They all rejected health care reform, but a great many Republicans once voted for the very programs – Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid – that conservatives now denounce as socialism.
Remember when Republicans in Congress were free men and women?
Not a single GOP member of Congress voted for the massive economic stimulus package last year. And the most significant act of social legislation in decades – healthcare reform – passed this year without a single Republican vote, either. Leading party figures have promised no cooperation with Democrats for the rest of the year.
No wonder the party is becoming known as the "G--P." Such extreme partisanship has not always been its hallmark. Many Republicans actually supported key social and economic bills proposed by liberal Democratic presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson.
Although many conservatives denounced it as "socialism," 84 percent of House Republicans and 76 percent of Senate Republicans voted in favor of Social Security in 1935. In light of the Republican plan to run on repealing healthcare reform, it is worth noting that the 1936 Republican presidential candidate, Alf Landon, ran against the "cruel hoax" and "paternal government" that he said Social Security represented. FDR trounced him.
It's been forgotten, but 80 percent of Republicans in both the House and Senate voted in favor of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. And 97 percent of Senate Republicans and 85 percent of House Republicans voted for the Voting Rights Act of 1965.