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The America John Boehner grew up in? Check out the GOP platforms at the time

Ever since John Boehner accused Dems last week of "snuffing out the America that I grew up in," people around the Web have taking stabs at defining the America of Boehner's youth.

On a slow news day, here's another contribution: Let's check out the Republican Party platforms of Boehner's childhood and formative years, which reveal a GOP that was very different from the party Boehner helps lead today.

Boehner was born in 1949. In 1956, he was seven; in 1960 he was 11; and in 1964 he was 15.

* The Republican Party platform of 1956 called for "broadened coverage in unemployment insurance" and "better health protection for all our people." It vowed to "continue vigorously to support the United Nations."

It pledged support for "progressive programs" to expand workers' rights. It vowed an immigration policy that ensured that America would remain a "haven for oppresssed peoples."

* The Republican Party platform of 1960 hailed the GOP's success in extending unemployment insurance. The GOP counted as an achievement its efforts to raise the Federal minimum wage.

The platform hailed expanded Social Security coverage and pledged an aggressive Federal effort to help those struggling with health care costs (in those pre-Medicare days, the primary focus was on the elderly). It pledged to continue robust Federal intervention to preserve the environment.

The outlines of today's GOP became more visible in the Republican Party platform of 1964, which makes sense, since it came after Lyndon Johnson assumed the presidency. It decried Johnson's efforts to expand the Federal government and called for more market-based solutions to poverty.

Johnson's War on Poverty and the passage of the Civil Rights Act, of course, led to GOP control of the south and started the party down the road to the conservatism we associate with it today.

Of course, it's also true that in some respects the America Boehner grew up in was a far more right wing country, particular when it came to what constituted acceptable treatment of minorities, gays and women.

But as Mike Tomasky notes, the Republican Party of Boehner's youth was fairly moderate and embraced Big Government spending -- a far cry from today's GOP. Contemporary conservatism was merely a gleam in Bill Buckley's eye. If this is what Boehner is nostalgic for, that would be news indeed...

By Greg Sargent  |  July 7, 2010; 11:13 AM ET
Categories:  Health reform , House GOPers  
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Comments

And how did we get here?

One good possibility is the Chamber of Commerce, what it stands for and how it does "business."

Here's an excellent report on what goes on inside the Death Star:

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2010/1007.verini.html

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 7, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

It's a shame Dems are so terrible at messaging, because this would be a great way for them to point out just how extreme the Republican party has become. I can just imagine the ads now, thanking the Minority Leader for supporting the progressive platform of his childhood.

In other news...

@Greg

Another reason why you and Ezra are the only two people worth my time at WaPo...

http://harpers.org/archive/2010/07/hbc-90007347

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | July 7, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I think there may be something like a mental tic in Conservatives that makes them *feel* the past was always better. Notice I didn't say "think" the past was better.

Thanks for this, Greg.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | July 7, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

as a corollary, could a rightwing republican please list all the freedoms and liberties that obama -- who they constantly claim is *both* a fascist and a socialist -- has taken from them?

that obama and the dems are daily eliminating 'freedom and liberty' seems to be a constant refrain, but one that is seldom backed up with supporting evidence.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 7, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, BBQ, appreciate that.

and you're welcome Chuck.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 7, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

"Johnson's War on Poverty and the passage of the Civil Rights Act, of course, led to GOP control of the south and started the party down the road to the conservatism we associate with it today."

Johnson's War on Poverty and the passage of the Civil Rights Act, of course, led to GOP control of the south and started the party down the road to the RACism we associate with it today.

Fixed it for you.

Posted by: converse | July 7, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

It will be interesting to see if any of the right wingers from yesterday's "Arizona" thread show up in this one to comment.

Great framing Greg, linking it to Boehner. That's the same time frame I grew up in, less one year, so I found it extremely reminiscent. My parents were Eisenhower Republicans and I became a Kennedy Democrat in 1960 at age 10 thanks to a very politically active 5th. grade teacher and early debate team. LOL followed by 50 years of arguing.

Posted by: lmsinca | July 7, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

that's interesting, lmsinca. I grew up in the 1970s, so my frame of reference is not Kennedy Democrats but the anti-war types fighting the pro-Vietnam types in the streets and the tumultuous demographic shifts that were tearing apart the cities...

and thanks for that fix, converse ;)

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 7, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Faulkner:

"The past is not dead. It is not even past."

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 7, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Well Greg I headed off to college in 1968 to you can imagine where I ended up. In those days we couldn't even vote until 21 and there was a draft to protest. But Kennedy was my first political hero although I do remember Eisenhower and the enormous respect the adults around me had for him.

In terms of civil rights we've come a long way since those days but in terms of political discourse I believe things have gotten appreciably worse even though some of the same language is being used today. It's not the first time I've been called a commie or socialist or worse. Heh

Posted by: lmsinca | July 7, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

This is GREAT Greg.

I will be thoroughly disappointed if this article doesn't get picked up by Rachel or Keith tonight.

"It will be interesting to see if any of the right wingers from yesterday's "Arizona" thread show up in this one to comment. "

My thoughts exactly lmsinca. I doubt it. Not enough dog-whistle buzz words. Maybe if Greg did a version for Sarah Palin, then we'd see the traffic. I'm sure these ideas alone are too complex to draw the teapublican set.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 7, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Typical liberal cr@p. Greg thinks the America we "grew up in" is all about government and what government does. News Flash, Greggy: life is not all about government, as you folks on the left believe. It is about people living their own lives, taking responsibility for their own actions, and relying on themselves without blaming everyone else for their troubles. That's what is being destroyed by democrats, who believe they know better how people should live their lives.

Posted by: jpfann | July 7, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

The Daily Show did a piece on this already. John Boehner, like all conservative talk radio hosts, is convinced it was better when he was a boy. Why? Because he was 7 years old. He knew nothing then.

Posted by: baldinho | July 7, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

lmsinca,

This now, in addition to Michael Mann's exoneration:

A British panel issued a sweeping exoneration on Wednesday of scientists caught up in the controversy known as Climategate, saying it found no evidence that they had manipulated their research to support preconceived ideas about global warming.

The researcher at the center of the controversy, a leading climatologist named Phil Jones, was immediately reinstated to a job resembling his old one at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/08/science/earth/08climate.html

As expected, the guy is just a scientist, not a lunatic bent on a conspiracy to scare the public for personal gain (somehow).

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 7, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

jpfann, it's clear you neither understand the role of government nor the ideology of Democrats. There's not a single one of us regulars here who isn't self-reliant, independent, or an industrious member of society. We're all educated, to a fault you might claim, well-read and informed. We just happen to think government has a role to play in our lives and those of our neighbors, especially so during an economic tsunami such as we're living through now.

Posted by: lmsinca | July 7, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Slow news day, indeed. You can use the same argument to point out that any Democrat who was born before 1964 is a racist. That's obviously not true, as is this lame "gotcha" attempt on Boehner.

Posted by: diehardlib | July 7, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Ethan, what happened to the Climate scientists is similar to what happened to Acorn. A lot of dis-information and rumors spread and are accepted as fact by a certain segment of society and then when the truth comes out the damage has been done. The propaganda machine on steroids.

Have a good day all, I've got to get working.

Posted by: lmsinca | July 7, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps someone could remind Mr. Boner of the tax rates during his halcyon youth.

Posted by: Nellcote | July 7, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Typical liberal cr@p. Greg thinks the America we "grew up in" is all about government and what government does. News Flash, Greggy: life is not all about government, as you folks on the left believe. It is about people living their own lives, taking responsibility for their own actions, and relying on themselves without blaming everyone else for their troubles. That's what is being destroyed by democrats, who believe they know better how people should live their lives.

Posted by: jpfann

--------------
Typical rant because what Greg was pointing out the difference in party philosophy that underwent a morph from the time Boehner grew up to now.

Incidentally, many people used to trust the government and its leaders until Watergate came along and destroyed it. If you bother to look at the pictures of the White House back in the 1930s, you would see picket fence not the walled concrete and iron kind we now have.

Posted by: beeker25 | July 7, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

"what happened to the Climate scientists is similar to what happened to Acorn"

Yes, so true. I'm glad to see these reviews seeing the light of day.

What burns me more than anything is not the initial hue and cry over the "controversy," but the way the summarily laid out facts of the case often get brushed aside by the media.

People need to know that the initial hub-bub was FRAUDULENT. These reviews need to be published far and wide to counter the initial melee, and not brushed under the rug by the media as "too boring" to warrant significant coverage.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 7, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Nearly everybody thinks that life was better when they were in their teens. Everything, in most cases, seemed so simple. Many decisions affecting your life were made by your parents, your teachers, somebody else. This in particular does not change much when you are a minority, not extraordinarily creative, politician. And it probably hurts.

Posted by: gpcarvalho | July 7, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Excellent! Please send a copy of this article to Mr. Boehner.

Posted by: repmisc | July 7, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

The problem with people like Ethan here is they willfully gloss over the fact that these "scientists" who deny climate change are directly funded by oil and gas companies for the sole purpose of distorting the real science behind climate change.

And because it was Al Gore who has brought it mainstream, anything will do in an attempt to discredit him. Especially when you have to resort to fabricating the science and facts behind the scenes. Typical reich wing tactic. When the facts are on your side, you simply make s* up.

Posted by: dcp26851 | July 7, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

The problem with people like Ethan here . . .

Posted by: dcp26851 | July 7, 2010 1:23 PM |

Please read Ethan's post again. He is on your side. Don't shoot your allies.

Posted by: bearclaw1 | July 7, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse


The America I grew up in would never have allowed a Negro to live in my neighborhood! I want my country back!

Posted by: motorfriend | July 7, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

1. The Republican Party platform of 1956 called for "broadened coverage in unemployment insurance" and "better health protection for all our people."

2. It vowed to "continue vigorously to support the United Nations."

3. It pledged support for "progressive programs" to expand workers' rights.

4. It vowed an immigration policy that ensured that America would remain a "haven for oppresssed peoples."

5. The Republican Party platform of 1960 hailed the GOP's success in extending unemployment insurance.

6. The GOP counted as an achievement its efforts to raise the Federal minimum wage.

Who would have thought that Eisenhower and Nixon were Communists! Devilishly clever of those reds, having plants in such high places ... wait a minute, aren't states that vote Republican called the 'red states'? Oh my!!!

Posted by: AMviennaVA | July 7, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

All, Sharron Angle says she may be heading to court to stop Harry Reid from posting version of her Web site advertising her previous positions:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/07/sharron_angle_were_pursuing_ha.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 7, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

jpfann wrote: Typical liberal cr@p.... That's what is being destroyed by democrats, who believe they know better how people should live their lives.
------------------------------------
Yeah jpfann, can you believe those Dems trying to shove their family values down our throats for 8 years! ---- OOPS, wrong party.

Posted by: OHREALLYNOW | July 7, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

"The problem with people like Ethan here is they willfully gloss over the fact that these "scientists" who deny climate change are directly funded by oil and gas companies for the sole purpose of distorting the real science behind climate change."

What nonsense. I love liberals who claim to champion scientific inquiry, yet want to burn all those who don't share their pre-conceived explanations as heretics.

I am tired of these anti-science liberals who want to shut down legitimate scientific debate.

Posted by: bobmoses | July 7, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Amen! We were Rockefeller Republicans in the late Fifties and early Sixties--the party of progressive government, fiscal responsibility, and international responsibility. Our party got hijacked after that and we were left behind. Now I find the Republican Party to be rich, racist, redneck, reactionary, and religious-nutcases.

The "Tea Party" is a case in point--the original Boston Tea Party was not for 'less government' but was opposed to "taxation without representation." For anyone who remembers their American History correctly, it wasn't about less taxes! Actually the British had just LOWERED the taxes on tea, so colonists like Sam Adams who were making a killing on smuggled tea saw their profits drop as it was cheaper to buy the tea on the regular market.

Posted by: commonsense101 | July 7, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Can't recall hearing any Democrats pining for the racist days of their youth, diehard. Got a link for that?

Posted by: converse | July 7, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

motorfriend I wish you would move your doublewide and your outhouse to the rear of your property. You are obstructing my view of the country club when I look out my front door.

Posted by: OHREALLYNOW | July 7, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

"Can't recall hearing any Democrats pining for the racist days of their youth, diehard. Got a link for that?"

LOL. I love how mindless partisan liberals can twist peoples words to tar them as racist.

I mean if you call everyone who disagrees with your political views a racist, nobody will ever learn that you are incapable of rational and factual debate.

Posted by: bobmoses | July 7, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

"Typical reich wing tactic. When the facts are on your side, you simply make s* up."

OK, hypocrite. Do as you say for once.

Here is a long list of scientists who are global warming skeptics.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scientists_opposing_the_mainstream_scientific_assessment_of_global_warming

Show me evidence that just five of them are "directly funded by oil and gas companies" and I will adit you are right.

If you don't then I will be sure to affirm that when the facts are not on your side, you simply make s* up (I fixed your rage-induced typo_).

But I won't make a lame Nazi reference like you. I'll leave that ignorance to mindless partisans like you and your peers on the right in Glenn Beck's audience.

Posted by: bobmoses | July 7, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Only people I know who want to go back to before 1964 are white. You gotta be kidding me.

My father served 1957-1960. My uncles served in everything from WWII through Vietnam. They all tell stories about fighting for the freedoms that the USA supposedly holds dear only to be told that they could not be served a damn drink or a meal, EVEN while in uniform, back in the 50s and 60s.

Some people need to look outside themselves when it comes to what "the good old days" actually means.

Posted by: keithrjackson | July 7, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

People like jpfann are so blinded by their hyperpartisan rightwingnut bile that they have no idea how idiotic they look before hitting the Submit button.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | July 7, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

"I love liberals who claim to champion scientific inquiry, yet want to burn all those who don't share their pre-conceived explanations as heretics."

See, that's the thing about PEER-REVIEWED research. It must be genuine science suitable for publication in a scientific journal.

If there is a dearth of such articles that must mean that there is a dearth of such opinion and a lack of science supporting the opinion.

I have seen no peer-reviewed publications which suggest that climate change is not occurring or that it is not human-induced.

But I HAVE seen plenty of loose talk about "Climategate" emails and we have seen Republicans, who accept campaign contributions from the petrochemical industry, claiming that because it snowed climate change is a hoax. That -- the teapublican version of an intellectual argument -- we HAVE seen plenty of.

And I am glad that these scientists have finally been proven to be legitimate and that we can get back to ignoring the intellectually and morally bankrupt liars who deny the overwhelming compilation of scientific data that describes the real-world phenomenon we call climate change.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 7, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Here is a long list of scientists who are global warming skeptics.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scientists_opposing_the_mainstream_scientific_assessment_of_global_warming

Posted by: bobmoses | July 7, 2010 1:59 PM |

Interesting list. I'm not sure what, precisely, you mean by the phrase "global warming skeptics." Only three scientists on the list deny that any global warming is occurring: a geographer, a geologist, and a "coal chemist."

All the other people listed seem to believe that global warming is occurring, but have questions about the predictive modeling, believe that natural factors are significant contributors, or believe that we don't yet know the cause. I don't see a single climatologist who says that global warming isn't occurring. I don't see a single scientist who understands that global warming is occurring who completely rules out the possibility of an anthropogenic contribution.

Posted by: bearclaw1 | July 7, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

"Typical reich wing tactic. When the facts are on your side, you simply make s* up."

OK, hypocrite. Do as you say for once.

Here is a long list of scientists who are global warming skeptics.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scientists_opposing_the_mainstream_scientific_assessment_of_global_warming

Show me evidence that just five of them are "directly funded by oil and gas companies" and I will adit you are right.

If you don't then I will be sure to affirm that when the facts are not on your side, you simply make s* up (I fixed your rage-induced typo_).

But I won't make a lame Nazi reference like you. I'll leave that ignorance to mindless partisans like you and your peers on the right in Glenn Beck's audience.

Posted by: bobmoses | July 7, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

=================

I wouldn't be so sure there isn't a connection somewhere. You might even find some of the names on your list in this video. Look how this scientist, Naomi Oreskes exposed these Global Warming know-it-alls. I would look to see if they're on the list but it takes forever with a dial up connection. I have watched it already, but I can't remember the names. These clowns created the doubt about smoking causing cancer working for the cigarette companies before taking on Global Warming. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2T4UF_Rmlio

Posted by: HemiHead66 | July 7, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

What daya know, the GOP snuffed out the America Boehner grew up in; everything the GOP supported in the 50s and early 60s, and then everything the Dems did from LBJ going forward.

Heartless and clueless, indeed.

Posted by: bcinaz | July 7, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

We're sympathetic to the plight of the GOP: The President is a tricky guy and will occasionally support GOP positions, which in turn forces the GOP to oppose its own positions. Thanks for the article, Greg. We just posted it on GOPHypocrisy on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/GOPHypocrisy/118526228159115

Posted by: gophypocrisy | July 7, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

jpfann wrote:

"relying on themselves without blaming everyone else for their troubles."

Sargent wrote "Ever since John Boehner accused Dems last week of "snuffing out the America that I grew up in,"

Sounds like Boehner IS blaming everyone else for his trouble...

Posted by: wondering5 | July 7, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

The Democratic Part today is still embracing the basics rights that they believed in back in 1960- in fact both political parties 50 years had very similar beliefs.

The Republican party today is the extremist political party- An 'Extremism' that Nelson Rockefeller warned of at the 1960 Republican convention.

As far as Obama being a 'fascist' he does not fit any broad range of that definition in political ideology- his policies mainly reflect what Americans wanted in 1960- this is hardly extremist.

The republican party of today does fit the standard definition of fascism however- that is a real danger that many Americans do not seem to understand.

Posted by: vercingetorex | July 8, 2010 5:23 AM | Report abuse

Re John Boehner's comments: Yeah, well, possibly my very favorite movie is "The Music Man." It's set almost exactly 100 years ago, before World War 1. It was a time when kids could wander the streets at all hours without anyone worrying about their being kidnapped, when it was no problem to drink directly from local streams, when food was organic, no terrorists, life was simpler, no AIDS/HIV, etc., etc. It was also a time when women weren't allowed to vote, when blacks were lynched, when it was fairly common to die in childbirth and few people lived much past 70 (and plenty died of flu and measles and chickenpox), there were quotas at universities, and many establishments boasted signs that forbade Jews, blacks, Irish, and dogs to enter. And, of course, unmarried women over the age of 20 or so were stigmatized.

Go back? Hell, NO.

Posted by: dcgrasso1 | July 8, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse


The conservatism you "associate with" the republican party today represents a liberal fantasyland. In two paragraphs you conflate conservative with right-wing, the South (segregation?),and support for unacceptable treatment of minorities, gays and women. These views do not represent today's Republican party, any more than the Southern Democrats of the 50's reflect today's Democratic Party. This sort of bile may go down well with the the hard core left who make up your readership but falls flat with serious, informed readers. Stigmatizing the opposition with false charges is no way to approach the issues of the day.

Posted by: ruthchuckduvall | July 8, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Ah yes….Small Town Values (STV). I can remember laughing at Palin when she said we all need some of those STV today. Then they showed Wasilla, Alaska. Gap toothed rednecks spewing racist garbage. Sunday Monday Happy Days…We got no Blacks and no ones Gay..

It is no coincidence that the Grand Old Party began to institute more ‘conservative’ planks in their platform at the same time LBJ took on the issue of civil rights. The GOP has been leveraging American Racism ever since. And for the Democrats we have the NAACP. Oh boy.

Reminds me of when Lenny Bruce was being tried for obscenity and the cop was on the stand. The cop opened his notebook and said, “On the night in question I was at the comedy club and observed Mr. Lenny Bruce’s act. I witnessed him say 15 F#cks, 25 Sh#ts, 11 Bi#chs,” At this point Lenny jumped up and yelled, “Hey he’s doing my act! And he’s not even funny!” I don’t need the NAACP to tell me the Tea Party is inherently racist.

As a great man once said, “Republicans are mean, Democrats are stupid.” (Frank Zappa)

Posted by: DriveDaLane | July 14, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

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