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Woodrow redivivus?

By Owen Paine on Friday February 1, 2008 06:21 AM

Back in the second decade or so of the last century -- the golden age of pwoggery -- this mighty "movement", this expression of merit-class hope, faith, and piety, went totally bipartisan. Even if at that time, the Republicans might have had more true believers, both parties had their mighty contingents of progressive hearts and minds.

At its high-water mark, in the election year of 1912, everyone but Pitchfork Ben Tillman, Nelson Aldrich, and "Fat Bill" Taft pretty much joined the progs' reform bandwagon, or at least cleared out of its way. Why, TR and St Woodrow -- two men more unalike than Colonel Custer and Sitting Bull -- both wanted the label boldly stiitched on their ass. In fact, they both wanted it so much they tried burying their entire political careers under an avalanche of progspeak. The parlor cowboy and the pecksniffian prig both swanned about spewing anti-corporate venom like Ida Tarbell herself.

Now back in '96, these same future pillars of our socio-political legacy had also shared a bipartisan aspiration -- but this one was of a different stripe entirely. This one was not to be achieved by mere opportunism. No, this one came from the deepest wellsprings of their social souls. It amounted in each case to an unmitigated, full throttle expression of each one's class nature. To their own surprise, even, they both discovered within them not only opposition, but a visceral horror of all things... populist!

It was as if just the contemplation of Bryan's barefoot dirty-faced shambles of a backcountry crusade forming up on the southwestern horizon might cause ringworms to seep right through their shoes and up onto their cheeks.

Nothing gave them more pleasure than to beat down this social infection. Wilson even joined Cleveland's Gold Democrat breakaway movement, that backed a pair of horses' asses willing to hold high the banner of true sound-money democracy. Both breathed more easily when Bryan got whomped.

These two heroic Orthrians of yore moved "left", along with big chunks of each of their parties' core bases, between the Bryan uprising in '96 and the prog-gone-wild parade of '12. I submit we oughta prepare ourselves for another such shift in the big two party tectonics. I see John McCain mouthing anticorporate hogwash, and St Hillabama pulling off the same range of "major reforms" that Woody and company pulled together during his 8 year reign -- a short list:

  • The Fed
  • income taxes
  • Woman suffrage
  • Jim Crow II
  • Prohibition
  • The Palmer raids
  • And of course the great Democratic staple, a high-minded war.
Well, yaa, it did kinda run down the far slope there in the second term.

Probably TR would have done 'em all too, maybe not in the same order -- the war might have moved up a few notches.

Comments (5)


re read this post
why do i bother
one might well ask

maybe iron mike mcfuck-knuckle-flooginsmack
oughta be writing these deeper dippin pieces
add some zest and take downs

maybe not
maybe its too big for any one key board
maybe it takes a village to produce kos quality insights
ya a village
or at least a village idiot

at any rate
why do i keep turning out
this raggy ended
shit anyway ...

the exposure ???
what ??

fuck its like dropping a stone
down a deep dry well

nope its gotta be for something transcendental
like ..... petty vandalism


Jeez, Owen. I liked it.


how could i do it....
on that list at the end
with st woodson's admin's
"been there done that" roll of glory
i forgot

direct election of the senate

i ask you
can it get any more progressive then that
fellow citizens ??????

christ over the next 20 years
at least a score of nasty
state machine bosses were forced
by dint of direct election
to slither back
from the light of day
into their local smoke filled rooms
no longer able to run
the whole damn state machine down home
with its
mayors garbage collectors
assesors inspectors legislators
reformers fire chiefs crossing guards
and other countless thousands
of assorted shake down artists
ballot stuffers lugs thugs
loafers no shows and dirty bag men
whilst still .... shame beyond shame...
bestriding the senate
like so many towers of statesmanship

why with a directly elected senate
began to get truely indpendent souls
right up there
in the world's greatest deliberative body
souls with an ear to the cries
of "do something you bastard"
rising from
the real honest rule following
hard working dumb ass ignorant votin' weeblery

suddenly as if over nite
the senate went from a club
filled with every states
public enemy number one
to a chamber responsive to
....in a word ..the people

yes the people
not those those those ... 40 thieves from kalamazoo


"Now back in '96, these same future pillars of our socio-political legacy had also shared a bipartisan aspiration -- but this one was of a different stripe entirely."

But insofar as progressivism was fundamentally anti-populist I don't think their political shifts were all that dramatic.



"insofar as progressivism was fundamentally anti-populist I don't think their political shifts were all that dramatic. "

that my friend is correct

at no point did either fellow's "left " shift
to proggy think
--or at least proggy speak---
violate by even 10% any of their sacred
civil values

sacred civil values
traduced 100%
by the raw milk of populism

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