Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Family Values Matter a LOT!

Lately there have been a lot of blogs critical of Rudy Giuliani because of his political stands on Roe v Wade and his support of gay civil unions. And a lot of Rudy supporters are upset about it because they like his tax cutting and crime fighting record. They want all of us critics to just shut up and let Rudy beat Hillary.

Fights between different parts of the GOP is not a new phenomenom. It happens a lot when the incumbent is not running for POTUS. Sometimes it happens when the incumbent IS running. This is the case in 1976. One difference, however is that President Ford was not an incumbent by virtue of winning an election. In the year, 1976 the big issue was not family values. The big issue was relations between the US and the Soviet Union. Pres. Ford believed in detente, peaceful coexistence, and appeasement policy with the Soviets. Governor Reagan believed the Soviet Union needed to come tumbling down. The fights between the Reagan faction and the Ford faction of the GOP over this issue continued all the way through the August convention in Kansas City. Reagan was able to give a great speech at the convention calling on unity, but it was too little too late. Voters did not see much difference between Ford and the Democratic Party on this issue. It was a "Do I vote for twiddle dee dee or twiddle dee dum?" feeling for many voters in November of 1976.

John Rhodes wrote an excellent book about the 1976 GOP convention. In an excerpt he tells some of the Washington insider goings on at that convention.

Gerald Ford was president, and many of us felt that he had done a good enough job to be our convention’s choice for a full term in that office. But a rising tide of support was evident for the governor of California, Ronald Reagan.

It did not take a political expert to predict that the two factions were likely to collide in mutually damaging fashion at the national convention.

The Reagan people were intent on doing everything they could to embarrass President Ford. One of their tactics was to contest much of the proposed Republican Platform. A portion of the platform had to do with the foreign policy of the Ford administration. They tried to amend it in the Platform Committee to make it appear that the Republican platform was critical of important elements of the Ford foreign policy. These amendments were not adopted.

The floor debate on the platform waxed hot and heavy. Midnight came and went. At 2 A.M. it appeared that we finally were about to vote, unless there were other amendments offered. Then I was informed that the North Carolina delegation would definitely offer the amendment against the Ford foreign policy which had been voted down in committee and demand a roll call vote. This, despite the late hour and the fact that many of the delegates had left to go to their lodgings.

I felt that this was a ridiculous thing to do. So I sent my son Jay, who was at my side, to try to find Jesse Helms, who was then the national committeeman from North Carolina. I had a good relationship with Jesse from the days of the Goldwater campaign, and I believed he could help me head off this damaging tactic.

When he came to the podium, I told him that it would be very helpful if he could get the North Carolina delegation not to offer the amendment. I pointed out the obvious: that it was very late, and we were going to look silly to the country if we haggled over this point in the wee hours of the morning.

Mr. Helms said, in his familiar southern drawl, “John, how good is your eyesight?”

I told him I believed it was reasonably good for about 100 feet.

“Well” he said, “I believe that the North Carolina delegation is farther away from you than 100 feet.”

I got his point.

“I think you are right,” I responded with some enthusiasm.

So, when the time came to call for further amendments and then to proceed to adoption of the platform, I asked if there were any amendments. The chairman of the North Carolina delegation, I am told, was standing, yelling, and waving his banner. I will maintain to this day that I did not see him. So I immediately gaveled the platform through and adjourned the convention for the night.

In certain parts of North Carolina I am still known as “Blind John.”

After the voting was completed, President Ford came to the hall to make his acceptance speech. Before he arrived, I kept calling the Ford headquarters, asking them if they had invited Ronald Reagan to speak. I got various answers, most of them in the negative.

Finally, I said to Senator Bob Griffin, one of my oldest and best friends, “Bobby, I just wanted you to know that I will not adjourn this convention until Ronald Reagan has appeared on this platform. I suggest you get with it immediately and make sure that he is invited to be here with President Ford.”

The rest is history. When President Ford came onto the platform, I went to meet him. The first thing he asked was, “Where is Ronald Reagan?” I pointed to the Reagan box and President Ford went over to the side of the platform nearest that box and motioned to Governor Reagan to “come on down.”

I had already sent my sergeant-at-arms and my son Jay to escort Governor Reagan to the platform. He came down, made a great speech for party unity and did everything we had hoped he would do.

Thus ended one of the most tense and unpleasant chapters of my political life. I was extremely relieved when at last my gavel fell for the adjournment sine die.

I have strayed far afield from my original title about family matters, but I wanted to put it out there that the GOP as a fractious divided family is not good. It is also not a good healthy continuation of a community for no restrictions on abortions, and no qualms with people of the same sex pairing up. These practices do not lead a community to be vibrant, young, and strong. Instead they lead to a community becoming dull, aged, and weak. The most obvious example of socialism run amok is in Russia. The demographics are so dire for Russia that a regional governor has declared a holiday named "Family Contact Day". This holiday was first declared in 2005, and the object for Mom and Dad to make a baby instead of go to work on 9/12. This is 9 months before the Russia Day state holiday on 6/12. They have all this propaganda baggage hangover from their Communist past that they are floundering with a 'Price Is Right' gimmick to improve family values. Here is a good article with comments from Russians about this holiday. The headline of the article is that Russia may need to make this a national holiday. I hope the US does not slouch toward Gommorah to this level. I believe if held firm to our conservative we will be OK.

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