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Jack is a graduate of Rutgers University where he majored in history. His career in the life and health insurance industry involved medical risk selection and brokerage management. Retired in Florida for over two decades after many years in NJ and NY, he occasionally writes, paints, plays poker, participates in play readings and is catching up on Shakespeare, Melville and Joyce, etc.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Republicans & Whigs, Some Poetry, Guantanamo, Lindsey Graham and a Quiz for Gun Owners

Republicans and their Whig Heritage

The Republican Party has always managed to come up with good Presidential candidates.  The Party’s history includes “greats” such as Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt as well as more recent Presidents such as the Bushes, Reagan, Ford, Eisenhower and even Richard Nixon, all of whom had at least the skills needed to serve in the White House.  No one even questioned the fitness of G.O.P. losers such as Romney, McCain, Dole, Dewey, or even an ultra-conservative like Barry Goldwater.  All were well-prepared to sit in the Oval Office.  Historically, though the Party didn’t even then exist, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe would probably be happy with today’s Republican emphasis of a smaller role for the Federal government and more responsibility for the States. The G.O.P. has a great heritage.

Ronald Reagan

Such candidates have been perpetuated at the top of the Republican Presidential ticket by those who are collectively referred to as the “Establishment.”  That “Establishment” is, and always has been, for a reduced role for government, less regulation of business and finance and above all, lower taxes for businesses and individuals.  Furthermore, they have always been willing to spend generously to support the Party, and up to now, have called the shots.

The trouble, sadly for the Republican Party, is that the “Establishment” and those who benefit from its programs do not provide enough votes to win elections.

To do that, they need more votes, and to get them, the Republican Party has welcomed into its “big tent” those who don’t want any government at all (“put it in a bathtub and drown it,” Bush advisor Grover Norquist once said), those who want everyone to carry a gun, those who oppose abortion, those who oppose unions, those who think patriotism consists of waving the flag and exercising our military power to make our points, those who want government extracted from health care and education, those who oppose immigration reform, those who believe climate change is a hoax, those who are intolerant of minorities, those for privatization of most government functions and finally, those who do not believe in the government safety net for those of us who cannot make it on our own.

 http://www.laprogressive.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/republicants.gif#mad%20republicans%20350x308  (clockwise from top left): Rush Limbaugh, Roger Ailes, Ann Coulter ... Conservative voices strong enough to drive John Boehner out of the Speaker's chair.

The votes of these supporters is the way the “Establishment” has managed to win elections for the G.O.P.  But now, it seems that the tail is wagging the dog!  All of those to whom that “Establishment” has catered in order to get their votes have suddenly become aware of the fact, egged on by right-wing commentators on “talk radio,” that they no longer need the “Establishment” any longer.  That “Establishment” has recognized this and is “backpedaling” in an effort to regain control, but really it is too late.

In England two hundred years ago, those who were opposed to their monarchy’s still having a strong voice in controlling the government were known as Whigs.  In this country, some Democrats (still known as Democratic Republicans at the time) felt that

  Andrew Jackson and some of his successors were assuming too much power and took the title of Whigs for the party they formed in 1834, denouncing “King” Andrew.  Although they were united in their opposition to more traditional Jacksonian Democrats and a strong central government, the Whigs stood for many, often contradictory, things.  Nevertheless, they managed to put William Henry Harrison (who quickly died), his Vice President, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor (who also died) and his Vice President, Millard Fillmore, into the White House.  The Whig Party disintegrated, however, over the issue of expanding slavery westward with the Southern Whigs returning to the Democrats and the remaining, more moderate, Whigs starting a new party in 1854, one more attuned to the issues of that day, one that they named the Republican Party.  Their first elected President was Abraham Lincoln. 

The unhealthy diversity now present in the Republican Party is reminiscent of the Whig Party in the 1830’s and 1840’s, and which resulted in that party’s falling apart.  The problem is that while the more conservative “Whigs” were able to return to the increasingly conservative Democratic Party in the 1850’s, today’s G.O.P. right-wing conservatives have no place to go, so they are concentrating on taking over the Republican Party, to which they had been welcomed.


Hence, it might be a good idea for the “Establishment” to once again do what the more moderate Whigs did in 1854 when they founded the Republican Party.  They might call their new party the “Original Republicans.”  For a while, we would have a three party system, until that day comes, as it certainly must, when the diversity in the now hopelessly-conservative Republican Party causes their disintegration, as occurred with the Whigs.  Then we will be able to go back to having two parties once again, the Democrats and the (Original) Republicans.

Jack Lippman

Restaurant Free Verse

Three white-topped men,

Four ladies with

Well-coiffed hair,

At a round table

Wondering what

Made all those years

Pass so quickly

And disappear.

“My name is Pam,

I’m your server.

Would you like drinks?

I’ll bring some bread.

Soup or salad

Comes with your meal.

Special tonight

Is our chef’s veal.”

The soup was cold,

The meat was tough,

The service too,

Was coarse and gruff.

We wonder then,

How much to tip

That mixed-up crew

Who brought our food.



Listen to Lindsey

Lindsey Graham is no longer in the race for the Presidential nomination.  I disagreed with his very military-oriented approach to foreign policy, but still, this veteran of Senate service (since 2003) is a wise man.  Right now, he is a supporter of Jeb Bush for the Republican nomination, a lost cause, and feels that the choice between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump is like choosing between being shot or poisoned.  Down deep, I suspect that if either is the G.O.P. nominee, Graham will quietly vote for Hillary Clinton.  (Graham thinks Bernie Sanders would be as bad a choice as Trump or Cruz.)  While you're online, "google" some of the things Graham has said lately.


Quiz for Gun Owners

Tell me why you want to carry a gun.  Of whom are you afraid?  Check off all of the choices which apply to you.  Respond to me "confidentially" at Riart1@aol.com.

I am afraid of:

___   Criminals who might attack me or try to get into my home.

___   Terrorists who are out to destroy the Country I love.

___   Invaders should they ever reach our shores.

___   The Government whom I do not trust.

___   Wild animals who might attack me or my family.

___   People who might want to take away from me what I have worked hard for.

___   Drivers with road rage who might point a weapon at me.

___   All of the above.

___   No one in particular …..

         ___   … But I never know when I might get the urge to visit a shooting

                       range and fire off some rounds, so I always “carry.”

         ___   … But 2nd Amendment and State law permit it; That’s enough for me.

         ___   … But somehow I feel that God wants me to carry a weapon.

         ___   … But carrying a weapon makes me feel like a more compete person.

         ___   … But from where I live,  it would take too long for police to respond 
                      to my 911 call.

___   None of the above choices apply to me.

Remember to respond!


An Eventual Use for Guantanamo
I suspect that sooner or later we are going to be rid of the remaining terrorists imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay.  We will find a way to ship them to another country or find a way to incarcerate them in the United States, a way which would not enable them to benefit from our legal system nor pose a risk for those in the vicinity.  And then, Guantanamo Bay will be empty.


But I imagine that we might eventually find another use for it, particularly since it is surrounded by warm, blue Caribbean waters.  We could make it the vacation destination of choice for those scoundrels in our country who, with the aid of the best of the legal profession, have succeeded in ripping off their fellow citizens or bringing close the destruction of our economy without being punished.

Let’s start with folks like the fellow who purchased a drug company and raised the price of a medication people needed to survive from $13.50 a pill to $750 a pill (his job, he said, was to maximize profit for his investors), and the operators of firms like the medical laboratory which bilked our government out of millions by convincing doctors in drug rehabilitation facilities that unnecessary and extremely expensive urine tests were needed for all of their patients, and don’t forget the Florida Attorney General who wrote a letter saying such unnecessary testing would be a good thing, and of course, the Florida Governor who appointed her and who himself avoided involvement when the private hospital chain he headed was punished for Medicare fraud.  

Let’s include the mortgage brokers who conned strapped home buyers into mortgages they could not possibly afford after the first few years and the investment bank executives who bundled these mortgages into legitimate appearing securities which they sold to unsuspecting pension funds and individuals bringing about the 2008 recession, and of course the Wall Street operatives who gleefully invest in a way to make a profit when a company, or a sector of our economy, fails, damaging the lives of many Americans.  And finally, the corporate executives of companies which relocate outside of the United States to avoid paying their fair share of taxes, and the heads of pharmaceutical companies which put profit far ahead of concern for those who use their products to get or stay well.


I would imagine that all of these folks deserve a vacation on the beautiful beaches of Guantanamo Bay, once the terrorists have been removed from the place and the barbed wire compounds replaced with beach-side lanais.  Once there, they’d be free to contact their high-priced lawyers who up to then had kept them wealthy and out of jail, to figure out a way to get them a return ticket to the United States.  Come to think of it, many of those lawyers, as well, might be rewarded with a well-deserved stay at Guantanamo. 


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Jack Lippman