Going the way of the Whigs

Today’s GOP is no longer ‘grand,’ but clearly old. Old whites. Whigs come to mind both figuratively and literally. Could today’s Republican Party be on the same road to extinction as the Whig Party of long ago? Many will ask, ‘What Whig Party?’ Exactly the point.

The last Whig president was Millard Fillmore.  That ought to say something about the party. To be fair, though, statesmen such as Henry Clay and Daniel Webster were from the Whig Party before its demise. Like today’s GOP, the Whigs faced a serious and divisive problem in the years before their collapse- slavery. Clearly the statesmen of the party were much against that stain on our history.  Not surprisingly, many were from the North. The penultimate dissolution of the party was over the Kansas-Nebraska Act which opened those territories to slavery.  Northern Whigs vehemently opposed that decision while southern Whigs supported it.

To my generation this sounds like deja vu all over again. Or, rather reverse deja vu, if you follow. Today’s modern Democratic Party suffered such a split in the late 1960’s when President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act.  In fact,while the ink was still wet, Johnson quipped,  “I think we just delivered the South to the Republican party for a long time to come.” After the signing, many southern Democrats left the party and joined the GOP.

Like Lincoln, many of the former northern Whigs joined the Republican Party.  Of course that Republican Party was not in any way a mirror of today’s GOP! As we all know, many of the disgruntled, segregationist Democrats flipped to the Republican Party after the civil rights legislation.  These were the same people who led the filibuster against the Civil Rights Act in 1964: Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond were two of the best-known of these new Republicans.

The absence of African Americans, Latinos and Asians in today’s Republican Party point out just how white that party has become. The Presidential Elections of 2008 and 2012 point out two things about this party.  First, the party is generally located in the Confederate South and, two, it lost significantly in both elections. Rather than it being a ‘national party,’ it has become localized, thus assuring it of a continual loss of the White House. It will, however, maintain a strong presence in the House due to gerrymandering of local congressional districts. However, northern GOP House seats are most vulnerable and may be easily picked up by the Democratic Party. The hubbub and the politicizing of the relief package for victims of the Northeast hurricane may have soured northern Republicans.  The obstruction was led by southern conservatives in the GOP.  Whether northerners [north-easterners] wish to continue to identify with the southern GOP is uncertain.

Thus the Whig dilemma here in the 21st century. Whigs who did not join Lincoln’s Republican Party formed Third Parties who, rather than being FOR some ideology were grouped AGAINST an ideology- the Opposition Parties. It seems to me that today’s GOP has become another, modern Opposition Party.  Such a coalition rarely has succeeded for long in American politics.

Since the second Inauguration of President Obama, the Republican Party had attempted to regroup and re-define itself. Strangely some of the leaders suggested that there needs no realignment of ideals, only a new way to sell itself. One likened it to shining shoes. [I’ll let that reference pass without comment]. Others are suggesting change, such as enticing Hispanics into the party by ‘softening’ its rhetoric on immigration. Softening?

Personally I hope that today’s Republican Party goes the way of the Whigs. Only with such a drastic end result will there emerge thoughtful elders who can reassemble a political party which offers a choice to The People- all of the people of our nation.

addendum: UptheFlag made a comment about this article that appeared in the local Mississippi newspaper:

http://www.clarionledger.com/article/20130127/NEWS01/301270039/Survey-Jackson-city-believers

I think it fits perfectly with the theme of the post above in that it gives us insight into why the GOP is stagnating and festering.

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19 thoughts on “Going the way of the Whigs

  1. M_R wrote, down in the previous Post that “pathetic does not even come close.” I agree. This is why, my friend(s), I use the word bleak. How can
    we ever have change with this stupid thinking? I about fell over, M_R, when
    this article appeared in the paper. Pardon an old school expression of our favorite history teach, “BINGO!” LOL! When I saw this survey, I knew it was meant for you and others in the North, Midwest, and West Coast. To me, the article establishes the reason why no one can expect progressive
    reform from the “bible belt” at this time. But, the survey does point out
    that the culture is changing. From 2005 to 2012 the changes are listed in
    my comment or in the article…And, you do see a moderate college offering
    more responsible avenues of learning and discussion. Millsaps is NOT the
    college where our stupid governor taught Mississippi History and has implied that the Soviet Union is still in existance. There are not enough votes in the North to offset these religiously misinformed bible thumping
    national representatives and senators. While it is bleak, I will continue my
    fight to change the electorate in my county. What else can we do?

    1. What to do? Educate people outside of the Bible Belt about the idiocy where you are so that R’s elsewhere understand why their party sucks. They then need to purge these Medieval fundies from the GOP.

  2. But, it is just not the bible belt. What about that favorite state of Kansas?
    And, to be more far reaching, all the states in the line from North Dakota on the Canadian border to Texas on the Mexican border? These states are far ahead of MS, AL, LA, etc when it comes to education, yet they support the
    GOP

    Maybe we are confusing what we mean by education? You seem to be
    referring to schooling, and I am referring to educating the public to
    support more common sense approaches to government. For me, either
    we change the minds of people making public policy and laws or we
    change the people making those polices and laws, weiss du? We just don’t
    have the time to progressively reform public education to solve the
    problem. Improved classroom education, no matter how important that
    is, will not afford us to have even the chance of making the needed changes, it seems to me. Just look at President Obama and Sen. Cruz of Texas.
    They both have elite educations and both are graduates of Harvard,
    yet they are far apart on public policy. If education is the savior of
    progressive public policies and laws, this example shows that it isn’t.

    Let me ask this. Don’t you think that President Obama is saying that
    we need to make changes now through the political machinery? Why else would he be saying use the data base that got me elected President for
    two terms for public policy? Release the campaign data base to put pressure
    on the elected members of Congress to make changes. We have to be
    doing both, M_R, reforming schools and reforming our Party, and if
    you don’t want to be involved withthe later physically then be involved
    in the planning of what is needed and finding the people to do hard
    leg work of going door to door to have Party members get to the polls. Im not on the street. Use the computer to contact people on facebook or whatever. I have printed up business cards that on the front refes totmy county Dem Party, that we are looking for new people to attend Party meetings once a month, and then my name, phone, and e-mail. When I am gettting gas. I offer a business card on the other side.. It’s that simple! Let’s remember that here in MS, Obama received 45% of the vote we NO campaigning. What’s five percent to make up. It’s educating Mississippians about the programs they need and not these stupid GOP gimmicl l iks like charter scks like

    1. UptheFlag states: I am referring to educating the public to support more common sense approaches to government

      Exactly my reference.

      then be involved in the planning of what is needed and finding the people to do hard leg work of going door to door to have Party members get to the polls

      Yes indeed; in 2016 I will not be walking door-to-door, but I may in 2014 to get the governor elected.

      It’s educating Mississippians about the programs they need and not these stupid GOP gimmicks

      That 5% will be difficult to muster due to the religious issue [always the thorn!] What about the blacks in MS- do they come out on election day? They need an ‘organizer’ to get them registered and to the polls. Maybe you can begin to organize like we did here in Ohio. You need NAMES, my friend, names and numbers of the registered voters. You’ve got 4 years.

      Here’s the map; now you’ve got some data to begin:

      http://www.cnn.com/election/2012/results/state/MS/president

      Here are the counties that I would suggest to begin because of the lopsided vote for Obama. These people surely know others who didn’t vote. Additionally, they are relatively small counties:

      Tunica
      Sunflower
      Washington
      Claiborne
      Jefferson
      Hinds
      Leflore

  3. I do truly enjoy your provocative posts. :)

    They inspire me to wonder, why a “Party” should be in the equation at all… politicians should be… what was that lovely term you used? Oh yes… ‘statesmen’… MEN and WOMEN WHO ENTER POLITICS SHOULD STATE THEIR INTENT, HOPE OF DIRECTION, and DEDICATION OF PURPOSE… and allowed to be judged according to effort to fulfill said agenda… and thereby likewise allow fellow politicians the liberty to cooperate or oppose, accordingly… rather than oppose purely on ‘Party premise of affiliation’… whether the opposition is detrimental to the Nation or not… as is the current ‘fashion’…or ‘policy’…

    After all, “Parties” as you have so eloquently pointed out, are not a constant… therefore do not truly serve as any true ‘point of reference’… except for propagandists to play with numbers and to incite collective ill will against groups… rather than truly look at the issues and the individuals seeking to offer remedy or suggestions relative to them…

    1. Colleen- thank you for your added insight into the conundrum facing the GOP. My parents were Republican but would not at all recognize today’s GOP. I’m quite sure that there are some current Republicans who wonder what happened to the party they joined years ago. What’s in a name, eh? Our friends north of the border have two major parties with names that reflect their political ideology: conservative and liberal. Today’s GOP needs to split in two, one the Conservative Party and the other the Fringe Party.

      1. I still consider myself a Republican, but voted a straight Democratic ticket in that last election.

        (Heh-heh, I also gave heavily to several Democratic candidates. I always wonder if the Republicans run a cross check on contributors to see who has switched sides. My invitations to Latta fund raisers seemed to have stopped.)

  4. The other day, NON, our friend Glenn Beck had a suggestion for Republicans like yourself, probably includes Engineer as well. He says the
    Republican Establishment is dead or needs to die off. He is referring to
    the moderate wing of the GOP. In his opinion it is the moderates in the
    GOP that is holding the Party back from winning national elections. In
    what universe do people like Beck, Limbaugh, and Hannity dwell?

    1. Of course I believe in the First Amendment and people have a right to say what they think. But those three intentionally do massive damage with the outright lies they tell. I always give people some leeway, but those un-American traitors should be strung up!

      In the hell that is my life, the nice lady (who I like a lot) next door adores Beck. My mother won’t watch anything but Fox. And my brothers think Rush speaks the truth.

      (On a very personal note, I’ve been wondering if Del Latta regained consciousness, what would he think of his son Bob.)

      1. Ben writes, but those un-American traitors should be strung up!

        There are many who ought to have been charged with ‘un American’ activities in recent years. One in pqrticular was former Texas Senator Phil Gramm who single handedly opened to door to the massive collapse of Wall Street by pushing the end of Glass-Steagall. Here’s a refresher for those who may have forgotten his most dastardly deed!

        I’ve been wondering if Del Latta regained consciousness, what would he think of his son Bob

        What is even more sad, Ben, is that many people voted for the son THINKING it was Dell!

        Thanks for your comments.

  5. Colleen wrote “why a “Party” should be in the equation at all…”

    Short answer: Because the United States is a two Party country.
    There has be no successful third party in the United States. For a person
    to become a politician they must belong to one of the major political
    Parties. It is just naive to suggest that there can be anything different.

    Moreover, it seems to me that Parties are a constant. There would be
    no President Obama without the Democratic Party! There would be no
    national health care system without the Democratic Party. There
    would be no Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Acts without the
    Democratic and Republican Parties. Parties provide the candidates,
    the structure, the organization, and the money for a person to become
    a politician….

    1. A while back there was actually a 3rd party candidate for Ohio’s Fifth Congressional District. By all logic he should have won, but people still voted ticket (by party) and he lost heavily.

  6. “One in pqrticular was former Texas Senator Phil Gramm who single handedly opened to door to the massive collapse of Wall Street by pushing the end of Glass-Steagall.”

    M_R, we have been down this road before. No bill becomes law without
    the President’s approval or his disapproval overriden by both houses of
    Congress by a two thirds vote, which is almost impossible. And, in the case of Glass-Steagall the President was a Democrat, Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton
    signed away a good portion of another Democratic President’s New Deal, namely, FDR, which prevented anything like 2008 happening and the reason
    for the anemic economic recovery that we are having. M_R, you have to
    call a spade a spade; if there was a “single hand” that enabled the ending
    of Glass-Steagall, it was President Bill Clinton’s hand signing the damn bill.
    Then with his “ending welfare as we know it’ bill signing he destroyed the
    rest of FDR”s New Deal, namely financial reform and the social safety net which FDR established for us to have safe money and a place to live,
    to have something to wear, and something to eat. Talk all you want to
    about the GOP, but the Democratic Party lost a lot of me thanks to these
    stupid policies of President Clinton. Certainly you see what he has caused?

    1. It was the same deal when Clinton signed D.O.M.A and Obama extended the Bush tax cuts. The President had to “trade” his signature on a bad bill to get issues he considered more important at the time implemented. If our government wasn’t fluid (can changes things later), we wouldn’t have the need for new elections every two-four-six years.

      (i.e. Bush tax cuts in exchange for extending unemployment benefits.)

  7. I’m always confusing Alabama with Mississippi; I don’t know why.

    Here’s a teacher from Alabama sharing:

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