In 2010 a midterm election became the final cog in the right-wing’s effort to become the party of “no.” Extremists took control of the once Grand Old Party.
Paid for by the billionaire Koch brothers, the “TEA Party” invaded Washington. They were not and are not Republicans. These men and women took a vow not to deliberate or compromise with any member of the Democratic Party. The truth is, without deliberation and compromise, a Democratic Republic becomes completely dysfunctional.
How did this come to be? Money buys elections; this is an irrefutable fact. However, without the right man in the White House to lead his party on a path of right-wing extremism, which eventually becomes fascism, and leaders in the House and Senate who share his ambitions; bowing to his every demand; change of this magnitude could not have happened so quickly.
Let’s go back in time to the presidency of Richard Nixon. I understand that the mention of his name makes informed Americans cringe, and Republican politicians crawl under rocks. However, if we ignore his arrogance which forced him to commit crimes worthy of impeachment, and look at his accomplishments, we learn a great deal about Republicans in the 1970s and how everything in the GOP began to change in the next decade.
The list is long and puts to shame the few accomplishments of future Republican presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and the complete failure of Donald Trump.
Nixon was directly responsible for the following.
In 1973 he ended the draft making our armed forces a voluntary institution.
In 1970 Nixon pushed for the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency after the American people displayed deep concerns over the growth of pollution in our streams, rivers, oceans, the air quality, and fertile lands which supply our nation’s food.
Nixon ushered in a new era of judicial restraint by appointing four Supreme Court Justices: Chief Justice Burger, Chief Justice Harry Blackmun, Chief Justice Lewis Powell and William Rehnquist, who was later appointed to Chief Justice by Ronald Reagan.
He dedicated 100 million dollars of the national budget to fight cancer. This led to the creation of national cancer centers and the development of antidotes.
In 1972 he signed ‘Title IX’ which guaranteed equality in collegiate sports for women in all schools which received federal funding.
He organized the peaceful desegregation of public schools in the South.
Nixon lowered the voting age from twenty-one to eighteen, extending the right to vote to America’s youth.
Nixon authorized the joint work between the FBI and Special Task Forces to effectively eliminate organized crime, resulting in over 2500 convictions by 1973.
Nixon became the first President to give Native Americans the right to tribal self-determination by ending the policy of forced assimilation and returning their sacred lands.
It was Nixon who signed the Anti Ballistic Missile Treaty, (ABM), which eased tensions with Russia and helped prevent a nuclear war.
Nixon was the first American president to visit the People’s Republic of China and normalized relations with the most populous nation in the world.
In 1973 he signed the Paris Peach Accords which officially ended American involvement in Vietnam.
To prevent Soviet aggression in the Middle East, Nixon established relationships with nations in the area.
In 1973, after an oil embargo, Nixon initiated Project Independence which would make America independent by 1980.
In 1970, he avoided a second Cuban Missile Crisis involving a Soviet nuclear submarine with acts of active diplomacy.
In the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Nixon offered massive amounts of aid to Israel. Prime Minister Golda Meir later said that Nixon had saved her country.
If this isn’t impressive, you don’t appreciate a working president and support the waste and failures of today’s disgrace living in the White House.
The major point is that Nixon was a Republican. His policies benefitted all Americans. He was the last president who can claim to be a member of the GOP.
Ignoring the complete failures of Gerald Ford, the next man to wear the title of a Republican president was Ronald Reagan. The inability of Jimmy Carter to keep promises he made during the 1976 election ushered in the former two-term Governor of California.
Reagan moved his party farther to the right and declared a war on the working class. ‘Reaganomics’ which included the fiscal policy of “trickle-down economics” began the growth of income inequality in America.
Reagan’s only positive accomplishments which affected all Americans involved nuclear arms agreements with the Soviet Union. This resulted in the break-up of the USSR on December 25, 1991.
Most importantly, Reagan divided our nation and began moving our nation farther to the right. His failed policies resulted in an unemployment rate of 10 percent and an increase in the national debt which reached one-trillion dollars by election day 1989.
I had great respect for George H.W. Bush as a man and a loyal American. However, his presidency was little more than a ‘seat filler’ until Bill Clinton was elected in 1992. His one notable accomplishment was the “Americans with Disabilities Act” signed on July 26, 1990.
George W. Bush’s election was unlawful. A Republican-dominated Supreme Court ended the Florida recount and gifted “W” with the presidency. Al Gore won the popular vote, but our present system does not allow the people to select their president. The states decide the outcome.
Bush’s failures include the war in Afghanistan, and the illegal invasion of Iraq. By adopting the fiscal policies of Reagan and Bush 41, he left office in 2009 with our nation suffering the “great recession.” His failures were worse than Reagan’s in 1989.
Under “W,” the Republican Party continued to adopt policies which were more extreme and less democratic.
A series of efforts made by individuals, television personalities, and a foreign nation helped the least qualified, most immoral, most fascist-leaning man in America win the Electoral College in 2016.
Trump’s policies, which are focused on racism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, homophobia, and sexism, moved our nation even farther to the right. Our government has become useless. We have the Democratic Party, Independents, and the Trump Party which has become so extreme, fascism is now in control of Washington and the nation.
Led by Moscow Mitch McConnell, all Republicans in name only politicians continue to spit on the Constitution. Their desire is to rule over the American people, not serve us.
If Richard Nixon were alive and in office today, he would be considered a Democrat. His policies positively affected the lives of all Americans, regardless of which party they supported.
Long ago I made a list of who I considered to be the best and worst presidents in American history. I based my evaluation on how they affected the majority of the American people. Those who made efforts to serve all Americans went to the “good list,” and those who served special interests, ignoring the needs and wishes of the majority moved to the “bad list.” For these reasons, Nixon was not on my list of worst presidents.
The “best list” included Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, John Adams, John Kennedy, and Barrack Obama. My “worst list” had too many names to consider, but by process of elimination I chose Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson, Howard Taft, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and of course Donald John Trump.
Coming out as number one in the worst category was DJT by an overwhelming margin. Prior to his illegitimate election, George W. Bush held the title. However, his many mistakes cannot ‘hold a candle’ to the crimes and failures of Trump in just three years. Trump and Moscow Mitch ended any resemblance to the Trump Party today and the Republican Party of Lincoln and, yes, even Richard Nixon.
The path which ended the Republican Party began with the election of Ronald Reagan, and culminated in the illegitimate presidency of one Donald John Trump.
The Truth Lives Here
Op-ed by James Turnage
My eight novels, including “A Little Murder in the Biggest Little City,” are exclusively available on Amazon; CLICK HERE; the Kindle app is a free download