• 70°

Cal Thomas: What happened to putting country over party?

By Cal Thomas

One of the few advantages of changing addresses is that you sometimes discover long-forgotten items.

In a recent move, I found an old recording that contained an interview of Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield, D-Mont., by Paul Duke for NBC’s “Today” show.

The year was 1968. Richard Nixon had just been elected president. Duke asked Mansfield how much cooperation the president-elect should expect from Congress. Mansfield’s response to this and subsequent questions, compared to what we hear from the mouths of contemporary Democrats, is a shocking reminder of how far we have fallen in the last 50 years.

After saying that congressional cooperation depends on the kinds of programs Nixon would propose, Mansfield said, “we will lean over backward to give him whatever support we possibly can and, because he will be president of the United States, he will represent all of us and we will endeavor at all times to put the future of the nation ahead of the future of the party.”

Read the last part of that sentence again. Mansfield was no milquetoast when it came to his beliefs, but to my knowledge no one ever accused him of putting party before country.

Many Democrats used to feel the same.

Later in the interview, Duke noted that Nixon had a considerable number of “enemies” in Congress and wondered whether that might result in a brief presidential honeymoon?

While acknowledging such a possibility, Mansfield added, “We will go more than halfway to work with President-elect Nixon in the interest of the nation.”

Again, Mansfield put the country first.

Asked by Duke what kind of president Mansfield thought Nixon would make, he replied that Nixon’s years of experience will make him “a good president. … I wish him the best of everything in the years ahead because he will be the president of all of us and what he does or doesn’t do will determine our destiny for a long time to come.”

Everyone knows what the Nixon presidency became, but that is not the point here. The point is to contrast Mansfield’s comments with those being made by today’s Democrat leaders. Before the 2016 election and since, Democrats — with perhaps one or two exceptions (but not the party or congressional leadership as a whole) — have not had a single pleasant word for President Donald Trump, much less acknowledge he is president of us all. No bending over backward for him, no way.

It’s more like kick him in the backside and stomp on him when he’s down. Sadly, for many Republicans and conservatives, it was the same when President Obama was in office (and Bill Clinton, too).

What happened to Democrats like Mansfield and the late Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson, D-Wash., and similar patriots?

These and many Democrats who preceded them were strong anti-communists, nearly always putting the nation ahead of their party and personal interests. In the end, those priorities had the effect of helping them politically. For Democrats today, it seems that too often their careers, fundraising, appeals to the liberal base and re-election prospects matter more than the health and stability of the nation.

What changed? Plenty, including the failure to teach civics in too many schools, the absence of models of civility in public life, teaching respect for others, even when one disagrees with their position and the 24/7 news cycle and social media, which allow anyone to say anything negative and spew falsehoods with little, if any, consequences.

Where have the likes of Mike Mansfield gone?

This year marks Cal Thomas’ 35th year as a syndicated columnist. Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribpub.com.

Comments

Local

David Freeze begins cross-country cycling journey in San Diego

Local

Community remembrance events to focus on lynchings of the past, need for justice today

Local

August issue of Salisbury the Magazine is now available

Local

After 10 days, three hospitals, one diagnosis, Kassidy Sechler will return home

News

COVID-19 surging as North Carolina set to ease restrictions

Crime

Blotter: Police ask for help finding robbery suspect

Local

Three Rivers Land Trust finalizes deal to double size of nature preserve in Spencer

Local

Spin Doctors announced as headlining band for 2021 Cheerwine Festival

Ask Us

Ask Us: Readers ask about Hoffner murder case, ‘Fame’ location

Local

Cornhole tournament at New Sarum Brewery brings out Panthers fans, raises money for charity

Crime

Blotter: Salisbury man charged for breaking and entering, burglary tools

Nation/World

Senators race to overcome final snags in infrastructure deal

Crime

Child killed in Monroe drive-by shooting; 1 arrested

Local

Rowan County Chamber of Commerce’s Dragon Boat race returns after year hiatus

Local

Marker commemorating Jim Crow-era lynchings in Rowan County, racial injustice required years of work

Local

Identified Marine was a Salisbury native, served in WWII

Coronavirus

Rowan County sees COVID-19 cases coming more quickly, remains in middle tier for community spread

Cleveland

Cleveland plans to build walking trail, community barn quilt mural

High School

High school athletics: Male Athlete of the Year Walker in league of once-in-a-generation players

Business

Young entrepreneur learns lesson of responsibility by raising quail, selling eggs

Lifestyle

Historic McCanless House sold, buyers plan on converting home into events venue

Lifestyle

Library’s Summer Reading Week 10 has virtual storytime, last chance to log hours

Coronavirus

Positive COVID test knocks DeChambeau out of Olympics

College

College football: North grad Delaney ready for next challenges at Johnson C. Smith