The View From Harry Reid's "Wrong Side of History"

The following originally appears on my Examiner.com page.

The embattled Senate Majority Leader, Democrat Harry Reid of Nevada, sure stepped in it this week. No doubt filled with child-like excitement on the prospect of successfully usurping one-sixth of the nation’s economy into some geezer-offing, price-raising, ineffective socialist healthcare plan, Mr. Reid couldn’t contain himself.

As with many Democrats (Senator Lieberman excepted of course) Mr. Reid’s euphoria over yanking more money from private citizens in his “wrong side of history” attempt to make socialism/communism successful and/or cool, got the best of him and he experienced some verbal gaffing worthy of Joe “Barack Obama is the first clean and articulate black man to run for President” Biden.

The esteemed Senator Reid, destined to lose his re-election bid next fall, declared that opposing healthcare is so like those Republicans. Being always on the wrong side of history, they even thought slavery was a good idea. His actual words:

“Instead of joining us on the right side of history, all the Republicans can come up with is, ‘slow down, stop everything, let’s start over.’ If you think you’ve heard these same excuses before, you’re right. When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said ‘slow down, it’s too early, things aren’t bad enough.’
When this body was on the verge of guaranteeing equal civil rights to everyone regardless of the color of their skin, some senators resorted to the same filibuster threats that we hear today.”

So, while the senator didn’t actually specifically charge Republicans with being the ones who “dug in their heels” against making slavery illegal, he clearly lumps them in with such folks, and hopes that an ill-informed public will just take this nugget and connect it with the vast left-wing conspiracy that proclaims all Republicans racists and all Democrats peace-loving proponents of tolerance. In short, the man engaged in some political double-speak designed to fool people into pious rage against the evil, racist, greedy, and obstructionist Republicans.

The problem with the good senator’s argument, is that he and many of his fellow Democrats, are on the wrong side of history on this one–as usual.

This is now the second blatant misrepresentation of historical fact that liberal Democrats have thrust upon an unsuspecting public more knowledgeable about the Kardashians than they are about American history. In the spring, in the famous Cairo speech that apologized for America and Christianity while falsely lauding Islam for it’s praiseworthy “contribution” to America in the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, President (and citizen of the world) Obama beamed with pride while highlighting this as “one of the first recognitions” of America by another country.

Mr. Obama was clearly banking on the fact that many Americans would miss the fact that this treaty was nothing more than a blackmail agreement between Tripoli and the Adams’ administration whereby we agreed to pay millions in tribute to avoid further attacks on our merchant ships by Muslim pirates. In the end, we paid and the Muslim pirates continued attacking our ships, taking our loot, and selling Americans (see also Christian infidels) into slavery. This practice endured until President Jefferson ended it by sending in the newly-formed Marines to deal with our loving allies in Tripoli. Thus was born the famous “shores of Tripoli” reference in the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

Given the propensity for Democrats to play fast and loose with the facts concerning American history, it is high time to correct the record of who exactly is on the “wrong side of history.”

Slavery was a volatile political football in the 1850s and the issue was dominated by extremists on both sides and a bunch of squishy folks in the middle determined to stay neutral. Democratic Presidents Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan failed to do much to end slavery during their presidential terms in the 1850s. Pierce, as Christopher Merola writes on Townhall.com, “broke his promise to the Congress by refusing to restrict slavery in the newly founded western states of America. Pierce allowed slavery to expand in the western states after saying he would not.” Pierce was replaced as the Democratic nominee in 1856 when it was clear that he lacked the fortitude to deal with the growing frontier violence rising from the stench of slavery. James Buchanan was nominated in his place, largely because he wasn’t in Washington during any of the volatile slavery debates accompanying the Compromise of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Upon his election, Democrat Buchanan largely punted the slavery issue to the court systems in a “hand washing move” that would have made Pontius Pilate proud.

In short, the politically driven and cowardice Democratic party was unable to deal with the issue of slavery. Their main competitor at the time, the Whigs, were also unable to do so. This “digging in of the heels” of Democrats in the cowardly punting of the slavery issue further down the timeline actually gave birth to the Republican party.

Their first successful presidential candidate was elected in 1860. Perhaps you have heard of him? He’s Abraham Lincoln, the “great emancipator” of the slaves and preserver of the union. Confronting the issue that would tear the union asunder for several years, Lincoln spoke in clear terms by encouraging those who viewed slavery as a moral evil to “do their duty” as they understood it. He boldly urged the anti-slavery folks not “be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government nor of dungeons to ourselves.” He concluded with, “Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us to the end dare to do our duty as we understand it.” Three years later, Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation that declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.”

In the Civil War years of the 1860s, Republicans were the “extremists” in wanting slavery abolished and southern slave holders punished severely. President Lincoln, with history in his rearview and a hopeful future around the bend, sought to end slavery as soon as possible, but kept the Republicans in check in the hope of bringing re-unification post-war. Democrats, on the other hand, who were “War Democrats” suddenly became anti-war zealots on Lincoln when he openly declared that one of the goals of the Civil War was ending slavery. The anti-war Democrats of today would have been so proud. Just as today’s Democratic dove society wants to retreat from war and leave women and children in Iraq and Afghanistan to certain genocide, the anti-war Democrats of the 1860s were all about abandoning the shackled black Americans in favor of maintaining their political status. In fact, Mr. Merola notes that Republican Abraham Lincoln gave a speech at the beginning of his second term calling for newly freed blacks to even have the right to vote. This plan, of course, was thwarted when Lincoln was assassinated by Democrat John Wilkes Booth.

Nearly one hundred years later when Democratic President Lyndon Johnson attempted to get the Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed through congress, it was again the Republicans who got the job done. The recently assassinated President Kennedy had lobbied unsuccessfully for the bill’s passage for some time. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. spoke eloquently in Washington during his “I Have A Dream” speech by making his case based on the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

Democrats, however, led by Robert “KKK” Byrd and Albert Gore Sr. couldn’t stand this civil rights cause, and led efforts to filibuster the bill. An astounding 80% of those in favor of the filibuster were the Byrd and Gore-led Democrats. After Republicans helped end the threat of the filibuster, they went on to vote for the Civil Rights Act by 27-6 in the senate. Overall 82% of Republicans voted for the act that ended segregation. By contrast, senate Democrats were divided 44-23 in favor of the bill, and a full 31% of Democrats in congress voted against ending segregation.

In 1966, the “racist” and “wrong side of history” Republicans nominated and successfully elected Edward Brooke to the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts. Brooke was the first black senator since Reconstruction. The first black man elected to the U.S. Senate, of course, was in 1870, and that senator, Hiram Revels, was also a Republican.

It should be noted that Democrats were also the folks who ended World War I in such a way as to lead directly to World War II. Democrats also lost the Vietnam war and are doing their darnedest to repeat that in Afghanistan and Iraq. Democrats like Joe Biden have been against American energy independence since the 1970s. Democrats also didn’t view Communism as a problem, given the plethora of communists in the FDR administration and their subsequent horror at President Reagan’s tough approach and “evil empire” speech. (And by Teddy Kennedy’s conspiring with KGB agents to undermine the Reagan Administration during the height of the Cold War.) Many on the left, like Obama’s former Communications Director Anita Dunn, still admire genocidal communist dictators like China’s Chairman Mao and Michael Moore’s beloved Castro brothers in Cuba.

Economically, the Democrats brought us the Jimmy Carter years and currently the stimulus plan that would “absolutely guarantee” that unemployment wouldn’t top 8% (so far it has reached 10.2%.) This same stimulus has spent $246,436 per “saved or created” job, which has an average salary of $59,867. And for those who want to blame Bush for the out-of-control spending, you will be interested to know that government spending skyrocketed in the last 2 years of the Bush Administration, during which time the Democrats had taken back both houses of congress.

Democrats also forced the economic meltdown through their nefarious dealing with lending practices over the repeated objections of Republicans.

On immigration, Democrats are the party largely for illegal immigrants having amnesty (and free healthcare.) To be fair, many Republicans are absent on this one too.

It is also the Democrats who are bringing 9/11 terrorists to New York City for public trials, amid a backdrop of international apologizing for America, and sycophantic praises of brutal dictatorial regimes, and Islamic fundamentalists.

So, though the Republicans are against a behemoth governmental takeover of the healthcare industry (bills totaling in the thousands of pages and trillions of dollars) they are remaining consistent with their history–standing on the side of liberty. This Obamacare bill is a “death panel” for our economy and healthcare industry. It leads to rationing (say good-bye to grandma after you give her a pain pill), fining Americans who lack insurance and/or imprisoning them, penalizing special needs families, paying for abortions, and generally creating an environment that will drive private insurers out of business. Stopping and causing the disinfecting light of truth to shine brightly onto the never read pages of this monstrosity isn’t being on the wrong side of history–it’s common sense. (A trait admittedly lacking on the left.)

So, Harry Reid was right in noting that one party does often “dig in their heels” and stand in the way of progress and liberty. Unfortunately, it’s the very party he represents and the home of our current menacing liberal overlords.