Republicans


A definition of Conservative

The Conservative Action Score for a member of Congress is calculated as percentage of a slate of possible conservative actions that were actually taken by that member. The conservative standard for judging bills is defined according to these conditions:

> Disregard for constitutional protections of American civil liberty

> Secrecy and exclusion of citizens from government

> Support for discriminatory policy

> The symbolic denigration and practical undermining of science and education in America

> Active harm to the environment or passive allowance for environmental destruction

> Pursuit of further advantage for those in America who are already its richest

> Dismissal of peaceful alternatives and submission to the interests of the military-industrial complex

(Taken from the website That's My Congress, 8/6/14)


"Let me introduce myself. Since 1993, I've run the Congressional Accountability Project, which opposes corruption in Congress. It hasn't been easy. I'll bet you understand.

"After thirteen years, I can't honestly claim any victories. Sure, some powerful members of Congress were embarrassed by front-page scandal stories. But it didn't do much good. Congress passed no major anti-corruption reforms. Here's why: Although both Republican and Democrats are happy to hurl accusations at one another, neither has any real interest in reducing corruption in Congress.

"Even now, in the middle of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, which may be the worst political scandal since Watergate, both parties are hoping that nobody notices when they pass sham reform and call it a triumph...

"In Washington, Republicans are the party of the corporations and their trade associations. Anti-corruption reforms threaten corporations because they reduce the influence of money in politics. If money can't buy legislative action, then corporations won't get what they want. Lobbying reforms also cut into those lovely perks that members of Congress crave...

"Amazingly, when the Democrats announced their ethics plan, it was almost as tame as the Republicans'...

"Democrats haven't changed much since then. They have the power to file ethics complaints to trigger investigations of Republican corruption. But they don't. Here's a dirty secret: House Minority Leader Nancy Pilosi basically prohibits her Democrats from filing ethics complaints against Republicans--even powerful ones. In other words, Pelosi protects Republicans from investigations of corruption, influence-peddling, and abuse of power.

"Why does Pelosi act as the Republicans' angel of mercy? If Democrats filed ethics complaints, Republicans would, too. The likely result of such an "ethics war": Corruption would be exposed, members from both parties would be embarrassed, and a few might lose their seats in Congress. There might even be an indictment or two. Maybe someone would go to jail. Sounds great. But it's intolerable to both parties...

"...in September 1997, they passed "reforms" (I called them the Corrupt Politicians' Protection Act) that made it impossible for citizens to file ethics complaints in the House. The "reforms" created a climate in Congress where corruption is increasingly possible--exactly what both parties wanted" (Gary Ruskin. "No Housecleaning." The Progressive, May, 2006: 22-24).


"Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay first came to power promising to restore democracy to the House of Representatives, supposedly suffering from then-Speaker Jim Wright's tyrannical regime. Even after the Rs drove Wright from office, however, bipartisanship was out of the question for DeLay. In the budget fight and government shutdown of 1995, for instance, DeLay rejected compromise and famously said, "It's time for all-out war."

"I never minded DeLay being a tough guy--it was his syrupy claims to carry the banner for Christianity that I found offensive, as he frog-marched the House toward being a cash-operated special-interest machine. The idea of putting pressure on lobbyists to gie only to Republicans, pressuring lobbying firms into hiring only Republicans and then letting lobbyists sit at the table during committee meetings where legislation was written--it was just screaming overt corruption.

"Tom DeLay and Newt Gingrich turned the US House of Representatives, "the people's house," into a pay-for-play machine for corporations. Put in enough money, get your special tax exemption, get your earmarked government contract, get your trade legislation and your environmental exemption, get rid of safety regulation" (Molly Ivins. "WWTD: What Would Tom Do?" Texas Observer, April 21, 2006: 14).


"...we have only one political party in the United States, the Property Party, with two right wings, Republican and Democrat... citizens find it difficult at election time to tell the parties apart... The Republicans are often more doctrinaire than the Democrats, who are willing to make small -- very small -- adjustments where the poor and black are concerned while giving aid and comfort to the anti-imperialists" (Gore Vidal. "State of the Union, 2004." The Nation, Sep. 13, 2004: 23-29).


"... unemployed, underemployed, hurting economically in some way. This group of Americans, who number in the millions, harbors deep-seated anger over corporate shenanigans, their lack of healthcare and good jobs, yet in interview after interview I found they are often the most fervant in their support of George W. Bush and his tough rhetoric.

"Why? One answer is that Republicans have used "social issues"... to speak to these Americans; they mine the anger... deflecting attention from the true cause of their problems. And the Democrats have been timid, or unable to form a message to break through to them...

"...the workers' growing wrath -- he was seeing it mature into xenophobia and right-wing radicalism. "It's not unlike the anger in prewar Germany and prewar Italy," Russo said...

"In 1920s Weimar Germany... with economic deprivation came growing anger. What did the government do? Instead of raising taxes on the rich, who could pay, it lowered them. The terrible conditions were actually good for the industrialists and landlords. They wanted the mark to tumble, because they were able to erase debts by paying them off with worthless marks...

"In America, too, there were stresses in the 1930s... what if there had been no FDR? Walter Lippmann wrote that the nation would have "followed almost any leader anywhere he chose to go"...

"Talk-radio is but one example of how the anger has grown... Now there are 1,300 all-talk stations, and conservatives rule. It's no coincidence that their popularity rose concurrent with the decline of the manufacturing economy, as anger deepened in American society...

"There are tens of millions of American workers living in a virtual depression, in a virtual Weimar. Their anger is real, as is their fear... The right has been addressing it in the form of appearing decisive with "preventive war," or by cranking up the xenophobia...

"The solution lies in doing something both parties have ignored in their free-trade euphoria: helping working-class Americans with jobs and healthcare. That will not erase the fear of another terror attack, but it will dissipate some of the anger resulting from economic hardship. It would tip the margin back to a saner political course...

"If John Kerry wins, the right margin will rage against him, as it did against Clinton before him, and against FDR in the 1930s. The anger found in America is not going to dissipate. It must be dealt with. And that will take leadership" (Dale Maharidge. "Rust & Rage In the Heartland." The Nation, Sep. 20, 2004: 11-14).


"...how have the Christians, "the religious right," been persuaded to cast their lot with the Republican party?

"How does one convince millions of devout Christians to accept a secular political-economic philosophy developed and articulated, in large part, by atheists? How does one, in addition, enable this same multitude of Christians to disregard how their political “allies” are taking cash out of their pockets and redistributing it “upward” from the middle class and the poor to the already wealthy, at the cost, in addition, of impoverishing essential social services, aid to the poor, and placing a crushing debt upon future generations? And finally, how are these Christians persuaded that the moral teachings of Jesus of Nazareth are somehow consistent with aggressive foreign wars, the increased enrichment of the wealthy, the denial of relief to the poor, comfort to the afflicted, education for the young, and employment for the jobless?...

"...Without those votes, the political clout of the right-wing regressives would collapse, and the right would be appropriately relegated the fringes of the body politic.

"Fundamentalists like to ask: “What would Jesus do?” Good question! So let’s ask them:

  • Would Jesus launch a “war of choice” against a non-threatening country?
  • Would Jesus cut back on school lunches for poor children?
  • Would Jesus decline to comfort “those who mourn” as the soldiers’ caskets arrive at Dover Air Force Base?
  • Would Jesus sign 155 death warrants, giving the clemency appeals only a cursory glance?

"Why, then, do religious fundamentalists follow, and vote for, wealthy and powerful individuals who openly violate the basic moral teachings of their “Lord and Savior”? ...

"The tacticians of the Right began, as all good salesmen begin, by identifying the “hot buttons” of "the mark” (customer), and proceeding to push those buttons.

"Fundamentalists crave strong and charismatic leadership...

"Fundamentalists are most comfortable with a Manichean world view...

"The demonization of Liberalism is a text-book example of “branding” – piling emotions and attitudes onto a label. Until recently, “liberalism” was a honorific term, as indicated by its dictionary definition: “favoring reform or progress ... specifically favoring political reform tending toward democracy and personal freedom for the individual.” (Websters Unabridged, 2nd ed.) And, in fact, when a cross-section of the American public is asked about such liberal advancements as the minimum wage, social security, Medicare, racial integration, environmental protection, etc., a large majority approves...

"The Right has, in effect, established a separate and distinct definition of “liberal,” so that it is effectively equated with “libertinism” – sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll. In addition, the Right’s use of “liberal” connotes the stifling of religion, welfare cheating, profligate government spending (as in “tax-and-spend-liberals”) and even, in the hands of such uninhibited ranters as Ann Coulter, treason.

"In short, this redefined “liberalism” serves well as an embodiment of “evil” to the religious right. And when this sense of “liberalism” is associated, through constant repetitions, with the Democratic Party – well, you know the rest.

"Finally, the tacticians of the Right have learned that fundamentalists are typically much more sensitive to personal immorality (“sin”) than they are to social immorality (injustice). Thus when, for example, George Bush speaks to the religious right, his themes are “right to life” (anti-abortion), opposition to gay marriage, but rarely economic injustice, ethnic discrimination or civil liberties..." (Ernest Partridge. "Suckers for Jesus." http://opednews.com/partridge_081704_suckers_for_jesus.htm. Aug. 17, 2004).


A Day in the Life of Joe Middle-Class Republican

by Donna L. Lavins and Sheldon Cotler

Joe gets up at 6:00 AM to prepare his morning coffee. He fills his pot with good, clean drinking water because some liberal fought for minimum water quality standards. He takes his daily medication with his first swallow of coffee. His medications are safe to take because some liberal fought to insure their safety and that they work as advertised.

All but $10.00 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan. Because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance, now Joe gets it too. He prepares his morning breakfast -- bacon and eggs this day. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

Joe takes his morning shower, reaching for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with every ingredient and the amount that is contains because some liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and the breakdown of its contents. Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some tree-hugging liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air. He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work; it saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees. You see, some liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day; he has a good job with excellent pay, medicals benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer meets these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed he'll get worker's compensation or an unemployment check because some liberal didn't think he should lose his home to temporary misfortune.

It's noon time. Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the depression.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae underwritten mortgage and his below market federal student loan because some stupid liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.

Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive to dad’s; his car is among the safest in the world because some liberal fought for car safety standards. He arrives at his boyhood home. He was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans. The house didn't have electric until some big government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification (those rural Republicans would still be sitting in the dark).

Joe is happy to see his dad, who is now retired. Joe's dad lives on Social Security and his union pension because some liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to. After his visit with dad, Joe gets back in his car for the ride home. He turns on a radio talk show. The host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't tell Joe that his beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day. Joe agrees, "We don't need those big government liberals ruining our lives. After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."

In the years to come, Joe's life will change dramatically. The U.S. dollar will be devalued as a result of our huge deficit, our living standards demolished, our standing with the world diminished, and our social security gone...all because some conservative Republican made sure he could take care of himself and his buddies.


"...how have the Christians, "the religious right," been persuaded to cast their lot with the Republican party?

"How does one convince millions of devout Christians to accept a secular political-economic philosophy developed and articulated, in large part, by atheists? How does one, in addition, enable this same multitude of Christians to disregard how their political “allies” are taking cash out of their pockets and redistributing it “upward” from the middle class and the poor to the already wealthy, at the cost, in addition, of impoverishing essential social services, aid to the poor, and placing a crushing debt upon future generations? And finally, how are these Christians persuaded that the moral teachings of Jesus of Nazareth are somehow consistent with aggressive foreign wars, the increased enrichment of the wealthy, the denial of relief to the poor, comfort to the afflicted, education for the young, and employment for the jobless?...

"...Without those votes, the political clout of the right-wing regressives would collapse, and the right would be appropriately relegated the fringes of the body politic.

"Fundamentalists like to ask: “What would Jesus do?” Good question! So let’s ask them:

  • Would Jesus launch a “war of choice” against a non-threatening country?
  • Would Jesus cut back on school lunches for poor children?
  • Would Jesus decline to comfort “those who mourn” as the soldiers’ caskets arrive at Dover Air Force Base?
  • Would Jesus sign 155 death warrants, giving the clemency appeals only a cursory glance?

"Why, then, do religious fundamentalists follow, and vote for, wealthy and powerful individuals who openly violate the basic moral teachings of their “Lord and Savior”? ...

"The tacticians of the Right began, as all good salesmen begin, by identifying the “hot buttons” of "the mark” (customer), and proceeding to push those buttons.

"Fundamentalists crave strong and charismatic leadership...

"Fundamentalists are most comfortable with a Manichean world view...

"The demonization of Liberalism is a text-book example of “branding” – piling emotions and attitudes onto a label. Until recently, “liberalism” was a honorific term, as indicated by its dictionary definition: “favoring reform or progress ... specifically favoring political reform tending toward democracy and personal freedom for the individual.” (Websters Unabridged, 2nd ed.) And, in fact, when a cross-section of the American public is asked about such liberal advancements as the minimum wage, social security, Medicare, racial integration, environmental protection, etc., a large majority approves...

"The Right has, in effect, established a separate and distinct definition of “liberal,” so that it is effectively equated with “libertinism” – sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll. In addition, the Right’s use of “liberal” connotes the stifling of religion, welfare cheating, profligate government spending (as in “tax-and-spend-liberals”) and even, in the hands of such uninhibited ranters as Ann Coulter, treason.

"In short, this redefined “liberalism” serves well as an embodiment of “evil” to the religious right. And when this sense of “liberalism” is associated, through constant repetitions, with the Democratic Party – well, you know the rest.

"Finally, the tacticians of the Right have learned that fundamentalists are typically much more sensitive to personal immorality (“sin”) than they are to social immorality (injustice). Thus when, for example, George Bush speaks to the religious right, his themes are “right to life” (anti-abortion), opposition to gay marriage, but rarely economic injustice, ethnic discrimination or civil liberties..." (Ernest Partridge. "Suckers for Jesus." http://opednews.com/partridge_081704_suckers_for_jesus.htm. Aug. 17, 2004).


A Day in the Life of Joe Middle-Class Republican

by Donna L. Lavins and Sheldon Cotler

Joe gets up at 6:00 AM to prepare his morning coffee. He fills his pot with good, clean drinking water because some liberal fought for minimum water quality standards. He takes his daily medication with his first swallow of coffee. His medications are safe to take because some liberal fought to insure their safety and that they work as advertised.

All but $10.00 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan. Because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance, now Joe gets it too. He prepares his morning breakfast -- bacon and eggs this day. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

Joe takes his morning shower, reaching for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with every ingredient and the amount that is contains because some liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and the breakdown of its contents. Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some tree-hugging liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air. He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work; it saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees. You see, some liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day; he has a good job with excellent pay, medicals benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer meets these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed he'll get worker's compensation or an unemployment check because some liberal didn't think he should lose his home to temporary misfortune.

It's noon time. Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the depression.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae underwritten mortgage and his below market federal student loan because some stupid liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.

Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive to dad’s; his car is among the safest in the world because some liberal fought for car safety standards. He arrives at his boyhood home. He was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans. The house didn't have electric until some big government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification (those rural Republicans would still be sitting in the dark).

Joe is happy to see his dad, who is now retired. Joe's dad lives on Social Security and his union pension because some liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to. After his visit with dad, Joe gets back in his car for the ride home. He turns on a radio talk show. The host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't tell Joe that his beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day. Joe agrees, "We don't need those big government liberals ruining our lives. After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."

In the years to come, Joe's life will change dramatically. The U.S. dollar will be devalued as a result of our huge deficit, our living standards demolished, our standing with the world diminished, and our social security gone...all because some conservative Republican made sure he could take care of himself and his buddies.


Things you have to believe to be a Republican today:

Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime,
unless you're a conservative radio host. Then it's an
illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.

The United States should get out of the United
Nations, and our highest national priority is
enforcing U.N. resolutions against Iraq.

Government should relax regulation of Big Business
and Big Money but crack down on individuals who use
marijuana to relieve the pain of illness.

"Standing Tall for America'" means firing your
workers and moving their jobs to India.

A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her
own body, but, multi-national corporations can make
decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.

Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of
homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.

The best way to improve military morale is to praise
the troops in speeches while slashing veterans'
benefits and combat pay.

Group sex and drug use are degenerate sins unless
you someday run for governor of California as a
Republican.

If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents
won't have sex.

A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our
long-time allies, then demand their cooperation and
money.

HMOs and insurance companies have the interest of
the public at heart.

Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy.
Providing health care to all Americans is socialism.

Global warming and tobacco's link to cancer are junk
science, but creationism should be taught in schools.

Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad
guy when Bush's daddy made war on him, a good guy when
Cheney did business with him and a bad guy when Bush
needed a "we can't find Bin Laden" diversion.

A president lying about an extramarital affair is an
impeachable offense. A president lying to enlist
support for a war in which thousands die is solid
defense policy.

Government should limit itself to the powers named
in the Constitution, which include banning gay
marriages and censoring the Internet.

The public has a right to know about Hillary's
cattle trades, but George Bush's driving record is
none of our business.

You support states' rights, which means Attorney
General John Ashcroft can tell states what local voter
initiatives they have a right to adopt.

What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital
national interest, but what Bush did in the '80s is
irrelevant.

Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is
communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital
to a spirit of international harmony.

(from Lionel's Reading Room).


"Conservatives complain relentlessy that they do no get a fair shake in the university, and they want parity--that is, more conservatives on faculties. Conservatives are lonely on American campuses as well as beleaguered and misunderstood. News that tenured poets vote Democratic or that Kerry received far more money from professors than Bush pains them. They want America's faculties to reflect America's political composition. Of course, they do not address such imbalances in the police force, Pentagon, FBI, CIA and other government outfits where the stakes seem far higher and where, presumably, followers of Michael Moore are in short supply. If life were a big game of Monopoly, one might sugggest a trade to these conservatives: You give us one Pentagon, one Department of State, Justice and Education, plus throw in the Supreme Court, and we will give you every damned English department you want" (Russell Jacoby. "The New PC: Crybaby Conservatives." The Nation, April 4, 2005: 11-16).


Independence Day Special: Thirteen Facts About America Conservatives Would Like You to Forget by Richard Riis. "Daily Kos." Jul. 4, 2014.

1. Conservatives opposed the Founding Fathers, the American Revolution and a lot of other righteous stuff as well.

"By definition a conservative is one who wishes to preserve and/or restore traditional values and institutions, i.e. to “conserve” the established order. No surprise then that 18th century American conservatives wanted no part of breaking away from the British Empire and the comforting bonds of monarchical government. Those anti-revolutionary conservatives were called Tories, the name still used for the conservative party in England. The Founding Fathers? As radically left-wing as they came in the 1770s. The Boston Tea Party? The "Occupy Wall Street" of its day.

"Some of the other "traditional" values supported by conservatives over the course of American history have included slavery (remember that the Republican Party was on the liberal fringe in 1860), religious persecution, the subjugation of women and minorities, obstacles to immigration, voter suppression, prohibition and segregation. Conservatives started off on the wrong side of American history, and that's where they've been ever since.

2. The United States is not a Christian nation, and the Bible is not the cornerstone of our law.

Don’t take my word for it. Let these Founding Fathers speak for themselves:

John Adams: “The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.” (Treaty of Tripoli, 1797)

Thomas Jefferson: “Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the common law.” (Letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814)

James Madison: “The civil government … functions with complete success … by the total separation of the Church from the State.” (Writings, 8:432, 1819)

George Washington: “If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.” (Letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia, May 1789)

You can find a multitude of similar quotes from these men and most others who signed the Declaration of Independence and/or formulated the United States Constitution. These are hardly the words of men who believed that America should be a Christian nation governed by the Bible, as a disturbing fundamentalist trend today would have it be.

3. Long before the United States even existed, it was drawing "problem" immigrants.

After being pretty much run out of England as anti-government radicals, the religious dissidents we know today as the Pilgrims settled in Leiden, Holland, where they set about making themselves that nation's immigrant problem. Sticking to themselves and refusing to “blend in” with their new homeland, the Pilgrims grew alarmed by the unpalatable ideas to which their children were being exposed, such as religious tolerance (good for the Pilgrims, bad for everyone else) and national service (like all Dutch residents, the Pilgrims were eligible for the draft). When their children began picking up the Dutch language, the Pilgrims had had enough. By then the Dutch had, too. Next stop: Plymouth Rock.

4. Those Pilgrims were commies... and it saved their lives.

Governor William Bradford’s memoirs confirm that the first thing the settlers did upon arrival in the Plymouth Colony was to set up a textbook communist system of production and distribution. Every resident of the colony was expected to share, to the extent of his or her ability, the chores of hunting, farming, cooking, building, making clothing, etc., and, in exchange, everyone shared the products of that communal labor.

That commie-pinko economy sustained the Pilgrims through their first brutal year in the New World, after which it was decided that the colony was sufficiently stable to allow householders their own plot of land on which to grow crops they were free to keep for themselves. The fact that the colonists’ productivity increased exponentially with their own land begs the question: were the Pilgrims working harder now that they got to keep the product of their own labor or, conversely, were they prone to slacking off when the goods came whether they worked hard or not?

I guess you could say the Pilgrims were the kind of lazy, shiftless “takers” that conservatives are always railing against.

5. One of the Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson, hated Thanksgiving.

In fact, Thomas Jefferson once called a national day of Thanksgiving “the most ridiculous idea” he’d ever heard of.

Despite being first proclaimed by George Washington in 1789, Jefferson believed a national day of thanksgiving was not consistent with the principle of separation of church and state and refused to recognize the holiday in any of the eight years in which he was president of the United States. “Every one must act according to the dictates of his own reason,” Jefferson once wrote, “and mine tells me that civil powers alone have been given to the President of the United States, and no authority to direct the religious exercises of his constituents.”

For the record, Presidents Andrew Jackson and Zachary Taylor refused to issue Thanksgiving Day proclamations during their administrations, too. Can you imagine what Fox News Channel would have made of these administrations' “War on Thanksgiving”?

6. The Pledge of Allegiance was written by a socialist.

The Pledge was written in 1892 for public school celebrations of the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ arrival in the Americas. Its author was Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister, Christian socialist and cousin of socialist utopian novelist Edward Bellamy. Christian socialism maintains, among other ideas, that capitalism is idolatrous and rooted in greed, and the underlying cause of much of the world’s social inequity. Kinda puts the red in the ol' red, white and blue, doesn't it?

7. Roe v. Wade was a bipartisan decision made by a predominantly Republican-appointed Supreme Court.

Technically, Roe v. Wade did not make abortion legal in the United States, the Supreme Court merely found that the state of Texas’ prohibition on abortion violated the 14th Amendment Due Process Clause and that states could exercise varying degrees of discretion in regulating abortion, depending upon the stage of pregnancy. The Court also held the law violated the right to privacy under substantive due process.

That being said, the landmark 1973 ruling that conservatives love to hate, was decided on a 7-2 vote that broke down like this:

Majority (for Roe): Chief Justice Warren Burger (conservative, appointed by Nixon), William O. Douglas (liberal, appointed by FDR), William J. Brennan (liberal, appointed by Eisenhower), Potter Stewart (moderate, appointed by Eisenhower), Thurgood Marshall (liberal, appointed by LBJ), Harry Blackmun (author of the majority opinion and a conservative who eventually turned liberal, appointed by Nixon), Lewis Powell (moderate, appointed by Nixon). Summary: 3 liberals, 2 conservatives, 2 moderates.

Dissenting (for Wade): Byron White (generally liberal/sometimes conservative, appointed by JFK), William Rehnquist (conservative, appointed by Nixon). Summary: 1 liberal, 1 conservative.

By ideological orientation, it was an across-the-board decision for Roe: conservatives 2-1, liberals 3-1, moderates 2-0; by party of presidential appointment: Republicans 5-1, Democrats 2-1. No one can rightly say that this was a leftist court forcing its liberal beliefs on America.

8. Conservative icon Ronald Reagan once signed a bill legalizing abortion.

The Ronald Reagan conservatives worship today is more myth than reality. Reagan was a conservative for sure, but also a practical politician who understood the necessities of compromise. In the spring of 1967, four months into his first term as governor of California, Ronald Reagan signed a bill that, among other provisions, legalized abortion for the vaguely-defined “well being” of the mother. Reagan may have been personally pro-life, but in this instance he was willing to compromise in order to achieve other ends he considered more important. That he claimed later to regret signing the bill doesn’t change the fact that he did. As Casey Stengel liked to say, “You could look it up.”

9. Reagan also raised federal taxes eleven times.

Okay, Ronald Reagan cut tax rates more than any other president – with a big asterisk. Sure, the top rate was reduced from 70% in 1980 all the way down to 28% in 1988, but while Republicans typically point to Reagan’s tax-cutting as the right approach to improving the economy, Reagan himself realized the resulting national debt from his revenue slashing was untenable, so he quietly raised other taxes on income – primarily Social Security and payroll taxes - no less than eleven times. Most of Reagan’s highly publicized tax cuts went to the usual handout-takers in the top income brackets, while his stealth tax increases had their biggest impact on the middle class. These increases were well hidden inside such innocuous-sounding packages as the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982, the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 and the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987. Leave it to a seasoned actor to pull off such a masterful charade.

10. Barry Goldwater was pro-choice, supported gay rights, deeply despised the Religious Right, and - gasp! - liked Hillary Clinton.

It's a measure of just how much farther right contemporary conservatism has shifted in just a generation or two that Barry "Mr. Conservative" Goldwater, the Republican standard-bearer in 1964, couldn't buy a ticket into a GOP convention in 2014.

There's no debating Goldwater's deeply conservative bona fides, but check these pronouncements from the man himself:

"I am a conservative Republican, but I believe in democracy and the separation of church and state. The conservative movement is founded on the simple tenet that people have the right to live life as they please as long as they don't hurt anyone else in the process." (Interview, Washington Post, July 28, 1994)

"A woman has a right to an abortion. That's a decision that's up to the pregnant woman, not up to the pope or some do-gooders or the Religious Right." (Interview, Los Angeles Times, 1994)

“The big thing is to make this country… quit discriminating against people just because they're gay. You don't have to agree with it, but they have a constitutional right to be gay. ... They're American citizens.” (Interview, Washington Post, July 28, 1994)

"Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise. I know; I've tried to deal with them. Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of ‘conservatism.’" (Congressional Record, September 16, 1981)

"If [Bill Clinton] let his wife run business, I think he'd be better off. ... I just like the way she acts. I've never met her, but I sent her a bag of chili, and she invited me to come to the White House some night and said she'd cook chili for me." (Interview, Washington Post, July 28, 1994)

11. The first president to propose national health insurance was a Republican.

He was also a trust-busting, pro-labor, Nobel Peace Prize-winning environmentalist. Is there any wonder why Theodore Roosevelt, who first proposed a system of national health insurance during his unsuccessful Progressive Party campaign to retake the White House from William Howard Taft in 1912, gets scarce mention at Republican National Conventions these days?

12. Those "job-killing" environmental regulations? Republican things.

Sometimes being conservative can be a good thing, like when it applies to conserving America's clean air and water, endangered wildlife and awesome natural beauty. Many of Theodore Roosevelt's greatest accomplishments as president were in the area of conserving America's natural environment. In 1905, Roosevelt formed the United States Forestry Service. Under his presidential authority, vast expanses of American real estate were declared off limits for private development and reserved for public use. During Roosevelt's time as president, forest reserves in the United States went from approximately 43 million acres to about 194 million acres. Talk about big government land grabs!

The United States Environmental Protection Agency, arch-enemy of polluters in particular and government regulation haters in general, was created by that other well-known GOP tree hugger, Richard Nixon. In his 1970 State of the Union Address, Nixon proclaimed the new decade a period of environmental transformation. Shortly thereafter he presented Congress an unprecedented 37-point message on the environment, requesting billions for the improvement of water treatment facilities, asking for national air quality standards and stringent guidelines to lower motor vehicle emissions, and launching federally-funded research to reduce automobile pollution. Nixon also ordered a clean-up of air- and water-polluting federal facilities, sought legislation to end the dumping of wastes into the Great Lakes, proposed a tax on lead additives in gasoline, and approved a National Contingency Plan for the treatment of petroleum spills. In July 1970 Nixon declared his intention to establish the Environmental Protection Agency, and that December the EPA opened for business. Hard to believe, but had it not been for Watergate, we might remember Richard Nixon today as the “environmental president”.

Oh, yes – conservatives would rather forget that Nixon was an advocate of national health insurance, too.

13. President Obama was not only born in the United States, his roots run deeper in American history than most conservatives’ - and most other Americans' - do.

The argument that Barack Obama was born anywhere but at Kapiolani Maternity and Gynecological Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii, is not worth addressing; the evidence is indisputable by any rational human being. But not even irrational “birthers” can dispute Obama’s well-documented family tree on his mother’s side. By way of his Dunham lineage, President Obama has at least 11 direct ancestors who took up arms and fought for American independence in the Revolutionary War and two others cited as patriots by the Daughters of the American Revolution for furnishing supplies to the colonial army. This star-spangled heritage makes Obama eligible to join the Sons of the American Revolution, and his daughters the Daughters of the American Revolution. Not bad for someone some conservatives on the lunatic fringe still insist is a foreigner bent on destroying the United States of America.


Colby Glass, MLIS