Parallels

by on September 29, 2008 · 3 comments

in Uncategorized

History doesn’t repeat itself, the saying goes, but it does rhyme. To me, the recent House defeat of the financial bailout bill echoes the defeat of the national sale tax in 1932. The Depression dried up federal revenues, so the Hoover administration proposed a national sales tax to raise money. Business and the leadership of both parties favored the bill, but the public was overwhelmingly opposed. Liberal Republican Fiorella LaGuardia led a bipartisan revolt against the bill. House Speaker John N. Garner actually left the speaker’s chair to go into the well and plead with his fellow Democrats to pass the bill. Garner normally had tight control on his party, but not this time. The bill was defeated 153-223.

In both cases, an unpopular Republican administration put forward a proposal to deal with an economic crisis, supported by the Democratic leadership in the House and the vast majority of the business community. Nonetheless, a bipartisan populist revolt sent it down to defeat.

Update: Oops. Seems I confused the former Speaker of the House with the star of the Rockford Files. I’ve corrected the error.

{ 3 comments }

Buce September 29, 2008 at 3:16 pm

John Nance (“Pitcher of warm piss”) Garner.

Andrew September 29, 2008 at 9:22 pm

Speaking of historical parallels, I assume you realize that James Garner was Maverick.

stephen September 30, 2008 at 10:35 pm

Once again it seems as if politics has become part of our political system. As candidates attempt to distance themselves from unpopular leaders and ideas, the interest and need of the country is left behind.
While some will argue over the different roles political parties play in American politics, none dispute that often they are simply used as tools to get elected and re-elected. Politicians will remain with their party and it’s leadership while it is useful to them during an election year, but when the leadership begins to fall out of favor with the public, politicians often try to distance themselves. As Phil pointed out this happened in 1932 when politicians voted against the President’s bill to side with public opinion. This is also evident today. I intern in my local Obama HQ and was recently helping to put together information packets for undecided voters who wanted more information about his policies. I began to read a couple of the handouts we were mailing and made an interesting discovery. On issues where Democratic leadership has been criticized, such as ethics reform in regard to earmarks and getting economic measures passed, writers avoided mentioning the party. On issues such as Iraq and health care, where the public believes Democrats have tried their best, Democratic leadership was mentioned. When it helped Obama’s goal of being elected, he was connected to the party, but when it would hurt him, he distanced himself. As long as political parties are part of the election process, they will be manipulated by politicians for their own means.

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