Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Don't Know Much About History

Despite his many obligations to the NRCC -- protecting incumbent Republican members -- and his latest job serving as John Boehner's liaison to GOP governors, Mr. Rogers apparently has the time to offer up a misty-eyed, breathtakingly inaccurate version of American history.

His latest YouTube special kicks off with a quote from Benjamin Franklin (sort of),
Those who would sacrifice liberty for a little safety and security deserve neither liberty nor security.
Mr. Rogers then explains that Franklin said this "before the Constitution, before the Revolutionary War," when Franklin was "the Finance Chair of the Pennsylvania state legislature." Oh, really?

Mr. Rogers might benefit from reading the Memoirs of the Life of Benjamin Franklin for a more detailed explanation of the legal issues Franklin was discussing (including the Massachusetts Bay Colony's desire to submit a separate petition to Parliament rather than jointly petitioning with the other colonies).

Mr. Rogers' take on American history continues with a reference to the Great Depression. After rhapsodizing about the national ideal of fairness, which in RogersSpeak translates as "people who work hard and play by the rules shouldn't have to pay for other people who don't do those things," he goes on to say
We have agreed that a safety net is a good idea. So you think about it, the Great Depression, over 30% unemployment for years, the poverty level in the United States was staggering, but we didn't give up. We didn't say, "you know what, it's too hard, the federal government should do it for us." We didn't do that.
Wait, what? Has Mr. Rogers never heard of the WPA, TVA, FDR or Social Security?

Moving right along, Mr. Rogers notes
World War II, when they were rationing sugar and rubber tires, we didn't give up. And that spirit, that ember of fairness on behalf of the American people has led to the greatest nation on the face of the earth, because it's individual responsibility, it's people getting up everyday and thinking, "I can do this better, faster, quicker, the speed of business, I can take care of my family, let the government take care of something else."
Sorry, Mr. Rogers -- the "they" that organized rationing to support the war effort was, in fact, the federal government. And the American people responded to calls for shared sacrifice during wartime -- a lesson you forgot (or ignored) when you voted to support tax cuts for the wealthy during the Afghan and Iraq wars. Oh, and the U.S. government not only worked to win the war, but helped to rebuild Europe and Japan for greater postwar security and a stronger global economy.

In his peroration, Mr. Rogers links the "burning ember" of American national spirit and Bejamin Franklin with the angry ranters of the Tea Party Express. He enthuses about the GOP health care plan, which would "control costs, improve access, do all those things without the federal government stepping in." We're still waiting for a bill number, Mr. Rogers. (Plus, we'd love to know why Mr. Rogers does not consider the United States House of Representatives to be a part of the federal government...)

Now that he's an official lover of American history, party loyalist Rogers might find some modern-day resonance in this quote from Benjamin Franklin:
As in the course of the debate, some lords in the administration had observed, that it was common and easy to censure their measures, but those who did so proposed nothing better.
Nah, never mind...

No comments: