Thursday, December 18, 2014

Where and when did this conservative vs establishment battle begin?

Rush talked about a politico story back on November 3rd which relies heavily on establishment insiders giving good talking points to left wing journalists, so as to be able to hit members of the Tea Party harder over the head. Since then, we have seen the GOP win the election overwhelmingly, and then go on to give Obama everything he wants. Specifically a trillion dollar spending bill and amnesty.

There are a lot of people out there who believe that the Republican Establishment is out to GET conservatives, and quite frankly, I don't see how anybody can argue against it. Not anymore, not after what happened to Chris McDaniel in the Mississippi Primary. Particularly, in the ads that were ran which were of a racial nature.

Many people believe, because they have seen it actually happen, that many in the Republican party would prefer to see a Democrat win an election over a conservative.

What I am going to do here is put forth a timeline, going backward. This is not meant to hit every possible example, but rather simply to establish points in time as we move.

So, let's stroll backward. It's not hard to find articles which highlight how the Republican Establishment willingly chose to sabotage Ken Cuccinelli's Gubernatorial candidacy. But this battle doesn't start here. Not even close.

Even before the 2010 sweep, people like Trent Lott were making comments that "We don't need a lot of Jim DeMint disciples," in D.C. "As soon as they get here, we need to co-opt them." What I didn't know at the time when I first saw this, was just how bad this would get and that these people in the establishment would do this sort of sabotaging right up to general elections. But, all this nastiness doesn't start here in 2010 either.

There have been a lot of nasty races since 2010, a lot of name calling both in and outside of these races. It is not my intent to recount them all. Many of you will(or have, even) do much better than I can at it. I'm not making a list, I'm making a timeline. So lets keep going.

Lott's quote is useful for not only putting on display the view leading into one of the biggest Republican elections in recent times(2010), but it also allows for a brief mention of the Bush years. Demint took a lot of heat for simply doing the right thing - and these were during the mid 2000s.

Let's go back to the 80's. In a lot of ways, the Establishment versus Reagan fights are a thing of unwritten legend. Going back that far, there was only left wing media so none of it got reported on at the time. But there are some which bubble back to the surface, such as one that has actually become widely known. The story of how those in the establishment tried multiple times to remove the famous line "Tear Down this Wall". Other stories involve things such as the 1986 amnesty bill, which everybody conveniently forgets was co-authored by a republican member of congress who preferred his Democrat cohorts - and he was not alone. So much for a unified party behind Reagan, congress had to have its arm twisted, hard, to get border security in that bill, and they still haven't made good on their promises nearly 30 years later.

The Establishment versus Reagan narrative is very easy to see in the challenge to Ford in 76, so I will gloss over it and continue going backward - why did the Establishment not like Reagan? Well, he didn't like them. But this doesn't start with the 1968 "Stop Nixon" movement, the bad blood here starts with how so many in the Establishment sabotaged Barry Goldwater's run for presidency in 1964. Reagan was there, he saw it first hand. Not only did they take out Goldwater, but they were so slimy, that Reagan openly called the Establishment "traitors" following his 1966 run for Governor. They tried to take him out during his Gubernatorial run. He said: (December 10, 1964)

We don't intend to turn the Republican Party over to the traitors in the battle just ended. We will have no more of those candidates who are pledged to the same goals as our opposition and who seek our support. Turning the Party over to the so-called moderates wouldn’t make any sense at all.

Now, you would think that surely the mid 60's, yes, this has to be where the battle begins. Nope.

There is this story, which recounts a little bit of Tom Dewey's role in the Republican Establishment. This is the mid 1940's, we are getting closer. But we still need to go back further.

Hitting the right key words(knowing the language of the left), we can see where Hoover made his own jabs in his day at those who wanted to see Constitutional rule over progressive rule. Much to Hoover's credit, FDR shocked him into seeing the errors of his ways. Most people (in the context of Hoover's conservative beliefs) now remember Hoover for what he said/did post-presidency - his early days as a progressive member of Wilson's government are nearly universally forgotten. Hoover deserves a lot of credit for coming around to it and embracing the Constitution. Keep in mind, this is the early 1920's. We still have to keep going backward.

We have to go back to 1910, to Theodore Roosevelt. This is where the Republican Establishment became established.

In an article titled "ROOSEVELT WANTS PARTY HARMONY", we see Roosevelt saying the following: (direct PDF download)

My position in regard to the Governorship this Fall is this: I want to find the best man for the office; the man who is most acceptable to the rank and file of the Republican Party and the independent voters. I intend to do everything in my power to see that such a man is elected.

In terms of some of today's well known figures, the above quote will sound just like what some members of the Establishment say, and you know exactly who this sounds like. It hasn't changed in a century. They've been saying the same thing for 100 years. What Roosevelt says next, though, is rather profound:

I want you to make it clear, that I am seeing both sides. I wish you would make that emphatic. My main interest is in the State, but on National issues I want to see both regulars and insurgents, party men and independents. I want to see Democrats as well as Republicans.
"But you don't want to see Democrats win," he was asked.
"Not if the Republicans do the right thing," replied the Colonel.

I guess if the Republicans do the wrong thing, Roosevelt did want to see Democrats win. But what was the wrong thing? Keep in mind, the "insurgents" were the progressive republicans. He himself, Theodore Roosevelt, was an "insurgent republican".

I seem to remember that Theodore Roosevelt started a third party just two years after this, in which the vote was split and Wilson won. I've seen people write that they thought that TR did this on purpose, well, now it would seem that after all he did do it on purpose.

I guess the regulars made headway and the Republican party did the "wrong thing" in Roosevelt's view. Roosevelt, like most other progressives, was quite fond of the use of this word "reactionary". In other words, this quote from the one New York Times article above is not a one-time a stand alone item. Roosevelt made it clear where he stood. He stood with the government and its perpetual growth. He stood against the "reactionaries".

The current battle between those inside the Republican Party who believe in the Constitution, and those who do not, is as old as the progressive movement itself. This all goes back to Theodore Roosevelt. He was the first. How many people within the Establishment today have you seen speak glowingly of TR? There's your answer.

Knowing this history is very helpful for understanding why people like Ted Cruz are so opposed within the party, and why Cuccinelli and McDaniel are not moving forward with their careers.

Its helpful for understanding what we are seeing right now with the CRomibus and the amnesty approval.

But most importantly, it's helpful in looking forward, for what we're about to see happen come 2016.

The progressives in the Republican Party are going to do everything they can to put a stop to the "reactionaries".

Know the history - know the future.

1 comment:

  1. Actually, I remember Sen. McCain during his last presidential run, on some late-night television show, tell the audience that he thought of himself as a Teddy Roosevelt Republican. This was just before the crash where he had to rush back to Washington, as I recall.

    ex animo