Summer 2001, pg. 136. Former U.S. Representative Stan Tupper.

Maine Bar Journal


Summer 2001, pg. 136.

Former U.S. Representative Stan Tupper

Maine Bar JournalSummer 2001Former U.S. Representative Stan TupperDuring my fifty-two years as a member of the Maine bar, it has been my privilege to serve in a number of elective and appointive offices.

Philosophically, I have always thought of myself as a liberal, one eager to support vital social reforms when the state and local community are unable to do so. Liberalism entails a commitment to help the less fortunate; to provide affordable higher education for many more of our young people, to insist on the best preventive and medical care possible to all without regard to income, and a pledge to protect the environment.

When I served in Congress in the 1960s, perhaps one third of all Republicans were liberals, providing the GOP with a strong minority voice. The late Senator Jacob Javits of New York, in his book Order of Battle, listed a number of prominent liberals living at that time.

He included President Dwight Eisenhower; Chief Justice Earl Warren; Treasury Secretary C. Douglas Dillon; Governors Nelson A. Rockefeller of New York and William Warren Scranton of Pennsylvania; Senators Clifford P. Case of New Jersey, John Sherman Cooper of Kentucky, and Thomas Kuchel of California; and Representatives John V. Lindsay of New York, Bradford Morse and Silvio O. Conte of Massachusetts, and Stanley R. Tupper of Maine. Surely, Representatives Charles Mathias of Maryland and Robert Stafford of Vermont, who later both became senators, belong on such a list.

It should be remembered that some of our most significant legislation was passed into law due to liberal backing. For example, Medicare was enacted because a small group of liberal Republicans joined with a majority of Democrats. Both the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Civil Rights Voting Act of 1965 passed only because liberal Republicans joined Democrats to pass these landmark bills.

The term "liberal" is now scorned by both political parties. Liberals have gone from being an endangered species to nearly extinct. Republicans with a liberal bent are now calling themselves "moderates," and cannot be blamed for preferring this term.

The GOP is now controlled by southern, midwestern, and mountain states, and influenced greatly by the extreme right, by the oil, gas, coal and tobacco lobbies...

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