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Copperheads!

By Bruce Walker
web posted March 18, 2002

Tom Daschle's querulous comments, quickly retracted, about President Bush's conduct of a global war can best be answered by Zell Miller's remarks last year about his fellow Democrats in the Senate: "This nitpickers need to find some other nit to pick" or by Dick Armey's single statement press release: "Disgusting."

The Democrat Party has a long history of placing politics about patriotism. During the Cold War, Democrats in Congress wrote "Dear Comrade" letters to Fidel Castro as President Ronald Reagan liberated Grenada and fought against the Marxists in Nicaragua. Democrats cringed in horror when he called the Evil Empire an Evil Empire.

Venona decrypts combined with the archives of the GRU and KGB make it clear that America came close to losing the Cold War in the late 1940s because Americans were betraying that country which gave them their rights. Some of these traitors were Communist Party USA members, but many were opportunistic Democrats, like New York Democrat Congressman Samuel Dickstein, who founded the House Committee on Un-American Activities, and who was a Soviet agent strictly for money.

John F. Kennedy
Kennedy

The Democrat Party has produced many true patriots, including liberals like Mike Mansfield and John F. Kennedy, but throughout modern political history ideological traitors of America have uniformly felt comfortable in the Democrat Party and uncomfortable in the Republican Party.

During the Civil War, Republicans had a very apt name for those Democrats who enjoyed all the benefits of this great Republic, but who were quite willing to sell America for political gain: Copperheads. The commitment of northern Democrats to the southern cause during the Civil War was based upon two salient facts.

First, the Democrats of the South insisted that all Democrats support slavery and oppose social and political equality for blacks. So before the Civil War began, a "moderate" Democrat like Stephen Douglas owned slaves on his plantation in Mississippi. Democrats have never been ideologically committed to freedom, and they have always been attracted to slavery, communism, liberalism, feminism, coercive unions, and big city machines.

Second, Democrats have never had a common bond beyond the intoxicating moonshine of absolute political power. Their calculated campaigns to pretend that all political parties are the same, but this assertion does not stand the test of truth.

The American Republic in its present form, and the earlier versions under the Continental Congress and the Articles of Confederation, was been a deliberate exposition of certain profound political and moral beliefs.

The Founding Fathers feared the rise of European style "interest" political parties, which would form cliques and rule government by faction and by secrecy. The early political history of the Constitutional Republic, however, shows a vast hodge-podge of parties. Democrats themselves cannot agree who precisely "founded" their party: Thomas Jefferson? Andrew Jackson? Someone else?

By the middle of the 19th Century in America, however, a second novelty began to appear: the Republican Party. Here was a party based upon universal principles of human rights. Here was a political party that actually embraced those values that Americans under the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights sought to formally incorporate into government.

It is not coincidence, then, that early leaders of the Republican Party like Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address can speak of "...whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated can long endure." The Republican Party -- and the Republican Party alone -- understood that freedom cost blood and treasure, and it embodied the Spirit of '76.

Later it was a Republican, Theodore Roosevelt, who coined the term "rugged individualism" as a working model for life in the increasingly complex world of industry and technology. President Reagan and Presidents Bush have famously stood up to those around the globe who would threaten our freedoms indirectly by threatening the freedoms of others very directly.

The counterpoint of the Republican Party has always been the Democrat Party, which admired Fascist leaders like Mussolini, which embraced inhuman slave masters like Stalin, or -- now -- undercut our President's accurate description of an "Axis of Evil" as "unhelpful." Truth is "unhelpful" to con artists, but indispensable to a man determined to build real wealth and security.

After the Civil War, Democrats paid a heavy political price for being disloyal Americans. "Copperheads" did not win a single presidential election until 1884, and if the American South had not be run by the Ku Klux Krats, who did not even allow in many states a single Republican state legislators for decades, then the Democrat Party would have drifted into a well-deserved oblivion.

Daschle, Clinton, Rodham, Gore and all other godfathers (or godmothers) of the Democrat Party should consider the fate of Copperheads in the great struggle for the heart and conscience of America in our Civil War. Republicans have given Democrats a pass on their disgraceful and disloyal conduct during Vietnam and the Cold War, but if there is a single certainty in the aftermath of Clintonism, it is this: Democrats will descend as far as necessary for power; Democrats will forget the meaning of simple verbs like "is" if power is at stake; Democrats, it even seems, will risk the use of weapons of mass destruction against America and its allies, if something really important -- like who chairs committees in the House of Representatives from 2003 to 2005 -- is at stake.

The American ideal once was a democracy without parties, and that is possible (many cities and the State Legislature of Nebraska does fine without parties -- and with only one legislative chamber). Perhaps that is one option for the future. Or perhaps a new party dedicated to a real principle (the quaint quackery of the Green Party pops to mind) may be the opposition party to future Republicans. The blossoming of many political parties -- Libertarian, Green, Taxpayers, etc. -- is feasible if state governments required majority election of Senators, Congressmen, and Electors in the Electoral College.

The future is unclear, but the past should lead us to one inescapable conclusion: the Copperheads (Democrats) must vanish into the mists of political history, like National Socialists, Fascists, Bolsheviks, and the Bourbons of France before them.

Bruce Walker is a senior writer with Enter Stage Right. He is also a frequent contributor to The Pragmatist and The Common Conservative.

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