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August 16, 2007


This is a splendid analysis and an intriguing history lesson. But I disagree with your comment that you doubt if anything Rove has constructed will last more than two months. Ask the people Rove has swiftboated, starting with Ann Richards and then Kerry. The Wilsons. I need not catalog the profound damage this swine has done over the years to people, principles, the constitution itself. I'd go so far as to say Rove has blood on his hands--those of Americans and Iraqis. Nevertheless there is talk of this criminal getting a seven-figure advance for his "memoir." What could he possibly say in it that he hasn't already leaked to the complicit MSM?

Mary, Rove may want Senator Clinton as the Democratic candidate because he can overtly swift boat her ad nauseum but can't do that to a black candidate without it backfiring. The dirtier the political game, the more Rove likes it. What fun to take on a woman, too, as many men are doing while denying it.

fascinating history lesson. i am not entirely certain of message you were trying to convey with refereence to Thomas Lamont, head of JP Morgan. are you aware of someone like Louis Howe within the current democratic party that can build upon the blossoming democratic majority. my first thought was Howard Dean, but not sure how well the comparisons line up.

More than a history lesson, this is wake-up call for progressives to think about working with the Democrats as well as working out our frustrations with them here. Major Danby said something like that on Daily Kos yesterday. My next will have a link.

So thanks, and on a personal note, isn't the presidential library at Hyde Park the most wonderful place to work?

http://major-danby.dailykos.com/ for 8/14.

I can't figure out why nobody does the obvious and more accurate comparison of Rove to Goebbels. It looks like Howe used positive methods to bring in support, that is favors and support. Goebbels and Rove used almost exclusively negative methods; defamation, withholding needed support, supporting your opponent, etc. I don't even want to speculate if he was anyway involved in our US-KGB disappearing people (how many are American political prisoners?)

I am sorry that everyone thinks that Nazi comparisons are unfair or unrealistic, but the parallels are compelling and terrifying.

Ooops, mixed metaphor! make that:
"involved in our own Schutzstaffel (SS) disappearing people".

wow. blog as art. thanks.

Interesting side note--grandfather Lamont, not Ned, was implicated in the so-called "Business Plot" to oust FDR by using a conservative veterans' group to emulate the Bonus Army march of 1932. Investigations into the matter stopped when they discovered Al Smith's involvement, among other things.

Excellent history lesson. I would suggest that stealing the Dixecrats was not so much a Rove Plan as a Goldwater Plan. Goldwater blamed Nixon's 1960 defeat on the progressive civil rights plank, and in 1961 when speaking to the Southern States Regional Conference in Atlanta he outlined the vision of party racial realignment:
"I wouldn't like to see my party assume that it is the role of the Federal Government to enforce integration in schools."
And in the same speech "We're not going to get the Negro vote as a bloc in 1964 and 1968, so we ought to go hunting where the ducks are."
Goldwater was one of 6 Republicans in the senate to Vote with Southerners against cloture (to continue filibuster) on the 1964 Civil Rights Act, sealing his commitment to Dixiecrats. In the 64 election Goldwater won the elctoral votes only in his home state (Arizona) and 5 deep south states. The Dixiecrats were long gone by 1972.....

Sara, why don't you ever break your posts after one or two paragraphs?

thanks Sara

I knew about "Louie" from the movie "Warm Springs", but I didn't understand the full extent of "Louie's work and influence until now

I personally think that allowing the repuglicans' conversiont of the "Dixiecrats" was the most brilliant thing the Democrats ever did. It's kinda like the repuglicans winning a prize that turns out to be a case of bubonic plague

the NEW Democrats are no longer beholden to any southern white "sacred cow" racist Democratic Senators

now the repuglicans get to try and hide the sheets and pointy hats in their base

to bad they can't hide the pointy heads

Great informative post Sara. Thanks for the history lesson.

And I agree, Rove is more like Goebbels.

drational, I think the Southern Strategy was, during the Nixon first term, the responsibility of Harry Dent of S. Carolina. Rove worked for Harry Dent during the 1972 campaign, traveling around the South organizing College Republicans and giving assistance to Republican Campaigns, much of it directly financed out of the White House.

Because the South had many Senior Democrats in both the House and Senate with chairmanships, it took nearly two decades for Republicans to win all those seats -- many were still there in 1992 when Clinton Won, and much of the 1994 Republican take-over was based on finally winning the last of the Majority-Majority seats. Richard Shelby's shift to the GOP was one of the last such moves.

During the 20's and 30's Howe did not have to worry about the South's electorial vote potential -- there was no Republican Party in the South. But getting those votes for New Deal programs was something else again. The Lamont example, which I don't think I explained too well, illustrates how FDR and Howe worked to accomplish such reluctant support. In Lamont's case, FDR brought him in on writing the Emergency Banking Act, passed immediately after FDR's March, 1933 innaguration, allowing for the Bank Holiday, and the subsequent reorganization and reopening of banks. In the meantime he rented Lamont the NYC townhouse. But then, having done a favor, and given Lamont access to the inner circle on a very critical issue (to JP Morgan) FDR and Howe made very certain Lamont had a very rough time during congressional hearings on banking practices leading up to the crash. They gave other politicians and business and industry leaders just enough access to support FDR's programs -- and they balanced that with clear illustrations of consequences for going into strong opposition. But the favors almost always came first. With the Southern Politicians the favors came in the form of the Farm Programs, things like TVA and Rural Electrification -- any of which could be slow walked or withdrawn unless members supported things like Social Security, Wagner Labor Act, etc. But it was always favors first, and then the tough votes on the larger price. Rove's approach really is the reverse of this, which is one reason I doubt if much of what he accomplished for Bush will sustain itself. Howe and FDR's approach built a long term coalition of interests -- I don't think this is the case with Rove-Bush. I don't see the religious right base sticking with the generous favors to Halliburton and the like as the core of a sustainable long term coalition.

Yes, I certainly think we have people in the party today who could think like Louis Howe -- but our party today is very different from what he organized and dealt with. There are very few "machine leaders" in the form of County party chairs any more, who can make or break agreements for support in exchange for favors. We have people such as Ruy Teixeira who can provide deep analysis on probable voting patterns, But this needs to be overlaid with a much deeper understanding of cultural factors behind these patterns, and organizational efforts that teach political skills, and point them in the direction of useful projects. Dean's efforts I see as essentially catch up -- putting personnel assets in districts, putting technology in place, broadly training folk on how to use it all, thus making a party endorsement or nomination really mean something of value. But we still need to extract from what we have an identifiable political culture, and I doubt if that will come from party officials or even most elected officials. Not sure yet, but it could be that Netroots will be part of that culture -- just one huge discussion group that works 24/7/365 -- that sometimes produces well researched consensus around issues and policies. Can it become a substitute for the top down machine? Don't know. It is flawed in that it does not include the unconnected, and with 20% of our citizens functionally illiterate, it cannot include them.

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