As the senior citizens among you will recall, President Eisenhower's grandson, David, married President Nixon's daughter, Julie. During the time that I lived in Northampton, I heard it said that, David, as an undergraduate at Amherst and Julie, as an undergraduate at Smith, courted at the Friendly's on North King Street in Northampton. David went on to become an historian, and has written a well-regarded book about General Eisenhower's years commanding the Allied forces that invaded the continent of Europe and defeated Hitler's army.
Several days ago, driving around Chapel Hill, I caught an interview on the local public radio station with David and Julie, who have co-authored a new book about Eisenhower's last years in retirement. As I listened, a feeling of great sadness came over me. David observed at one point that the largest percentage increase in the American economy ever took place between the Hoover inaugural and the fourth Roosevelt inaugural [a period spanning the depression and World War II]. In those sixteen years, David noted, the top marginal income tax rate was what he called "a confiscatory 91%." Such extraordinary rates were completely compatible with rapid economic growth, he said, and would be so today.
This was a Republican talking! Once again, but this time with the jolt of immediacy, I realized how dramatically the entire political spectrum has shifted to the far right. How I would revel in an Administration capable of enacting the policies that Republican presidents advocated when I was a young man! On the left in Congress, of course, were men [and a few women] who were true Progressives -- what today in Europe would be called Democratic Socialists.
We have argued on this blog about how we might bring about a socialist revolution. Perhaps we should begin by asking how we can resurrect old-style Republicans from the ashheap of history!