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Huey P Long - Monster or Martyr?

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Adenoid_Hynkel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 07:08 PM
Original message
Huey P Long - Monster or Martyr?
Edited on Thu Aug-03-06 07:14 PM by Adenoid_Hynkel
In his newsest book, Greg palast offers a flattering portrait of the Louisiana governor, stating that we need someone like him now. palast says it was Long , and not FDR, who was truly responsible for the New Deal and credits him as the real founder of the modern Democratic Party.

It had always been my understanding that long, despite his brilliant oratory and populist/socilaist rhetoric, was a wannabe fascist who ran Louisiana like a dictatorship and had plans to do the same as president of the U.S.

Am I not getting the whole story here? Has histroy been revised to treat him poorly? Your thoughts?
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SaveElmer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 07:14 PM
Response to Original message
1. Revisionism...
Democrats coopted a few of Longs ideas...thus lessening his effect...but to claim he is the true founder of the modern Democratic Party is ludicrous.

He is also the type of "machine" politician we all claim to despise now...

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Adenoid_Hynkel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 07:16 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. that was my take
verything i've seen shows Long was a phony and a bully. I'm stunned Palast is presenting him this way.
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SaveElmer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 07:24 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Long is one of those people...
That really makes history fun to read...he really was quite a character...and he did do some good. But in the main he was a demogogue primarily concerned with the accumulation of power to himself...

And in the end, his power was limited primarily to Louisiana...he and Father Coughlin represented that populism that briefly gains adherents every few decades. But the combination of Americans inherant dislike for radical change, and that the two major parties tend to eventually coopt the most popular of the populist ideas, usually renders them powerless in a relatively short time.

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pretzel4gore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 07:27 PM
Response to Original message
4. martyr
if one believes the lying liars, nothing said about huey gonna make a difference anyway.....the US has allowed huey long to be hid away in history (hushtory) along with so much else, and now it wonders how it winds up with a cheap crook like bush....
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ReadTomPaine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 07:31 PM
Response to Original message
5. I haven't read Palast's book..
But we may need a person on the left with Long's qualities to combat the GOP's hardball tactics and use the tools of the RW's political machine to dismember that party and its network of support. There is no procedural way out of the current government crisis.
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nosillies Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 07:36 PM
Response to Original message
6. Like many politicians, he had his good points and his bad points
He did seem to look out for the least among us, with his Share Our Wealth program, etc. but at the same time, did idiotic stuff like trying to censor newspapers and implementing a patronage system for state jobs.

It's like researching any other politician -- one must really study his actions and decide for one's self what to make of him. As a student from kindergarten through college in Louisiana, I had to read many books about him. The books we read in college were textbooks, so they most often provided an objective view. I can't remember titles off the top of my head right now, but some were printed by the LSU press.

What might be impressive to Palast was Long's balls, to be honest. Whether "right" or "wrong," the man was never afraid to speak out. In these times of lobbyists, corporate interests, and uninformed voters, a politician who will speak his/her own mind, damn the consequences, is a rarity. If they're out there, they often don't last long (see Ann Richards).

This editorial by Palast after Katrina might be interesting to you. http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0902-32.htm
While Palast does not say it so indelicately, I will: If Long had been around during Katrina, he'd have been in Washington f**cking s**t up real fast. He did not suffer fools gladly.

Even though I was certainly not alive in the days of Huey, I think in many ways I prefer Huey's brand of "dictatorship" over Bush's brand of "democracy" any day.
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asthmaticeog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 07:37 PM
Response to Original message
7. I want HUEY LONG tattooed on my knuckles.
It would reduce my employability to about nil, so I'll never do it, but still, I WANT to.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 07:39 PM
Response to Original message
8. All of the above.
From what I've read, not a lot mind, he was pretty good for the working class and African Americans (consider the time and place!) and was a corrupt as corrupt could get.
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peacebaby3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 09:34 PM
Response to Reply #8
20. This reminds me of an old saying we have in the South.
He may be a crook, but he's our crook.

Southern politics are something else, particularly at the local level. Down here you have good crooks and bad crooks. LOL. I guess in a way it really sucks, but it's definitely true and makes for some very colorful history.
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adwon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 07:47 PM
Response to Original message
9. Truman's opinion
"He was nothing but a damn demogogue."

My argument is not with his policies, but the means he used. Social goods are worthless if you have to bow down to any dictator in order to get them.
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nosillies Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 07:52 PM
Response to Original message
10. I'm sure you might have gone here already, but here's the Wiki link
Edited on Thu Aug-03-06 07:53 PM by amybhole
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huey_Long

I just read it, and it seems to be a very accurate picture of his triumphs and foibles. Notice how he is given some credit for pushing FDR into the New Deal.

One sentence in this article says it all -- his tactics were bullying, but he got his way. Do we as Democrats want to be above the fray, better than the Swift Boaters and their ilk, and continue to not get our way? Or do we want some representatives who will stand up and be unsavory bullies, but will make good things happen? That's a tough question for me!

edit:spelling
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nealmhughes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 07:55 PM
Response to Original message
11. He's like Andrew Jackson.
Edited on Thu Aug-03-06 07:56 PM by nealmhughes
Demigod to some, Demagogue to others.

He did scare the shit out of FDR, though!

Every man a king!

He also was a master of electioneering: at one event in southern LA he would break out a few Creole or Cajun phrases and tell of his loving old grandma dragging him to the local Catholic church every Sunday, then in northern LA he would tell the same about his loving old grandpa being at the Baptist church every time the doors were open with lots of southern ruralisms for effect instead of any French!

Hey, as his mayor of NOLA asked the president at a dinner where Huey told him not to say a word at the table, "How you like dem ersters, Frank?" to Huey's mortification... He held court at the Roosevelt Hotel (now the Fairmont) and had a 4 lane highway from its front door to the capitol in BR so he could speed from work to home...

But ask the oldtimers in LA, and they'll tell you who paved the roads and made LSU a showcase and put in all the bridges...
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RB TexLa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 10:17 PM
Response to Reply #11
26. The church thing was when he was running for the RR commission

His first campaign swing into South Louisiana he told the crowd that on Sunday mornings he would get up a 6:00AM hitch up the horse to the wagon and go get his Catholic grandparents and take them to Mass, then he would take them home and go get his Baptist grandparents and take them to church. His supporters who had arraigned the stop told him afterward that they were happy but he had been holding out on them and should have let them know that he had Catholic grandparents, to which Huey replied, "Hell, I didn't even have the horse."

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Tom Yossarian Joad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 07:56 PM
Response to Original message
12. Both
He did good and was a jerk at times.
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OzarkDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 08:35 PM
Response to Original message
13. New version of All the Kings Men Sept 22
Looks like its going to be pretty good -

Preview here...

http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/allthekingsmen/index...
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nosillies Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 08:46 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Loved the book, really looking forward to the movie
Thanks for the link. I can't wait to see Sean Penn throw himself into Willie Stark. And I can't wait to look at Jude Law for a couple of hours.

I am very much dreading the accents, however. Like fingernails on a chalkboard to a Southerner. And multiple Brits doing Southern accents, at that!
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OzarkDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 08:54 PM
Response to Reply #14
17. Jude Law worth looking at
Its been about 20 yrs since I read it, but its a great book. I remember being surprised at how sad I felt at the end. Robert Penn Warren has always been one of my favorite authors, along with Capote, Thomas Wolfe and Faulkner.
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eridani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 10:00 PM
Response to Reply #14
22. What actors never seem to get--
--is that there are MANY Southern accents.
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Doctor_J Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 10:04 PM
Response to Reply #14
25. Gonna be tough to top Broderick Crawford
I think he won an Oscar for that roll. But if anyone can do it, it's Sean Penn.
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Adenoid_Hynkel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 08:46 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. it's only loosely based on Long
but stil looks good. Penn always is worth watching.
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Adenoid_Hynkel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 08:48 PM
Response to Original message
16. just watched ken burns' documentary on him
Edited on Thu Aug-03-06 08:52 PM by Adenoid_Hynkel
I can see why he became popular. He could rip the right a new one in his speeches unlike anyone I've ever seen. His stuff still seems surprisingly contemporary, too. He knew how to exploit film-in effect, making him the first TV politician in a sense-years before the medium was invented. One minute I wanted to like the bastard, then it would talk about some totalitarian shit he pulled. He's a complicated one to figure out.
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OzarkDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 08:55 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. When he's speaking as a populist
he sounds like Dennis Kucinich giving a speech today. Dennis doesn't have the dark side, though.
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nosillies Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 08:57 PM
Response to Reply #16
19. Aren't we all complicated
I think that's what made him so immensely popular. He was normal. He didn't try to be perfect.

I have not seen the documentary, but I'll watch anything Burns does.
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pretzel4gore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 09:15 PM
Response to Original message
21. not one reply mentions that Huey was murdered...
jfk, rfk, mlk, malcomx and huey long.....murdered by the pig
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eridani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 10:02 PM
Response to Original message
23. Has anybody else noticed--
--how this thread is an eerie parallel to our current Castro thread?
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Adenoid_Hynkel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 11:20 PM
Response to Reply #23
27. i was actually thinking of Fidel when i started it
they're both examples of too much power corrupting good intentions.

still, flaws aside, they've each done more good than all the doles, bushes and reagans combined
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Doctor_J Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 10:03 PM
Response to Original message
24. He's one of those larger than lifer's
whose legend continues to morph as time goes by. Much like Richard J Daley here in Chicago. Read "All the King's Men" (Arthur Miller?). It's a sort of take-off on Long's populist/opportunist life & times. Well portrayed by Broderick Crawford on the Big Screen too.
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