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Those Republicans who have called Dwight D. Eisenhower a “Commie” — today and in 1950

“A card-carrying communist”? Robert Welch said so

… Interstate Highway System greatest accomplishment

Over the past century, few Republican presidents have been considered to have had successful tenures. The lone exception and one of the few to be embroiled in scandal was Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Ike did little in his eight years historically as the U.S. suffered through a few recessions and had not wars. That was very positive. He was the sole Republican who did not do severe damage to the economy.

His greatest accomplishment was the passage of the 1956 law that established the Interstate Highway System, the first government venture into constructing infrastructure.

The irony of the passage of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure package is that one Republican member of Congress called it a “communistic” package.

It is tailored just as the Eisenhower package was, one that ultimately cost trillions of government dollars but gave a tremendous boost to businesses, which Republicans are supposed to support.

So, first, a history lesson.

Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956

The legislation did not focus exclusively on the Interstate system, but it worked with states to improve infrastructure overall so that travel would become much easier for not just businesses, but for all people.

This is an overview of the “Communistic” program,

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” that would, according to Eisenhower, eliminate unsafe roads, inefficient routes, traffic jams and all of the other things that got in the way of “speedy, safe transcontinental travel.” At the same time, highway advocates argued, “in case of atomic attack on our key cities, the road net [would] permit quick evacuation of target areas.”

For all of these reasons, the 1956 law declared that the construction of an elaborate expressway system was “essential to the national interest.”

Editors, “The Interstate Highway System,”

So, the irony of calling Ike a Communist is that he was also concerned about protecting the country against an attack from the USSR, a truly Communistic country.

Congresswoman just another far-right politician

The woman who called the Republicans who voted for Biden’s infrastructure, 13 of them, Communists was not the first from the far-right of the spectrum to do so.

Back when Ike was president, a far-right Republican actually called him a “card-carrying Communist.” Robert Welch was the founder of the nefarious John Birch Society, and he had written those words, though he later tried to walk back the comments,

Robert Welch, head of the John Birch Society, denied on this day that he ever called former President Dwight Eisenhower a “card-carrying Communist.”

In the late 1950s and 1960s the John Birch Society was one of the most prominent and extreme anti-Communist group in the country. Its style mimicked that of Senator Joe McCarthy, with reckless and unfounded accusations of communist beliefs or membership in the Communist Party, even attacking some of the most prominent figures in American life.

Mr. Welch made the accusation in a privately printed book written several years earlier, which only recently became public. In that book Welch wrote “my firm belief that Dwight Eisenhower is a dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy is based on an accumulation of detailed evidence so extensive” [that it puts the accusation] “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Today in Civil Liberties, “John Birch Society head denies calling President

Eisenhower a card-carrying Communist,” March 31, 1959

Republicans attack Republican over comments

After the Florida congresswoman attacked the 13 Republicans who voted for the infrastructure act, which is going to help in all Congressional districts, an Illinois Republican succinctly reminded her about Eisenhower’s Communistic system,

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) on Saturday slapped down colleague Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), reminding her that federal infrastructure funds she called “communist” built the nation’s highway system.

Greene viciously slammed the 13 House Republicans (including Kinzinger) who voted to pass the Biden administration’s $1.2 trillion Infrastructure and Jobs Act on Friday.

She claimed in a tweet late Friday after the vote that they “handed over their voting cards ... to pass Joe Biden’s Communist takeover of America via infrastructure.”

She named all 13 Republicans — with their phone numbers in a separate tweet — in the bipartisan effort. (Some on Twitter said they were grateful for the list so they could call in their thanks.)

A later tweet by Greene characterized the infrastructure package as “socialist,” not communist.

Kinzinger schooled Greene on “communism” and the American government’s role in helping to build a nation.

“Infrastructure=communism is a new one,” Kinzinger mocked. Republican President Dwight D. “Eisenhower’s interstate system should be torn up or else the commies will be able to conveniently drive! Red Dawn in real life,” he quipped.

Mary Pepenfuss, “Marjorie Taylor Greene Gets Reality Check: 'Commie' Infrastructure Funds Built Highways,” Huffington Post, November 8, 2021

The truth is that this woman could not make a distinction between communism and socialism — that this program is not socialistic, either.

It is quintessentially American.

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