Warm Southern Breeze

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“Socialism” : A Tired, Old, Republican Punching Bag For Over 110 Years

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, March 2, 2020

Formerly entitled: “Bernie Sanders Said…

On November 19, 2015, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders addressed a crowd at Georgetown University.

It was not a campaign rally.

In the conclusion of his speech, he said:

“So the next time you hear me attacked as a socialist, remember this:

“I don’t believe government should own the means of production, but I do believe that the middle class and the working families who produce the wealth of America deserve a fair deal.

“I believe in private companies that thrive and invest and grow in America instead of shipping jobs and profits overseas.

“I believe that most Americans can pay lower taxes – if hedge fund managers who make billions manipulating the marketplace finally pay the taxes they should.

“I don’t believe in special treatment for the top 1%, but I do believe in equal treatment for African-Americans who are right to proclaim the moral principle that Black Lives Matter.

“I despise appeals to nativism and prejudice, and I do believe in immigration reform that gives Hispanics and others a pathway to citizenship and a better life.

“I don’t believe in some foreign “ism”, but I believe deeply in American idealism.

“I’m not running for president because it’s my turn, but because it’s the turn of all of us to live in a nation of hope and opportunity not for some, not for the few, but for all.

“No one understood better than FDR the connection between American strength at home and our ability to defend America at home and across the world. That is why he proposed a second Bill of Rights in 1944, and said in that State of the Union:

““America’s own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for all our citizens. For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world.”

“I’m not running to pursue reckless adventures abroad, but to rebuild America’s strength at home. I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will never send our sons and daughters to war under false pretense or pretenses or into dubious battles with no end in sight.”

Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, Georgetown University, November 19, 2015

The word ‘socialism’ has been used for many years as a fear tactic to persuade people to do, or not do, what the one who is using the word wants them to do, or not do. It’s been around at least as long as since 1931 – and likely, much longer. Perhaps 20 years, or more.

A cursory search of the Congressional Record (part 1 volume 45, p270) showed that in the 1910 Congress, in the Second Session, on December 20, Representative Frank Wheeler Mondell (1860-1939), a Republican, said in part the following:

“Advanced with the extraordinary argument that to take authority from the people locally and lodge it with a federal bureau is “saving” something for “all the people” and from the” interests,” and backed by the demand of a certain section of the press, inspired by socialistic government bureaus, the propaganda has much influence with some legislators.”

Demonizing “the press,” demonizing “socialistic government bureaus,” and claiming it’s all “propaganda.”


That stuff reads like it was ripped from today’s headlines in 2020, over 110 years later.

Grand OLD Party, indeed.

Same… tired… old… rhetoric.

But, let’s continue searching in that year’s record.

Senator Porter McCumber (1858-1933), a Republican from Nebraska, addressed that body on February 4, 1910 and as found on page 1481, is recorded to have said in part,

Mr. President, I am not imbued with one atom of socialism. There is not one drop of that creed in my mental make-up. But I have a sense of equal justice, and that sense of justice is outraged when I read of the men and women who have accumulated  vast fortunes in this country out of a prosperity whose foundation is agriculture – for, after all, agriculture is the foundation of all our wealth – meeting in their palaces to boycott the farmer’s product, to boycott the man whose back has bended low in toil to support, with the greatest frugality, and care for and educate his family-just as dear to him as are those of the boycotters organizing against the farmer to destroy his meager profits.”

Again… wow!

Just, wow.

Demonizing people who practice boycotts… who’d a’thunk it, eh?

Once again, same tired, old, rhetoric.

And, once again, Representative Elmer A. Morse (1870-1945), a Republican from Wisconsin, demonized the idea that the U.S. Postal Service should have a bank – something that would help the people.

As found in the 1910 Congressional Record from page 2024, as delivered February 17, he asked unanimous consent to have President William Howard Taft’s speech placed in the Congressional Record. Here’s the introductory remarks, and Taft’s pertinent remarks claiming that “socialism” was afoot in the prospective legislation of a savings-bank operated by the Post Office.


Mr. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous. consent to insert in the RECORD the President’s speech or address delivered at Milwaukee, Wis. on September 11, 1909. This is the speech on the postal savings-bank bill. In that speech, Taft said in part that “I am here to uphold the doctrine of postal savings banks, because I believe that they will fill in this country a long-felt want.”

The SPEAKER: The gentleman from Wisconsin asks unanimous consent to insert in the RECORD the speech of the President indicated. Is there objection? [After a pause.] The Chair hears none.

The address is as follows :

“Mr. President, governor, senators, ladies and gentlemen, and citizens of Wisconsin:
“I am only too conscious of my lack of experience and knowledge in the presence of farmers. You have a governor who is a farmer. You have senators who are farmers. I think all your business men must be farmers, if I can judge by the crowd who greets me here. I must admit that I am a city-bred man, and while the spirit would be willing, I am afraid I could not milk a cow. Nevertheless, he must be blind, indeed, to the interests of his country, he must be lacking, indeed, in acquaintance with the progress of the world, who does not realize what, in the fifty years since that noble patriot, Abraham Lincoln, stood here, has been accomplished in the way of improvement of agriculture and scientific investigation into the methods of breeding and into the methods of treating the soil. …”

On page 2024, Taft’s speech was in part:

Now, our friends, the bankers, and they are friends; I am not attacking them. It is not wise to attack bankers, either, for really we have a right to be proud of our banking fraternity; but there are a good many who object to the postal savings banks on a number of grounds, and I wish to take up those objections.

“In the first place it is said that the postal savings bank is a very paternal institution; that it has a leaning toward state socialism, and that it proposes to take the banking business out of the hands of private persons and put it in the Government. Now, I am not a paternalist, and I am not a socialist, and I am not in favor of having the Government do anything that private citizens can do as well or better.”

Let’s again return to the House that same year, where Mr. Cordell Hull (1871-1955) of Tennessee, one of this nation’s greatest Democrats, then a Representative from the state’s 4th Congressional District, where on page 1112, on January 27, 1910, he said in part, that… well, here’s a screen shot of that Congressional Record:

Congressional Record 1-27-1910, Rep. Cordell Hull (D-4) p1112

Congressional Record 1-27-1910, Rep. Cordell Hull (D-4) p1113

In short, the term “socialism” has been, and continues to be, a tired, old, punching bag of political rhetoric, which Republicans (mostly) have been using for at least 110 years.

You’d think the people would be onto their game by now, eh?

One Response to ““Socialism” : A Tired, Old, Republican Punching Bag For Over 110 Years”

  1. […] and FDR New Deal haters’ false claim has neither stuck, which he specifically addressed at Georgetown in November 19, 2015 and stated that, “I don’t believe government should own the means of production, but I do […]


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