Watch these two videos and tell me if Republicans have gotten a) better, or b) worse, over the past 50 years

Today not only marks what would have been Martin Luther King’s 82nd birthday, but it’s also the 50th anniversary of President Eisenhower’s farewell address to the nation – the one in which he warned of the growing influence of the military industrial complex. I was just watching it, and reflecting yet again on how far the Republican party has fallen since the days of Eisenhower, when my friend Kerri shared this second video with me. And I know it’s an unfair comparison, but I do think something can be learned from watching both back to back. I’m just not sure what that is.

Here’s an excerpt from Eisenhower’s speech:

…Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well.

But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the Federal government.

We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted.

Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together…

And, here, while we’re at it, is another Eisenhower quote. This one comes from a 1953 speech in front of the American Society of Newspaper editors. Read it and imagine what would happen to a Republican today if he or she were to express the same views.

…Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron…

In 50 short years, we went from that to the pridefully ignorant, increasingly bellicose, fear-mongering demagoguery of Sarah Palin. I wonder where we’ll be in another 50.

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  1. Bob
    Posted January 17, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    On the “Sarah” song, my big question is was this held in a church? Sort of looks that way. Maybe the IRS would be interested in reviewing the churches non-profit status as it they sure do have some partisan political activity going on there.

  2. Glen S.
    Posted January 18, 2011 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately, it seems that most Republicans saw Eisenhower’s farewell address not as a warning — but as an instructional video.

  3. Posted January 18, 2011 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    I think that they’ve honed their singing skills.

  4. Knox
    Posted January 18, 2011 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    I liked the part in the Palin song where the guy joyfully says that Palin, if she were in charge, would round up and throw her enemies in jail. Yes, those people sure do worship the constitution.

  5. Edward
    Posted January 18, 2011 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Eisenhower was an America hating pussy. He didn’t even wear a flag pin.

  6. A
    Posted January 18, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    Is Palin really a fair representation of current Republican thought? Esienhower was an elected President, Palin is a flash in the pan that is hung on thanks to our fascination and disgust with her. I would agree that the level of discourse has been simplified, but this cynical comparison is not really a comparison at all, but more a juxtaposition of a learned man and an idiot.

  7. What's In A Name
    Posted January 18, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    Well at least the guy has a nice voice.

    IRS might be making a call soon to that little church

  8. DRich
    Posted January 18, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    I liked the male singer’s voice, too. And the pedal steel backing track. I agree that this is a ridiculous comparison, but wow, those words of Eisenhower’s are powerful, and yes, so far from where the Repubs have gone.

  9. bash
    Posted January 18, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    but look at the democrats they have really come a long way 1860 candidate for pres.
    For a century and a half, historians have debated whether or not Douglas opposed slavery,[19] and whether or not he was a trimmer[clarification needed] and compromiser or a devotee of principles.[20]

    Douglas married into a slaveholding family (as did Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant), but the issue is whether he supported slavery as a matter of public policy. In his “Freeport Doctrine” of 1858 he repeatedly insisted that he did not care whether slavery was voted up or down, but only that the people had the right to vote it up or down. He denounced as sacrilegious and undemocratic the petitions signed by thousands of clergymen in 1854 who said the Nebraska Act offended God’s will.[21] He rejected the Republican notions that slavery was condemned by a “higher law” (Seward’s position) or that the nation could not long survive half slave and half free (Lincoln’s position). He disagreed with the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision that Congress had to protect slavery in the territories, regardless of what the people there thought. When Buchanan supported the Lecompton Constitution and thus adopted the pro-slavery position on Kansas, Douglas fought him relentlessly in a long battle that gave Douglas the 1860 Democratic nomination but ripped his party apart.

    Historian Allan Nevins was harsh on Douglas, “When it [slavery] paid it was good,” wrote Nevins, “and when it did not pay it was bad.” Nevins consequently judged that Douglas did not “regard a slaveholding society as one whit inferior to a free society.” All in all, Nevins rather brutally assessed what he called Douglas’s “dim moral perceptions.”[22] Graham Peck finds that several scholars have given brief opinions to the effect that Douglas was personally opposed to slavery, none of them with “extensive arguments to justify the conclusion”. He cites some more recent scholarship as (equally briefly) finding Douglas “insensitive to the moral repugnance of slavery” or even “proslavery”. He himself finds, however, that Douglas was the “ideological [and] practical head of the northern opposition to the antislavery movement” and questions whether Douglas “opposed black slavery for any reason, including economics”. Harry Jaffa thought Douglas was tricking the South with popular sovereignty—telling Southerners it would protect slavery but believing the people would actually vote against it. Johannsen found Douglas “did not regard slavery as a moral question; at least, he never condemned the institution in moral terms either publicly or privately.” However he “privately deplored slavery and was opposed to its expansion (and, indeed, in 1860 was widely regarded in both North and South as an antislavery candidate), he felt that its discussion as a moral question would place it on a dangerous level of abstraction.”

    and today….

    Many Democrats are opposed to the use of torture against individuals apprehended and held prisoner by the U.S. military, and hold that categorizing such prisoners as unlawful combatants does not release the U.S. from its obligations under the Geneva Conventions. Democrats contend that torture is inhumane, decreases the United States’ moral standing in the world, and produces questionable results. Democrats largely spoke out against waterboarding.

    the above is taken from wiki…

    im sorry but when you have radicals flying planes into our buildings and killing us, i say use ANY AND ALL kinds of torture the millitary needs to use get intel to prevent future attacks.

    also its sad to see the republicans attacked on here so much. its also sad that mark is only catering to the left since that makes up a majority of his readers instead of going after the truth and being one of the leading news sources in the area. i challenge mark to post something negative about the democrats and something positive about the republicans for 3 straight days. both the dems and the reps have good and bad things about them. only by questioning both sides can you HOPE to make real CHANGE. its about the truth and raising the standards of the each side and not about the number of hits you get.

  10. dragon
    Posted January 18, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    Getting in touch with your Inner Full Diaper, and the saddening sadness of other people’s blogs.

  11. Glen S.
    Posted January 19, 2011 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    I agree with Bash.

    Aside from having their own 24-hour cable news channel, a national network of hundreds of talk-radio stations, thousands of websites and blogs, and a megaphone in many churches — as well as control of the Supreme Court, the House of Representatives, and all three branches of Michigan’s government — the right wing hardly has a voice in this country.

    Mark, I think it is high time that you start providing “fair and balanced” opinion here on Mark

  12. Posted January 19, 2011 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    Poor Republicans, they are really just misunderstood. If only Mark Maynard would stop posting this nonsense, we’d realize it.

  13. Andy C
    Posted January 19, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    If you listen carefully to the Palin song, you’ll hear the guy muttering along under the recording. The woman is singing slightly off key but at least she’s making more of an effort to actually singing along. If this is at a church, it’s defiantly not a black one.

  14. Eel
    Posted January 19, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    This is a black church in the Sudan. The characters we are seeing are robots, built by the Disney corporation, for the amusement of the Sudanese. They love it.

  15. Posted January 20, 2011 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    “Many Democrats are opposed to the use of torture against individuals apprehended and held prisoner by the U.S. military, and hold that categorizing such prisoners as unlawful combatants does not release the U.S. from its obligations under the Geneva Conventions. Democrats contend that torture is inhumane, decreases the United States’ moral standing in the world, and produces questionable results. Democrats largely spoke out against waterboarding.”

    If only this were actually true…

  16. iRobert
    Posted September 25, 2018 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    Now you can compare Eisenhower to Trump. Any questions?

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