Please Shut It! You are NOT the Party of Abe Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, or Dwight D. Eisenhower Anymore!

thesepeopleDear Modern Republicans and Tea Party Members:

Please, do us all a favor and shut it! You are not the party of Lincoln, Roosevelt, or Eisenhower anymore! Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Eisenhower were great men who were members of a now defunct Republican Party. The GOP that exists today is no longer that party. By your standards, all of these men would be “liberals who are ruining our country!” Therefore, you are not allowed to commandeer their successes as belonging to your party. Also, moderate Republicans – the popular term is R.I.N.O. or “Republican In Name Only” – if you are reading, this article is not totally directed at you. However, please feel free to take your party back any time now.

Let’s start with Lincoln.

Lincoln was elected to office on November 6, 1860, after running on a anti-slavery, pro-equality, and pro-public jobs platform. The platform pledged not to extend slavery, and Lincoln himself called for prompt establishment of a daily mail service and a transcontinental railroad; notably, both “public” programs.

On Equality

“That the maintenance of the principles promulgated in the Declaration of Independence and embodied in the Federal Constitution, “That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,” is essential to the preservation of our Republican institutions; and that the Federal Constitution, the rights of the states, and the Union of the states, must and shall be preserved.”

On the Minimum Wage

“That while providing revenue for the support of the general government by duties upon imports, sound policy requires such an adjustment of these imposts as to encourage the development of the industrial interests of the whole country, and we commend that policy of national exchanges which secures to the workingmen liberal wages, to agriculture remunerating prices, to mechanics and manufacturers an adequate reward for their skill, labor and enterprise.”

On Immigration

“That the Republican Party is opposed to any change in our naturalization laws, or any state legislation by which the rights of citizenship hitherto accorded by emigrants from foreign lands shall be abridged or impaired; and in favor of giving a full and efficient protection to the rights of all classes of citizens, whether native or naturalized, both at home and abroad.”

On Labor

“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”

Next comes Roosevelt.

Roosevelt became President in 1901 following the assassination of President McKinley. Roosevelt was a progressive who disdained wealthy businessmen and was best known for his monopoly busting.  His signature domestic program, the “Square Deal” was based on conserving  natural resources, controlling corporations, and protecting consumers. The 1908 Republican Party Platform calls one of his greatest accomplishments his “prosecution of illegal trusts and monopolies.”

On Corporations

“The Republican party passed the Sherman Antitrust law over Democratic opposition, and enforced it after Democratic dereliction. It has been a wholesome instrument for good in the hands of a wise and fearless administration. But experience has shown that its effectiveness can be strengthened and its real objects better attained by such amendments as will give to the Federal Government greater supervision and control over, and secure greater publicity in, the management of that class of corporations engaged in interstate commerce having power and opportunity to effect monopolies.”

On Labor & Unions

“The Republican party pledges its continued devotion to every cause that makes for safety and the betterment of conditions among those whose labor contributes so much to the progress and welfare of the country.”

““It is essential that there should be organization of labor. This is an era of organization. Capital organizes and therefore labor must organize.”

On Public Health

“We commend the efforts designed to secure greater efficiency in National Public Health agencies and favor such legislation as will effect this purpose.”

Yes, you read that right, the Republican Party called for legislation to effectuate a universal healthcare system back in 1908.

And finally, Eisenhower.

Eisenhower was elected President in 1952 and then re-elected in 1956. He was a moderate conservative who continued the New Deal (a social program enacted under FDR) and expanded Social Security. He also created the Interstate Highway System and launched the NASA space program.

The 1956 Republican Party Platform explicitly stated, “We are proud of and shall continue our far-reaching and sound advances in matters of basic human needs—expansion of social security—broadened coverage in unemployment insurance —improved housing—and better health protection for all our people. We are determined that our government remain warmly responsive to the urgent social and economic problems of our people.”

Support for the United Nations

“We shall continue vigorously to support the United Nations.”

On Unions

“Workers have benefited by the progress which has been made in carrying out the programs and principles set forth in the 1952 Republican platform. All workers have gained and unions have grown in strength and responsibility, and have increased their membership by 2 millions. Furthermore, the process of free collective bargaining has been strengthened by the insistence of this Administration that labor and management settle their differences at the bargaining table without the intervention of the Government.”

On Unemployment, Equal Pay for Women, and the Minimum Wage 

” The Eisenhower Administration will continue to fight for dynamic and progressive programs which, among other things, will:

  • Strengthen and improve the Federal-State Employment Service and improve the effectiveness of the unemployment insurance system;
  • Assure equal pay for equal work regardless of Sex;
  • Clarify and strengthen the eight-hour laws for the benefit of workers who are subject to federal wage standards on Federal and Federally-assisted construction, and maintain and continue the vigorous administration of the Federal prevailing minimum wage law for public supply contracts;
  • Extend the protection of the Federal minimum wage laws to as many more workers as is possible and practicable;
  • Provide assistance to improve the economic conditions of areas faced with persistent and substantial unemployment.”

Today’s Republican party is anti-equality, anti-union, anti-minimum wage, anti-unemployment, anti-welfare, anti-woman, anti-United Nations, anti-healthcare, anti-immigration, and pro-corporation. So, again, Republicans, please do us all a favor and stop calling yourselves the party of the above named men – you are nothing like them.

I think Will McAvoy described this perfectly in the TV show “The Newsroom,” when he said:

“I am not ashamed to say that I, however, am a Republican.  And that brings us to tonight’s second story. I’m what the leaders of the Tea Party would call a RINO:  Republican in Name Only.  And that’s ironic because that’s exactly what I think about the leaders of the Tea Party. Because the most conservative Republicans today…aren’t Republicans. Republicans believe in a prohibitive military.  We believe in a common sense government. And that there are social programs enacted in the last half century that work but that there are way too many costing way too much, that don’t.

…They can call themselves Conservatives.   And they can even call themselves Republicans.  Though Republicans certainly shouldn’t.”

So the lesson you should take away from this is, when you call Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Eisenhower “great members of your party,” the truth is they were Republicans and they were arguably great men. But, they were not members of your party, so stop trying to say that they were!

Ilyssa Fuchs

Ilyssa Fuchs is an attorney, freelance writer, and activist from New York City, who holds both a juris doctor and a political science degree. She is the founder of the popular Facebook page Politically Preposterous and a blog of the same name. Follow Ilyssa on Twitter @IlyssaFuchs, and be sure to check out her archives on Forward Progressives as well!


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