Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Republicans Who Actually Had Something Intelligent to Say

Since November 11th, and Bush's venomous, partisan Veterans' Day speech, which went far afield from honoring our veterans, much has been written in that vein. It was not so much a speech of the sort that one would expect from a Commander in Chief on that day of memoriam, but rather another stump speech. An attempt to lie himself out of the lies already told about our very reasons for going to war. I think few families whose sons and daughters, those whom he should have been honoring, were comforted by the President's empty rhetoric or his continuing attacks on those who do not support the debacle of Iraq.

Much also has been written about Bush's lack of tolerance for any sort of criticism of his opinions, policies and pronouncements. Thankfully, all this is starting to fade away, and we are seeing the seeds of discontent being sown farther and wider across the land. With all that is swirling about our President, low poll numbers covering everything from lying, lack of ethical behaviors, the spectre of Bush's Svengali, Karl Rove, ever at the forefront, indictments of top White House personnel, not to mention the War in Iraq, as well as the word Impeachment finally being said aloud and in print.

I thought I would search for those Republicans of yore who really understood what the office was about and what their commitment to the people of the United States truly meant. I invite you to read and compare and judge.

Abraham Lincoln, first Republican President(1861-1865) (a far greater communicator than Ronald Reagan, and hands down more eloquent) at Gettysburg:

that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, and that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

2nd Inaugural Address:

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan -- to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves, and with all nations.

Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909)

The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else. --in the Kansas City Star, May 7, 1918

William Howard Taft (1909-1913) Speech given after the attack on Pearl Harbor

As a matter of general principle, I believe there can be no doubt that criticism in time of war is essential to the maintenance of any kind of democratic government ... too many people desire to suppress criticism simply because they think that it will give some comfort to the enemy to know that there is such criticism. If that comfort makes the enemy feel better for a few moments, they are welcome to it as far as I am concerned, because the maintenance of the right of criticism in the long run will do the country maintaining it a great deal more good than it will do the enemy, and will prevent mistakes which might otherwise occur.

Gerald R. Ford (1974-1977)

I believe that truth is the glue that holds government together, not only our government but civilization itself. That bond, though strained, is unbroken at home and abroad. In all my public and private acts as your president, I expect to follow my instincts of openness and candor with full confidence that honesty is always the best policy in the end. (1974)

The American people want a dialogue between them and their president . . . And if we can’t have that opportunity of talking with one another, seeing one another, shaking hands with one another, something has gone wrong in our society.

The Constitution is the bedrock of all our freedoms; guard and cherish it; keep honor and order in your own house; and the republic will endure.

George H.W. Bush (1989-1993) (Now THIS is the father he should have consulted!)

A government that remembers that the people are its master is a good and needed thing.

America is never wholly herself unless she is engaged in high moral principle. We as a people have such a purpose today. It is to make kinder the face of the nation and gentler the face of the world.

Ronald Reagan (1981-1989)

Since the turn of the century, the number of democracies has grown fourfold. Human freedom is on the march, and nowhere more so than in our own hemisphere. Freedom is one of the deepest and noblest aspirations of the human spirit." (AND those democracies he mentions happened without pre-emptive war!!)

Unerringly, it appears, the Republicans that preceded senior Bush (41), had a good sense of the ethical nature of the office, the answering to the public who were the ones who elevated them to the highest position in the land. One speaks of not forgetting the families of those who have paid the highest price...the widows and orphans of servicemen. A far cry from the of cutting veteran's benefits we see today. Another speaks of it being one's patriotic DUTY to question the President, and yet another speaks of truthfulness and morality. Above all the honor of our Constitution is to be protected, not torn down or trampled by those who would rule by fear, cloaked in the guise of patriotism.

I wonder what quotes from George W. Bush might be held up as examples of his White House years. Better yet, why not take a look at what the future will have to choose from. The Complete Bushisms - Updated frequently. By Jacob Weisberg

Susan B. Goodwin