It’s been said by many a conservative, usually in a moment of frustration, that today’s Republicans are really just yesterday’s Democrats. That all Republicans are really good for is bringing in leftism at a slower and more manageable rate of growth. That when driving down history’s highway, Democrats see “Next Exit: Ash Heap” and put the pedal to the metal, while Republicans merely make sure their hands are ten-and-two on the steering wheel and speed limits are observed, so they can arrive at the exact same destination in a safer, more dignified manner.
It turns out that’s not just frustration talking. It’s actually true.
Because I’m a sadist or just haven’t lost enough friends yet, I decided to go back and take a look at where Democrats stood on the issues 20 years ago, in 1997, and compare it to where Republicans are now in 2017. The results aren’t exactly inspiring.
Disclaimer: Put away all sharp objects and controlled substances before pressing on.
Planned Parenthood funding
The final budget signed into law by President Clinton 20 years ago actually reduced Planned Parenthood subsidies by 10 percent from the previous year, despite the fact that in 1997, the organization killed more children than at any point in its prior history. In total, the government provided Planned Parenthood with $247 million in funding that year (adjusted for inflation) — or about 30 percent of its total budget.
According to its latest annual report, in the fiscal year ending in 2016, Planned Parenthood received more than $554 million in government funding — which is more than 40 percent of its total budget.
There were GOP-controlled Congresses with Democrat presidents both years.
In 1997, Bill Clinton was working both sides of the fence as only Bill Clinton can do. He was warmly received as the first U.S. president to speak at one of the country’s largest Rainbow Jihad groups, the Human Rights Campaign. But just a year earlier, he signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law with a statement that he had “long opposed governmental recognition of same-sex marriages.”
In a just-released Pew Research Center poll, a plurality of Republicans and Republican-leaning voters oppose defending marriage for the first time. Donald Trump is the first person to get elected to the presidency as an open opponent of marriage. And it was one of the founders of the Federalis Society and former solicitor general under President George W. Bush who was one of the lead attorneys pressing the federal courts to reject marriage.
In 1997, President Clinton signed into law the Taxpayer Relief Act that included child tax credits, a decrease in several capital gains rates, tax breaks on retirement and educational savings accounts, and estate tax reductions. Republicans have yet to advance any of their promised tax relief legislation so far this year. At the same time, they’re struggling to repeal one of the biggest taxes (according to Chief Justice John Roberts’ judicial voodoo) ever imposed — Obamacare.
In 1997, President Clinton approved the first of four consecutive balanced budgets with surpluses, and debt held by the public was paid down by $453 billion over that time. In 2017, one of Steve Mnuchin’s first acts as Secretary of the Treasury was to ask Congress to unconditionally increase the debt limit.
In 1997, less than a year had passed since Bill Clinton signed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. It stated that illegal aliens unlawfully present in the United States for 180 days but less than 365 days must remain outside the United States for three years unless they obtain a pardon. Furthermore, if they were in the United States for 365 days or more, they must stay outside the United States for 10 years unless they obtain a waiver, and if they return to the United States without a pardon, they may not apply for a waiver for 10 years.
In 2017, the Trump administration announced it would continue the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which allows illegal aliens who came to the country as young children to remain in the United States. Trump had promised on the campaign trail to repeal this policy. While Trump’s beefed-up enforcement has led to a substantial drop in illegal border crossings, so far no meaningful action has happened to fulfill his popular campaign promise to build a border wall.
If you want to know what the Republican Party will stand for 20 years from now, simply look at what Democrats are advocating now.
Welcome to Cuckistan.