Monday, March 01, 2010

Where Progressivism gets you

Image Courtesy: Getty Images via US News


The first Progressive in the White House.

He had his problems with opponents in politics and could describe them quite well, these people whom he did not trust, as seen in Chapter 3 of his autobiography (at Gutenberg):

When I went into politics, New York City was under the control of Tammany, which was from time to time opposed by some other—and evanescent—city Democratic organization. The up-country Democrats had not yet fallen under Tammany sway, and were on the point of developing a big country political boss in the shape of David B. Hill. The Republican party was split into the Stalwart and Half-Breed factions. Accordingly neither party had one dominant boss, or one dominant machine, each being controlled by jarring and warring bosses and machines. The corruption was not what it had been in the days of Tweed, when outside individuals controlled the legislators like puppets. Nor was there any such centralization of the boss system as occurred later. Many of the members were under the control of local bosses or local machines. But the corrupt work was usually done through the members directly.

Of course I never had anything in the nature of legal proof of corruption, and the figures I am about to give are merely approximate. But three years' experience convinced me, in the first place, that there were a great many thoroughly corrupt men in the Legislature, perhaps a third of the whole number; and, in the next place, that the honest men outnumbered the corrupt men, and that, if it were ever possible to get an issue of right and wrong put vividly and unmistakably before them in a way that would arrest their attention and that would arrest the attention of their constituents, we could count on the triumph of the right. The trouble was that in most cases the issue was confused. To read some kinds of literature one would come to the conclusion that the only corruption in legislative circles was in the form of bribery by corporations, and that the line was sharp between the honest man who was always voting against corporations and the dishonest man who was always bribed to vote for them. My experience was the direct contrary of this. For every one bill introduced (not passed) corruptly to favor a corporation, there were at least ten introduced (not passed, and in this case not intended to be passed) to blackmail corporations. The majority of the corrupt members would be found voting for the blackmailing bills if they were not paid, and would also be found voting in the interests of the corporation if they were paid. The blackmailing, or, as they were always called, the "strike" bills, could themselves be roughly divided into two categories: bills which it would have been proper to pass, and those that it would not have been proper to pass. Some of the bills aimed at corporations were utterly wild and improper; and of these a proportion might be introduced by honest and foolish zealots, whereas most of them were introduced by men who had not the slightest intention of passing them, but who wished to be paid not to pass them. The most profitable type of bill to the accomplished blackmailer, however, was a bill aimed at a real corporate abuse which the corporation, either from wickedness or folly, was unwilling to remedy. Of the measures introduced in the interest of corporations there were also some that were proper and some that were improper. The corrupt legislators, the "black horse cavalry," as they were termed, would demand payment to vote as the corporations wished, no matter whether the bill was proper or improper. Sometimes, if the bill was a proper one, the corporation would have the virtue or the strength of mind to refuse to pay for its passage, and sometimes it would not.

A very slight consideration of the above state of affairs will show how difficult it was at times to keep the issue clear, for honest and dishonest men were continually found side by side voting now against and now for a corporation measure, the one set from proper and the other set from grossly improper motives. Of course part of the fault lay in the attitudes of outsiders. It was very early borne in upon me that almost equal harm was done by indiscriminate defense of, and indiscriminate attack on, corporations. It was hard to say whether the man who prided himself upon always antagonizing the corporations, or the man who, on the plea that he was a good conservative, always stood up for them, was the more mischievous agent of corruption and demoralization.

There! He gives two distinct classes of those he does not like: Tammany controlled politicians and conservatives. Nice and easy to describe about how the payoffs and blackmailing went on for the former, and how the latter stood up for corporations in every instance. Honest and straightforward. You can disagree with TR but you always know exactly his stance and why he takes it.

Fast forward 90 or so years.

Image Courtesy: National Ledger

Nancy Pelosi on the Tea Party, 07 AUG 2009 at Newsmax:

The mainstream media were quick to jump all over conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh when he likened President Barack Obama's healthcare logo to a swastika and compared the Democrats to the Nazis.

They were much quieter about Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's reference to a swastika when she claimed that hecklers at a pro-Obamacare town hall meeting were carrying swastikas.

During her recent visit to a San Francisco hospital, a San Francisco Chronicle reporter asked her whether there is "legitimate grass-roots opposition" to the Democrats' healthcare plan.

"I think they are Astroturf," she responded.

Then she referred to hecklers at a town hall meeting: "They're carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town meeting on healthcare."

Yes those Tea Party National Socialist Democratic Workers Party affiliates who always show up! Nice to know those folks wanting less spending and less government are all for National Socialism... hey... wait a second... that is just the opposite of what the NSDAP wanted. If any Nazis did show up for a health care meeting they would be all for it!

But she is able to finally clarify her remarks!

From NewsBusters on 28 FEB 2010 reports on Nancy Pelosi being interviewed by Elizabeth Vargas from ABC News:

VARGAS: Is the Tea Party movement a force?

PELOSI: No - No what I said at the time is, that they were -- the Republican Party directs a lot of what the Tea Party does, but not everybody in the Tea Party takes direction from the Republican Party. And so there was a lot of, shall we say, Astroturf, as opposed to grassroots.

But, you know, we share some of the views of the Tea Partiers in terms of the role of special interest in Washington, D.C., as -- it just has to stop. And that's why I've fought the special interest, whether it's on energy, whether it's on health insurance, whether it's on pharmaceuticals and the rest.

VARGAS: So, common ground with many people in the Tea Party movement.

PELOSI: Well, no, there are some. There are some because they, again, some of it is orchestrated from the Republican headquarters. Some of it is hijacking the good intentions of lots of people who share some of our concerns that we have about the role of special interests and many Tea Partiers, not that I speak for them, share the view, whether it's -- and Democrats, Republicans and Independents share the view that the recent Supreme Court decision, which greatly empowers the special interests, is something that they oppose.

Ok, that is relatively incoherent even for Speaker Pelosi. But she is all against special interests! Hates them with a hatingness that cannot be compared with anyone else's hate!

Yes! Special interests... like the marsh mouse.

Marsh mouse?

From the Washington Times 12 FEB 2009 we get this from an article by S. A. Miller:

Talk about a pet project. A tiny mouse with the longtime backing of a political giant may soon reap the benefits of the economic-stimulus package.

Lawmakers and administration officials divulged Wednesday that the $789 billion economic stimulus bill being finalized behind closed doors in Congress includes $30 million for wetlands restoration that the Obama administration intends to spend in the San Francisco Bay Area to protect, among other things, the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi represents the city of San Francisco and has previously championed preserving the mouse's habitat in the Bay Area.

The revelation immediately became a political football, as Republicans accused Democrats of reneging on a promise to keep so-called earmarks that fund lawmakers' favorite projects out of the legislation. Democrats, including Mrs. Pelosi, countered that the accusations were fabricated.


"The speaker nor her staff have had any involvement in this initiative. This is yet another contrived partisan attack," Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said. "Restoration is key to economic activity, including farming, fisheries, recreation and clean water."

Republican lawmakers said they learned of the marsh money when asking about how various agencies plan to spend stimulus money. The vitality of the mouse has been an issue for Mrs. Pelosi and other California Democrats since the early 1990s.

Special interests need to be fought!

Unless, of course, you happen to like them, then you just let them slide with a 'fabricated charge' accusation for a marsh mouse habitat.

Or this bit from the National Ledger by Tom Fitton on 14 MAY 2007:

US Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) isn’t the only Democratic leader in hot water for using her influence in Congress to enrich her husband (and, potentially, herself.) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who promised a new era of ethics enforcement in the House of Representatives, snuck a $25 million gift to her husband in a $15 billion Water Resources Development Act recently passed by Congress.


In this case, the special interest may have been Pelosi’s wealthy husband, Paul Pelosi. And the pet project involved renovating ports in Speaker Pelosi’s home base of San Francisco. Paul Pelosi just happens to own apartment buildings near the areas targeted for improvement, and will almost certainly experience a significant boost in property value as a result of Pelosi’s earmark.

Remember that if a Republican had come into the House riding on making it one of the most ethical Congresses ever and draining the swamp of special interests, and then did something like this, then there would be a storm of charges about 'hypocrisy' from the Left. Nancy Pelosi? Gets a pass...

Yes she does ask for quite a few of them... 56 on her lonesome, 48 with other members and 104 that she sponsored (Source: Legistorm)

Say, what was it that TR was saying about blackmailing politicians to get legislation through?




Special interests?

What would Teddy do?

Image Courtesy: Buzzle

Progressivism just sounds so nice, so evolutionary. Yet when you go from Teddy Roosevelt to Nancy Pelosi, it seems to have gone in reverse. Both say they don't like special interests, payoffs, bribes and such... but which one actually went after them? The great opponent to the Tammany Machine? Or the marsh mouse supporter?

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