Tag Archives: TR


When I was a little boy growing up in the Depression, my immigrant father who never had the benefit of an education, would take me for a walk in Crotona Park in the Bronx. We would pass people arguing for Socialism, capitalism, women rights, liberalism, conservatism, etc.. and my father would say: “America, America, it is a wonderful country. Here a man can speak freely and the police don’t beat him up.” During the past month, an avalanche of so-called “Patriots” have harassed meetings to discuss health care and they have uttered the most offensive garbage in the history of American politics. Ostensibly, they argue their “patriotism” is analogous to the Boston Tea Party. Unfortunately, their knowledge of American history is equivalent to their ignorance about the Obama health program. In the 1770s, Parliament granted a monopoly on the sale of tea in America to the East India Tea Company and that group proceeded to CUT THE PRICE OF TEA in order to wean Americans from buying tea from smugglers. Of course, the goal of the Obama health plan is to LOWER HEALTH COSTS. For some strange reason these loud mouth fanatics are against lowering costs and prefer that Americans spend more money.

Tea Party advocates employ the language of hate and fear because they are inherently bigots. Bill Hennessy, a St. Louis leader of the Tea Party argues life in Obama America “doesn’t feel like America” and he sees nothing wrong with referring to the president as “our Fuhrer” or the “Grand Dragon Wizard.” Rhonda Linders goes further in her complaints about President Obama and the health care plan. “What is the world going to look like for our children and grandchildren? It’s very scary to see and think that our children may be living under a dictatorship. Maybe in concentration camps.” Huh! A basic argument of Tea Party goons and thugs is that Obama is spending America into bankruptcy. Let’s look at the record:
1. Under the presidency of Republican Ronald Reagan, the national debt doubled.
2. Under the presidency of Democrat Bill Clinton the budget was balanced and even had a surplus. His plan was to use the surplus to begin paying down the national debt.
3. George Bush II inherited a balanced budget and a national debt of$5 trillion. When he left office eight years later the national debt was $11 trillion. Funny, but I don’t recall Tea Party advocates organizing demonstrations against Bush spending America into horrible debt. Could it be the so-called Tea Party is nothing more than a front for the Republican Party?

Tea Party comparisons to Nazi death camps are beyond the pale of political discourse. I gather Tea Party supporters believe Jews in
Auschwitz had health insurance. These words and expressions about Nazism insult every survivor of the Holocaust. How dare these ignorant bigots insult those who truly have suffered!

In case there is rain in your locale tomorrow, let me explain the source of the rain drops. They are the tears of great Republican leaders like Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt(by the way, Tea Party supporters it was Teddy who initially advocated the Income tax)Wendell Willkie, Robert Taft, Dwight Eisenhower, Fiorello La Guardia, crying over what has happened to their party.

What Happened To The Party Of Lincoln?

The right wing of the Republican party has become the Republican party since there no longer is much left of a center or left wing. Ironically, it was the Republican Party which was born in the struggle to end slavery and to assert the power of the Federal government to enforce laws of the nation. It was Theodore Roosevelt in the early 1900s who termed himself a Progressive and fought to curb power of Big Business and to assert the right of workers to organize. Republicans during the early years of the 20th century led the fight for better working conditions, federal laws to end child labor, ensure the safety of food, and extend suffrage to women. In those days if one said the word, “progressive” it usually referred to a Republican political leader.

We forget the defeated Republican party candidate in 1940 after losing worked closely with Franklin Roosevelt and eventually wrote a book entitled, “One World.” We forget Dwight Eisenhower enforced anti-segregation orders just as we forget Richard Nixon vigorously enforced affirmative action in the work place. Republicans had great conservative leaders such as Robert Taft and Barry Goldwater, but these men always placed nation ahead of party.

Perhaps, in the past there was a sense of nation and community which has been destroyed by the media and the Internet. Today, expressions of hate dominate Fox News and the recent episode about Obama’s birth certificate reflects something lost in this nation concerning respect for the office of the presidency.

Somewhere in the 1990s, a new form of hate took over the Republican party, one in which the very concept of losing an election to Democrats assumed the tragedy of a nation entrusted to evil radicals who hated America. Something about decency, about respect for the political views of others took over the Republican Party. Ironically, what is most missing in the modern Republican Party is the presence of outstanding conservative thinkers like Henry Stimson or Elihu Root or William Howard Taft.

What went wrong for the Republicans? Only the future will be able to answer this question.


Following are places I wish I had been present to observe:

Being a member of the Lewis & Clark expedition and seeing the Rocky Mountains hover into view.

Wading ashore at Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944 and being among some of the bravest men in American history.

Meeting Abraham Lincoln during the office hours he held for citizens who wanted to talk with him.

On a picket line with Walter Reuther who headed the United Auto Workers.

At Stalin’s dacha the day he died to observe Russian leaders try to figure out what next should be done.

At the signing of the Magna Carta.

Landing in Cuba with Columbus when he asks his Hebrew speaking interpreter to speak with the Indians.

On the ship carrying my mom as she sails into New York harbor and sees the Statue of Liberty.

At the Teddy Roosevelt speech where he got shot and still made the speech.