This pro-business, anti-worker faction of the Republican Party hated FDR as if he were Satan incarnate. It is this faction of the Republican Party that fought against child labor laws, the right of workers to organize, minimum wage laws, worker safety protections, and every other proposal that was designed to grant working men and women the rights and dignity they deserved. The modern descendants of these violently anti-worker conservatives control part of the Republican Party today. They are the ones who voted against financial aid to the Big Three automakers so they could kill off the United Auto Workers, their sworn enemies since the 1930s. We should not be surprised.
The other branches of the modern Republican Party have an interesting genealogy as well. The southern Republicans are the descendants of the racist fanatics that spent the century between the end of the Civil War and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 violently suppressing African-American rights. They had been conservative Democrats up to the early 60s, but Lyndon Johnson's courageous stand for human rights drove them into a dark alliance with the Anti-Worker Republicans. The Social Conservative Republicans are an offshoot of the Southern Republicans in many ways, and they have allied with ultra-fundamentalists in other parts of the country. These people are determined to achieve "Dominion" over America, seizing power for themselves, and relegating anyone who dares to disagree with their "Holy" mission to second class status. The Social Conservative Republicans are committed to interfering with the private lives of every single person in America. They want to outlaw not only abortion under all circumstances, even rape and incest, but birth control, homosexual behavior, any "non-reproductive marital sex" (check out former Senator Rick Santorum's views if you don't believe me), any sex outside of marriage, and the right of families to let go of their dying loved ones. (Remember Terri Schiavo?) They want to dictate the most intimate details of everyone's life and destroy any notion that religion and public policy should be separate. They also want to see women in a "submissive" role. (Check out Kansas Senator Sam Brownback for a full dose of this repulsive nonsense.) The Social Conservatives are also bitter enemies of science, and they have spread dangerous falsehoods into all public discussion of science-related issues, even going so far as to blame the Holocaust on Charles Darwin!
In short, the modern conservative movement's leaders consist of those who despise working people, those who proudly defend America's horrible racist legacy, the worst of the religious fanatics, and all those who wish to preserve America as an all-white, fundamentalist Christian patriarchy. On top of that is a group I can only call the New Imperialists, (the Neo-Conservatives) dedicated to imposing our "will" on every other nation on earth. And their methods of acquiring and keeping power have been so vicious and ugly as to shame any decent person.
They screamed "Communist!" and "Socialist!" at Franklin Roosevelt, a man whose actions helped preserve American capitalism in its darkest hour. They tried to undermine FDR's attempts to deal with the rising threat of the Axis powers. Their friends in the newspaper business poured out non-stop anti-New Deal hatred in print. After the war, the conservatives latched on to Anti-Communism, not as a genuinely felt conviction, but merely as a means to attain power. Joseph McCarthy and Richard Nixon became the ugliest practitioners of the dark art of smearing opponents as "Reds". The Goldwater supporters in 1964 eagerly capitalized on white racism in the South and shouted that LBJ was also a traitor, along with all liberals. Because of Johnson's tragic prosecution of a war we should never have been in, Vietnam, and his failure to strongly suppress urban rioting in the 60s, the Right Wing was able to get off the floor. Nixon in 1968 blatantly used a strategy designed to appease white racists while appearing to be "moderate". Nixon deliberately tore the country in two in name of political gain, his worst legacy in my view. (He kept the Vietnam War going as well, even when he knew it was lost, to help gain reelection in 1972. I'll explain in another post why I believe this.)
When the Reaganites gained control of the GOP, they whipped up the Religious Right to support their goals, and an all-out assault on personal privacy and scientific rationality was launched. Creationist insanity was pushed tirelessly, as well as violently anti-gay rhetoric. It was a degrading but effective tactic. And all the while, anyone who objected was tarred as a "persecutor" of Christians and anti-God(!).
Throughout all of these ugly maneuvers a right-wing dominated media machine was growing. Right wing hate radio was used to paint all Democrats as traitors and anti-American. Radical Right newspapers, such as those supported by Right Wing financial godfathers Rupert Murdoch, Richard Mellon Scaife, and Sun Myung-Moon also spread conservative propaganda far and wide. Fox News jumped on the bandwagon in the 90s, giving platforms to the worst of the Radical Rights's pathological liars--Hannity, O'Reilly, Coulter, Gibson, Cavuto, Kristol, and all the rest. The right-wing propagandists spear-headed the lunatic drive to destroy the Clintons, regardless of any price the country itself might pay. (The so-called "Liberal Media" is an absurd myth--conservative voices dominate our traditional media.) The Republicans have used this propaganda machine to try to destroy or undermine every progressive politician and policy in America. It is the Right Wing Noise Machine that has been the principal spreader of the fantastic lies and preposterous ideas of the Republican Party and its henchmen.
Today, look what the Republican Party stands for: opposition to American working men and women, the channeling of trillions of dollars to the richest Americans, hatred of gays, hatred of immigrants, continued smoldering racism, opposition to desperately needed health care reforms, opposition to all environmental protections, spitting hatred for science, hatred for public schools, hatred of all those who are not fundamentalist Christians, support for torture, support for rendition, and support for the fantastically corrupt Bush-Cheney regime. The conservative cancer is the perpetuation of all the worst features of American life--intolerance, fear, prejudice, and tribalism. It is this cancer that screams out that Barack Obama is "the AntiChrist", a "Muslim radical", "corrupt", "ally of Satan", and all the other filth we have seen hurled at our next president. The Radical Right is now going to try to destroy Obama and block every reform he tries to institute. We, the Progressive Netroots, must and will fight these dangerous radicals every step of the way.
It is time for the conservative cancer to be cut out of our body politic. All of our nation's most shameful acts and policies have their roots in it. The humane, progressive, and sensible American majority must, once and for all, put the right-wing minority in its place--and save our country from the death toward which the conservatives have so blindly pushed it.