The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
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    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Legacy of Fighting Bob

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez fascinates the press and electrifies progressives, but some Democratic colleagues just want her to pipe down and behave. One anonymous Democratic rep told Politico, “She needs to decide: Does she want to be an effective legislator or just continue being a Twitter star? There’s a difference between being an activist and a lawmaker in Congress.” According to the article, Ocasio-Cortez’s colleagues are particularly dismayed by her history of backing primary challenges to Democratic incumbents, and they warn that she will have “a lonely, ineffectual career in Congress if she continues to treat her own party as the enemy.”

    If Ocasio-Cortez does start to feel lonely, I urge her to visit the Senate Reception Room at the other end of the Capitol. There’s a man she should meet. His portrait hangs on the wall, the old guy with the bow tie and the enormous pompadour. Few remember him these days, but Senator Robert La Follette of Wisconsin was a political sensation in his day, loved by the press, hated by his Republican colleagues. They loathed him for his radical ideas, his outspokenness, and his disloyalty to the party. President Theodore Roosevelt called him “a shifty self-seeker” and “an entirely worthless Senator.” In 1907, a journalist memorably described him as “the loneliest man in the United States Senate.”

    Yet Bob La Follette’s insurgency against the Republican Party was extraordinarily effective. His passionate crusade against corporate power transfixed the press, inspired the public, and lit the spark that ignited the Progressive Movement. Many of his conservative detractors were eventually thrown out of office and replaced by progressive allies who worked with him to pass landmark legislation: income taxes, labor law, women’s suffrage, election reform, environmental protection, and corporate regulation. Decades later, the Senate recognized him as one of the five “most outstanding” senators in American history and hung his portrait on the wall. If Ocasio-Cortez hopes to make an impact in Washington, she might follow Fighting Bob’s example. Who knows, maybe her portrait may one day grace the Senate Reception Room too.

    Read the full story at the Daily Beast



    Congrats - you seem to have found a more apt contestant for the "who most resembles Bob La Follette" award, even though it's always dangerous to climb on that wagon with a mere 2 weeks in office, and of course the career course & externalities separated by 120 years of political development & world events will inevitably make the comparisons more tenuous. Still, hoping for a good supportable shake-up.

    PS - wondering if we can agree this week that removing Pelosi before this session would have been an unfortunate & disastrous unforced error as we continue with the shutdown, the Mueller & Congressional investigations, and Trump's continued compensating antics.

    Some day my Bob will come...

    I concede that Pelosi is handling the current situation very well, and I'm glad for it (which doesn't entail that anyone else would have been a disaster, however). But in the long run, I still think the party needs fresh leadership and direction.

    Oh, I was imagining she'd only hold the position a few months - and then be President. The Trump exit seems clear - getting the charges on Pence might or might not be as straightforward - but *he* can be indicted.

    Cool plan. But they'd have to be impeached simultaneously. Otherwise, the second one would appoint a new veep and leave Pelosi waiting in the wings.

    The importance of duct tape - it all relies on good execution.

    Great article.

    I wonder how the other Democratic beginners will respond once bill making gets underway.

    Thanks, moat. I think 2019 will be a cohesive year for the Democrats with the party united against Trump. Also, the stakes are low because hardly anything House Democrats pass will become law. The divisions will grow in 2020, however, when the primaries trigger a battle for the "soul" of the party.

    Not to diminish either Republican Bob Follette's record, (or OC), Ira Katznelson's book on the progressive era, Fear Itself, 2014, makes an excellent case that the entrenched, long serving and powerful southern bloc of racists in the Congress were the primary force supporting not only Democrat Woodrow Wilson's progressive achievements, also FDR's New Deal. The southern bloc, were, of course, Democrats.

    From the book:

    Southern representatives pushed the Wilson administration in interventionist directions, driving it to move beyond an original and more moderate emphasis on lowering tariffs and opening markets. Southern members, Arthur Link has stressed, led a crusade advocating “government's duty to intervene directly in economic affairs in order to benefit submerged or politically impotent economic interests." In so doing, "they helped make Wilson an advanced progressive and helped to commit his administration to a broad program of welfare legislation." .....southern preferences and votes clearly played a central role in crafting and passing President Wilson’s legislative program.  In all, “the imprint of the triumphant South on the domestic agenda of Wilson’s New Freedom,” the historian Michael Perman has rightly noted, was “indisputable.” Key legislation concerned with tariffs, economic monopolies, the currency, banking, farm relief, railroad regulation, and child labor “was brought forward and steered to passage by southern congressmen, while receiving overwhelming support from the southern delegations.”

    .....During the 1920's, with no realistic threat to segregation on the horizon, southern members often allies successfully with western Republican progressives led by Robert LaFollette of Wisconsin and George Norris of Nebraska....

    The years immediately preceding the New Deal represented a high point for white southern security about the still-fresh arrangements of Jim Crow. Forty years had elapsed since the last major legislative effort to guarantee African-Americans political rights.....Refusing to acknowledge any incompatibility between the system of segregation and wider American values and visions, southern politicians sought to legislate without having to choose among their valued objectives. Most had brought an activist agenda to Washington well before the New Deal.....

    Remarkable in his reelection of 1936 was the degree of support he (FDR) secured across the Deep South.  Roosevelt's reelection was endorsed by 87% of voters in Alabama, Georgia and Texas, 89% in Louisiana, and an astonishing 97% in Mississippi and 99% in South Carolina, where some counties reported not one Republican vote.

    Republicans and Trump are using racism and the "southern bloc" of white votes to push against OC and a new progressive agenda. We are once again being divided along racial lines, with voters exploited by lies and fear.

    It should not be forgotten, that the early 20th century progressive era in American history was to a large extent achieved with the strong support of racist southern voters and politicians, who worked to ensure it would not threaten the economic and social dominance of southern white supremacy.

    I agree that modern progressives haven't fully reckoned with the racist elements of the progressive movement, and Katznelson's book sounds very interesting. To La Follette's credit, he was well ahead of his time on race equality. In general, the Republican progressives were spared the Faustian bargain that Democratic progressives like FDR made because the South wasn't part of their constituency. So while they occasionally made common cause with Southern racists when their interests aligned, they didn't have to offer them concessions.

    This is an interesting if dubious comparison on a number of levels. First La Follette wasn't elected because of a fluke, he wasn't a Marxist and he had a brain that functioned not just a mouth that flames anyone who crosses her. AOC already has power and support unlike La Follette and along with the two  new Taliban women are the new Progressive faces of the Party.

    AOC is going to reform the democrat party and brand its' donkey with the hammer and sickle and the useful idiots will cheer.


    Needs more Rohypnol.

    ...and cowbell--you'll never go wrong with more cowbell!


    La Follette and AOC won by the same fluke all democrats use to win. The fluke of getting more votes than their opponent. Unlike the fluke republicans use to win with less votes than their opponent. Voter suppression and the electoral college.

    The word "fluke" always makes me think of whales.

    There was an old white whale involved in this tale that AOC harpooned in his sleep.

    AOC is the perfect representative along with the Taliban sisters of what a postmodern progressive represents and it;s not what La Follette was, not by any stretch of the imagination. .

    I'm very upset that Mueller shot down the latest bombshell, impeachment of Trump was so close and these three lady stooges would have been ideal choices to lead the proceedings.

    "Flukes are the two lobes of the whale tail. While each whale has flukes, flukes themselves differ from species to species. In some whale species, flukes are so distinctive that researchers use them like fingerprints to identify individuals." It's just a fluke I happened upon this.

    PP, your rambling on about flukes reminded me of the Deteriorata 'You are a fluke of the universe, you have no right to be here, and whether you can hear it or not the universe in laughing behind your back'.

    My "rambling on about flukes" was actually a definition of flukes I cut-and-pasted from the internet, thus the quotes, in response to Michael.

    If you want rambling and universe laughing back, try Trump's nonsense yesterday about how well San Antonio's wall has worked for it - no wall to think of except perhaps the Alamo walls that didn't seem to keep out the Mexicans if I got my history right.

    [undeterred by your detour to deteriorata or your other detached detritus]

    The unnamed fossil who proposed that a "Twitter powerhouse" and "effective legislator" are mutually exclusive terms is not paying attention.


    She WILL be president, an if not for the unfortunate Constitutional impediment, there would be a scramble amongst the current contenders to snag her for VP


    Disclaimer: I am a soldier in AOC's army.  I fell in love with met her on a video shoot for Zephyr Teachout's AG run, and, trust me, she carries the sacred fire.


    If she called out Hakeem Jeffries (who was my rep when I lived in Bed Stuy) I'd hit the pavement running to primary his wall street lawyer ass.


    And I am not alone.

    Just please, if there was anything untoward, keep it to yourself, 'tay?

    anything untoward


    Do I ever wish...

    Yes, that's the answer - stick with it.

    Not to put too fine a point on it if her father ...grandfather ...great-grandfather is alive, he's younger than I...ETA, no wait, her grandfather, forget the great thing....That's waaaay better!

    AOC could possibly be president of The Peoples Republic of Puerto Rico or even The Peoples Republic of Mexifornica but most of normal Americans would rather be Dead than Red.

    Good to know! We're fortunate that the normal Americans sent us an ambassador to convey their collective opinion.

    Have been wondering what a "normal American" is these days. Our brand's taken quite a hit.

    While you are probably correct that most Americans don't like the socialist label, most Americans would like to see the wealthy taxed a lot more, though, they like the sound of the Ocasio-Cortez 70% number, and this latest is not the only poll I l have seen that has noted that recently

    NEW POLL: Majority of Americans support raising the top tax rate to 70 percent (via @HillTVLive)

    — The Hill (@thehill) January 15, 2019

    In a new poll, even 45% of self-identified Republicans approved of @AOC's 70% top marginal tax rate

    — New York Magazine (@NYMag) January 19, 2019

    Of course, the devil is always in the details (such as what she is talking about is IRS 1040 filings and that would be earned income and the wealthy would just shift to unearned income to avoid paying) but in theory, the majority seem to like the idea of people with high levels of wealth to pay a lot more than they are paying now.

    It seems to be human nature to seek simple solutions to complex problems and some people are prone to resentment and other flaws that leads to this type of attitude. A well educated professional that paid 0 dollars for his employer supplied high quality health insurance told me he would get a better deal with Medicare for All so I can say that socialist ideas can short-circuit rational brain function.

    If this poll is accurate, which I doubt, it just shows some people are frustrated and some are ideologically possessed. Some people are so possessed or indoctrinated that when I told some of them to look at the government statistics on who pays what federal taxes they became incoherent and aggressive. Some people refuse to believe we already have a very progressive tax system, even after Trump's tax reform, where the top quintile pays a rate about 6 times that of the rate payed by the bottom quintile.

    Another question no one who offers these simplistic solutions can answer is why would someone who works very hard long hours at the expense of the rest of their life to make say $1 million and pay high taxes continue to work 60 to 80 hour weeks to pay double tax rates on the income over $1 million. I'd go fishing or spend time with family and friends.

    There are many other questions the neo-Marxists  won't or can't answer so they spread the lie that all wealth is stolen and they infer all wealthy people avoid paying enough taxes. This type of tax increase would affect millions of people who get only earned income as well as the much smaller group that get capital gains.

    You're not the rich. Warren Buffett & Bill Gates and whoever aren't going to just retire and hang out at the cabin by the lake. Really, you've this little insight into people?

    There are many other questions the neo-Marxists  won't or can't answer so they spread the lie that all wealth is stolen and they infer all wealthy people avoid paying enough taxes.

    The idea of taxation was not invented by Marxists, Neo Marxists, or their Nannies.

    The cost of doing business is not something businesses require from themselves. Whether a balancing of accounts comes from labor negotiating their share of return or a polity that prevents the deferment of cost upon those least able to pay is not a declaration that property is theft.

    To conflate the two ideas of debt into one is the sine qua non of right wing politics.

    Make sure to prove your allegiance by saluting at the right time.

     the wealthy would just shift to unearned income




    Hence, "Fuck income, tax wealth"


    Evidently Nancy Pelosi follows Genghis on the twitter...AOC is on the House Oversight Committee.  Laissez rouler les bons temps....

    Nancy was cool with AOC even during the leadership fight. AOC didn't act obnoxious and burn bridges, though fought for a point. She was rewarded accordingly as an important new voice/new blood.

    When AOC got the office two doors down from Pelosi, it was clear that the torch was ready to pass.

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