Fight Bob vs. Silent Cal: A asinine lineage of the Republican party

This is no Reagan.

In the article “Fighting Bob vs. Silent Cal: The Conservtive Tradition from La Follette to Taft and Beyond” by Jeff Taylor attempts to make the argument that Ronald Reagan made a huge mistake of aligning himself with Calvin Coolidge and was closer to Robert La Follette. Taylor seems to ignore the difference between limited government and big government. He tries to align “Mr. Conservative” Robert Taft with La Follette on the basis that they were not for big business and Coolidge was. Taylor makes the argument that Coolidge veruss La Follette was the battle between croney centralized capitalism and the peoples capitalism. First, let’s go back to the Taft-La Follette connection. This is what the author himself has to say about it:

” La Follette was a preeminent “liberal” and “progressive” while Robert Taft was described as a “conservative” and “reactionary” by the press of his day. La Follette ran for president in 1924 with Socialist Party Socialist party, in U.S. history, political party formed to promote public control of the means of production and distribution. In 1898 the Social Democratic party was formed by a group led by Eugene V. Debs and Victor Berger. support while Taft condemned the New Deal and Fair Deal for being socialistic. La Follette was a leader of the Progressive Era and named his party after the movement that wanted to use government on behalf of the common people, while Taft rejected centralized, bureaucratic government.”

From Taylor’s own mouth, it seems that these two are complete opposite. Of course, the author blows if off by calling it “superficial analysis.”

Let us move past this and back to the point that Coolidge was in the hands of big business. From a glance Coolidge is very anti-union. He busted strikes while he was Governor and railed against the coal strikes during his time. This could be seen as pro-crony capitalism or anti-unions. He signed the Revenue Act of 1924 lowering personal income taxes but raising gift and estate taxes. This does not sound like pro-crony capitalism. In fact, gift and estate taxes often prevent crony capitalism. He did later sign the Revenue Act of 1926, which lowered the income tax again and some estate taxes. He was also an avid federalist, from Sobel’s book on Coolidge:

“As Governor of Massachusetts, Coolidge supported wages and hours legislation, opposed child labor, imposed economic controls during World War I, favored safety measures in factories, and even worker representation on corporate boards. Did he support these measures while president? No, because in the 1920s, such matters were considered the responsibilities of state and local governments.”

Now a brief glance at La Follette would show (besides what is above written by Taylor) that he had hardly anything in common with Reagan. He was progressive who supported social security, tariffs, and other progressive reforms.

So here is was distiguishes me from the author of this article. I cite evidence to why Calvin Coolidge was more like Reagan and La Follette is almost a complete opposite. I challenge Taylor to cite evidence that Coolidge was a support of crony capitalism. He cites Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan as current leaders that live up to the style of La Follette. I agree with him that the protectionist progressive Bucahanan is much like La Follette, but Republicans are not for free trade, as they should be. Ron Paul is for uninhibited free trade, which means without the government involvement. This is nothing like La Follette also.

If you do not believe me at the outrage of the asinine attempt at Republican lineage read it for yourself here.



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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. there are very good pictures. Thanks

  2. Hello!
    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language ūüėČ
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

  3. I disagree that the article is asinine but I appreciate your willingness to link to the article so readers can judge for themselves. Here is a better link:

    Coolidge’s embrace of crony capitalism seems apparent when you consider his top appointments, including Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes (House of Rockefeller), Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover (House of Morgan), and Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon (House of Mellon). His policies reflected this fact, from the Mellon Tax Plan–which was not designed for the benefit of average Americans, since they did not even pay income tax in the 1920s–to continued military intervention in Mexico, Nicaragua, and Haiti.

    Like you, I am an enthusiast for free enterprise. La Follette progressives also supported free enterprise. That is partly what motivated their opposition to corporate monopoly. My article makes the point that labels can be deceiving and mainstream history often muddies the water with simplistic explanations.

    re: Free trade – Quote from my book: “During the Humphrey-Rockefeller era, the tariff issue became confusing as many Bryan-La Follette liberals found themselves identified as opponents of free trade. They had not become friends of corporate-favoring protective tariffs, but they refused to go along with the new trade program. In the early 1930s, traditional liberals welcomed Franklin Roosevelt’s pledge to lower tariffs, but, by the end of the decade, many believed that they had been victims of a bait and switch. Instead of getting at the heart of the tariff problem, which was the subsidization of monopolistic corporations, the Roosevelt administration had transplanted the heart into a new body with reciprocal trade agreements. Extension of the Reciprocal Trade Agreeements Act in 1940 was opposed by many liberals not only because it abrogated legislative authority and tended to encourage entangling alliances, but because the opening of foreign markets was being pushed by big business. It was seen as a manifestation of the old Wall Street-Bourbon alliance, whereby northeastern banking and industrial companies and southern cotton growers benefited at the expense of midwestern and western farmers, mining companies, and small, domestic-oriented manufacturers. . . . By the early 1960s, tariff policy was no longer an important political issue as a result of the bipartisan consensus in favor of the the globalization of finance and commerce.” (p. 181)

    Ron Paul opposes what is billed as “free trade” in the form of NAFTA and GATT partly because it’s not genuinely free. It is managed trade designed for the benefit of large, transnational corporations. In other words, crony capitalism. Believers in laissez faire should not make the mistake of thinking all forms of capitalism are good. I don’t want a partnership between Big Government and Big Business/Banking. It’s a form of state capitalism that can be described as fascist. Or call it “state socialism” or “socialism for the rich” if you want to highlight the government role. It’s all the same thing.

    Obama is the latest to preside over the system, but he’s no worse than Bush Jr. Coolidge was its front man for much of the 1920s. I agree that Coolidge’s rhetoric sounded good when he talked about freedom, competition, and individualism, but the actions of his administration belied the words. Just like today’s GOP often talks like Ron Paul when it comes to economics but governs like Lyndon Johnson . . . or Benito Mussolini.

  4. thanks for the sharing

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