What Became of Country Before 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-MT) by Paul Duke for NBCs 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. Mansfields 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 this: ...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 Nixons 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 doesnt 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 Mansfields comments with those being made by todays 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 Trump much less acknowledge he is president of us all. No bending over backward for him no way. Its more like kick him in the backside and stomp on him when hes 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-WA) 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? Longtime passing.

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