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white_wolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 05:06 PM
Original message
Huey Long.
How does DU feel about this rather controversial figure in American politics? I'll admit I actually really like his Share Our Wealth program (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Share_Our_Wealth ), but I've also heard accusations that ran Louisiana almost dictatorial, but then again the Right calls Obama a communist dictator so I'm not too trusting of random claims of dictatorship.
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Drale Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 05:20 PM
Response to Original message
1. He had good intentions but was crooked as hell
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Sherman A1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 05:36 PM
Response to Original message
2. Huey was a character to be sure, that doesn't mean that
you can't agree with some of the things he supported while disagreeing on others. There is no person you will agree with entirely except yourself.

You can take the person with whom you most likely completely disagree and you might just find a point or two of agreement. There is nothing wrong with being both open minded and listening.
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Demoiselle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 06:08 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. The older I get, the more I kinda like Huey Long....
I know about the corruption, but he made a big deal out of valuing the ordinary man. I've heard that FDR was actually pushed to the left because Huey was a serious force back then. We aren't seeing a lot of valuing the ordinary man these days...
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Sherman A1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 06:15 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Agreed
The working class was at one time a bit more respected than it is today. Granted much of that respect was in the form of "what can we sell to them", but it was respect of a kind.
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-08-11 09:37 PM
Response to Reply #2
20. I frequently
disagree with myself, as I grow older.
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Vodid Donating Member (99 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 06:06 PM
Response to Original message
3. The song; Every Man a King
Convinced that Americans would embrace his "Share the Wealth" program, Long called in the LSU band director, Castro Carazo, to write a campaign song. Carazo, in a matter of minutes, came up with a catchy tune. Long added the lyrics to the song that became a Louisiana legend, "Every Man a King". After the all night song-writing session, Long called in reporters about dawn and sang it to them in his pajamas with Carazo at his baby grand.

"Every Man a King" by Huey P. Long

Why weep or slumber, America
Land of brave and true
With castles, clothing and food for all;
All belongs to you.
Ev'ry man a king, ev'ry man a king
For you can be a millionaire
But there's something belonging to others;
There's enough for all people to share;
When it's sunny June and December too,
Or in the winter or spring,
There'll be peace without end,
Every neighbor a friend,
With ev'ry man a king.
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 06:09 PM
Response to Original message
5. Rather Fond Of The Kingfish, Myself, Sir
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ipaint Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 06:20 PM
Response to Original message
7. He did amazing things for the poor and working poor in Louisiana.
Puts our current batch of crony capitalists to shame.


Huey Long transformed the economic reality in Louisiana from a system stacked against its rural poor citizens to a system that offered opportunity and tools for advancement. By 1936, Longs programs and progressive policies saved the average Louisiana family more than $425 a year in daily living expenses (equivalent to $5,100 today). Coupled with free education and easier mobility, people on every step of the economic ladder received a chance to get ahead, especially the poor.

http://www.hueylong.com/programs/economic-reform.php




Long initiated the expansion of the states two Charity Hospitals to create a network of public hospitals accessible to the poor. Capacity at New Orleans Charity Hospital was more than doubled, reducing the death rate by 30 percent. He also founded the LSU Medical School, a modern training institution adjacent to New Orleans Charity Hospital.


Huey Long modernized Louisiana's hospitals, with new treatment rooms and sterilizing equipment.
from Every Man a King by Huey Long; reproduced by permission.
Long modernized and expanded the states institutions for its neglected disabled and mentally ill patients, abolishing the practice of chaining patients to their chairs in plow stocks and providing modern therapy and dental care. His administration also built institutions for mentally disabled children and epileptics. He reformed the prison system by providing inmates dental and medical care.

Through the Board of Health, Long tripled funding for public healthcare. The states free health clinics grew from 10 in 1926 to 31 in 1933, providing free immunizations to 67 percent of the rural population.

By expanding the states network of roads and bridges, Long made it possible for citizens especially the rural poor to seek professional healthcare and hospitalization.

http://www.hueylong.com/programs/healthcare.php



His list of accomplishments on behalf of the poor is unmatched. If all you know about Long is that he was crooked, you don't know anything.


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Poboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 06:24 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. He shook down big oil and put textbooks in the classrooms.
Infrastructure, roads, bridges, etc. He was 10x's the public servant than any current governor. He's the man who forced FDR to the left. He would have been a formidable opponent.
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ipaint Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 06:27 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Yes. Another missed opportunity for the poor and working poor.
Share Our Wealth Proposal

Cap personal fortunes at $50 million each equivalent to about $600 million today (later reduced to $5 - $8 million, or $60 - $96 million today)

Limit annual income to one million dollars each (about $12 million today)

Limit inheritances to five million dollars each (about $60 million today)

Guarantee every family an annual income of $2,000 (or one-third the national average)

Free college education and vocational training

Old-age pensions for all persons over 60

Veterans benefits and healthcare

A 30 hour work week

A four week vacation for every worker

Greater regulation of commodity production to stabilize prices


"Now, my friends, we have got to hit the root with the ax. Centralized power in the hands of a few, with centralized credit in the hands of a few, is the trouble.
Huey Long
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gratuitous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 06:30 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. He was pretty shrewd
I read a biography of Long some years ago. Louisiana is as tax-averse place as you're ever likely to find. But during Long's time as governor, Louisiana got a pot of money to lay some paved roads. Long called in his advisors to figure out the best use of the money. Some of his men said to pave a highway from New Orleans to Baton Rouge, figuring that would cater to the highest traffic. Others said it should run from Baton Rouge to Winnfield, Huey's home town.

While the two sides were arguing, Long grabbed a red pencil and a map of the state. He started marking it, and after a couple of minutes, turned it around and said this was where they were going to pave. The map had dozens of marks on it, joining small towns here and there, longer runs between larger towns, and short little runs maybe a quarter mile long. His advisors looked at him like he was crazy. Huey's reasoning was that the patchwork of paved roads meant just about everyone in Louisiana at some point or another was going to run on a paved road at some point. And they'd like it. And they would willingly tax themselves to pave more roads.
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white_wolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 06:59 PM
Response to Reply #7
12. Damn. I wish some of our politcans would run on
the Share our Wealth program. If the Right wants to scream Socialism, then let them scream it.
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stevedeshazer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 06:58 PM
Response to Original message
11. He is one of my heroes.
The man was a genius.

He was assassinated for a reason.

We could only be so lucky to have someone like him on our side today.

This is an interesting read: http://www.amazon.com/Huey-Long-T-Harry-Williams/dp/039...

Every Man A King.
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CrossChris Donating Member (641 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-08-11 09:49 AM
Response to Original message
13. We need more like him today. Badly. He pushed FDR to the left & influenced the New Deal.
I think Grayson might have been a fan.
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BobbyBoring Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-08-11 09:55 AM
Response to Original message
14. We need more Hueys
Check out a flick called All the Kings Men with Sean Penn. It's based on Huey Ps life.
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davsand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-08-11 10:28 AM
Response to Original message
15. I once read a story about Huey P opening the doors to black nurses.
Edited on Fri Apr-08-11 10:59 AM by davsand
I never have looked for confirmation on it, but I can easily see it happening...

Huey P was made aware of the fact that the Louisiana nursing world was closed to black women. He made arrangements to tour one of the larger hospitals and threw a "fit" behind closed doors with the administrator about white women being forced to nursemaid black men (oh the OUTRAGE!) He instructed the hospital to make sure that indignity was corrected ASAP.

The first nursing program to hire minority applicants was begun by that hospital shortly after that.

Again, I have never fact checked that story, however, from what I have seen, that is just typical of his style. I think he was probably corrupt, I think he was not exactly above reproach, but I think he did an awful lot of good in a place and time that needed it desperately.


YMMV.




Laura
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socialist_n_TN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-08-11 10:37 AM
Response to Original message
16. I like his programs from what little I know.........
To be a big time pol, he actually DID seem to have the benefit of the working class in his heart and policies. More so than ANY pol today.

My favorite Huey Long quote (I believe this is true, but it might be apocryphal) was the one about wealth being like manure. If it's spread around in a garden, it does a world of good, but if it's piled up in one place, it just stinks. :)
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Bgno64 Donating Member (255 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-08-11 10:44 AM
Response to Original message
17. He didn't take ho sh*t, either
Not like the spineless Democratic Party of today. He was in your face, vocal and unapologetic about his views, stood up for what he believed in.
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Jmaxfie1 Donating Member (707 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-08-11 11:47 AM
Response to Original message
18. Some good ideas, but he was personally corrupt and did tend towards demagoguery.
I wouldn't say he was a dictator, but he did have certain proclivities in that direction.
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white_wolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-08-11 09:48 PM
Response to Reply #18
23. One of my political science teaches once said
that a cynic might say the difference between a demagogue and a statesmen is one gets away with it and the other doesn't. Perhaps, in this case there was no difference save that his enemies managed to destroy
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Poboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-08-11 09:35 PM
Response to Original message
19. I kick for Huey. We don't have him as a topic nearly enough.
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scarletwoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-08-11 09:41 PM
Response to Original message
21. Great thread! Thank you. k&r (nt)
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musette_sf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-08-11 09:48 PM
Response to Original message
22. I didn't like driving on his bridge very much
with the 9- foot lanes made for old, narrow, high cars,

but it was the fastest way to get to Old Man River's and Mosca's back in the day

and the reconstruction project seems to be going well:

http://www.wdsu.com/r/27484727/detail.html

But seriously, EWE wished he was Huey P, know what I'm sayin'?
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Poboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-08-11 10:39 PM
Response to Reply #22
24. Would you be talking about 'fast Eddie'? Yeah.
And yes, the bridge widening is a massive undertaking. Passing trucks on it gives you a 'rush' for sure. Throw in the train that passes through the center and we're really having fun. I sometimes use that one, but generally use the GNO.
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