ‘bigoted, fundamentalist Christian, right-wing zealot.’” * Some of these accusations were made against Secretary of State Bryan in the 1910s and later applied to conservative Republicans such as Jesse Helms, Pat Buchanan, and Robertson himself. Snobbish admirers of Jacques Chirac may criticize George W. Bush for being an ignorant zealot, but he has filled his administration with CFR members and has been a committed internationalist, patron of imperial neoconservatives, and enemy of isolationists. Even when Bush II policies are criticized in the pages of Foreign Affairs, they are treated with respect. In more recent years, Pat Robertson--like Democratic counterpart Jesse Jackson--has muted his criticism of his party’s establishment in exchange for a seat at the table of power, though remaining more of an ornament than a player. Robertson's analyses can be dismissed as kooky delusions or accepted as valuable truths; either way, it is clear that millions of conservative Christians set aside their traditional skepticism about George W. Bush and his circle when they embraced a cult of personality in 2001.
* Robertson, New World Order (Dallas: Word, 1992), 37, 92, 98-99, 263.
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Bryan was raised by religious-minded parents who were down-to-earth Baptists. Bush was raised by economically and politically powerful parents who were high-church Episcopalians a thousand miles removed from evangelicals.
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The newspaper later ran a correction claiming that Evans only said that Bush “believes he was called to lead the nation at this time,” which begs the question, “If not by God, by whom?” If Bush has the American electorate in mind, there’s no need to express a belief about it; a look at the 2000 election returns would suffice. Obviously, God is implied, but the divine invocation must have sounded too presumptuous in print.
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[ GWB vs. WJB ] To use a country music analogy, it would be like Garth Brooks having to compete against Hank Williams. Unable to match the authenticity of the real deal, the synthetic performer would have to assume a different persona.
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The isolationism of most Americans did not end in 1898, 1917, or 1941. In 1970, Zbigniew Brzezinski warned globalists that if they were not careful they might witness the creation of “a dangerous gap” between the transnational elites and the “politically activated masses, whose ‘nativism’--exploited by more nationalist political leaders--could work against the ‘cosmopolitan’ elites.” Even at the height of the Cold War, Americans were not eager to act as policeman of the world or as those who supply the money and blood for a Pax Americana: “American public opinion seems little disposed to back the use of American forces to protect foreign nations. In a mid-1969 public-opinion poll, which asked whether Americans ought to aid foreign states if these were invaded by outside communist military forces, those who were willing to rely on force were in the majority only with respect to Canada and Mexico (57 per cent and 52 per cent, respectively); the figure for West Germany was 38 per cent, for Japan 27 per cent, for Israel 9 per cent (here the foreign aggression postulated was not necessarily communist), for Rumania 13 per cent…” A poll conducted in June 1992 showed that an overwhelming majority of the American people opposed the policy of imperialism that has been propagated by both major parties since 1913. 74% of Perot supporters, 65% of Clinton supporters, and 60% of Bush supporters favored “reducing [the] U.S. role in international affairs and letting other countries get along as best they can on their own.” *
* Brzezinski, Between, 59, 291; “Many Favor Cutting Military, Foreign Affairs,” USA Today, June 18, 1992, 4A.
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Barack Obama provides no alternative to Hillary Clinton, in terms of imperial-minded foreign policy. As with Clinton and the other "respectable" contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, Senator Obama has consistently voted to fund the war and has opposed an immediate withdrawal of American troops. While state legislator Obama opposed an immediate war with Iraq in 2002-03, he did not do so on anti-imperial or noninterventionist grounds. He opposed the war at a time when the idea was relatively unpopular, especially among his Chicago constituents. He later backpedaled somewhat from his public opposition. Referring to the U.S. Senate authorization vote of 2002 and senators having access to intelligence reports, in July 2004, he told the New York Times, "What would I have done? I don't know." Asked about the pro-war votes of Kerry and Edwards, Obama told NPR, "I don't consider that to have been an easy decision, and certainly, I wasn't in the position to actually cast a vote on it. I think that there is room for disagreement in that initial decision." Not exactly a stunning statement of the peace position! In July 2003, Obama argued that a unilateral approach to Iraq was not the best one, that a multilateral coalition against Saddam Hussein would have been better so that "if we ultimately had to overthrow him, we would have built an international coalition that could have moved forward."
¶ - An adept politician, Obama began emphasizing his "anti-war" stance as the war became increasingly unpopular among Democrats across the country and he began gearing up for the 2008 presidential campaign. Gone was the 2004 equivocating. He had found an issue with which to distinguish himself from Clinton, Edwards, and Biden. Campaigning among grassroots Democrats, Obama sounds like Cindy Sheehan, but his real, far more nuanced views have been laid out for members of the elite Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
¶ - In November 2006, he telegraphed his "safe" imperial mindset to the powers that be when he said, "There is one other place where our mistakes in Iraq have cost us dearly--and that is the loss of our government’s credibility with the American people. According to a Pew survey, 42% of Americans now agree with the statement that the U.S. should 'mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own.' We cannot afford to be a country of isolationists right now. 9/11 showed us that try as we might to ignore the rest of the world, our enemies will no longer ignore us. And so we need to maintain a strong foreign policy, relentless in pursuing our enemies and hopeful in promoting our values around the world." Of course, Obama is being dishonest when he pretends that the U.S. government was trying to "ignore the rest of the world" prior to 9/11. Isolationism did not provoke the terrorists. On the contrary, the terrorist attack was partly a result of decades of U.S. intervention overseas--precisely the kind of meddling that Obama euphemistically calls "maintaining a strong foreign policy, pursuing our enemies, and promoting our values around the world." This is the point made by Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX), a principled and consistent Iraq War opponent, and it is understood by millions of populist Democrats as well. When you stick your hand in a hornet's nest, you may get stung. Perhaps the action is worth the possible consequence, but don't pretend that the sticking of the hand into the nest had nothing to do with the stinging! The hornets didn't choose to sting someone minding his own business simply because they "hate freedom."
¶ - In a second speech, in April 2007, Obama told the CCGA, " I reject the notion that the American moment has passed. I dismiss the cynics who say that this new century cannot be another when, in the words of President Franklin Roosevelt, we lead the world in battling immediate evils and promoting the ultimate good. I still believe that America is the last, best hope of Earth. We just have to show the world why this is so. This President may occupy the White House, but for the last six years the position of leader of the free world has remained open. And it’s time to fill that role once more." Yes, the dream of Pax America must continue, only under better management--management that is more savvy in handling international public opinion. With a straight face, Obama declared, "In today’s globalized world, the security of the American people is inextricably linked to the security of all people." He continued, "World opinion has turned against us. And after all the lives lost and the billions of dollars spent, many Americans may find it tempting to turn inward, and cede our claim of leadership in world affairs. I insist, however, that such an abandonment of our leadership is a mistake we must not make....We must lead the world, by deed and example."
¶ - In his speech to the internationalists, Obama endorsed the Persian Gulf War of 1991, a bloodletting that had nothing to do with U.S. national security and was opposed by populists as diverse as Jerry Brown, Ralph Nader, Ross Perot, Pat Buchanan, and Chuck Grassley: "No President should ever hesitate to use force--unilaterally if necessary--to protect ourselves and our vital interests when we are attacked or imminently threatened. But when we use force in situations other than self-defense, we should make every effort to garner the clear support and participation of others--the kind of burden-sharing and support President George H.W. Bush mustered before he launched Operation Desert Storm." Notice that Obama has quietly slipped in an endorsement of preemptive war with his wording "imminently threatened." And notice also the use of the Power Elite's favorite foreign policy weasel words: "our vital interests." This is a catch-all phrase that really means the economic and imperial interests of the Fortune 500 and their political deputies. Not shying away from military imagery, Obama said, "In order to advance our national security and our common security, we must call on the full arsenal of American power and ingenuity. To constrain rogue nations, we must use effective diplomacy and muscular alliances." He evoked the names of beloved figures of the bipartisan foreign policy establishment: Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, Richard Lugar, George Marshall, and Harry Truman.
¶ - Senator Obama ended his speech with stirring words worthy of a neoconservative: "The American moment has not passed. The American moment is here. And like generations before us, we will seize that moment, and begin the world anew." Revolutionary fervor a la Robespierre and Trotsky has not completely left the Democratic Party in favor of greener Republican pastures. Not surprisingly, neocon guru Robert Kagan gloated over this speech. (See page 231 for a summary of Kagan's quintessential resume.) David Brooks, another influential neocon writer, has been very warm toward Obama's candidacy. Obama has told Brooks that Reinhold Niebuhr is one of his favorite philosophers.* Like Hillary Clinton, Obama is clearly in the Hubert Humphrey tradition of "muscular internationalism," with its attendant gunboat diplomacy and faux global humanitarianism. Obama also identifies with the Kennedy fraternity of the Democratic Party...not only stylistically with his movie star glamour but also with his "pay any price, bear any burden" view of the entire world as our responsibility and fiefdom.
* "Next Neoconservatism?" The American Conservative, May 21, 2007, 4; Robert Kagan, "Obama the Interventionist," Washington Post, April 29, 2007, B7; David Brooks, "Obama, Gospel and Verse," New York Times, A25; text of November 2006 speech: http://obama.senate.gov/speech/061120-a_way_forward_i; text of April 2007 speech: http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/fpccga.
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In June 2006, Senate Republicans engineered a similar “put-up-or-shut-up” vote on the Iraq War to embarrass Democrats who straddle the issue. A resolution calling for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the year failed on a 93-6 vote. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid led Democrats in their reaffirmation of support for the ongoing occupation. Interestingly enough, John Kerry was among the six. Like Humphrey in the early 1970s, Kerry is repackaging himself as a war opponent. If Kerry runs again in 2008, he'll likely face another member of the losing bloc: Russ Feingold, who has opposed the war from the beginning.
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Sexually harassing and assaulting women, lying under oath, renting out the Lincoln Bedroom, taking illegal campaign contributions from the Chinese, and pardoning well-connected criminals at the last minute of power are not examples of playing by the rules. Discussing boxers and briefs on national television and engaging in fellatio in the Oval Office with an intern the age of one’s daughter might qualify as coarsening.
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Daschle is but one example of a Democratic insider who has cashed in on his “public service.” Washington is teeming with them.* The Republican Party does not have a corner on the market when it comes to corporate shills.
* Russ Baker, “25 Democratic Consultants,” June 14, 2006, Real News Project, http://realnews.org/rn/content/25demconsultants.html; Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, “Democrats' Stock is Rising on K Street,” August 17, 2006, Washington Post, A1, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/16/AR2006081601598.html.
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Same-sex “marriage” continues to be unpopular. In 2005, defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman was written into state constitutions through referendums in Kansas (70%) and Texas (76%). In 2006, popular initiatives and referendums passed in South Dakota (52%), Colorado (56%), Virginia (57%), Wisconsin (59%), Idaho (63%), South Carolina (78%), and Tennessee (81%). Historically, Wisconsin is one of the most liberal states in the union. Only Arizona defeated such an effort--very narrowly (51%)--and two years later a similar amendment passed in Arizona (56%). In 2008, ballot measures to protect traditional marriage also passed in California (52%) and Florida (62%).
¶ - Of the 31 states which have put same-sex marriage up for a vote of the people since 1998, every single one has defeated the idea in the end. California's Proposition 8 passed with the support of 53% of Hispanics and 70% of African Americans. South Carolina has one of the largest populations, percentage-wise, of black residents in the nation. The states which have legalized same-sex marriage stand in contrast, demographically. New England is not only the old stomping grounds of the elitist Federalist Party; it is also a bastion of lily-white residents. The three whitest states in the union are also the only three states that have legalized same-sex marriage by legislative act: Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire (97%, 97%, 96% white, respectively). Connecticut (82% white), Massachusetts (85% white), and Iowa (94% white) have been forced into allowing same-sex marriage by judicial fiat. In 2009, the people of Maine voted to reverse the actions of the state's legislature and governor. Despite support for same-sex marriage by the leadership of both major parties, the mainstream media, and the educational elite, and despite being outspent nearly 2-to-1, the referendum to define marriage in traditional terms passed with 53% of the vote.
¶ - Democratic politicians, from President Obama and congressional leaders to various governors, talk out of both sides of their mouth, claiming to disbelieve in same-sex marriage while simultaneously opposing efforts to stop it. In this way, they signal their tacit support for an unpopular policy to their supporters in the gay rights movement without openly antagonizing the majority of people. This strategy also passes the buck to unelected judges, who have the option of exercising what is known as “judicial tyranny” by populists in the Jeffersonian tradition.
¶ - When judges are not beyond the reach of citizens, they sometimes pay a price for perceived arrogance and undemocratic decision-making. In the November 2010 election, Iowans punished the three state supreme court justices facing voters after having discarded the traditional definition of marriage. The Iowa chief justice and two associate justices were rejected in the retention election--the first removal of a sitting justice since the system was adopted in 1962. One slogan of the recall campaign: “It’s we the people, not we the courts.”
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[ abortion and Playboy philosophy ] * Dorchen Leidholdt and Janice G. Raymond, eds., The Sexual Liberals and the Attack on Feminism (New York: Pergamon, 1990); “Abortion Rights League Backed,” Playboy, March 1979, 12; Suzannah Lessard, “Kennedy's Woman Problem, Women's Kennedy Problem,” The Washington Monthly, December 1979, 10-14; Suzannah Lessard, “The Issue was Women,” Newsweek, May 18, 1987, 32-34; Judi Hasson, “Ethics Probe of Packwood Urged,” USA Today, November 24, 1992, 4A; John Wilson, “Old Boys, New World,” In These Times, December 28, 1992, 18-19; Andrea Dworkin, “Dear Bill and Hillary,” London Guardian, January 29, 1998, http://www.nostatusquo.com/ACLU/dworkin/other/Clinton2.html; Susan Brownmiller, “Bill Clinton, Jack Rabbit,” March 1999, http://www.susanbrownmiller.com/html/opinion-clinton.html.
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Bryan opposed capital punishment on moral grounds. In 1915, he planned to send a wire to the governor of Georgia urging him to commute the sentence of death for Leo Frank, a New Yorker who had been convicted of murder. Before sending the wire, he learned that clemency had been granted. Bryan then wrote, “My approval of your action in commuting the sentence to imprisonment is based entirely upon the conviction that the government can not afford to violate the sacredness of human life as a punishment for a crime already committed. In putting a human life to death--not to prevent loss of life but to avenge a death the Government does not restore the life taken by the condemned man but it does, in my judgment, take the risk of teaching its citizens to underestimate the value of life. I approve the doctrine that no one, not even the Government is justified in extinguishing the spark of life in any human being except to prevent the taking of another life.” *
* Bryan, William: Selections, 190.
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This was reminiscent of how Clinton rewarded loyal gay supporters with the unprincipled “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” compromise twelve years earlier and the politically-motivated “Defense of Marriage Act” eight years before.
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Clinton and libertarianism: After the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, he said, “You can’t say you love your country and hate your government.” (source: BBC) – and/or he said: “There's nothing patriotic about hating your government or pretending you can hate your government but love your country." – cf. Jefferson’s reaction to Shays’ Rebellion in Massachusetts: “...[C]an history produce an instance of a rebellion so honourably conducted? I say nothing of it's motives. They were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion. The people can not be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. We have had 13 states independant 11 years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century and a half for each state. What country ever existed a century and a half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it's natural manure. Our [Constitutional] Convention has been too much impressed by the insurrection of Massachusets: and in the spur of the moment they are setting up a kite to keep the hen yard in order. I hope in god this article will be rectified before the new constitution is accepted.” (TJ to William Stephens Smith, November 13, 1787)
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Multiculturalism is an offspring of political correctness. It tends to be a wholesale repudiation of traditional American customs. Hence, “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings” instead of “Merry Christmas.” Christmas itself was widely commercialized and secularized in America by the 1950s with its emphasis on consumer spending, Santa, reindeer, and snowmen, but it retained a religious theme at its heart and for this reason it has no place in the brave new world of multiculturalism. More “exotic” religious seasons like Ramadan have a stay of execution in the interest of diversity but they too would become publicly inappropriate if widely practiced. Today, it’s unlikely that a commercial television network would produce a new program like A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965), which contains Linus quoting the Nativity story from the book of Luke and the gang’s rendition of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” A new special would either refer to some indistinct, all-inclusive “Mush God” or more likely omit all mention of religion.
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The American holiday of Christmas is actually a conglomeration of six components, most of which are secular in nature: Old English (Dickens, holly, bells); Santa cult (jolly giftgiver, reindeer, elves); Seasonal (snow, fireplace, fir trees); Social (family, friends, food); Commercial (shopping, presents, cards, GDP); and Spiritual. While 5/6 of these sets of Christmas traditions may be benign, they are not religious per se and have nothing to do with Advent-Nativity-Christ. Even with the religious element of Christmas, it must be admitted that its ancient foundation is mostly pagan in orientation. The early Puritans in America did not celebrate Christmas for this reason. They viewed it as a popish carry-over into a corrupt form of Protestantism. Still, the mustard seed of true Christianity at the heart of the holiday is too much for extreme secularists and multiculturalists. According to a late 2005 poll, 95% of Americans believe in God. For the vast majority, it is Yahweh, the deity of the Hebrew and Greek scriptures, that is acknowledged. For many, their faith is nominal and cultural with little impact on their daily lives, but they enjoy Christmas partly for its Judeo-Christian allusions.
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Shortly before Christmas, the Associated Press circulated a story that sums up the Christmas confusion. A group of religious protesters in Sacramento demonstrated outside of a Wal-Mart to call attention to the company’s use of “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas” in its advertising. In the words of the AP reporter, a member of a local church “donned a Santa Claus costume and greeted shoppers with the message: Don’t forget about the meaning of Christmas.” He is quoted as saying, “It is insulting that Wal-Mart has chosen to ignore the reason for the season.” * And the reason would be what? Santa Claus? Jesus Christ? A “religious protester” in a Santa costume is sending rather mixed signals!
* Tom Chorneau, “Wal-Mart Confronted on ‘Happy Holidays’” AP report, December 17, 2005.
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Even John Sweeney, the sold-out president of the AFL-CIO, had to publicly object to one aspect of the Senate’s bipartisan, pro-corporate immigration bill in early 2006. He stated, “Guest worker programs are a bad idea and harm all workers. They cast workers into a perennial second-class status, and unfairly put their fates into their employers’ hands.” Meanwhile, Edward Kennedy and other supposedly liberal Democrats worked hand-in-hand with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to fashion a bill that allows for nearly 2 million temporary workers in the U.S. Kennedy shrugged off criticism by noting that the guest-worker proposal had “the support of agribusiness and farm workers,” and Senator Dianne Feinstein, a fellow limousine liberal, remarked that the agriculture industry in California is “almost entirely dependent on undocumented workers.” Referring to illegal immigrants, Kennedy said, “We should reject temporary status and required departure because they are bad for business. What do we gain if millions of immigrant workers who fuel our economy are required to spend weeks--or years or decades under some plans--waiting outside the United States for permission to continue their work?” * Kennedy ignores concerns about immigrant exploitation, respect for law, the driving down of wages, and employment opportunities being denied to American citizens who lack college degrees.
* David Espo, “AFL-CIO Chief Slams Guest Worker Programs,” AP report, March 29, 2006; Suzanne Gamboa, “Senators Divided on Illegal Immigrants,” AP report, March 30, 2006.
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[ original list of some scientists who were Christians ] Nicolaus Cusanus (Nicholas of Cusa), Francis Bacon, Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, Blaise Pascal, Robert Boyle, John Ray, Isaac Newton, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Carolus Linnaeus, Michael Faraday, Louis Pasteur, Lord Kelvin, James Clerk Maxwell, John Ambrose Fleming
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Being adherents of Baconian empiricism, Christian dispensationalists of the 19th century saw no incompatibility between traditional religion and traditional science. * They considered their faith to be grounded in reality, based on facts, and understood through reason. They may have been mistaken, but this was their self-image. They were not consciously unscientific or irrational. This was also true of the Princeton Theological Seminary traditionalists who comprised another major bloc of the fundamentalist movement.
* Marsden, Fundamentalism and American Culture, 55-62.
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In criticizing what he called “scientism,” C.S. Lewis pointed out that the cult of progress predated Darwin. In the 19th century, the bland assumption of human progress and the more-negative “Social Darwinism” took evolutionary principles from the natural realm and applied them, with questionable appropriateness, to the social sphere. In popular culture today, evolution is routinely used to justify all things belligerent, boorish, and bloody (e.g., competition, misogyny, and violence). Men like to cheat on their wives? They can’t help it. It’s in their genes. Men like to assault women? Boys will be boys. They can't escape their caveman origins. Men like to fight wars? Not surprising. It's all part of survival-of-the-fittest. During the Middle Ages, theology (sinful nature after the Fall) was used to explain brutish and bloody behavior. During the Enlightenment, it was anarchy (state of nature before the Social Contract). These were seen as regrettable and correctable conditions. For the past century, the explanation has been biology (evolution of species) and such behavior is often accepted as inevitable or even celebrated as natural. It is an important social shift--one condemned by Bryan and not necessarily endorsed by the actual practitioners of natural science. *
* Lewis, Christian Reflections, 82-93; Lewis, God in the Dock, 38-47; Stephen Jay Gould, “William Jennings Bryan’s Last Campaign,” Natural History, November 1987, 16-26.
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[ Jefferson on the Creator and intelligent design ] In an 1823 letter to John Adams, Jefferson referred to "the God whom you and I acknowledge and adore, the Creator and benevolent Governor of the world." In delineating his belief in a Creator of the world, he wrote, "I hold, (without appeal to revelation) that when we take a view of the universe, in its parts, general or particular, it is impossible for the human mind not to perceive and feel a conviction of design, consummate skill, and indefinite power in every atom of its composition. The movements of the heavenly bodies, so exactly held in their course by the balance of centrifugal and centripetal forces; the structure of our earth itself, with its distribution of lands, waters and atmosphere; animal and vegetable bodies, examined in all their minutest particles; insects, mere atoms of life, yet as perfectly organized as man or mammoth; the mineral substances, their generation and uses; it is impossible, I say, for the human mind not to believe, that there is in all this, design, cause and effect, up to an ultimate cause, a Fabricator of all things from matter and motion, their Preserver and Regulator while permitted to exist in their present forms, and their regeneration into new and other forms. We see, too, evident proofs of the necessity of a superintending power, to maintain the universe in its course and order. Stars, well known, have disappeared, new ones have come into view; comets, in their incalculable courses, may run foul of suns and planets, and require renovation under other laws; certain races of animals are become extinct; and were there no restoring power, all existences might extinguish successively, one by one, until all should be reduced to a shapeless chaos. So irresistible are these evidences of an intelligent and powerful Agent, that, of the infinite numbers of men who have existed through all time, they have believed, in the proportion of a million at least to unit, in the hypothesis of an eternal pre-existence of a Creator, rather than in that of a self-existent universe." *
* Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. H.A. Washington (New York: H.W. Derby, 1861), April 11, 1823, http://yamaguchy.netfirms.com/7897401/jefferson/benrush.html.
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I do not think that Jefferson's unease with Protestant fundamentalists would be a snobbish reaction based on social class or sophistication level. Instead, it would be based on philosophical, theological, and ideological differences.
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Senator Paul Tsongas (D-MA) was the most overt pro-big business and pro-abortion rights candidate running for the 1992 presidential nomination. During a debate on the eve of the Super Tuesday primaries, Tsongas told Governor Jerry Brown that he was proud of his “progressive social agenda.” Brown responded, “But your social agenda is abortion and gay rights. It’s not real economic power.” * Brown himself supported legal abortion and equality for gays, so he wasn’t criticizing Tsongas’ positions per se. He was pointing out that the heart of progressivism is support for the working masses rather than favors for the wealthy few. By this standard, “the Wall Street Journal’s favorite Democrat” was no progressive. Endorsement of abortion and homosexuality are recent additions to the canon of liberalism, having been grafted on in the 1970s and 1980s.
* ABC television network, March 5, 1992.
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The Greens’ emphasis on democracy, community, and decentralization could be a place to start. Even the left wing of the party might be open to such a coalition. For example, some Greens/Green Party USA leaders distinguish “conservatives” from “corporationists” and praise decentralization, Jeffersonians, and populists. *
* Don Fitz, “A Human Health Amendment to the US Constitution,” Synthesis/Regeneration, Winter 1996.
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Sounding a bit like Kevin Phillips, Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan recently wrote, “The partisanship has gotten deeper as less separates the governing parties in Washington....The problem is not that the two parties are polarized. In many ways, they're closer than ever. The problem is that the parties in Washington, and the people on the ground in America, are polarized. There is an increasing and profound distance between the rulers of both parties and the people...On the ground in America, people worry...about endless, weird, gushing government spending. But in Washington, those in power--Republicans and Democrats--stand arm in arm as they spend and spend....On the ground in America, regular people worry about the changes wrought by the biggest wave of immigration in our history, much of it illegal...Americans worry about the myriad implications of the collapse of the American border. But Washington doesn't. Democrat Ted Kennedy and Republican George W. Bush see things pretty much eye to eye....Right now the Republicans and Democrats in Washington seem, from the outside, to be an elite colluding against the voter....Are there some dramatic differences? Yes. But both parties act as if they see them not as important questions (gay marriage, for instance) but as wedge issues. Which is, actually, abusive of people on both sides of the question. If it's a serious issue, face it. Don't play with it....A new group or entity that could define the problem correctly--that sees the big divide not as something between the parties but between America's ruling elite and its people--would be making long strides in putting third party ideas in play in America again.” *
* Noonan, “Third Time,” Wall Street Journal, June 1, 2006, http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/pnoonan/?id=110008453.
(2 : 22-33 + 279-81) - The endnotes for Chapter 2 from #32 to #52 are incorrect in their numbering. The citations for #31 are correct. The citations for #32 and #33 should be combined into one endnote (#32). Endnote #33 should read: "Bowers, Jefferson and Hamilton, 386-411..." (i.e., citations currently and incorrectly listed under #34). Move all citations up one note. Moving on, eventually we get to endnote #50, which should read: "Wallace Hettle, The Peculiar..." (i.e., citations currently and incorrectly listed under #51). Endnote #51 should read: "Leslie H. Southwick..." (citation listed under #52). The marker for endnote #52 in text (p. 33, at the end of: "...aspects of Jefferson's legacy.") should be deleted. Endnote #53 is correct and the rest of the chapter notes are correct.
(7 : 155) - "was clearing talking" should read "was clearly talking"
(8 : 174) - "Minnesotans adopted the recall through the initiative process" should read "Minnesotans adopted the recall through the referendum process"
(11 : 234) - George Pratt Shultz is apparently NOT an heir to Standard Oil. Charles Millard Pratt’s daughter was Margaret Richardson Pratt, who married Frank J. Frost. Shultz’s mother was Margaret Lennox Pratt, daughter of Rev. Edward Pratt. This Margaret Pratt married Birl E. Shultz. Secretary of State Shultz has been nonetheless in the Rockefeller orbit. He was dean of the University of Chicago Graduate Business School in the 1960s. The university was founded by John D. Rockefeller and he selected its first president: William Rainey Harper. Shultz was a director of the Council on Foreign Relations under David Rockefeller’s leadership and is now chairman of JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s International Advisory Council. He was certainly no Reagan conservative when he was tapped to head the State Department in 1982.
(Index : 358) - Add 107 to "Anabaptists" and 107 to "Anarchism"
(Index : 359) - "Caesar, Julius, 36, 39, 249" should read "Caesar, Julius, 36, 39" and this entry should be added: "Caesar, Augustus, 249"
(Index : 361) - Modify "Détente" entry: 122-23
(Index : 366) - Add "Macon, Nathaniel, 54"
(Index : 368) - Add 107 to "Populism"
(Index : 369) - Add 107 to "Puritans"
Jeff Taylor - Where Did the Party Go - Legacy - Politics - Political - Democratic Party - Democrats - Thomas Jefferson - Jeffersonianism - Jeffersonian - Jeffersonians - Alexander Hamilton - Hamiltonianism - Hamiltonian - Hamiltonians - Andrew Jackson - Martin Van Buren - William Jennings Bryan - William J. Bryan - William Jennings Bryant - Hubert Horatio Humphrey - Hubert H. Humphrey - Hubert Humphrey - Populism - Populists - Populist Party - People's Party - Cross of Gold speech - Scopes Monkey Trial - Philosophy - Ideology - Constitution - Republic - Empire - Democracy - Aristocracy - Plutocracy - Plutocratic - Plutocrats - Imperialism - Imperialists - Isolationism - Isolationists - Militarism - Militarists - Pacifism - Pacifists - Peace - Statism - Statists - Libertarianism - Libertarians - Agrarianism - Agrarians - Liberalism - Liberal - Liberals - Progressivism - Progressive - Progressives - Conservatism - Conservative - Conservatives - Paleoconservatives - Paleoconservatism - Neoconservatives - Neoconservatism - Crunchy Cons - Woodrow Wilson - Franklin Delano Roosevelt - Franklin Roosevelt - FDR - New Deal - Lyndon Baines Johnson - Lyndon B. Johnson - Lyndon Johnson - Great Society - Party of the People - Lesser Evil - Coalition - Beyond Left and Right - Jimmy Carter - Ronald Reagan - Bill Clinton - George W. Bush - Elite - Elitism - Elitists - Power Elite - Council on Foreign Relations - Establishment - Vital Center - Left - Right - Limousine Liberals - Hypocritical - Hypocrisy - Common People - Heartland - Middle America - Social Issues - Moral Issues - Wedge Issues - Presidential Election - 2008 Election - Hillary Rodham Clinton - Hillary Clinton - John Kerry - Al Gore - John Edwards - Russell Feingold - Russ Feingold - Dennis Kucinich - Mike Gravel - Ralph Nader - Green Party - Republican Party - Sarah Palin - Patrick Buchanan - Pat Buchanan - Ron Paul - Religious Right - Christianity - Christians - Iraq War - Democratic Leadership Council - Bill Kauffman - Jeffrey L. Taylor - From Radical to Respectable - Democratic Masqueraders - Don't Blame Bryan - Reactionary Radicals - A Tale of Two Parties - The Sandy Foundation of the White House - Democrats by Default? - The Bipartisan Nature of the U.S. Foreign Policy Establishment - The Foreign Policy of Barack Obama - More Muscular Interventionism - The Left and Ron Paul - Letter to a Liberal Friend - An Open Letter to My Liberal Friends - Five Years of War in Iraq - When Failure is Rewarded - The Fifth Anniversary of a Crime - Fighting Bob vs. Silent Cal - Thomas Frank v. Sarah Palin - Consider the Lowly Christmas Present - Crass Christmas - Bombs for Christmas? - Christmas Wish '09 - Repelling the Martian Invasion - God of War? - Rogue Warrior - Sarah Palin and the Contradiction of American Populism - Rogue Remnants - Princess of the Populists - The Lost Children - Think on These Things - Unexpected Sunshine in Washington - Come Home, America - Everybody Against Empire - Connecticut Yankee in King Cotton's Court - Ralph Nader, True Liberal - Of Money and Mouths - Few v. Many - Packing the Court - Evidence Gone Missing - Bottom of the Barrel - Agrarian Politics: Why I Care - Post-Iowa Advice to the Paul Campaign - The GOP in Limbo: How Low Can You Go? - States' Fights - Nullification Makes a Comeback - The Principles of '98 or The Partisanship of '10? - Nullification ≠ Discrimination - States' Rights Are Not Wrong - Know Your States' Rights - Where Did the Moderates Go? - Toby Tyler Taylor . 30