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Are Republicans anti-American?

It would seem that Republicans are becoming more anti-American every day.  In an earlier time, their attacks on free speech, their attempts to mix religion and government and their unwillingness to consider the general good would probably have been considered treason.

Wisconsin Republicans have escalated their assault on Democrats, liberals, unions, and anyone else who does not fall into line for their ideological agenda. This time, it is the right to criticize the Republican Party that is under attack, as the Cap Times reports:

The Wisconsin Republican Party, apparently stung by a blog post written by UW-Madison history professor William Cronon, has responded by asking the University of Wisconsin-Madison for copies of all of Cronon’s office e-mails that mention prominent Republicans or public employee unions.

Cronon revealed the GOP’s Freedom of Information Act request in his Scholar as Citizen blog post late Thursday evening along with a lengthy, and typically scholarly, defense.

In his inaugural blog post on March 15, Cronon, one of the UW’s academic stars, had sketched the apparent influence of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a shadow conservative policy group that works with Republican state legislators, on Gov. Scott Walker’s legislative agenda. It was the first time the respected professor had used a blog format and he was, to put it mildly, surprised by the response. The blog generated more than half a million hits. For many of his readers, it was the first time they were aware of the organization and its involvement with conservative legislators around the country.

Billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, major Walker campaign contributors, provide funding support for ALEC. …

The Republican request, filed two days after Cronon’s March 15 post appeared, asks for “Copies of all emails into and out of Prof. William Cronon’s state email account from January 1, 2011 to present which reference any of the following terms: Republican, Scott Walker, recall, collective bargaining, AFSCME, WEAC, rally, union, Alberta Darling, Randy Hopper, Dan Kapanke, Rob Cowles, Scott Fitzgerald, Sheila Harsdorf, Luther Olsen, Glenn Grothman, Mary Lazich, Jeff Fitzgerald, Marty Beil, or Mary Bell.”

The named individuals are the Republican governor, the Republican leaders of the state House and Senate, and the eight Republican senators targeted for recall.

Professor Cronon has written a long, must-read response to this political effort to intimidate him for daring to question the Republican Party.

In some ways, this is reminiscent of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s assault on academic freedom in Virginia. Academic freedom exists only in name if scholars questioning the Republican Party are bullied into not using it. In that sense, the Wisconsin assault against Professor Cronon is directly related to all the other ways that the modern-day GOP is actively undermining the infrastructure of our democracy, giving us:

  • elections where significant numbers of the GOP’s opponents are prevented from voting;
  • campaigns where the GOP’s opponents can’t be heard over corporate millions;
  • the right to protest, but if you oppose a Republican official he may secretly plant troublemakers among your group to discredit you;
  • the right to a free press, but if a Republican who you criticize sends his goons to rough you up, the Party will not bat an eye;
  • the right to form a union that cannot collectively bargain;
  • the right to free speech, but if you displease the GOP you risk becoming the subject of phony video smears followed up by legislative attack;
  • the right to lobby, but your lobbying firm loses access to a GOP-dominated Congress if it hires Democrats.

In isolation, the incident in Wisconsin is terrible. But to see it only in isolation would be a grave mistake.

If the party officials involved with this are not condemned and banished from the party, this incident will do long-term damage. Continuing party support for those who undermine the foundations of our free society – as in the examples above – significantly lowers the bar for what departures from the principles of democracy are now acceptable.

This incident should be a rallying cry for Americans to protect the liberties and rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.

Thanks to People For the American Way.


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Posted by on April 6, 2011. Filed under Commentary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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Four Dinners
10 years ago

I doubt ‘The Mob’ would survive our unions. We’d just go on strike until they buggered off…;-)

Four Dinners
10 years ago

If they’re going after the unions…or, at least, what is accepted in England as a union, then they are…er…whatever you said.

I do suspect though that ‘unions’ in America are not necessarily ‘unions’ in England….

In England ‘unions’ are representative of, and elected from the workforce.

That’s it really. You get elected a union rep and you represent the membership. Politics has no place and you fight for the rights and (hopefully) increased terms and conditions of your members. No more no less.

Is it the same over there?

Michael John Scott
Michael John Scott
Reply to  Four Dinners
10 years ago

It is the same over here, at least I think so. The sad fact is that here some of the unions are subject to mob influence and funding.

Michael John Scott
Michael John Scott
10 years ago

The Republicans are out to protect themselves, their pocketbooks, and their fat corporate supporters. Each time they manage to take over the house, or, god forbid, the Oval Office, the country takes one huge step backwards.

10 years ago

They are only anti-American when any other agenda clashes with their pro-self agenda.

Holte Ender
10 years ago

They say the words “American People” a hell of a lot, or “The Will Of The American People”, democrats can be guilty of that too, but nobody says like the republicans. They project themselves as the guardians of the constitution and of the American nation. Yet, as you suggest, most of what they actually do seems against the interests of the American people.