DeMint: Twisting history on economic progress

South Carolina’s Greenville News has a report on U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and his vision for the Republican Party.

Raju Chebium reports:

Since Democrats took control of Congress and the White House in January, the South Carolina Republican has sharpened his message of economic fundamentalism and is trying to get more Republicans to oppose what he calls the big-spending, big-government Democratic agenda.

But in the process he’s irked the moderate faction of the GOP, which accuses him of putting his ideology ahead of practicality and argues that the conservative wing has hijacked the party and tarnished its image.

“I see my role as reminding the American people of the principles that work, that made our country prosperous and successful — the principles of limited government, free markets and individual freedom,” DeMint told Gannett Washington Bureau in a recent interview.

Nothing about DeMint’s cute little soundbite is true. Time for a reality check, yes?

In between work and other commitments, I’ve slowly been making my way through progressive strategist Michael Lux’s new book, “The Progressive Revolution.” It is a great read and a spot-on history of the American debate between progressives and conservatives.

In chapter six, Lux writes:

What is clear when you look at our country’s economic history is that conservative policies have been at the heart of our worst economic times, and progressive policies have given us our best economic times. Lincoln’s landmark economic policies gave us a prosperous economy for years afterward, but the Social Darwinist policies of the 1880s and 1890s created economic depression and havoc for farmers and workers. The Progressive Era policies produced a sound economy for the first generation after the turn of the century, but Coolidge and Hoover gave us the Great Depression. The New Deal helped us out of the Great Depression and kept us from having another depression ever since. The Democratic presidencies of the 1960s and 1990s made us prosperous, but the conservative policies of Nixon, Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II made us vulnerable to recession and long-term economic problems. When our country has chosen progressive policies, we’ve done well. When we haven’t, we’ve paid the price — literally — for those mistakes.

Alright, DeMint… time to head back to history class and time to stop selling a bag of trash to the American people.

6 Responses to “DeMint: Twisting history on economic progress”
  1. dave says:

    Mr. Comer your quoted passage is fraught with erros. First Nixon did not pursue what anyone would call ‘conservative policies.’ After all nixon famously said ‘we’re all keynesians now’ he put this into practice with wage and price controls. This could be said of Eisenhower or Ford for that matter. In addition, as a student of history the only major economic legislation of the progressive era was the federal reserve which as more of a reaction to the panic of 1908 than a reformist zeal. It is virtually passe to blame either Coolidge or Hoover for the depression actually it would be more accurate to blame the fed. Hoover contrary to popular belief is not really an ideologue nd he could have been a Democrat not unlike Eisenhower in later years he was courted by both. This is not to say that conservative policies are always right and liberal ones are not. However, it seems to me Mr. Comer that along with Mr. DeMint you and Mr. Lux should spend time in a history class. I consider myself as a right/libartian and not a huge fan of demint. in a final note, it is interesting how you condem Mr. DeMints’ views in such black and white terms. Isn’t that the sort of thinking liberals excuse conservatives of?

  2. Matt says:

    Coolidge’s and Hoover’s conservative economic policies mightily contributed to the creation of the Great Depression, specifically their hands-off government approaches and a severe lack of regulation. That’s why FDR had to put in so many regulatory policies — policies that ensured a successful economy for years after the Depression started to end. We saw the same thing play out under Reagan — a lack of regulation leads to corporate and government corruption and plops our entire population right into the shitter.

    Regarding the Progressive Era, you forgot two other important pieces of legislation: 1887’s Interstate Commerce Act and 1890’s Sherman Anti-Trust Act. Although not fully enforced until some years later, under the administrations of T. Roosevelt and Wilson, that legislation served to pick away at much of the corporate corruption that was birthed by the robber barons in the Gilded Age, causing the 1890 depression and stifling smaller businesses, laborers and farmers.

    Progressive policies haven’t always worked as planned; no one says that. But it is abundantly clear that, more often than not, when America grasps onto its progressive heritage, we prosper culturally and economically. When we hang on to conservative social and economic policies and ideals, our nation and its people suffer.

  3. dave says:

    Those were not PROGRESSIVE ERA acts the progressive era was from 1900 to 1917 the same progressive era which included Wilsons heavy handed overselling of the war which made the Bush II sloppy efforts look like childs play. Might I also point out that both FDR and LBJ were concerned about the effect of the progressive/welfare state would have on the American public. We only need to look at the destruction of low income families since the 1960s. The Sherman anti-trust act was named after a Republican senator from Ohio. Conservatives have never been in favor of monopolies or unfair business pracitces. Yes lack oversight from governmnet authorities is bad i.e. the Bush administration. But to Bushes credit he did attempt to overhaul fannie and freddie futhermore conservatives have long been critical of the federal governments housing policies both under dem and rep admins. As for FDR yes he did regulate more but at the same time he gave big business a gift called the NRA much like Obamas doing now with the likes of GE and Caterpillar, There is a definte dark side to progressivism Mr. Comer. You and I as Homosexuals may gain the right to marry under Mr. Obama but we may lose much more.

  4. Matt says:

    “The Sherman anti-trust act was named after a Republican senator from Ohio.”

    Republican has not always meant “conservatives.” Our history is full of moderate Republicans who understood America’s heritage of progressivism worked for the American people, instead of the corporations and wealthy elites.

    History has been completely twisted: Conservatism has not saved our nation from anything, nor has conservative idealism advanced our nation. Conservatism has been at the heart of American failure, not progress.

    DeMint said three things have made our country great: “the principles of limited government, free markets and individual freedom.”

    Limited government and free markets have always led to corruption and economic ruin. Those who most often tout belief in a free market are the most likely to be opposed to any individual freedom or progress for those who aren’t lucky enough to be among the wealthy elites.

    This is a classic conservative vs. progressive battle that has been raging since the days of Jefferson and Hamilton’s fight over a national bank.

  5. dave says:

    Lincon once said you dont make the poor richer by making the rich poorer. Yes moderate republicans like the rockefellers. lets not forget that these elites made what america is today. The powerful robber barrons vaulted the United States far ahead of its rivals in both economic and scientific advancment. Yes you are right limited government and free markets DO lead to corruption and ruin but so DO expanded government and regulated markets. How about farm subsidies? Yes the agrieconomy of the late nineteenth century was harsh but can you honestly say what whe have now a direct descendent of FDRS new deal policies is better? What earmarks matt? John Murtha for god sakes! The Democrats biggest electon headache next year may not be just the high level of unemployment but their own ‘culture of corruption’ which they used FAIRLY against the republicans in 2006 midterm elections. Now just three years later what do they have Rangel DOdd Murtha and yes miss america herself Pelosi. Lastly, as we speak corporate America tilts to the left. You need only to look at donations in the past election ‘wall street’ gave overwhelmingly to democrats. Lastly the idea of expanded government is some how to empower “those who aren’t lucky enough to be among the wealthy elites.” A logical arguement but some how it doesnt seem to work out that way. The poor or middle class do benefit from a social safty net to a certain extent. However, there influence is not increased in fact it seems to me at least to be diluted further. It seems to me that big business or ‘wealthy elites’ as you call them are opportunist they do not care about regulation and in fact they may benefit from it. It can be used and has been used to squash competition.

  6. Matt says:

    Dave, I wasn’t discussing Republicans vs. Democrats. I was discussing conservative policy vs. progressive policy. There are Republicans who are moderates who believe in progressive policy. There are also Democrats I’d never vote for, who believe in conservative policy. For example, here in North Carolina, if Mike McIntyre or Heath Shuler were to run against Richard Burr, I’d more than likely skip voting for any of them.

    There’s no doubt that expanded government leads to corruption, but by far the most corrupt periods in our nation’s history has been when limited government, deregulation and other conservative policies, social and economic, have been in full swing. One only needs to look at the Bush II administration to see one of the most recent and most corrupt examples.

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