In August 1941, Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt met in Placentia Bay off the coast of Newfoundland and produced the Atlantic Charter. It could be called a statement of war aims except for the fact that the U.S. was not yet at war. The Charter stated that its authors "deem it right to make known certain common principles in the national policies of their respective countries on which they base their hopes for a better future for the world."
Among the principles listed was this: "Fifth, they desire to bring about the fullest collaboration between all nations in the economic field, with the object of securing for all improved labor standards, economic advancement, and social security."
Would any of the current crop of GOP presidential hopefuls have signed this document? Or would they cravenly bow down to Tea Party orthodoxy? "Improved labor standards?" Not a chance. "Economic advancement?" Only for the rich. "Social Security?" Nah, let's turn Medicare into a voucher program instead and kill unemployment benefits while we are at it.
The tea Party likes to think they are taking on Obama but they are really attacking the foundations of our political culture in ways that Churchill and Roosevelt would have abhorred.