Tuesday, June 25, 2019

There Has Always Been A Republican Wing Of The Democratic Party. In The 30s They Called Themselves The American Liberty League


Al Smith is known primarily as having been the first Roman Catholic presidential nominee (1928). He was also a 4-term governor of New York. He was defeated badly for the presidency in ’28, winning just 8 states— 6 from the Deep South + Massachusetts and Rhode Island, even losing New York. While Smith was losing New York, Franklin Roosevelt, an ally was winning the gubernatorial seat created by Smith’s run for president. Roosevelt was reelected in 1930 (in a landslide) that propelled him towards the 1932 presidential nomination. The problem was that Smith, with the support of the conservative wing of the party, wanted to run for president again. As governor of New York Roosevelt had endorsed the idea of unemployment insurance, massively popular with a working class struck by Hoover’s Great Depression, hated by Republicans and conservative Democrats. FDR beat Smith at the convention and although Smith supported him in the general, Smith opposed the New Deal in general, which he felt wasn’t cooperative enough with business interests.

Smith joined the brand new American Liberty League, an organization founded in 1934 primarily by business elites and conservative Democrats but also with a handful of Republicans. What bound them all together was intense hatred for the New Deal. They worked ceaselessly to rally public opinion against it and against Roosevelt. The League was funded by wealthy business executives and Smith became a major player. They published pamphlets and sponsored radio programs, arguing that the New Deal was destroying personal liberty and private property rights and was socialistic. As the New Deal grew in popularity, the League— and well as the Republican Party— began to shrivel and die. It was officially dissolved in 1940, only to spring back to life decades later as the DLC, the Blue Dogs, the New Dems and Third Way.

In 1936, the League was rabidly anti-Roosevelt and attacked the New Deal nearly as shrilly as the GOP did. The problem was that the general public love the New Deal and the more the League and the GOP screeched “Socialism!!” the more popular the New Deal became. The conservative Dems became objects of scorn and the Republicans were circling the drain. Roosevelt was reelected 27,747,636 (60.8%) to 16,679,543 (36.5%). He won every state but Maine and Vermont— 523 electoral votes to 8. In Mississippi, FDR took 97.06% of the vote and did even better in South Carolina (98.57%). When the dust cleared there were 334 Democrats in the House and just 88 Republicans. There were also 13 actual socialists. In the Senate, it must have seemed like the end of the world for the Republicans. Confident that their anti-socialism campaign was finally going to bear fruit, they stepped up the shrill nonsense, lost 5 more seats to the Democrats and ended up with just 17 senators to the Democrats’ 74. (There was also 3 socialists.)

Prominent conservative Democrat Jouett Shouse of Kansas was a congressman, on the executive board of the DNC and married into a fortune. He was the only president of the League and FDR noted that the American Liberty League put “too much stress on property rights, too little on human rights.” When FDR talked about “economic royalists,” he wasn’t just referring to the Republican Party but also to the League, whose leaders, beside Shouse and Smith, also included former Democratic presidential candidate John Davis, former DNC chair John Jacob Raskob, “ex”-Republican and wealthy businessman, Irénée du Post and two of his brothers, Lammot and Pierre, former NY Republican Governor Nathan Miller, Congressman James Wadsworth (R-NY), Alfred Sloan of General Motors and Howard Pew of Sun Oil. At its peak there were 125,000 members but after the FDR landslide of 1936 it began to rapidly dwindle.

It was the League that tried, unsuccessfully, to recruit Major General Smedley Butler to lead a military coup against Roosevelt. League members lost their collective shit over Social Security, which they claimed would “mark the end of democracy.” Vehemently anti-union/anti-working class, these conservative Democrats sued the government over the National Labor Relations Act and the AFL accused them of hiring thugs to infiltrate local unions to incite violence.

Goal ThermometerOther Democrats who opposed the New Deal included conservative shit heads like Senator Rush Holt, Sr (WV), Senator Harry Byrd (VA) and Senator Carter Glass (VA). Today this wing of the Democratic Party is being led by Joe Biden, although Wall Street financiers are also intrigued by McKinsey Pete (should gaffe-prone Biden self-destruct before the convention, as many expect) and both John Delaney (MD) and John Frackenlooper (CO) are trying to offer themselves up as leaders of this faction. In Congress, the worst of the current crap would be Steny Hoyer (MD) plus rabid Blue Dogs like Henry Cuellar (TX), Collin Peterson (MN), Josh Gottheimer (NJ), Cheri Bustos (IL), Dan Lipinski (IL), Tom O'Halleran (AZ), Jim Costa (CA), Joe Cunningham (SC), Jefferson Van Drew (NJ), Kendra Horn (OK), Ben McAdams (UT) and Anthony Brindisi (NY), as well as Senators Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), Joe Manchin (WV), Doug Jones (AL), Jackie Rosen (NV), Mark Warner (VA) and Tom Carper (DE). Biden is trying to hide what is from Democratic primary voters, primarily by avoiding the media and counting on everyone remembering him as part of Obama. He’s counting on Democrats being willing to buy a pig in a poke. Former Obama chief strategist, David Axelrod, told the Daily Beast yesterday that Biden’s strategy isn’t tenable. “His message is that he’s the guy who can beat Donald Trump and he is viewed as the least risky choice. Over time, if the only interactions he has is around these screwups and gaffes, then he is going to start losing that message… I think that it is never a good idea to sit on a lead. That rarely works out well, and that's what they’re doing.” Biden has assiduously avoided TV or any media situation where people will realize he’s well down the senility road and no more capable of running the U.S. than Trump is.

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At 5:17 AM, Blogger StoicJim said...

You should change the title to "Corporate Wing" instead of Republican wing. The Republicans in the 30s also had a progressive wing which doesn't exist today.

At 6:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You will note that FDR enjoyed massive DEMOCRATIC support in the south. The GD was very difficult for southerners of all races... but the white racists were democrats because Lincoln was a Republican.

Because of this, the New Deal, FDR and Democrats (and the actual results they achieved) were wildly successful and popular.

As noted plus Stoic's note, both parties did have blurred edges on both ends where party affiliation was a matter of parentage as much as position on rights.

After the passage of Voting and Civil Rights acts, those southern democrats became republicans almost overnight. By '68, Nixon won the WH by appealing to those southern racists. Nothing has changed since then. The party that now appeals to those racists is now a very narrow band instead of a wide spectrum and overtly appeals to hate and fear for voters while somewhat stealthily supporting corporations for money.

the democraps now overtly support corporations for money. Their appeal to voters? "We're not the republicans".

The parties have both morphed into narrow adjascent bands on the FAR right of the spectrum. Voters now have parties and candidates only occupying the fascist and Nazi bands.

Yet voters still participate in the delusional religious belief that they matter to either one of the parties and/or their importance to their party will fix that party ... some day... somehow... maybe. They're wrong.

History shows us a voter-inspired euthanization of the Whigs over the existential opportunity to destroy slavery, which both parties at the time either openly supported or blithely accepted. Yet nobody in this dumbed-down shithole today thinks it can be done to euthanize the far right democraps and form/coalesce a truly left party that we've not had since the '70s.

Because of the colossal stupidity of the electorate, mostly the left, the money has been allowed and even begged to rig elections, ignore laws, commit war crimes, commit treason, lie profligately, kidnap and kill immigrant kids and ratfuck 99.99% of americans. Congress has abrogated their constitutional duties, ceding most of it to a now nearly omnipotent president.

And we have elected worse and worse assholes to that posting.

The dynamics have been complicated and on a generations-long downward vector. Voters have always had the ability to change... but have always refused.

The founders always knew the thrall of money would put pressure on their plan. But they never predicted how fucking stupid the voters could become.

not much longer though. if a democrap wins in 2020, 2024 will be our last charade of choice. If trump wins again, which seems pretty likely, that will probably be our last. And I'm predicting that way over half of the nation will be supportive of a dictatorship. As long as corporate rights are never infringed, the money will always favor the dictatorship.

I'd remind them what happened in Germany and Italy... but they won't listen. Nor will we.

At 11:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'm predicting that way over half of the nation will be supportive of a dictatorship."

I bought a book in 1968 (it's packed away or I'd give you the title) that was about this very action on the part of the public. Because the US loses a war against the Soviet Union, the Soviets change the American public with what appears to be great simplicity.

Control over the nation is turned over to what had been the American military under the orders of Soviet officers. The American military eagerly adapts to the new role they are given and become ruthless in following their orders. The American people, rather than acting as Europeans did under Nazi occupation, remain passively compliant. One could even say that they don't miss what they once had at all.

I never wanted to believe this could be possible, but after seeing how quickly so-called sentient humans flocked to Reagan and now Trump, I marvel that it hasn't already happened.

Maybe it has, only that the new ruling class isn't military in organization. It is even stateless with no allegiance to any nation. It will destroy us all in their pursuit of greed.


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