• Not something that I've really looked at; but my impression is that business was all over the place in 1933.

    Perhaps something of a tripartite division: some clung to the idea that the problem was government interference getting in the way of a capitalist economy (supporters of Smoot-Hawley, most of them, I dare say!); others preferred the associationist model, in which privately organized associations of businesses divided up the available market and eliminated wasteful competition; still others were amenable to an NRA-type regime edging towards a corporate state à la Mussolini which disciplined labor as well as business - the Swope Plan went some way along that route.

    My reading of the 1946 article is that the bill reported out by the House Labor Committee (proposing the Federal Trade Regulation Board) wasn't in play long enough for the various elements of business interests to make up their mind on it.

    Plus - I'm not sure whether business leaders would have by then been aware that FDR was going to give them a better deal in the shape of the NRA.

    Or whether any of them thought there was the slightest chance that the Labor version of the bill could pass Congress!

    I think that, if anything radical was going to be done, Spring 33 was the time to do it: but not only was FDR not ready with his plan: I doubt whether he had any intention of embracing a radical solution. (After all, it wasn't just business which was acting under the pressure of 3½ years of Depression: I doubt FDR was at that stage (at any stage, probably) prepared to bet the farm on a significant breakup or rejigging of existing institutions.)

    (That's no more than a hypothesis on my part: it's not something I've ever looked at, to speak of.)

    My sense on the evolution of business attitudes is that, as the economy picked up and the threats of widespread civil unrest and state intervention in the economy receded, business leaders felt more confident to oppose FDR.

    But, as the Patterson book on the Conservative Coalition I mentioned a week or two back describes, the ever-growing popularity of the prez (through elections in 32, 34 and 36) was a powerful inhibitor of action by those in Congress sympathetic to business and their views on said prez.

    (For instance, in 1935, the utilities bill (PUHCA) was much fought over, but, despite the efforts of Wendell Willkie of Commonwealth and Southern, FDR got 95% of what he wanted.)

    My guess (no more) would be that the bulk of businessmen stuck pins in FDR's effigy but were not themselves attracted to radical action against his policies - assuming such action were feasible which, failing support elsewhere in the polity, it wasn't.

    (The possibility of a dictator, for which role Huey Long was most often canvassed, was apparently widely believed to be a real one in the mid-30s, however absurd it seems today.

    Some businessmen might prefer their chances with a Duce; I doubt whether many did.)

    By the time the Roosevelt Recession struck, later in 1937, it was far too late for business to do anything other than stick with it.

    (Of course, late 30s politics are incomprehensible without taking into account the virtually universal assumption that FDR would not run in 40. In 40, a new era was promised in which anything was possible - so folks of all shades of opinion thought.)

    There must be a book on the evolution of business opinion in the 30s: I can't remember having seen one, though.

  • on a comment on Motion to recommit: GOP tactics over 7 years ago

    Firstly, there's a rule (XIII 3(f)(1)(b), to be precise) which says that Rules can't report a rule which doesn't allow a MTR.

    Secondly, Rules can waive the rules: which it did with the rule for the House res on Iraq.

    Thirdly, it's been tradition that the minority has been able to offer at least one substitute to every bill by way of floor amendment or MTR.

    Fourthly, the Dems bleated muchly during DeLay's reign about abuse of the rules and not running things according to the regular order.

    If Nancy makes a habit of imposing closed rules with no MTR - I'd be very surprised.

    (But I've been surprised before.)

  • Not much.

    But then it's pretty much window-dressing; as I wrote before, the House rule is just a point of order - and special rules almost always deem points of order against the bill the rule relates to be waived.

    Plus - PAYGO only applies to mandatory spending which, like social security, tends to be on longstanding programs of merit. Rather than discretionary expenditure feeding the military-industrial complex and corporate America generally.

    There are CRS reports on the House rule and the background, both PDF.

  • comment on a post Trade Questions over 7 years ago

    Clearly, the argument for fast track is avoiding the Treaty of Versailles problem, where the Senate seeks to revise a treaty that's already been agreed between governments.

    And Dems don't want to come off as the isolationists who wrecked the Doha Round. (Although, even with USG having fast track, Doha isn't in sparkling good health!)

    But - so far as I'm aware, all the bilateral FTAs need enabling legislation. And the legislation for CAFTA barely scraped through.

    (There are four FTAs signed but not ratified, so far as I can remember: none of the enabling legislation has been passed, either. And if the CAFTA legislation almost didn't make it under GOP control...)

  • The reason why the current method of filibuster developed is because majorities preferred to allow the filibustered bill to be stymied rather than hold up floor action on other bills that would pass easily.

    Fisk and Chemerinsky is the indispensable article: what they call the stealth filibuster (p20) was the work of Mike Mansfield in the early 70s.

    Coming up to date: if Reid decides that nothing much is going to be achieved legislatively in the 110th, why not give  the GOP the floor?

    Reasons: paranoia about a change in Senate practice; terror about losing control of the floor; (the biggie) knowledge that Bush is going to veto the bill anyway.

  • It's a fascinating area about which I know next to nothing worth knowing. (I'm trying to put that right!)

    And it seems odd, given the importance of the organizing power of unions to future Dem electoral success, that there's relatively little in the lefty sphere on union matters. (That's my impression, anyway.)

  • on a comment on Not There Yet over 7 years ago

    Well, there has to be some definition of liberal - and a comparison with other rich countries is one way to approach it.

    I note that, in Pew's Beyond Red and Blue study in May 2005, the questions asked on social policy were agreement or no with the GOP hot buttons of aborton, creationism, stem cell, etc, opposition to most of which is more a test of sanity than than political opinion.

    On domestic policy, there are questions on the minimum wage, tax policy and the budget deficit; and on the then current topics of social security private accounts and bankruptcy.

    Both in the questions and the answers they elicited, I fail to see any sign of a liberal country.

    For instance, the survey says that, even after the private accounts issue had been well ventilated, 28% of Pew-categorized liberals said they were in favor.

    And the rigidity of the political informs the attitudes of voters: if they know that only penny-ante reforms will pass the Congress, they'll lower their sights to penny-ante reforms.

    Plus - a serious program of liberal legislation has required a Depression and an assassination to pass. I suspect something similarly unpleasant will be needed next time, too.

  • comment on a post Not There Yet over 7 years ago

    Matt's first four words are

    This is a liberal country

    Where's his evidence?

    If you compare the US with Europe, say, the only thing the US has which is more socialist than Europe is affirmative action.

    Which is way off the scale leftwards in Europe (and even, I think, against the rules of the EU).

    In every other aspect of life, the US is less liberal.

    Now, you could blame the institutions of the state, which are deliberately engineered to default to deadlock.

    But, after one civil war, the level of discontent required to achieve radical change in those institutions is not happening any decade soon.

    So, even a law to raised the minimum wage from a pittance to slightly more than a pittance needs all sorts of greasing of the wheels to pass.

    Single payer healthcare won't happen in my lifetime.

    (But 3m in US jails very possibly will.)

    Look at the results of initiatives in true blue CA over recent years: my research isn't current, but I can only remember one passing (on rehabilitation of drug-addicted crims) that you could call clearly liberal.

    Right now, Sixpack loathes Bush and his GOP friends in Congress.

    You don't need to be liberal to do that - only have half a brain!

  • comment on a post Senator Wyden's Insider-itis Spreads over 7 years ago

    Reid studiously left poor old Sarah Carter's Dad on his own.

    And the sphere didn't like it, as I recall.

    It's the Senate way, unless - I'm assuming - one half of a split delegation really hates the other.

    Some examples of one senator from a state really going after the other from that state would be nice.

  • on a comment on The Hundred Hour Bull over 7 years ago

    For a start, unlike New Direction or Six for 06, there was no document written by the Dems embodying the 100 Hours promise.

    (So far as I was able to find.)

    All there was this AP interview with the timetable (which, I note is quoted by this piece on the DNC site - if there had been an official Dem publication of the promise, presumably it would have referred to that!).

    Bizarrely, in the AP article, the timetable is not in quote-marks. Ergo, I take it to be the journo's paraphrase of what Pelosi said.

    Given the importance of the exact status and extent of the promise, that is truly bizarre.

    So, for instance, when one reads

    Day Two: Enact all the recommendations made by the commission that investigated the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

    enact means, in normal usage, cause to pass into law. Bush's signature required.

    But - since the words aren't in quotes, Pelosi can say, I never said 'enact' - I just meant 'pass the House'.

    The context is the somewhat fuzzy nature of the Six for 06 promises, as laid out in the long New Direction: most of those promises would require legislation to be - enacted - and some of the ones on national security look squarely in the exclusive province of the executive branch!

    Compare this with Gingrich's Contract with America, which in so many words talked about bringing to the House floor the legislative proposals mentioned.

    If, back in early October when she gave AP the interview, she'd meant to make it clear that her promises related to the 100 Hours bills passing the House, and no more, she could have done it.

    I'd say it's water long under the bridge; but it's wrong to pretend that the matter was handled entirely straightforwardly by Pelosi.

  • But I think the piece he links (the Keyes piece) is saying something completely different.

    Mostly. I've read Keyes again. And - wouldn't you know?! - I think there's a lapse in logic there too:

    He says

    Even in those swing states that Kerry or Bush carried with less than 55% of the vote, representatives from competitive districts won just three races and lost six.

    Then he goes on with his
    A more accurate indicator of a congressman's success in running for higher office appears to be whether his or her district is in-sync with the state as a whole...

    Now, a rep from a competitive district (as defined) would be in-sync with the state as a whole if that state was a swing state (ditto), surely?

    So why don't competive-district reps win in swing states?

    My sense: the sample size is way too small: for one thing, it doesn't take into account the ideology of the GOP opponent. Or peculiarities of the campaign, or funding or whatever.

    And - broader point - it doesn't take into account the fact that the ideology of a constituency doesn't bear any necessary relationship with that of the member who represents it.

    (That point illustrated by the extraordinary variation in ideology produced by split-state delegations to the US Senate.)

    Fortunately, Chris's main argument skirts around all of that: he's interested (if I understand him) in the views of the presidential electorate shading Democrat.

    Which, let's hope, is true.

  • comment on a post Right Now, America Is The Democratic Base over 7 years ago

    It sounds intuitive that a state that skews strongly blue would be attracted by a rep from a district that does likewise.

    Though, be it noted - the reasons that Keyes gives for this are not ideological:

    First, if a representative must run a difficult race every two years, he or she has little opportunity to amass a large amount of money that would help in his or her bid for higher office.

    Second, it is possible that even though they are not given difficult general election campaigns, congressmen from more partisan districts likely had to win a difficult primary to win their House seat - honing their campaign skills in the process - rather than a difficult general election.


    Where you lose me is moving from statewide races to nationwide races:
    Right now, there is no real difference between pleasing the majority of American voters and pleasing the Democratic base.

    That's a completely different proposition.

    Obviously, the country as a whole is purple.

    The point you're making on, eg, Iraq, is not a point about the opinion of blue America, but about that of purple America.

    Which may be true, but isn't advanced by the Keyes proposition.

  • ...the Dems can do nothing legislatively about the war except withhold funding (in one way or another).

    And, right now, it's pretty clear that there's far from even a simple majority in either house for doing that.

    What they're left with is using the fubar of the war to persuade Sixpack to swing hard Dem in 08.

    Perhaps a power of the purse confrontation with Bush is the best way of winning Sixpack over.

    Right now, it's not happening.

  • Bush surely has to veto first time up. Then hang tough to see how the weaker sisters like Levin hold up under the strain.

    I can't see him negotiating on the text of the bill - because his line is surely that any requirement short of a funding cutoff is unconstitutional.

    When the money's about to run out, he can sign a bill with a timetable, and signing-statement the timetable away.

    By which time, the caravan would have moved onto the regular FY08 DOD apps bill - and the language the Dem leaderships want to put in that!

    (Someone really ought to do a decision tree on this. My head hurts!)

  • I agree that polling is an imperfect medium for discovering what voters thought when surveyed, and pretty much useless in forecasting what they will think months down the line.

    There are things like focus group work that can partly address the former deficiency - not much to do about the latter.

    But - what are we doing doing when we look at the polling - and get just a little excited at the results, as Chris seems to have done?

    Surely, we're looking to the polling as something that will buttress the Dem leaderships in Congress to do things on Iraq that we'd approve of - things which, if the polling should voters indifferent or hostile, they would be mightily discouraged from doing.

    And essentially the choice they have is to confront Bush with the power of the purse, or let him have his way.

    We have good reason to suppose that the leaderships are highly risk-averse, not the least the evidence of the handling of measures on Iraq itself in the three months or so the 110th has run for.

    And the leaderships' inviting a confrontation with Bush on Iraq funding would be extremely high risk.

    So, to cut a long story short, even if the polling was absolutely spiffy on current voter opinion, as you say, it would fail to answer the question the leaderships would want answered.

    Which leaves them with their experience, horse-sense and gut feel to go on.

    The other thing, like I say, is they were will be other chances to go nuclear. That makes punting on the supplemental bill an even easier option.

    I'm not quite sure what, in the context, a reality-based policy that works would be. The Dems can't implement any policy right now, just position themselves to win big in 08.

    So - it's not as if their consciences can tax them with costing US troops' lives for political gain. They're just not that powerful.

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