What has GOP done for workers?

This article was written by Clint C. Gold and originally appeared in the Tulsa World 10/24/99 .  I am republishing this here because it underscores  what I had always thought about the difference between democrats and republicans.

Not too long ago, my wife and I attended a TV football party in south Tulsa. With a lopsided score, the conversation turned to a livelier subject — politics. The crowd was, of course, top-heavy with Republicans. With each point expressed their faces became more flushed, eyes bulging a little more and veins popping in their foreheads as they railed against the liberal programs.

Finally a lone, liberal voice asked: “Will you people name me one bill your party ever passed to help the working man of this country?” The question created much din and clamor, and someone sputtered, “Well, what have the Democrats done?”

The liberal responded with a few programs and was interrupted by howling and disdain. He noted that he had not promised they would like the programs and he asked to complete his statement — a difficult task to ask of Republicans.

He spoke of Social Security; Medicare-Medicaid; Peace Corps; unemployment insurance; welfare (for the poor and corporate); civil rights; student grant and loan programs; safety laws (OSHA); environmental laws; prevailing wage laws; right to collective bargaining (which brought about paid medical insurance, paid vacations, pensions, etc.); workers’ compensation; Marshall Plan; flood-disaster insurance; School Lunch Program; women’s rights.

He spoke of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which established a minimum wage, instituted child labor laws, and set up time-and-a-half pay for over a 40-hour week.

He mentioned FHA-HUD with its public housing, urban renewal and 44 million residential homes (before WWII almost 70 percent of our nation were renters; by the 1970s this had been reversed).

And farm-conservation subsidies — USDA programs, Farmers Home Administration (the bankers didn’t want to make rural loans), small flood-control lakes (more than 3,000 in Oklahoma alone), rural water districts, rural electricity (REA).

The GI Bill was passed, which the Republicans at the time bitterly opposed. They were salivating over millions of returning veterans to hire as cheap labor. More than 8 million have used college benefits, creating millions of entrepreneurs; most of us had never dreamed of college. For the unemployed GI, there was $20 a week for 52 weeks to help get started (a lot of money in those days). The Veterans Administration provided more than 2 million home loans.

For the bankers at the football party, it was pointed out that the liberals saved their industry with the creation of FDIC and FSLIC, insuring their deposits, and saved Wall Street with the establishment of the Securities Exchange Commission.

The oil men came on bended knees to FDR at a time when East Texas oil was 4 cents a barrel and begged him to save their industry. He did; prorationing overturned the rule of capture and the days of flush production were over. Prorating has served this great industry (and nation) well.

And the list went on and on, but of course this group didn’t let him get halfway through. He noted they were weary, inattentive, so again he challenged them to offer up any Republican legislation examples.

“I’m sure your party has authored one or two comparable bills from time to time, but I can’t think of any, and apparently you can’t either. What it boils down to is this: the liberals dragged you into the 20th century scratching and screaming with your heels in the mud, fighting anything that’s progressive, everything that’s made this country great. You Republicans have never understood that the spending power of blue-collar workers, obtained through Democrats and unions, is what really made this country great. You really believe “The Good Life” was obtained from your own endeavors. You cloak your greed in religion and patriotism, railing against any form of tax, never comprehending that these programs have benefited all of us and our country.”

Well, I almost didn’t make it out of the house. My wife and I didn’t even get to see the end of the football game.
If Reps. Steve Largent or J.C. Watts had been there, perhaps politics would never have come up, only the game plan … pity.

Clint C. Gold is former mayor of Moore, OK and a retired savings and loan executive.


Filed under Politics

12 responses to “What has GOP done for workers?

  1. blairgarber

    Wow, that’s quite a list of democratic accomplishments, but since I hate typing I’ll just pick one… how ’bout Civil Rights

    Here’s how the vote actually went in 1964 by party

    Totals are in “Yea-Nay” format:

    The original House version:
    Democratic Party: 152-96 (61%-39%)
    Republican Party: 138-34 (80%-20%)

    Cloture in the Senate:
    Democratic Party: 44-23 (66%-34%)
    Republican Party: 27-6 (82%-18%)

    The Senate version:
    Democratic Party: 46-21 (69%-31%)
    Republican Party: 27-6 (82%-18%)

    The Senate version, voted on by the House:
    Democratic Party: 153-91 (63%-37%)
    Republican Party: 136-35 (80%-20%)

    Math may have been my poorest subject, but even to me it looks like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 enjoyed much wider support among Republicans that it did among Democrats. By the way, since this was for the most part a bi-partisan bill (with clear Republican leadership on the issue, that is) notice that there were no attempts to ram it through via parliamentary chicanery.



  2. liberaldemdave

    not to dispute your numbers, but i would have to see linkage to be able to swallow that information…

    that said, if true, that’s the last thing the GOP did for civil rights and the civil rights act had a direct impact on the party’s decision to implement their racist, homophobic, xenophobic, anti-immigrant, anti-middle class, anti-woman “southern strategy”.

    like we say in the country: EVEN A BROKEN CLOCK IS RIGHT TWICE A DAY.


  3. liberaldemdave


    sure enough, there are varying numbers on the internets regarding the vote.


    i see you cherry picked your numbers from WIKI (not the most reliable source, btw), so i thought i would share more numbers from the same article:

    The original House version:

    * Southern Democrats: 7-87 (7%-93%)
    * Southern Republicans: 0-10 (0%-100%)

    * Northern Democrats: 145-9 (94%-6%)
    * Northern Republicans: 138-24 (85%-15%)

    The Senate version:

    * Southern Democrats: 1-20 (5%-95%)
    * Southern Republicans: 0-1 (0%-100%)
    * Northern Democrats: 45-1 (98%-2%)
    * Northern Republicans: 27-5 (84%-16%)


  4. Great post, Liberaldemdave! I like your broken clock analogy. Like when Fox (Faux) News says, “hey,” and I paraphrase “it’s really cold out, record breaking low temperatures, so you see, there is no global warming!”


  5. Oh, and thanks for helping Blair understand that a quick glimpse of some numbers don’t really tell the whole story.

    And if Obama’s popularity is going down, it is the liberals bringing it down because he is TOO CENTRIST! Heck, the republicans/right wings/tea party/Christian right couldn’t have brought his numbers down because they ALWAYS rated him very low.


  6. blairgarber


    Congratulations on a clever if specious argument. However, it’s also a very good example of Simpson’s Paradox.

    When you break down statistics or re-categorize the numbers, often the “new” categories can support different or even opposite conclusions.

    Your point is that in both the “Good” North and the
    “Evil” South, the Dems “out performed” the Republicans on this issue. Certainly that is one possible interpretation of your numbers. Naturaly you’re taking for granted that the states divided into “North” and “South” are really representative of the North and South. Certainly cherry picking here would drastically affect the statistics you are claiming are conclusive. Do you know which states we’re included in each category?

    Well it really doesn’t matter, because in any case I believe you still make my point for me since it’s clear that:

    1. Without (at least) substantial Republican support Democrats could have never passed this legislation no matter how you parse the numbers.

    2. Democrats could never have passed this (or most of the legislation touted in the Gold article) without Dixiecrat Senators and Congressmen, which liberals conveniently deride and disown when it suits them. Of course since the disasters of the Great Society and it’s concomitant Government expansion have been coming home to roost, these same Dixiecrats have pretty much been replaced, and the South is since 1994 generally (that is to say Nationally) overwhelmingly Republican. As well as overwhelmingly supportive of Civil Rights.



  7. Blair,
    I’m going to leave the numbers to you, because you could probably categorize these numbers in many ways, but none would show a pattern that, in the context of recent history, support common sense. Try putting them in categories by people’s eye sight, THS Levels (Thyroid), length of small toe. Do you think there would be a pattern there that makes any sense?

    My second point is that if we were going to delve into the history , then I believe the history of the Bush administration should be brought to light. He committed so many crimes, and yet was fully supported by his own party. We were less free under Bush because he revised the constitution to fit his ideals on a regular basis, through signing statements, lies, treason and more. For a more complete list, check out http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/49839 Bush took our country and WE want it back. So when all those tea party members yell “We want our country back!” they must be talking to Bush!!

    Cherry pick THAT.


  8. blairgarber

    Dear Gina,

    Please don’t tell me you still believe there is any indication that the earth is warming? You are aware that the dearth of such evidence, indeed the strong empirical evidence to the contrary for the last 10 years, has caused the phrase “Global Warming” to be dropped in favor of “Climate Change”? That way statist scientists can cover the natural cycles of both cooling and warming. Or what I prefer to call by it’s archaic name: Weather.

    I also believe you are right about President Obama’s unpopularity with the left. Too bad you couldn’t have come to the Cindy Sheehan Bill Ayers event. Cindy was positively lamenting the election. Of course it turns out that she was much better treated by the Bush administration than she has been of late. Bush never had her arrested, nor was she restrained from protesting outside the White House. Both of which have happened since President Obama was inaugurated. Maybe Rham, Axelrod and Eric Holder didn’t get the memo that political dissent was patriotic.

    Of course that is Immaterial since the left like Ayers and Sheehan would still vote for BHO if he were Hugo Chavez. Actually that’s what they would prefer, and they said so.

    No, since neither Democrats nor Republicans have a majority of voters, the disaffection of Obama supporting independents will determine the next electoral outcome, and I have met many of them at Tea Party events.

    As another indication of how well things are going for Democrats, I suggest you check the trend of “conservative” or “liberal” self description, among likely voters. Republican vs Democrat self-identification will also work and show the same trend. Remember there are almost always more voters that identify as Democrats. In fact in 1994 self-identified Republicans never even drew equal to Democrats, and inspite winning a historic majority on the heels of a 100 seat turnover.

    By the way Gina, if you are interested in Ayers and Sheehan beyond the American Thinker article I sent you, I have the whole evening on mp3 and I would be happy to link it to you. I could also link you their photos if you’d like to hang them in your home or classroom.



  9. Blair,
    Did you mean to post this on a different thread? It is not a response to my most recent reply.


  10. blairgarber


    Our posts must have have crossed in the ether.

    I was responding to your congratulatory reply to Liberaldemdave and your “global warming” analogy, in my first paragraph, and your asessment of President Obama’s drop in popularity which was in your next post, following that.

    Hope that clears things up.


    PS: What kind of mathematics do you teach? Have you ever taught statistics? Just curious.


  11. On the question of global warming/climate change, there are articles that support both sides..

    The point I want to make here, however, is with regard to the Right’s rallying cry that Obama is not doing what the people want. The Right interprets the polls, for example, on healthcare, to mean that the people do not want “Socialist” Healthcare.

    That couldn’t be further from the truth.

    If you look at the numbers more closely, they say that the people DO WANT Health Care Reform. The poor showing for Obama is because they want STRONGER reform, such as a public option.


  12. blairgarber


    Not sure I agree. The poor showing for Obama could also be because people are happy with the health care and insurance they have now, and do not want that to go away, which clearly is a consequence if not the aim of Obamacare. Or both, which would mean he has succeeded in pissing off both Republicans and the left. Quite an accomplishment, but not so good for the elections this fall.

    Furthermore, the numbers I see indicate Americans who may have favored reform, just not the kind Pelosi, Reid and President Obama have delivered, are also on the increse. In fact their numbers are going up almost as fast as Obamacare’s cost estimates and the debt.



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