Most people are not what some would call “politicos” so for those people I will try and explain this to the best of my ability. For those of you
who have knowledge into American politics this should just be an entertaining read. Basically the point is this 2012 Republican Presidential primary
is shaping up to show the fracture which has long affected the Republican Party in this country, a division going back before the party itself to the
This is going to anger a few people but I am going by the current makeup of the primary race: Rick Perry against Mitt Romney. I am not denying any
other candidate has a chance of rising and even winning, just demonstrating how the current division is occurring. So please do not make the first
page be one full of aggressive posts saying, “How dare you not say Ron Paul is leader!”
There has long been a large rift between the views of how America should be. In the 1780s you had the Anti-Federalists and the Federalists.
Anti-Federalists were aligned with Thomas Jefferson who preferred the system of government of that time which existed prior to the Constitution and
operated with the Articles of Confederation. The states reigned supreme with each one being almost entirely independent. The Federalists were men who
aligned themselves with Alexander Hamilton and James Madison; they preferred a written Constitution and a Central governing authority.
As we all know the Federalists won that debate as we created a Constitution and federal government of which George Washington was elected first
President. Immediately a rift began with the creation of Pro-Administration and Anti-Administration camps within Congress. The Anti- were very angry
that the President was listening more to Hamilton than Jefferson, Hamilton being the one who pushed for absorbing state debts, a central bank, high
tariffs, some taxation, and was backed by the merchants and industrialists of the North.
By the middle of the 1790s two parties were created; Federalist and Democratic-Republican. This was the type of partisan politics Washington hoped our
country would avoid. Neither side backed down even after John Adams was elected President as a Federalist. He proved to be much more moderate than
Hamilton hoped for so he ended up endorsing Jefferson in 1800. Jefferson was elected in the ‘Revolution of 1800’ running on a states’ rights,
individualism, Francophilia, and limited government platform, which many argue he had in effect abandoned by keeping the Central Bank, passing
modernization policies, and bought the Louisiana Territory. All of which were strongly opposed by the Tertium Quid faction led by John Randolph of
During the 1800s and 1810s the Federalist Party was in the minority, sometimes holding less than 20% of Congressional representation. The party
eventually died in the 1820s with Democratic-Republicans becoming the single party. With so many people in one party it eventually became fragmented
and led to the creation of two parties. National Republicans, led by John Quincy Adams came into power in 1824. It was a coalition of anti-Jacksonians
such as Federalist Daniel Webster and Democratic-Republican Henry Clay. The main goal of the party was modernizing the nation with construction
projects, road expansion, improved ports, and high import tariffs to protect domestic industry. Jacksonians or, Democrats, were radically opposed to
those ideas and harkened back to the Tertium Quid faction and the 18th century rhetoric of Thomas Jefferson.
The 1824-1840 politics were centered around Jackson, either you supported or opposed him. He was vehemently opposed to the Central Bank eventually
eliminating it, angering the newly found Whig politicians who had left the National Republican Party. They strongly criticized him as a crazed man on
horseback from the deep woods. But he attacked back at them by continuing the Jeffersonian battle cry of the Eastern establishment who are too out of
touch with real America. During his administration the Central Bank died, debt was reduced to $0, public investment was drastically reduced, and the
Democratic Party was solidified.
Around this man we could see the clear division in America dating back to our founding. It was the Southerners and Westerners (Midwestern) who were
roughnecks from the backwoods that had no idea of governing, responsibility, or respect for fine culture. They were socially rebellious, wildly devout
in their religion, despised government, hated any and all forms of aristocratic ideas, and were unsophisticated. We also had the Northerners and
Coastal residents who were snobs from urban areas that had no idea of community, respect, or the American culture. They were ‘know-it-alls’,
easily corrupted, loved centralized government, idolized aristocratic values, and were elitist.
After the Civil War these two sides split into two entirely different parties. The Easterners joined the Republican Party while the Southerners joined
the Democratic Party. Each believing the other was completely separate from their type and out of touch with the values of this country. Republicans
(Northerners) wanted to advance business and national interests through import tariffs, more revenue, and belief in Federalism, limiting immigration,
and advocating pietistic morals. Democrats (Southerners) wanted to advance agricultural and worker interests through free-trade, smaller government,
belief in states’ rights, accepting more immigrants, and advocated liturgical beliefs which they felt threatened by the pietistic moralists.
However by 1896 the two parties solidified their differences entirely with the election of William McKinley, a man deeply despised by many farmers,
poor laborers, and rustic types. He made the GOP party of big business and the backing of gold over bimetallism. William Jennings Bryan ran as a
populist with strong support among farmers, small business owners, evangelicals, and generally the Southern/Western American electorate in general.
This was once again proving to be a time of exposing the split in the nation but it would also create a split within the GOP.
As America begun to expand westward the GOP had to accept the notion of competing with Democrats across the Midwest and by doing so they had to also
open their party up for more internal division. The Midwestern farmers, small business owners, and laborers had little in common with the progressive
farmers of the North, big business and manufacturers, and the factory workers in the area. Not to mention they were different ethnically with the
Northerners being heavily English (Irish voted Democrat) and Midwesterners being heavily German and Nordic.
Eventually the tension begun to build during the Roosevelt presidency between him, leader of the Progressive faction located in the West, and Joseph
Cannon, leader of the Conservative faction located in the North. Cannon was eventually overthrown in the House for his perceived abuse of Speakership
power by refusing to allow any legislation to the floor he did not support. This division would continue forward into Roosevelt’s second term as he
became even more Progressive demanding greater expansion of the federal government to help more people. By 1908 the Conservatives retook the
Presidency with Taft, who Roosevelt picked as his successor, but this friendship soured by 1910 with Roosevelt becoming more agitated that Taft was
not fighting trusts harder (even though he busted more trusts than any other President).
Roosevelt decided to stage a popular rebellion against the Eastern interests which backed Taft. He won several states in the upper Midwest and out
West. Taft performed best in the North and a few states elsewhere, such as Utah. This Republican division allowed the first Liberal to be elected
President with just 41% of the vote; Woodrow Wilson. During his Presidency the Conservatives watched with horror as the 16th, 17th, and 18th
amendments were added, federal segregation instituted, an enormous reduction in the import tariff, and Wilson’s assault upon individual rights and
the free-market during WWI. Many Progressives were angry about the instituting of a Federal Reserve and the entrance into WWI which the Liberal
champion Robert LaFollette, Sr. railed against.
During this era the GOP was split with the Progressives claiming to fight for the little guy against the power brokers in Washington. Conservatives
claimed to be fighting to uphold order, tradition, and keeping at bay the radical impulses of the masses. It was once again, on clear display, the
Southern/Western populists against the Northern establishment.
When the Progressives backed Roosevelt in 1912 they left the GOP, abandoning their positions of power. Eventually the Bull-Moose Party collapsed
forcing Progressives to rejoin the Conservative controlled GOP without any of their former positions of power. This allowed for the Conservatives to
easily take lead with Warren Harding in 1920, also propelling the Conservative led GOP into power for the 1920s. By the Progressives walking out in
1912 it allowed for the Conservative era of the 1920s to occur as the Democratic Party was decimated, becoming almost irrelevant until 1930. Many
historians do not discuss it but 1920 was the largest landslide election in the past century with Hardin destroying the Democrats by a 26% margin of
victory followed in 1924 by a 25% margin of victory and 17% in 1928.
The election of Herbert Hoover brought back the Progressive policies of the 1900s. He was not a Conservative Republican rather a Progressive one.
During his leadership he launched numerous anti-poverty initiatives, expanded government help for the citizens, and claimed we were on the edge of
eliminating poverty forever. This all came to a screeching halt when the stock market crashed in October 1929 and the onset of the Great Depression
which would once again tear open the old wounds of the Republican Party.
Franklin Roosevelt won an overwhelming election result against Hoover, whom Roosevelt’s Vice President during the campaign said was “leading the
country down the path to Socialism”. There had not been a President more absolutely hated by so many since Abraham Lincoln. The Republicans were
reduced to almost irrelevance during the 1930s, angrily sitting by helpless as Roosevelt was implementing the New Deal programs. Republicans left in
Congress were mostly from Northern districts which were Conservative havens, again eliminating most Progressives from the party. During this time the
Conservatives became split with the Northern establishment Conservatives joining in support of Roosevelt’s New Deal, just promising to do it better
and the Midwestern Conservatives rallying around Robert Taft (President Taft’s grandson) who opposed the New Deal in its entirety along with US
meddling in the rise of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.
With Conservatives formally split the new division was once again visible for the public to see, if they paid close enough attention. In 1948 Robert
Taft and Thomas Dewey battled for GOP nomination to take on President Truman who was expected to lose horribly in the election. Dewey won out against
Taft, continuing the Northern dominance of the GOP Presidential nomination since 1936. By 1952 Taft acknowledged it would be his last chance to run so
his supporters become more enthusiastic, they delivered to him the highest popular vote in the primaries defeating the Northern establishment pick
Dwight Eisenhower. Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. accused Taft of stealing Southern delegates in Texas and Georgia so he and Thomas Dewey proposed a “fair
play” where all the delegates from those states would go to Eisenhower, this plan was approved and the nomination was handed to the General.
It is important not to underestimate the importance of 1948, and 1952 specifically. Robert A. Taft was a strict Constitutionalist,
non-interventionist, individualist, and opponent of the establishment in all forms. Dwight D. Eisenhower was an Independent affiliated with no party,
when the establishment saw the election was basically Taft’s they registered Eisenhower as a Republican and ran him for the nomination. A strong
military general with a pragmatic attitude towards politics was destined to win! Not just that but they said it was necessary to stop Taft because he
was unelectable in a general election because his ideas are too extreme for the American electorate of 1952. The Taft team absolutely denied this and
claimed they could form a coalition of Midwesterners, break through some areas of the South, and hold the North.
In 1964 the difference was shown again as Barry Goldwater faced off against the all but sure thing Nelson Rockefeller. It was a nasty primary election
as Rockefeller tried to hold onto a changing Republican Party which was accepting more Conservative Democrats every year, giving the Conservative
Westerners such as Goldwater more power within the party. Rockefeller had despised the Conservative Goldwater followers and Goldwater’s supporters
It goes without need to say Barry Goldwater lost the 1964 election by a landslide against LBJ. There were definitely many factors which led to this
loss, notably the assassination of John Kennedy was a major reason. But what we really need to take away from this election is that no time has the
GOP nominated either a Moderate or a Conservative that failed to unite both warring factions and still win the general election. 1912, 1948, 1964, and
1976 are all examples of what happens when the Republican nominee cannot unite both factions. 1952, 1968, 1980, and 2000 are all examples of what
happens when the Republican nominee does unite both factions.
Why is this important you may ask? Well what we are watching in the Republican Party primary election for 2012 is this division on full display. Mitt
Romney has established himself as the sole Establishment candidate in the race. Unless Jon Huntsman rises above him he will be the Establishment pick.
At this time Rick Perry appears to be the Conservative candidate but he could easily be replaced with the names Ron Paul or Michele Bachmann and the
point would remain.
What we need to watch for are several things: 1) How bad the fighting between the two camps become, 2) How long the race is dragged on, 3) Whether the
reconciliation at the end appears genuine, and 4) If the nominee can unite both factions of the party. If Mitt Romney is the nominee he must be able
to bring onboard and excite Conservative activists, mostly from the Tea Party. If Rick Perry (Ron Paul/Michele Bachmann) is the nominee they must be
able to bring onboard and excite the Establishment. In the event that infighting becomes so strong during the primaries, neither side can reconcile
their differences, nor can’t the nominee unite both camps they are doomed in 2012 unless things become much worse in the country by the election.
You may be looking back at this time also and asking yourself how the Progressive Midwest/West became Conservative, it is less about name than it is
about culture. Many in the Midwest only became ‘Conservative’ because they viewed the New Deal as too much expansion of government at the expense
of the little person. The establishment went from being anti-government to nearly Liberal because they had always been more in favor of centralized
government than opposed to it.
The whole argument can be traced back to Hamilton against Jefferson. Whether we should be industrial or agricultural, have a strong federal government
or strong state governments, if government should help business along or let it be, whether we should intervene abroad or keep ourselves at home, and
basically whether the Midwest/West represents America or the Coasts do.
edit on 9/8/2011 by Misoir because: (no reason given)
I if I could star the living sh!t out of this thread I would.
You need to be a writer my friend, an interesting life, for a student to fund his education with a book.
If you could expand this, you WOULD be published and it would be hailed, think about that and the coming debt
for the so called education filled with pre-requisites costing tens of thousands... Such a gift!
I think the views on commerce have become the most interesting of all the components. I also think
there is cross pollination of both camps which creates ideological confusion. For example, Bachman
has received massive amounts of money from the government through employment, association and
through federally sanctioned programs. Yet she has benefited immensely from the government she
desires to head and the government that has enriched her through methods she discounts and preaches
Perry and Romney both have pro business policies that seem to manifest differently.
Perry seems to think that economic good will be achieved by stripping down the laborer to the standards
centuries past. You can spark employment by, sparking the constant fear of hunger, by utilizing the
force of nature you can get everyone to cling to any job they can get. By eliminating minimum wage
and social programs you can
A. create a lot of desperate people who will do anything for work/food
B. job creators can create more economic output (more workers) for much less money.
It will create employment, but it will also have other effects, it also a way to consolidate economic
power. I believe such a consolidation will not create a boon, or some grand freedom, I think it will
create third world results and institutional tyranny, where a large majority of people are controlled
by their "bellies", by simple leverage. Just like it is done in Africa
Romney seems to think that you can achieve positive economic results by "allowing" the economic
powers that be to determine their own policies. This would create new methods of wealth creation
due to the creation of new items, methods and markets. My reservation with this, if it is initiated by
an "insider", a self servicing system can be implemented, engineered from the inside. Fraud can be
manufactured and built into law... Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act - was an attempt to achieve economic
growth by "allowing" the economic powers that be to determine their own policies, under auspices
of being written by civil servants. Lend money, insure your own money and sell the resulting
"creation" as a product.
The MAIN reason I am constantly squabbling with conservatism is my perception of these two
avenues as they are sought out. I get upset that so many people deny that these two ideas can exist
in the terms I have tried to express here. It would be much easily for me, if people were able to
admit that they are OK with the impact, whatever that may be.
I think there is room for moderation personally, I would much rather prefer Romney because his model
is a known entity.
I did not intend to write what I did, but it is what it is.
I believe what you are describing are two different cultural takes on being pro-business. It is without question both Romney and Perry are
pro-business but they appear different in their opinions of it. The difference is rather subtle with implementation but the results are wildly
different. Romney allowed the business communities to create high paying service jobs in Massachusetts, admittedly less jobs were created overall but
it gave people a good middle class income. Rick Perry however allowed business to create more jobs in his state than any other for a while because he
did so by undermining the regulations put in place (in an already unregulated state) and letting most of the jobs be near minimum wage.
How does culture play into it? The Northern businessmen may have been greedy but they had to deal for decades with a culture of tension with workers
which spilled over into the Republican Party. It was slowly built into their character and came without question whereas the Southern businessmen did
not have an outlet until the 1920s. They worked in a part of this country which had no worker organization or deep opposition to employers. As the
jobs relocated to the South after the Civil Rights legislation of the 60s they found a strong workforce that was new to the idea of industrialized and
commercial work because most were leaving their farms and small businesses.
With no deep opposition to the interests of these businessmen because of a culture of hatred towards interference in other people’s economic affairs
they went without question in what they could do. Remember it took until the 1880s for any real worker involvement in unions in the US to begin, some
60 years after we were becoming industrialized. The South and ultimately Southern culture is now only 50 years into any real industrialization so it
is really two different cultures.
Just within your own imagination and prejudice think about a businessman from New York and a businessman from Texas, you have two completely different
perceptions of these two men. It is the culture which separates the two. One grew out of Jacksonian radicalism and a culture of rugged individualism,
the other grew out of Hamiltonian centralism and a culture of elitist morals. You really could argue that the Hamiltonian version grew out of grew the
British culture of hierarchical order and natural inequality whereas the Jacksonian version grew out of a uniquely American culture of egalitarianism
Why would an egalitarian version treat workers worse than a hierarchical version? It could be simplified as the hierarchical one has a belief that
they have an obligation to fulfill and a sort of persona to uphold, generally that goes back to Aristocratic ideas. They do not have to treat
you with any respect but are compelled to because of an unspoken obligation. The more egalitarian idea however believes that the employer and employee
are equally individualistic and out to win in nature, this permits them to treat others in a less than honorable way because that is the right of an
individual, only aristocratic orders created what would be perceived as useless ideals of rank.
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