Home > Politics > The more things change

The more things change

April 25, 2008

Just in case you’re wondering how long the Republicans have been using the same script…

“…Did the Democrats, asked Republicans, intend to give Puerto Rico back to Spain?  Or forget that American lives had been lost in the Philippines?  Weren’t Democratic anti-imperialists like Stevenson, as President McKinley asked, similar “to guerrillas who shoot at American soldiers?”

Sensitive to the concentration of power that accompanied war, Stevenson informed Bryan that imperialism must remain the central issue of the campaign.  His constant subject, after his brief complaints about high tariffs, “which secure unjust advantages for the few”, remained “the greedy spirit of commercialism which has embroiled our government in an unnecessary war, sacrificed valuable lives and placed the American Republic in deadly antagonism to our former allies in their effort to secure their liberties.  For the first time in our history we are boldly confronted with the question of imperialism – the spirit of empire.”

Jean H. Baker, The Stevensons, W.W. Norton & Company, p. 176, on the 1900 presidential race between William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan

Categories: Politics
  1. Ted
    April 25, 2008 at 14:10 | #1

    yes, but I get the impression that both sides are using a script.

    If only Republicans were party to repeating a predetermined script, it would seem pretty absurd. But, like most dramas, once you get the script down, and the audience likes the show, the show can make a lot of money.

  2. April 25, 2008 at 14:23 | #2

    Not all scripts are equal.  I have no illusions that the Democratic party has always been on the side of the “great power is a correspondingly great moral responsibility” script but it gets dusted off fairly often.  Usually by the party that didn’t start the war.  It seems to me that the pendulum swings from

    “Republicans start war, Democrats want to stop war”
      – to -
    “Democrats start war to pander to Republican crossover vote and avoid being soft on guerrilla/communist/terrorist, Republican wants more! war”

    and it’s gotten much worse since Reagan, who finally cured me of voting Republican.

  3. April 25, 2008 at 15:19 | #3

    How depressing!

  4. Ted
    April 25, 2008 at 17:06 | #4

    not all scripts are equal

    Given—so what are the Republicans doing? A monologue?

    “Democrats start war to pander to Republican crossover vote and avoid being soft on guerrilla/communist/terrorist, Republican wants more! war”

    Which of these is the Kosovo intervention? On that one, the justification was moral grounds, 100,000 dead (we were told) and ethnic cleansing*. The Republicans objected strenuously.

    * An exercise for the idle: Which constituents of the FY are the most ethnically diverse? Which the least?

  5. April 25, 2008 at 17:14 | #5

    I forget; is there oil in Kosovo?

  6. April 26, 2008 at 06:25 | #6

    They’ve always had a rather difficult time with the truth, too.  In reading about Alexander Hamilton, I’m discovering that the Republicans from their very inception were fond of spewing partisian lies in the press.

    The more things change…

  7. Lucas
    April 27, 2008 at 21:37 | #7

    Dana: I think you may have gotten the Democratic Republicans confused with the republican part.  According to Wikipedia, The D-R’s of Hamilton’s day had nothing to do with modern republicans (which I believe were founded to oppose slavery).  The Republicans were founded on good principles, which the democrats were opposed to (the elimination of slavery).  Obviously not everything stays the same.

Comments are closed.