When I ran as a Democrat in 2012 and again in 2014, I campaigned as an Eisenhower Republican. For over 20 years I only voted for Republicans. Eisenhower, even though he was a great military leader, loved peace. He was a strong advocate for equality and supported progressive economic policies. The 1956 Republican Platform, with minor updating, would serve as a fine blueprint for making America great again.
Eisenhower’s words are still relevant today:
· "A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both."
· "Change based on principle is progress. Change without principle is chaos."
· "The hope of the world is that wisdom can arrest conflict between brothers. I believe that war is the deadly harvest of arrogant and unreasoning minds."
· “I have no use for those — regardless of their political party — who hold some foolish dream of spinning the clock back to days when unorganized labor was a huddled, almost helpless mass.”
· “Today in America unions have a secure place in our industrial life. Only a handful of unreconstructed reactionaries harbor the ugly thought of breaking unions.”
· “For all that we cherish and justly desire -- for ourselves or for our children -- the securing of peace is the first requisite.”
· "We need an adequate defense, but every arms dollar we spend above adequacy has a long-term weakening effect upon the nation and its security."
· “We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”
· "In all those things which deal with people, be liberal, be human. In all those things which deal with people's money, or their economy, or their form of government, be conservative."
Roe v. Wade: Both Supreme Court Justices appointed by Eisenhower, William Brennan and Potter Stewart, concurred with the majority opinion in Roe v. Wade.
Justice For All: Under the leadership of Eisenhower-appointed Chief Justice Earl Warren, the former Republican Governor of California, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the racial integration of public schools (Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka), in favor of the principle of "one person, one vote" (Baker v. Carr), and in favor of insuring legal counsel to indigent defendants (Gideon v. Wainwright).
Education: Eisenhower focused on improving science and technology education and appointed Dr. James R. Killian, Jr., the president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as his Special Assistant for Science and Technology.
NASA: President Eisenhower signed the bill creating NASA into law on July 29, 1958.
Infrastructure: On June 29, 1956, President Dwight Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956. The bill created a 41,000-mile “National System of Interstate and Defense Highways”
National Defense Education Act (NDEA), was signed into law by Dwight D. Eisenhower on September 2, 1958. It provided funding to improve American schools and to promote postsecondary education. Of concern was bolstering the United States’ ability to compete with the Soviet Union in the areas of science and technology.
Fiscal Responsibility: During his Presidency, Eisenhower stood firm against pressure from the Pentagon, Congress and others to increase defense spending in his goal to achieve the balanced budgets “required for a sound economy.” In three of his eight years in office, Eisenhower managed to deliver a small budget surplus (1956, 1957, 1960). Overall, the economy thrived under his leadership.
The Economy: America had the strongest economy in the world in the 1950s. Business and manufacturing thrived, with exports at all-time highs and a trade surplus. The U.S. GDP doubled during the 1950’s, in large part because of Eisenhower’s leadership and insistence on the proper allocation of resources.
Civil Rights Act: In 1957, President Eisenhower sent Congress a proposal for civil rights legislation. The result was the Civil Rights Act of 1957, the first civil rights legislation since Reconstruction. But the act was weakened due to resistance from Democrats. Demonstrating his commitment, President Eisenhower directly intervened that year to assure that black students in Little Rock could attend their local public schools.
The Minimum Wage was increased by 33% in 1955.
In a letter to his brother, Edgar Newton, on 8 November 1954 Eisenhower wrote, “Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible, and they are stupid.”