By Christopher Moloney, OutFront producer
Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich continue to jockey for position and attention this primary season.
But there is another name being tossed around: Norman Rockwell.
Rockwell was a 20th-century painter and illustrator most famous for the idealistic portrayals of American life that he created for The Saturday Evening Post.
In recent weeks, CBS, The Washington Post and The New Yorker have all used "Rockwell" or "Rockwellian" as shorthand for the values that many of the GOP candidates claim to represent.
Joshua Brown, writing for Forbes, called the GOP primary "a process by which the candidate who demonstrates the most willingness to bring back Norman Rockwell's America wins."
And in 2010, when Newt Gingrich spoke to Esquire, he described his family as the kind of people that "Norman Rockwell captures in his pictures."
But was Rockwell a Republican?
His most iconic series of paintings, "The Four Freedoms," was based on Franklin Roosevelt's 1941 address to Congress, and much of his work - particularly that created during the civil rights movement and Vietnam War - suggests a social liberalism.
But when approached by reporters about his political affiliation, Rockwell always claimed to be an independent voter.
And his record seems to back it up.
In 1948, he cast his ballot for Socialist presidential candidate Norman Thomas. In later years, he voted for Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower, whom he painted for The Saturday Evening Post.
During his career, Rockwell had the opportunity to meet and paint many presidents, both Democrats and Republicans, including John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon.
His portrait of Nixon still hangs in the National Portrait Gallery and shows a much more relaxed man than many Americans are accustomed to.
Rockwell called Nixon "the hardest man I ever had to paint" because he "fell into the troublesome category of almost good-looking."
In July 2011, President Obama hung Rockwell's "The Problem We All Live With," on loan from the Norman Rockwell Museum, in a West Wing hallway near the Oval Office.
The painting depicts 6-year-old Ruby Bridges, an African-American, being escorted into William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans as those opposed to integration yell racial slurs at her.
At the White House unveiling of the painting, President Obama told Bridges, "I think it's fair to say that if it wasn't for you guys, I wouldn't be here today."
In 1964, the same year "The Problem We All Live With" ran in Look magazine, Rockwell used an illustration to explain his political position, which read:
"I positively know who I'm voting for, but if anyone can guess, I've failed as an old political art pro."
Do you think Norman Rockwell was a Republican or a Democrat? Which candidate do you think he would support in the 2012 race? Do we live in "Norman Rockwell's America"?
My favorite is Girl At Mirror . It's the album cover of my spbacrook from adolescence. That image perfectly described how I felt in middleschool, where you're longing to look like someone else.
I reject the idea that Rockwell paintings showing his opposition to segregation means he is a "democrat". This shows a total lack of understanding of the conservative viewpoint.
At the time of his death, Rockwell's studio wall bore (as it still does) a 3 x 5 card with the following truism typed in uppercase letters, “The real test of a liberal is the willingness to listen fairly to a person with opposite opinions”. He saw himself as a liberal, and his illustrations often did not reflect his personal politics.
There was a time when what was then called Liberal were what you would call today Libertarian. Today's liberals were proudly called Socialists, but the brand became tainted, so they highjacked Liberal.
Interesting parlor game but would Mr. Rockwell appreciate it? From what was in the article I think he'd lead liberal as he did vote socialist in '48 and socialist is an evil word to GOP'ers. And obviously he supported the Civil Rights movement. Hard to think he'd see much to like in the 4 GOP hopefuls left in the running but that is not to say he'd be a card carrying Democrat either. If he said he was independent, we'd better take him at his word.
Why does it matter whether Rockwell was a Republican or Democrat? He painted scenes of traditional American life – the kind of things liberals make fun of in our era.
Only a person with not such a "hidden political agenda" would consider Rockwell to be anything but one of us Independents. He, no doubt, would be forced, by conscience, to vote for the re-election of the President.
This is important... why?
After careful research, I believe Norman Rockwell was an artist.
Since he was against slavery and discrimination, I'd say he was Republican.
Wrong century, the Reupublicans were only against those things in the 1800's ;)
On the contrary. They were also fighting for civil rights against the democrats. In fact, a lot of conservatives who still fight against government hand-outs like welfare realize the damages they have done to the black family in America.
Maybe he was like my Mother and Father. They always said that they were Democratic Republicans. (Mother was from Ohio...Father was from Indiana)
The best government PACS and the likes of George Soros and can buy, you betcha. Romney and Obama bought and paid for by corporations, corrupt unions, favortism to companies in loans and grants, ACORN, Restore our Future, Go Ahead, Winning Our Future, Media Matters. This government is no less corrupt than any third world nation, just Obama and Romey and Congress does not get paid with paper bags of cash but with much more civilized means. Same thing. Thanks for voting two party! The founding fathers told you not to
These guys are the best the GOP has to offer?! Romney is a robotic hypocrite mega millionaire living in a 13.8% tax bracket... Santorum is a religious zealot wants women to use Tic-Tacs for birth control, Ron Paul espouses isolationism and a hatred of the very government he wants to be the leader of, and Gingrich is the guy Bill Clinton can use as a moral barometer. And they're all tripping over themselves to cow down to the lunatic fringe of right wing. Prediction: Obama wins by a landslide.
Rockwell died in 1978. The parties have changed so much since then, it's not even a valid question.
Abe Lincoln was a republican, I have a very hard time seeing him being a modern republican, since the North east is typically democrat country and the south is republican territory.
As for Charles Heston, sounds like male menopause (lowered output of testosterone). It makes some guys mean and crotchety, some paranoid.
He was a progressive and a product of the New Deal government programs of the 1940's which financed artists and brought us Ansal Adams, Aaron Copland, Martha Graham, and Woody Guthrie. He frequently spoke out against the profligate spending of the 1920's and the hands off policies of Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover. He spoke at universities in the 1950's during which time he articulated his respect for Roosevelt and love of the common man He also on more then one occasion spoke of his abiding distrust of big business and the rich.
Why would a historically based blog entry require moderation? Baffled.
We have devolved into a society that has the best government that money can buy – and it is being bought and sold daily.
And the voters fall for it time and time again
You mean back when it was a reasonable, decent thing to be?
The fact is, like most artists whose work transcends time, they cannot be boxed in a neat little package like you, Erin, want them to be. They are far more complex then you will ever understand and to even try is demeaning to their existence as an artist. Just because someone paints people in a food line does not make them of one political persuasion or another, neither does painting vets or war scenes. You need to open your mind a bit and stop looking for labels to slap on people and realize that people have complex beliefs that do not fall easily into the categories you make.
I got news for you...compared then to now, Kennedy was a Republican. It's very foolish to look back and try to guess what someone was in regards to todays standards. Remember, it was the democrats who fought FOR segregation. And the history makers now want to make out the republicans as the racists...can anyone say Robert K. Byrd?
Why would anyone care?
does it matter what he was. people will try to use him to their own ends regardless of the truth of the matter. hell. most republicans like to quote Orwell while whining about socialist policies of the crazy liberals. Funny as hell considering Orwell was a socialist and quite publicly announced he wrote pro-socialist stories. Oh well. why bother letting the facts get in the way of the truth.
Independent-Obama and Hell No!
Why do you ask the question"was he a republican or a democrat" when in the article itself he says he was an independent.
The media always seems to conveniently forget that historically whenever Democrats were in power civil rights tended to stall or even regress. How the Dems managed to lockdown the minority vote and constantly portray themselves as the historical supporter of civil rights is one of the most baffling political shell games in history. Guess it's not too difficult when you have 95% of the media as your free mouthpiece though huh?
Norman Rockwell was an idealist in the sense that he believed what we have is better than we think it is, but not as good as it could be. That is what is consistently reflected in his art and why he self-identified as an independent voter.
I thought he was a Romulan.
What's saddest, to me, is the number of people who have absolutely no concept of changing values. To so many posters (and probably most Americans), the republicans "always" represent(ed) social conservatism and support for the rich, while the democrats were "always" the party of progressives and social liberals.
Without any concept of change or history, Americans have no perspective - and no ability to make successful decisions. The old adage is true ('those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it')...
That is not true! Abraham Lincoln built the Republican Party into a strong national organization. Further, he rallied most of the northern Democrats to the Union cause. On January 1, 1863, he issued the Emancipation Proclamation that declared forever free those slaves within the Confederacy.
Of course that has all change the republican party of 2012 is now pro slavery!
The Progressive Movement (led by Republican Robert M. La Follette of WI) of the 1890's-1920's reversed party platform ideology- making Lincoln a Democrat by modern platform ideology. The Reagan political machine allowed right wing religious zealots to infest the GOP... IMHO, a terrible mistake. Perhaps the worst thing we're dealing with today politically is the so-called 'Super Pac" Supreme Court ruling, which allows a handful of the ultra rich (mostly ultra conservatives) to hijack the electoral process.
Perhaps reading a little history of what our founding fathers stated about the future would have avoided all this nonsense. Supporting the two party divisive politics of now was warned against, and voters are so busy hating each other while the thieves make off with the loot. Wake up!
I thought he was reptilian
Rockwell was wholesome, family oriented, patriotic, hard working. Doesn't sound like a Democrat to me.
Norman Rockwell was not a Republican. He was a Protestant. Is that clear to everyone?
Here we go again, politicizing something, or someone, that shouldn't be. It does not matter what Rockwell was. What matters is what are these idiots that are running today. Members of both parties are a disgrace and are nothing like their predecessors from 30 or 40 years ago. There's not one in the whole bunch worthy of filling the role of President of the United States. They only seek to serve themselves, and no one else. In short, they're disgusting.
I disagree. I think both parties are pretty much the way they have always been. They are greedy, self serving, power mongers who will say anything to get elected, then once they get into office they lose their memory all of a sudden. They start getting those ridiculous salaries, benefits, hefty kickbacks and lobbyist bribes and they forget all about the people who voted for them. What is really said is that most voters are so easily conned and have a lousy memory themselves.
Next story... was Jesus a Republican?
I agree. Rockwell said he was an independent; why can't we just take him at his word? Or is this article inviting us to say that he ought to have belonged to one party or the other? Isn't it possible to embrace the values Rockwell portrayed without politicizing them?
What I find more disturbing is the characterization that any candidate will strive to return us to the era that Rockwell portrayed. That was then, and this is now. The past is gone, and we have no hope of dealing with the future unless we can accept the present and build on it.
Not by today's standard he wasn't, maybe back then, but he was nothing like the psychos in the GOP today.
Speaking of psychos, was Norman Bates a Republican?
Now THAT's funny! Thumbs up!
Norman Bates was a fictional character.
We must not confuse republicans with the party today. The republicans have lost their party to a very conserative fringe. They need to get control of the party back so government can work again.
I agree, just like democrats have changed into lunatics liberals, both parties have changed.
It's ironic, really... the social conservatives were democrats in the 1960's before democrats decided to get all liberal on them. It was a bitter split, and cost the democrats at least one election.
The social conservatives were welcomed into the republican party shortly after that, and worked hard to reshape their new party to fit their own agenda. Maybe the republicans will split from the social conservatives in the near future, too...
Funny really. One of Ronald Reagan's advisers said the other day that the Republican party has lost its way and has gone completely insane. Again a person in Reagan's administration is disgusted with the GOP as it currently exists.
Today's Republicans are extremely Rockwellian. George Lincoln Rockwellian.
Norman Rockwell. On Acid.
Who cares? And anyway, "Republicans" by today's standards is different than "Republicans" in the 40s-60s. Why is this even featured under Election 2012?! Irrelevant!
This is no different than how current Republicans try to cloak themselves in the visage of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln may have been a Republican in name but he bears little in spirit to those who claim the mantle today.
of course there's no way to know for sure, but if i had to guess, i'd say that if rockwell was around today he would NOT be a republican. he's an artist. most creative people are liberal. think of all the "artists" that do consider themselves republican...doofy country singers and kid rock. airhead cheerleaders and jocks like tebow. truly intellectual and creative people mostly don't lean right. i mean twisted sister did a show at a republican rally in '08. seriously?
And only a liberal would be so narrow minded to suggest that all "true intellectuals" believe what they believe. Great minds don't always think alike. Great minds think for themselves.
Rockwell was a profoundly gifted American who saw the true beauty of simple things of simple setting and painted his pictures with love and respect for the people he was seeing,if only in his mind at the time.
I could care less if Norman Rockwell was a Republican,Democrat or Martian.
I cry for the loss of such perfection of respect and beauty in the artworld as his vision gave us.
The term is "couldn't care less."
Rockwell may or may not have been a Republican - probably not - but he would have had nothing whatsoever in common with the so-called "Republicans" of today. They don't represent the party of Lincoln, or the party of me.
I can't begin to express the depths of my loathing of Norman Rockwell paintings for the most part. His wholesomeness just makes me want to violently destroy anything I see his art on. His work is about as truthful as the Soviet socialist realism (aka propaganda poster) style of art but in America somehow that idealized image has morphed into something people think was once real. Sorry, but American life was never like that, not even in the 50's. It's a lie, and a vile, pathetic one at that.
You're wrong. Maybe it wasn't the predominant situation, but it was present in America, and it was something that we should have been trying to promote. The Thanksgiving dinner (doesn't need to be a Christian thing, just consider that we should all step back and be thankful for the things we have, because almost all of us are much better off here than we would be anywhere else in the world). The other Four Freedoms. The Peace Corps picture is beautiful. And the one that led to this article. Every Norman Rockwell work I've ever seen evoked a higher spirit. Why do we, today, have trouble acknowledging the higher spirit?
I grew up in Rockwell's America. His work didn't represent all of America, certainly, but it was an idealized part of all that was really good about our country. If you can't see that, I'm genuinely sorry for you.
You are wrong. It was not only real in the 50's & 60's. Its still real in many lives today. My parents and I live and believe "The habits of the home in one generation become the morals of society in the next"
You need help. Or maybe just a Xanax.
In other words, Rockwell was not a republican or democrat but an AMERICAN. Maybe we can learn something.
No, Rockwell wasn't, but some famous Repugnantcans of recent memory come to mind: Usama bin Laden, Adolph Hitler, that witch lady and the teabag from Mini-soda, Boosh-Chainee, St. Torum (or is he just a devil?).......
"..in 2010, when Newt Gingrich spoke to Esquire, he described his family as the kind of people that "Norman Rockwell captures in his pictures." This is priceless. This adulterer claims his family was an all American family as depicted by Rockwell. Laugh so hard I almost fell off my chair.
Norman Rockwell had talent. That means he must have been a democrat.
Yep. Really makes you wonder what happened to Democrats between then and now.
Norman Rockwell may have been a Republican. I was a Republican. Norman Rockwell never saw the Republican party taken over by conservatives and never saw America under George W Bush... I have and now I am a Proud Democrat!
This is true.
You and me both. The Republican party of Rockwell's time doesn't exist anymore. Rockefeller Republicans, heck even moderates, are called RINOs.
Why is this a news article and who cares?
I was a democrat when i was in college; now that I'm in the workforce i had to change to republican. Rockwell was definitely a republican.
Makes sense because the Republicans, most definitely, are for the working class. Yeah, right.
Deep thinker, huh?
Unfortunately, Angie's uninformed vote counts as much as yours and mine.
You tell 'em, Angie. In the words of Winston Churchill, "If you're young and not a liberal, you have no heart. If you are old and not a conservative, you have no brain".
I saw an exhibit of his works recently. The pharmaceutical companies that he did illustrations for and the Saturday Evening Post put fairly conservative restrictions on his work. It was only after his Post tenure was over that he was able to express more liberal sentiments without censorship, such as the wounded soldiers lying on the ground.
Leave it to Republicans to create a golden Rockwell calf created in their own image. Fictional re-branding.
Are you surprised? They did it with Jesus.
good one, realitybites
Mr. Maloney, those are the stupidest questions I've ever read. Norman Rockwell was a great American. Like Aaron Copland (another great American), Rockwell used his art to demonstrate the good (and when necessary the bad) aspects of America. Being an American has nothing to do with parties or presidential polls. What a shallow person you (or your editors) must be to think your questions have any relevance or importance.
If you want to know what Norman Rockwell was really like, contact those people who were in his pictures as kids. Most of them live and are still living in Arlington, Vermont where Norman lived from 1939 to 1953 before moving to Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
A great citizen cannot be labeled....they are conservative in some areas...Stewardship of the land...and culture...saving for a 'rainy day'....and they are liberal...seeing new and bold. Looking for new ways to treat people who make mistakes...avoid war....Much more...
Since when are conservatives stewardships of the land?
Rockwell may have voted for Eisenhower, but in todays GOP Ike would never be President. He not only championed the New Deal and other social programs, but he warned very vocally of the dangers of the Military-Industrial Complex.
From his farewell address: "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."
Could you imagine ANY modern Republican expressing the same view?
"America is today the strongest, the most influential, and most productive nation in the world. Understandably proud of this pre-eminence, we yet realize that America's leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment."
Can you picture ANY modern Republican placing world peace and human betterment above "material progress, riches and military strength"?
In short, it does not matter whether Rockwell was a Republican, a Democrat, a Whig or an old-timey Know Nothing. Political parties and definitions change over time. What was true half a century ago is often untrue today. All that matters about Rockwell is that his art speaks to the best of American character. And American character is NOT bound by any single political part, or it's ideology. To claim otherwise is hubris and ignorant of history.
good one! And by the way, I like Ike.
Good analysis. And if Ike (or someone like him) were to run for President today, I'd seriously consider voting for him, D or R.
As for Rockwell, I wonder if some of his works weren't a sarcastic wink at over-nostalgia...
This is one of the most insightful comments I've ever read...thank you!
Very much true. He also championed labor laws and social programs.
"Should any political party attempt to abolish Social Security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are...Texas oil millionaires and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid" –President Dwight D Eisenhower, Republican, November 8 1954
The republican party today would have little tolerance for it's past leaders, even those it champions. I mean heck, look at the tax rate under Reagan and compare that to what the top 1% pay today. According to modern republicans that kind of tax rate would have caused the job creator to go on strike.
Lets also not forget the public money spent on our socialized Highway System.
And Teddy Roosevelt and Nixon both were champions of health care reform.
Over time politics changes. The democrats are a consensus party that has adopted republican, as well as championed progressive ideas from the last 50 years. While the Republican tent has shrunk, into a pup tent.
Hard to imagine anyone in the Repulican field taking a stand on FDR' s Four Freedoms whcih include:
-Freedom of Speech
-Freedom of Worship
-Freedom from Want
-Freedom from Feer
Don't forget - it was Republicans FOR civil rights and Democrats AGAINST!
no real need to reply to this because others have pointed out that the polarities have shifted. Today, Abe Lincoln could not bear to be painted with the name "Republican."
When was that? When Johnson was integrating the South?
Keep reading that history book. You'll figure it out soon enough.
Conservatives opposed civil rights, just like they opposed abolition and just like they still oppose anything decent and good for everyone. Whether conservatives called themselves Democrat or Republican in the past, we all know they call themselves Republicans today.
And the key word is "conservatives." It's not about party affiliation. In Lincoln's time, the conservatives were in the Democratic party. The old switcheroo in the two parties' philosophies (conservative vs. progressive) started during FDR and was pretty much complete sometime during Kennedy/LBJ, when the last of the Dixiecrats migrated to the GOP. So it's more than a little disingenuous for modern-day conservatives to try to lay claim to a role in civil rights gains. Does anyone really think Rush Limbaugh, Fox News and Rick Santorum would have been civil rights champions? I think the last major Republican who had any regard for people outside the white male demographic was Jack Kemp, and he's deceased.
Myron Pitts, AFAIK, the last known former KKK member in the US congress was a democrat (Robert Byrd, retired 2010).
@Mr. N: You're talking about one person, Robert Byrd. I'm talking about entire parties.
... And he renounced them in 1952, according to the Wiki, possibly earlier. Meanwhile, this: 'Contrast that with an interview Thurmond gave Joseph Stroud of the Charlotte Observer in July 1998 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his presidential bid on the segregationist Dixiecrat ticket. Asked if he wanted to apologize, Thurmond said, "I don't have anything to apologize for," and "I don't have any regrets." Asked if he thought the Dixiecrats were right, Thurmond said, "Yes, I do." ' In 1998!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I've met LOTS of former old-school democrats who are Republicans today. They claim the republican party today is what the democrats used to be 50 years ago. I think Rockwell may have fit into that catagory. Funny, how I've NEVER met even one former Republican who is a Democrat today. Why is that???
If all these Democrats are now Republicans, how is it that the Democrats had big sweeping victories in 2006 and 2008?
You remind me of the lady back in 1972 who was surprised Nixon won. She said, "No one I know voted for him."
It's a BIG country, champ.
My mother voted republican until she started working in the public schools. She hated Bush's "No Child Left Behind" policies – too much time was diverted away from teaching and was spent record keeping. She vowed at that point to vote like her kids. We were brought up in a Republican household and not one of my siblings has ever voted for a Republican. My Dad is the lone hold out. Sure we hold some of the Republican values – but we don't trust any of them to keep them.
OK, I'm a former Republican. I voted for Nixon (twice), Reagan, Bush Sr., and even Bush Jr. (once). But the party has gone insane. FWIW, I am also an Air Force Academy grad, my dad was a Detroit cop, and I went to Catholic grade school and Catholic high school.
When you have candidates saying "Separation of Church and state makes me throw up", and when you have cadres of chickenhawks looking to start a third war in the Middle East, you're losing the majority.
good one, Quatermass
Allow me to introduce myself.
Well, actually I was originally a registered republican, but joined the democrats some years ago when it became clear that the republican party was not interested in providing solutions to modern problems. Instead they pandered to the average folk while gaming the system to the benefit of their cronies. This alone would have tuned Rockwell off of the modern Republican party. Case in point, none of the past 3 republican Presidents have balanced the budget. Instead, each has dramatically raised the debt through tax cuts while claiming to be for balanced budgets. A tax cut that increases the debt is a tax increase, when the interest is finally paid. Who is getting that interest?
Hi, there. [Not entirely] pleased to meetcha. I'm a born-and-raised Republican, aged 58, who gets nauseous over what the GOP has become during my lifetime, I'm not registered as a Democrat. In fact, I live in a state with a closed primary, and when I moved here, I registered as a Republican so that I can do my utmost to either nominate someone who isn't a total wingnut, or – if that's not possible – put the least viable candidate on the ballot. I assure you, I'd gnaw my own leg off before I voted for one of the Frightening Four in the general election.
Here are some names for you just off the top of my head:
Arianna Huffington: (Founder of Huffington Post) Former Republican now Democrat
Markos Moulitsas: (Founder of DailyKos) Former Republican now Democrat
Cenk Uygur: (Founder of The Young Turks) Former Republican now Democrat
Hillary Clinton: Former Republican now Democrat
Arlen Specter: Former Republican now Democrat
And people who were former conservatives / neo-conservatives associated with Republicans who have repudiated their positions (party affiliation unknown):
Republicans who have quit their parties:
@Robert: Now, do you see how big the country is? In just this short period of time you've already encountered several people who went from Republican to Democrat. Funny how things look when you venture outside your own little circle. It was worth your time to come here and post, and I'm actually being serious.
We haven't met, but I am one and for a very simple reason; Nixon was the last of the progressive Republicans, now they are all rabid Fascists, bending to the will of the corporate puppet masters and big churches.
I miss the old party.
I once proposed to my history prof 35 years ago that Nixon was a progressive republican. This guy knew much about Nixon and took great exception to the charge. By the standards of the 1970's, Nixon was not progressive. By today's Republican standards, he he would be labelled a RINO (republican in name only) and hence deemed unelectable. Its sad when the party of Lincoln, Roosevelt (Teddy), Ike and even Reagan turns its back on their history to become the stooges of modern-day oligarchs (Rupert M can you hear me?). Oops, I gave it away. I was in college, thus, I am a snob.
Robert: You need to get out more often. Virtually all the moderates in the GOP have left the party, and are now Independents or Democrats. I and many of my friends are perfect examples. Conversely, I don't know any Democrats who left for the current Republican party's extremism. To say the current GOP is what Democrats were 50 years ago is patently ridiculous. May I remind you that JFK was elected president 52 years ago?
Cathy – I can't decide which shot is the best of the two boys on the pthaway or on the bridge with bare feet. There's a different feel to each. The mom & dad together and with each of the boys are priceless, a moment in time to remember and smile.
I was a registered Republican for over 30 years and have switched to the Democratic party. Apparently you do not realize how much things have changed in the last 30 years. There is NO tolerance in the GOP for even a slight difference of opinion now, you must love the narrow party line or you are marginalized. The GOP is now certifiably insane and have been hijacked by the religious right and they are hell bent on a theocracy.
Count me as another. I proudly registered Republican the year I turned 18. I worked on the Bob Dole campaign, and voted for Bush II in 2000. I was less empathetic then, less equipped to understand why Randian objectivism is a vice and not a virtue, so some of it is that I have changed. But the party shifted massively in the opposite direction. I can't imagine a Republican candidate for president in late 20th century actively running against any form of contraception; now they're all expected to. Religion in politics used to be little more than a nod, now we expect GOP candidates to mention God more often than our clergy does. The GOP has always had an embarrassing contingent of jingoistic, anti-intellectual, bigoted nationalists, but those people now hold the reigns. I am now registered Independent, and it will likely be a long time before I can see myself voting Republican again.
that would be the Strom Thurmond contingent, right?
Let me shake your hand and then you will have met one.
Just laughed my diet coke through my nose... Ow.
Newt Gingrich's family is "Rockwellian"?! Ha! Since when did Norman Rockwell paint torn apart families with man-wh0r3s and a pr0st1tute. I feel sorry for his first family that he betrayed. They could have been Rockwellian if Gingrich had the morals that he likes to profess that he has.
He meant to say "Orwellian" but misspoke...
good one, Corey. Either that, or the George Lincoln Rockwell connection that others have suggested.
The press misread somebody. Today's repugs are "Rockafellerian"
The question is meaningless. Nobody in Norman Rockwell's day, Republican or Democrat, was a right-wing extremist looney-toon wackjob like the GOP field this year. Rockwell-era Republicans are spinning in their graves at the antics of the Class of 2012.
Tex - they were around, but they were on the fringes where they belonged. President Eisenhower, in a letter to his brother Edgar, commented on them:
"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."
How did this article become a north vs. south conversation?
Whoever said, "It is impossible to compare today's Republican Party to that of Rockwell's time" got it about right. The modern-day GOP is being driven by right-wing zealots. Republicans from the past - and this includes the revered Ronald Reagan - would not fit into today's group. Reagan, Nixon, Eisenhower, first Bush and even initially second Bush, all made compromises with the other side. That would classify you as a "RINO" (Republican in Name Only) by today's standards.
Another foolish attempt to separate us into 'us and them'. The Democrats are no different. Obama will be remembered historically for his inability and unwillingness to compromise. He is an arrogant and self-interested person. If you want to make a real comment on the state of politics of those with whom you disagree, take your comment and place Democrat where Republican goes. If the comment is equally possible from either side, you've made a good point.
Yeah, a self-interested jerk who wants to raise his own taxes and give healthcare and equal rights to one and all. B4st4rd.
jmac - President Obama's first term will be remembered for his extended and ultimately fruitless efforts to strike compromises with a Republican Party who want nothing more (and I literally mean nothing) than to see him out of office.
Do you remember the long, arduous hearings on many fronts over health care reform? Many months passed by with hearings and meetings and discussion of options. Do you recall the Republicans' rejection of policies they themselves had previously supported?
Sadly, I suspect you don't.
@JMAC: What was the Republican compromise on the health care bill? I'm curious if you know.
Just about everything but they still did not vote for. Most of us wanted single payer and what we settled for is big insurance.
Norman Rockwell would NEVER have memorialized an American president who bows before Muslims.
@RS: You don't know what he would have done. He's dead and can't say. Don't assume everyone thinks like you.
He voted for a Socialst!!
Obama did NOT bow to a Muslim. I have never said anything bad about anyone on these chat's but you're an idiot! You are a bigot! Christians too would get upset if our Army or ANY ARMY burned bibles. Right is right and wrong is wrong!
GaryI am so sorry to have missed your enixticg show but so glad to see your wonderful work with Norman Rockwell.I am a big fan of yours and was so glad to have the opportunity and privilege to work with you while getting my MFA at WCSU. You were so helpful and inspiring and always interesting and encouraging, thankyou!!!Carmen
@RS: I can pretty much guarantee you that RS did not read a word of that story and would have missed that Rockwell voted for a socialist. A real one. Not someone cast as a Socialist b/c of political attacks.
Sorry. Who would that be?
Read the story – it's near the top. "In 1948, he cast his ballot for Socialist presidential candidate Norman Thomas."
Sorry, Mike, I wasn't clear. I was asking what president bowed to a Muslim
Outtolunch: If you don't know the basics of the American political situation, it begs the question why you're bothering to comment on a political story.
Yo, Myron. So if your point is that you think President Obama "bowed" to a Muslim, I don't agree. Plenty of room for improvement in what happened originally, there. If Muslims were burning Torahs or Bibles, there would be all kinds of excitement and lots of diplomatic involvement – unless we wanted to wind up in a war, a la Dubya.
So you're referring to George W. Bush?
(talking to RS,CA)
You mean the President that killed bin Laden, and taken out dozens of other Muslim terrorists? Are we talking about the same President?
good one, AmFem
Thanks...it's so easy when dealing with with simple minds. SOOOOOOO EASY!!!
I think they are talking about a President who bowed to a king out of diplomatic courtesy. Much like shaking hands in our culture. On the other hand, you have all of the repugs bowing to corporations out of servitude.
Regardless of how he voted, he voted – he did not sit back and not participate in the political process allowing others to influence his life for right or for wrong. He valued his right and his obligation as a citizen. Obligations imply moral responsibilities to where we live and with whom and voting is one such responsibility he recognized.
Norman Rockwell would never be a modern day Republican, the party has become way too extreme. Rockwell was born in 1894. Lincoln was a Republican and all the way until the early 1900s the party was more moderate left leaning. Even Reagan and Bush 1 look like lefties compared to crop of Republicans running today.
They're actually lefties, haha
Pointless question. Even if he was a Democrat back in the 40s/50s, a Democrat back then is much closer to what a Republican is today. Evidence clearly shows he was an independent, so why pose the question? Move on, nothing to see here.
Ummmmmmmmm...you think FDR would align with – oh, for the sake of argument – RICK SANTORUM??????? Get a grip!
Outtolunch: In fact, the modern-day right-wing Republican is going about making the claim that FDR made the depression worse.
Proving my point that they do not align, Myron. It might be valid to suggest that the Repubs of 50 or 60 years ago would not be entirely out of their element with some of today's Democrats, but I cannot wrap my little mind around the idea that he leaders of TODAY'S Repubs could have found a home anywhere but with the Dixiecrats, and – even then – might have been too far out on the edge, because they are not focused so much on explicit racial bigotry as on other reactionary social issues.
This is certainly one of the most inane discussions I've ever seen. I grew up about ten miles from Mr. Rockwell's Studio in Stockbridge, MA, and several of my Friends even posed for his Sat. Evening Post covers. Mr. Rockwell was responsible for some of the greatest depictions that I can imagine, and to try to attribute motives to something done fifty years ago is stupid, but then again, the GOP has no plan, so they're continuing their Politics of Diversion. If you think that the happy, near-perfect world often shown on Norman Rockwell's drawings could exist in a GOP-dominated country, your local Police should be frisking you for illegal drugs.
It is impossible to compare today's Republican Party to that of Rockwell's time. The Republican Party of the 1940s to the early 1970s was moderate, in some cases even progressive. There was not the great ideological divide we presently have because the majority was and still is fairly moderate in their political thinking. As now, Republicans represented business owners, old money, and the establishment. They were for less regulation and lower taxes. Democrats represented labor and the working class and tended to favor governmental intervention. But despite these distinctions, there was a lot of agreement about commonsense solutions, civility, and decency. Social norms had yet to be overturned by the turmoil of later decades. People don't like to be pushed out of their comfort zone and fear change. Right wing talk radio and Fox News has whipped their fear and anger at change into a frenzy of rancor and name-calling. If Rockwell had to pick now, he'd probably be a Democrat. It's the more moderate of the two parties and has actually moved far to the right of its position under Jimmy Carter. Ironically, we all long for Rockwell's America, but even in his own time it was a nostalgic anachronism.
I don't know if Mr. Rockwell would have been able to digest and comprehend what the political system has become in the modern day. I know my mom and dad (in their 80s) have a hard time understanding things. And not because they are alzheimer's patients. So, I don't know if he would have cared for the labels Republican, Democrat, or Independent and what they stand for today.
The Republican Party cared about this country back then. It is when the white southern male and others of his type left the Democrates that the Republicans bacame the garbage you see today. Ike and even Nixon wanted to fix some of the nations troubles, but today they just want to give rich people tax cuts.
"He sounds like the PBS Electric Company of the 1970s instead of the leader of the free world." Osama bin Laden didn't like him much either. Seriously, after that pipsqueak Dubya and his babblings, you complain about the man who avenged us for 9-11 because he said "you guys?"
Norman Rockwell is a man preoccupied by human justice and equality of rights, the perfect opposition to the extreme right philosophy of individualists like Santorum, Gingrich, Paul and company.
Indeed, Rockwell was less interested in the political race than in the human race. He turned his artist’s eye to the good and honorable in life, wherever he found it.
i,me:You also weren't N. Rockwell's portrait or htsiory model. But isn't it more lovely that he painted the black and white children breaking bread together in peace rather than either beating the other one up?Integration was a hard time, but also primary school is always a hard time for some child in the school. Would it have made you feel better if a white child had beat you up instead? That was my experience as a white child, I was beat up by other white children. Based on my experience, I doubt race had much of anything to do with it. Children can be wonderful, they can also be cruel. It has nothing to do with race, integration or politics. Its just a sad truth of human nature.
Who is this guy that wrote this article ? Do some research sir, those that enacted Jim Crow laws and enacted segregation legislation where Democrats, not Republicans. Somehow Democrats think that if they say something enough times it becomes true and they will get the mob to follow them lock step into the dark future. The only problem is that the truth is still out there.
Those were "Democrats" of a different age much like the "Southern Democrats" who ran the South for a long time after the Civil War and walked out of the Democratic party when blacks were invited to represent voters in the South. Labels are misleading, behavior is not.
Only a moron would dry to equate a Dixiecrat Politician from the 50s with a present-day Democrats, and only a fool would try to equate a present-day Republican with Ronald Reagan.
How's it going, foolish moron?
This is the major issue with the "educated" right.
If you fail to understand that the "democratic" and "republican" parties underwent a polarity shift in terms of their social, cultural, and legislative ideologies then you wouldn't be tossing around that rhetoric like it meant something. The democratic party of the 19th and very early 20th centuries was an segregationist, isolationist, racist, and xenophobically-dominated regime that didn't really come into its modern incarnation until the decade prior to FDR's ascent to the White House and New Deal Liberalism.
The party originated with Jefferson and Madison as a staunch proponent of state's rights and fiscal conservatism - two ideological touchstones of the MODERN (see: 1930'ish-current) REPUBLICAN party. If you're somehow trying to assert the notion that the socially LIBERAL "DEMOCRATIC" party (a reflection of its current incarnation) was somehow responsible for Jim Crow then you're just drinking the Glen Beck Kool-Aid.
That's not even REMOTELY true. In fact, it's not just blatantly false, it points toward perhaps our most IMMEDIATE need in American society today: reading remediation.
good one, aiglos!
In the late 1800s, when the Jim Crow laws were put in place, the Democratic Party was the Conservative Party, thus most closely analogous to the current Republican party (and the Republican party of the 1960s).
You're quite correct in saying it's an error to say Republicans voted for the Jim Crow laws, but it would also be misleading to have save said "Democrat".
The term "Conservative" makes the most sense.
Yes, but that was before LBJ passed the 1964 Civil Rights Act. After that, party affiliation in the South changed dramatically.
Yes, and when the democrats got rid of Jim Crow, all those "democrats" who were angry about it switch parties to take over the republican party.
Also–How ironic for such astute organizations such as CBS, Washington Post and New Yorker to attribute Republican standards as 'Rockwellian."
It's clear he would not be a Republican because he voted for a Socialist. And his pictures of a modest but healthy family life would be instead be a painting of a poor, lazy and morally bankrupt family if he were a Republican....If he were a Republican he would be painting the joys of being rich.
The dream of being rich and self relient. Not the dream of being a slave to the government and owning their soles to the Company Store.
Rockwell was a staunch supporter of Franklin Roosevelt, as evidenced by his depiction of FDR's Four Freedoms. After FDR died, he became anti-political in his art, and painted the issues of the day.
I think he'd be an independent – as he was, but lean Democrat & that ever hazy "libertarian'. He voted for a socialist, so I think he saw a need for social justice (sorry, Beck fans) & he voted for Ike, so there's a need for a strong centralized federal government. Add Ike's highway system & the influence of FDR – I think he'd have back some of the stimulus work but not have been a fan of the banks & wall street. Either way, I doubt he felt corporations were people (not sure how he would have painted them).
Ike was not much of a Republican, in fact not much of a politician. Rockwell would have been like that, an independent that used whatever label was useful.
Hard to imagine voting for a socialist and being a republican. Cast him into the pit!
I also find that hard to imagine. And he voted for an actual Socialist, not a person miscast as one because of politics.
It isn't clear anymore if Ronald Reagan would qualify as a Republican anymore. The man was a right-winger, but he used to say that he started out as a liberal and while he stayed the same the left moved away from him. Now, the right seems to have moved so far in that direction, fewer and fewer can identify with it.
I half expect to see Rick Santorum say he supports restarting the Inquisition to appeal to Ohio evangelicals. How could any women, minorities, labor supporters, non-Christians, or non-fanatics support him? The rest seem in a race to be even crazier.
I know that Rockwell would never have voted for any of the maniacs vying for the GOP nomination.
Well Big Al I agree and after reading the article what I think is worth making note of is Norman's quote "I positively know who I'm voting for, but if anyone can guess, I've failed as an old political art pro." today it would be easy to figure this out... I could also make some guesses as to what Norm would be painting...and most likely those paintings would not be hung in a republican's office.
Rockwell was against bigotry, therefore he wasn't a Republican. Pretty obvious.
Do your homework and then restate that comment
AliciaM – Wow, these pcitures are BEAUTIFUL! There are so many great shots all are pciture frame worthy. Your hair and makeup look so good too! Can't wait for the big day!
He was like a lot of people; he voted for whoever was addressing issues he was concerned about. Remember, this is before Newt. Nobody thought their political adversaries were actual devils from Hades back then. The stereotype is that Republicans will build a jail where Democrats will build a school, and we do need both, so when he wanted a school built he voted for them, and when he wanted a jail built, the other guys.
Good criticism uhsold serve both the artist and the audience. Brendan Behan's bitter mot ("A critic is like a eunuch in a harem... .") has more truth nowadays than ever. Modern critics seem to emulate the self-adoring wit of such beacons of critical light as Dorothy Parker and George Kaufman, but fail to capture the useful nuggets they embedded in that textual matrix.
Thanks to Jim for bringing the Rockwell Center up for duosiscisn, http://www.rockwell-center.org.One of the goals of the Center is to bring new scholarly attention to American illustration art. At the same time, I am happy to note, that the general public interested in illustration art is lokking at and reading about illustration art on the Center's web site. As far as I'm concerned, the more the merrier.
"I think it's fair to say that if it wasn't for you guys, I wouldn't be here today."
We have the most ego-centric president in the history of the universe. Also, how 'bout the prez grow up and stop using the phrase, "you guys." He sounds like the PBS Electric Company of the 1970s instead of the leader of the free world.
You're too stupid to understand what the President was saying, so I won't try to explain it.
But he's a better orator than even Ronnie Reagan - and he writes his own speeches, unlike Ronnie.
Yeah, because Pres. Bush was soooooo eloquent. Oh wait...
You are the one that needs to grow a bit. "Leader of the Free World!" Is this 1969? When it comes to freedom we are now an also ran. Obama leads the United States government, that is all. And that is the way it should be.
It was well worth the trip from Long Island (even in that storm!)Thanks for being so nice and welcoming- you were wfdoernul to talk with us. You've inspired my 13 year old neice who is an aspiring artist herself!
"He sounds like the PBS Electric Company of the 1970s instead of the leader of the free world" Bin Laden didn't like him either. Really, after Dubya and his squeaky foolishness, you complain about the word "guys?"
I hope we can clear this question up. Once I know what party all the actors, singers and artists I like belong to, I will be able to decide how to vote. Anyone know what party Pitbull belongs to?
@Farquar: Pitbull is Cuban American and is strongly anti-Castro, in his conversation and in his music. In 2008, he voted for Obama-Biden. link: http://forums.ratehispanic.com/showthread.php?t=99242
A couple of years ago the Republicons tried to claim that John Lennon was a Republican.
@sumdude: Some of them are also now claiming Martin Luther King was a Republican. Anything to class up the party's battered image as insular haters.
Well, technically, MLK was a Republican, though I sincerely doubt he'd be one today.
No, he was not a Republican. Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact looked into the claim and found it to be totally false:
I should add also that King did not claim any party affiliation.
I'm pretty sure Hitler would have voted law-and-order Republican. His National Socialists had a lot more nationalism than socialism once they got into power.
Gosh – maybe they could use "Imagine" as a theme song at the convention!
I believe Norman Rockwell would be deeply saddened by the mean-spiritedness of todays social conservatives as well as the disrespect people show to the position of the Presidency. Norman would be amused and disgusted by Newt's comment. Rockwell the "Independent" would vote for Barak Obama and for a very socially progressive platform.
Perhaps the Rockwellian world espoused in extreme conservative rhetoric is the GEORGE LINCOLN ROCKWELL world.
"I believe Norman Rockwell would be deeply saddened by the mean-spiritedness of todays social conservatives as well as the disrespect people show to the position of the Presidency."
I wish we could have him back long enough to paint 2012. He might be able to heal some of these angry haters.
I am happy to say that we don't live in Norman Rockwell's America. We are long past the time when grown up white folk yell at little girls who are just going to school because they don't like the color of their skin. As for his politics, it doesn't matter. Voting is a highly personal choice and any speculation about his affiliation and whom he would vote for were he alive today is nobody's business but his.
"We are long past the time when grown up white folk yell at little girls who are just going to school because they don't like the color of their skin. " Move to Georgia or Alabama and you'll take that back pretty quick.
Republicans don't own Americana, they just want you to think they do.
They also live in bubble that only lets in their own kind. They just don't see that much of America is very different than their imagination holds.
Right back at-ya, sport. Signed, a Republican.
- Beautiful Location, Beautiful light, Beautiful colors! I love that each and every one of these has a story of it's own, with a elitmess, modern feel! You've done an amazing job of capturing personality and connection. Great work!
Rockwell was not a Republican. If he had been, he would have painted an American family portrait where the dad was cleaning a firearm, mom was weraing a skirt down past her ankles, and the children were all online checking on their stock protfolios. Rockwell never painted American excess, nor American greed, which is what the GOP has come to represent.
Those "values" are a new development. In the 1900's, the republican party was the party of progressive liberals. Even into the early 1960's, the GOP generally opposed social conservatism (that being a democratic stronghold). The republicans of the 1980's were all about lowering taxes, but they RAISED tax rates for many things - they believed to balance a budget you needed more taxes AND less spending. It wasn't until the 1990's with the so-called Moral Majority that social conservatism + greed became the hallmarks of the republican party (led by none other than Gingrich, of course).
The party label meant something entirely different in Rockwell's time.
Rockwell would have been a Republican because Democrats of that era were anti-Civil rights and anti-womens rights...that was not what Rockwell depicted in his paintings.
You confuse southern Dixiecrats with Democrats. They bolted the Democratic Party to join with their ilk when LBJ pushed through the civil rights bills of the 1960s.
Darth Cheney – you can spin it any way you want, but the FACT is that more Republicans supported the Civil Rights act than Democrats. Also, Charlton Heston, a Republican was the first Hollywood star to march with Martin Luther King.
Why can't you just accept the fact that support for the Civil Rights cause came from MANY different walks of life. It seems like Democrats use the accusation of "racism" to slander anyone they oppose, regardless of whether it's true or not.
And another thing you got wrong – Charlton Heston was a Democrat when he got active in support of the civil rights movement. He didn't become a reactionary Republican and gun nut until later.
And there's another possible factor in Charlton Heston's careen to the Right, he later became a victim of dementia. It's possible that he began to lose himself earlier. I saw this happen to my mother and it was a very slow slide into the worst part of her personality....she became more and more fearful and paranoid....this from a person who was once funny and kind. Something to consider.
Let's not deny there is a great deal of racism alive and well in this country today, sometimes it's subtle, sometimes not, but it lives and is brought to the fore by the fact that we have a black President. Yes sometimes criticism of this President IS racist, like the comment by a PBS reporter that "He tends to get preachy!" something that might have been said of ANY President but never was, not about LBJ, not about Carter, not about JFK, no, only this President. Yes, sometimes it's "subtle" and perhaps, just perhaps, not even consciously meant.....but it's there alright. Unfortunately for us, but maybe, because we have to face up to it at last, this presidency will help dispel some of it.
And William F. Buckley also marched with Dr. King. He was driven off the editorial staff of his own magazine because he stayed the same, but the "Conservatives" drifted farther to the Right, to the point that he decried them.
Yes, Southern Democrats were opposed to the Civil Rights legislation. It was a coalition of Northern and Western Democrats and Republicans who passed the measure. After Nixon's election of 1968, he used the splintering of the Southerners from the main portion of the Democratic Party (those who supported George Wallace's Presidential candidacy) to lure them to the Republican Party, explaining that the Democratic Party had abandoned them. Please note, Governor Wallace renounced his segregationist past and remained a Democrat until the day he died.
Yep, & Strom Thurmond led the Dixiecrats – latter becoming the Republican we all remember. So, Big Al, using your logic – he would HAVE been a Republican but would NOW BE a democrat. Of course, perhaps that's the point you were making.
Darth, dude. You were wrong in Star Wars and you are wrong here.
and dixie crats were democrats and a whole lot of em and voted mostly with the democrats. So your point was?
Don't mix up the Democrats as a whole with the nasty Southern Dixiecrats; the Dems made a devil's deal to let them have their Jim Crow laws as long as they voted with the main party. As soon as civil rights got underway, they all went Republican.
You are correct. President Johnson said that his support for civil rights would lose Democrats in the South for an entire generation. They had to go somewhere so they went too the Republican Party and hid their agenda under 'state rights issue'.
Stockbridge is a fun town to visit because many of his ngnitipas used buildings (and people!) from there.Also, if you're making the trip up there, the clark musuem (about 45 minute drive north, in williamstown0, is worth the side tripRed Lion inn has a night pub in the basement for a less formal lunch.. also the ice glen, a short walk from stockbridge mainstreet, is a pretty dramatic rock formation.
Democrats of "that era" included FDR, Truman, Henry Wallace, and Eleanor Roosevelt. Hardly supporters of Jim Crow. One of FDR's biggest problems was keeping the Southern Democrats on the New Deal reservation. You must get your history from Faux News. May I suggest "No Ordinary Time" by Doris Kearns Goodwin?
Just as a minor point of information, Albert Dorne ceteard the concept of the FAS courses, and was the driving force behind it. They were the primary advertiser in our pub;ication, and at times the only one.
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