Rachel Maddow proves the GOP’s changed radically since Bob Dole and Bill Clinton ran for POTUS in 1996, while Democratic positions have not shifted much.There is a myth that conservatives like to spread, politically lazy people like to repeat and the “liberal” media is hellbent on enforcing as orthodoxy: “Both parties are just as extreme as the other.” Conservatives use it to cover the excesses of the Republican Party and the pervasive radicalization of the right wing: “You can’t complain about my side because your side is just as bad!” Politically lazy people use it in order to continue remaining aloof and ignorant: “Well, you say Republicans are crazy but I hear all the time that Democrats are just as bad so I just can’t be bothered to pay attention and make a decision.” The “liberal” media uses it to justify not doing their jobs: “Well, if we don’t pretend both sides are equally valid, we might have to do some work and provide objective truth and that’s really hard! We’ll just let them argue and collect our fat paychecks, instead!”
There have been a number of occasions where I’ve insisted that Democratic/liberal positions have not shifted much in the last 20 years while Republicans/conservatives have veered wildly to the far right. How can the left become “extreme” if their core platform is more or less the same? How can the right still be “mainstream” if they would denounce their own platform from just a scant twenty years earlier as wild eyed socialism and un-American? Every time I ask this, there’s a whole lot of hand waving and histrionics and no substantive answer. This from both both conservatives who are terrified of acknowledging how insane their political movement has become and “independents” who are terrified they might actually have to pay attention to what is going on in their country.
But last night, Rachel Maddow unearthed a fascinating window into the recent past of both the Republican and Democratic parties in the form of the very first campaign websites for the 1996 match up between incumbent Bill Clinton and challenger Bob Dole.
Did you know that Dole supported Civil Rights Act of 1965? This is the same act the GOP is currently challenging. Supreme Court Justice Scalia recently referred to it as a “racial entitlement” and caused the right to melt into puddles of happy goo.
Dole also “Played a key role in passing the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act.” These days, protecting endangered species is gay-sounding and liberal. And who needs clean water? If corporations want to dump toxic chemicals into our water supply then they have every right to! Get the government out of the way!
If you want to make a Tea Party “patriot” collapse into a frothing pile of outrage just tell them you “Introduced the Private Property Rights Act to ensure that the government justly compensates property owners for the “takings” of private property for public use.” Bob Dole bragged about that, too.
Dole supported the Violence Against Women Act that the GOP recently spat on for a year before grudgingly renewing it, was against tax loopholes, did not support a ban on abortion (in fact, it’s not even a part of his 96′ platform) and God/Jesus/religion is barely touched on.
Dole was even to the left of Obama in some cases! In regards to cyber-spying:
As President, Bob Dole will: Preserve and protect American citizens’ right to privacy and the need for secure communications.
Yeah, the GOP of 1996 was THAT far away, ideologically, from the current Republican Party. It’s seems pretty self-evident that the GOP has gone to the far edge of their ideology. A similar comparison of the Clinton/Democratic platform reveals a party that hasn’t moved much on the issues and what movement there is has been incremental. No wild swings to the left or right.
Here’s the video: