I REALLY Like Ike!
Dwight David Eisenhower - Conqueror of Nazi Germany, President of the United States, Liberal.
Certainly - compared to certain oil-igarchs that currently think they are in control!
Some Republicans remember these comments Ike made 48 years ago, and are planning on heeding them. After all, he was right about the Military-Industrial Complex, wasn't he?
They may not be supporting John F. Kerry, but they won't be supporting George Warmonger Bush, either.
In his acceptance speech at the 1956 Republican National Convention, Dwight Eisenhower spoke eloquently about the future of his party in that year when the GOP was marking its 100th anniversary. Eisenhower's view was that the Republican Party should be inclusive and inviting for all Americans. He said, "The Republican Party is the party of the future because it is the party that draws people together, not drives people apart."
Karl Rove, President Bush's political brain, and the right-wing religious wackos he uses as his surrogates for division would drive Eisenhower right out of their Republican Party. Dwight Eisenhower was everything George W. Bush is not. Ike was self-made, accomplished, worldly and thoughtful. He would find George W.'s impetuous, visceral, bullying approach to the world reckless and foolhardy. Bush's disdain for the United Nations, our NATO allies, and any nation that took issue with his obsession with Iraq would leave Ike chilled.
Ike said on that night in San Francisco, "Our party detests the technique of pitting group against group for cheap political advantage." That strategy, sadly, has become the mantra of a Republican Party Ike certainly did not envision and would find repugnant.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is playing the division game in earnest. According to a report in "The Hill," Gingrich is out drumming up wedge issues and encouraging Republicans in Congress to pounce on anything that will divide to gain temporary advantage over the Democrats. One GOP legislator told "The Hill" that "Gingrich encouraged Republicans to pick issues such as school prayer, strengthening work requirements for welfare recipients, and barring the United Nations from monitoring U.S. elections." Gingrich and his comrades are looking for anything where they can show a contrast. They'll include with the above gay rights and gay marriage, flag-burning, and anything else they can come up with to paint the Democrats as out of touch with mainstream America on a variety of cultural and social issues. This politics of desperation is an attempt to divert the public's attention from the mess in Iraq, the sputtering economy and Bush's horrific record on job creation.
In words that would make George W. cringe, Eisenhower urged that the Republican Party of the future "must be completely dedicated to peace, as indeed must all Americans. For without peace there is no future." Eisenhower, who classically reminded us of the dangers of the military-industrial complex as he left office, would find the Bush-Cheney melding of foreign policy and military action for the profit of their corporate clients appalling and dangerous. It would grieve him that the very unholy alliances he warned us of had literally taken control of the Republican Party.
Eisenhower spoke of the heart of collective security resting on the principle that strength is not military strength alone. He said, "It lies rather in the unity that comes of the voluntary association of nations which, however diverse, are developing their own capacities and asserting their own national destinies in a world of freedom and mutual respect." And with the experience of a man who had seen the horrors of war firsthand and knew the limitations of military actions, he added, "There can be no enduring peace for any nation while other nations suffer privation, oppression and a sense of injustice and despair."
A line like that at George Bush's second nominating convention would get the speaker booed off the podium.
As Bush and company look for more weapons systems and reasons to justify their use, Eisenhower provided us with a far more restrained, prudent and realistic vision of the use of armaments as instruments of America's dominant role in the world. He told the 1956 GOP Convention, "We have worked unceasingly for the promotion of effective steps in disarmament so that the labor of men could with confidence be devoted to their own improvement rather than wasted in the building of engines of destruction."
Eisenhower protected our nation and kept us strong during some of the most difficult days of the Cold War, but he did that soberly and intelligently. The Republican Party under George W. Bush has ventured far away from what Eisenhower envisioned.
All Americans would do well to heed Eisenhower's vision and reflect again on the great sense he made nearly half a century ago. The youngest Americans who actually voted for Ike are now 70 and over, but that's one of the fastest-growing segments of our population. They and other Americans who find the sensible moderation of the great warrior who became president appealing can still find a political voice.
There is certainly a clear and present need for them to speak out! Let's hope they take the call - even if it's collect from the afterlife!
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