America’s Eternal Rerun
Our guest columnist is Nelson Rockefeller, speaking to the 1964 Republican convention.
The time has come for the Republican party to face this issue realistically and take decisive action. It is essential that this Convention repudiate here and now any doctrinaire, militant minority, whether Communist, Ku Klux Klan or Bircher, which would subvert this party to purposes alien to the very basic tenets which gave this party birth.
Precisely one year ago today on July 14, 1964, I issued a statement wherein I warned that:
“The Republican party is in real danger of subversion by a radical, well-financed and highly disciplined minority.”
At that time I pointed out that the purpose of this minority were “wholly alien to the sound and honest conservatism that has firmly based the Republican party in the best of a century’s traditions, wholly alien to the sound and honest Republican liberalism that has kept the party abreast of human needs in a changing world, wholly alien to the broad middle course that accommodates the mainstream of Republican principles.”
Our sole concern must be the future well-being of America, and of freedom and respect for human dignity — the preservation and enhancement of these principles upon which this nation has achieved its greatness.
During this year, I have criss-crossed this nation fighting for those principles, fighting to keep the Republican party of all the people — and warning of the extremist threat, its danger to the party and its danger to the nation…
These extremists feed on fear, hate and terror. They have no program for America — no program for the Republican party. They have no solution for our problems of chronic unemployment, of education, of agriculture, or racial injustice or strife.
These extremists have no plan and no program to keep the peace and bring freedom to the world.
On the contrary — they spread distrust. They engender suspicion. They encourage disunity. And they operate from the dark shadows of secrecy.
They have called President Eisenhower “a dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy.”
They have labeled a great Republican Secretary of State, the late John Foster Dulles, “a Communist agent.”
They have demanded that the United States get out of the United Nations and that the United Nations get out of the United States.
There is no place in this Republican party for such hawkers of hate, such purveyors of prejudice, such fabricators of fear, whether Communist, Ku Klux Klan or Bircher.
There is no place in this Republican party for those who would infiltrate its ranks, distort its aims, and convert it into a cloak of apparent respectability for a dangerous extremism.
And make no mistake about it — the hidden members of the John Birch Society and others like them are out to do just that!
These people have nothing in common with Republicanism.
These people have nothing in common with Americans.
The Republican party must repudiate these people.
[The Rockefeller Archive Center]