Michael Maiello's picture

    Q&A With Michael Wolraich: "The Ted Cruz Of His Day"

    I am working on a review of Unreasonable Men, but there is no reason to rush when the book is getting such great coverage by top writers like Elias Isquith at Salon.

    My favorite part is here:

    "For people who don’t know, the Gilded Age — especially the late stages of it — was a period with a lot of financial instability, right?

    Yes. Every decade or so there would be a [banking] “panic” …  There would be a currency shortage because there was no central bank or Federal Reserve to manage the currency supply and the money would become tight, literally cash would become tight; companies would pay their employees in nickels or vouchers because they didn’t have the cash on-hand to pay them. That would spark bank runs and the whole economy would collapse. In 1893, and then again in 1907, that shock propelled what was already becoming a national movement into the mainstream."

    A banking panic every decade... it just seems so familiar.



    Thanks, Michael! I also have an excerpt at The Atlantic. I'll put it on the news feed.

    Excellent read ... gotta buy the book now!

    Thanks for the link to The Atlantic.  I should of been doing things around here but I couldn't stop reading.  That excerpt should really help get you sales.  Many people are still interested in Wisconsin right now because of Walker.  

    Good luck. 

    Thanks, momoe

    Hey folks, if you're a Facebook user, like the Salon page. It needs friends. Also the Atlantic excerpt, which has top billing in the politics section right now. Tweets welcome too.

    Ted Cruz is not the Robert Follette of today, nor is he Follette's 'mirror image'.

    Follette's objective was to move his Party in a new direction to advance the nation and it's people. His speech was often extreme, and his positions could be the wrong ones for the nation.

    Cruz objective is to be top GOP dog in spewing ridiculous Republican lies and BS ( 76 impeachment reasons, Dems did the shutdown...) to the low information, bigoted GOP base thereby advancing his own career and himself.

    Follette was trying to move his Party and the nation in a direction he believed in, come what may to his own political career.  Cruz objective is to move himself forward, he could care less about his Party or the nation. In that mission Cruz is, in fact, like most GOP members of Congress today, just louder, and more successful at it.


    TR said the same thing about La Follette:  "[H]is real motives seemed to be not to get something good and efficient done, but to make a personal reputation for himself by screaming for something he knew perfectly well could not be had."

    I deplore Cruz's ideology as much as you, but to dismiss him as nothing but a self-seeker is to underestimate his strategy, just as TR and many others underestimated La Follette's.

    OT: I am seeing this thread's right side margin running over the right hand column. Just to let you know.

    I know it. Will get it fixed but not today unfortunately.

    Thanks I didn't know if you were seeing it or not. 

    Could the difference be La Follette had idealistic, personal, unattainable convictions? Am I mistaken, or wasn't he a pretty unpopular politician, over all, near the end?

    Meaning his convictions meant more to him than his poll ratings, or 'what got done'?

    Cruz conviction is to be at the top of the 'not takin' it anymore' GOP/teabagger heap.  The biggest GOP loudmouth in DC.

    Promoting the 'new improved' program, unchanged for 30 years, of  failed GOP 'ideas' and policy.

    La Follette certainly had strong convictions that seemed unattainable at the time, but he actually achieved many of his goals, first in Wisconsin, then in the country. TR ultimately embraced many of La Follette's positions that he had previously lambasted as futile.

    La Follette did lose popularity over time, mainly because of his opposition to WWI, but he always believed that the people were with him and that he would be vindicated in the end. He was part right.

    To the point, I think it's very difficult to distinguish between loud-mouthing for the sake of a principle and loud-mouthing for the sake of ambition. Indeed, they often go together. La Follette was an ambitious man who ran three times for president.

    Of course, we tend to be more charitable towards those who share our principles.

    Asserting something for the sake of principle often requires loud-mouthed ambition. Doing the same for the sake of ambition rarely requires principle. Though it is often difficult to tell the difference, it is imperative that we do.

    Good point. I think the last Republican with country first principles was Lugar from Indiana. He is history now isn't he?

    We sure could use his influence on immigration reform.

    What do you see as Cruz's strategy, please ? All I see is his wooing the tea-baggers with just the right type of bait to make them all go into a feeding frenzy.

    I had to stop and think where I read Cruz was out only for himself.  Joan Walsh had a good take on this yesterday's Salon. She talked about how the GOP don't have much of a bench and how the Democrats are building one. Ted Crus isn't helping with it at all. to move his party forward.


    I agree Cruz is not much of a comparison.  Cruz has no long game just wants to be in power.  You know the stuff that come out of his mouth is mostly lies.  He don't believe all that crap. He don't care what he wrecks to get in power.  


    Ted Cruz, married to a Goldman Sachs VP...of course..., just is a bigger guy with a bigger mouth than most other Republican crackpots. It's now the Contract FROM America, not the 20 year old Contract WITH America.

    The usual stuff, end Medicare, cut taxes demand accountability except for their own Party and their own Presidents.

    BTW I have already bought my copy of Unreasonable Men. Interesting period of American history by our own MW. As a Dagger how could I not get a copy?

    This entire episode is fantastic!

    Christ, I am reading Salon and I wonder if they have the correct spelling?

    This is just great!

    Question and answer at Salon!


    Thanks, DD.  Elias Isquith at Salon is very sharp. Maiello suggested that I contact him. Before I did, he contacted me.

    Damn good interview and damn good answers !

    So, I read the article at Salon. Now I feel a little smarter.



    I hate when that happens.      wink

    Congratulations on the book. I just got my copy via the iPad Kindle app. There goes my weekend.

    So loving Michael's book.  Working on my own piece about it, too.  I thought of a Q&A but since it's been done, and done pretty darned well, I'll do something else.  Soon. 

    Thanks for sharing this, Michael.  We're all so proud of MW's talents and I'm predicting big things for this effort.  The parallels between then and now are striking and should make for some big interest. 

    Congrats on the reviews and interviews, Mike...


    So far, when you subtract my agent's cut, the money I shelled out for PR, and sundry research expenses from my advance, I'm looking at about $4,000 for two years of work. I'm hopeful for at least some royalties eventually if only because my advance is so low.

    But I like to think that I'm rich in good friends. Thanks for the support and enthusiasm everyone!

    I gotta question, from the Cranksta Gangsta Caucus--did TR really drink 3 to 4 gallons of coffee each day  (which would, without peradventure, qualify him as an honorary member...)

    I've heard one gallon a day, but I'd put a grain of salt in that coffeepot. There are is plenty of unsubstantiated TR mythology floating around.

    On reflection, I think I heard the same amount, but mentally amended quarts to gallons.  I don't think his horse drank 3-4 gallons of water in a day!.


    That said, a gallon-a-day would qualify him for the caucus.


    Way to make a stir with a scholarly endeavor, btw...that doesn't happen every day.

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