Funny how "the Democrats will overreach" goes from conventional media wisdom to a Republican strategy in two weeks. pic.twitter.com/8KhJ55F548
— Schooley (@Rschooley) November 26, 2018
A reminder from historian Eric Rauchway, in Time, that the GOP has been untrustworthy about its deepest alliance (to money, not voters) since at least the First Great Depression:
After this November’s blue wave crashed on the electoral shore, Congress returned to Washington in the all-American oddity of the lame-duck session, when lawmakers who have lost their posts but retain office go to work on Capitol Hill. But the lame-duck session is more than just strange: it’s dangerous for incoming majorities hoping to keep their campaign promises.
As one political scientist observed in 1933, “defeated Congressmen have frequently been found trouble-makers and mischief-mongers” while they remain in Washington. He had reason to know, having just watched president Herbert Hoover and other defeated Republicans spend their last weeks in office trying to deny Franklin Roosevelt and the new Democratic majority the ability to enact their promised New Deal — and nearly succeeding.
Hoover understood quite well what the New Deal would mean because, as he grumbled, “there is constant promise” from the Democrats of their new policies. Once in office they would borrow money to build dams, roads, bridges and whatever else they could to put Americans to work. They would increase the debt and cause inflation. (Although Roosevelt had declared himself in favor of a balanced budget, he admitted he would do nothing in that direction that would inhibit Depression relief.) During the campaign Hoover warned these policies would “destroy the very foundations of the American system of life,” and said they smelled of the same “fumes of the witch’s caldron which boiled over in Russia.”…
Hoover tried several strategies. First, he worked hard if quietly with his Congressional allies to stop any substantial lawmaking. Democrats drafted a farm relief bill to ease the Depression’s effects on agriculture, and also a bill to permit the sale of beer (which would have been a first step in ending Prohibition). If they passed, it would prove Hoover could have acted sooner on both counts. He opposed them, telling an aide their passage would “mean the destruction of the Republican Party.… Our game is to prevent the cloture … and encourage all filibustering.” He succeeded. Observers credited his actions with stopping both bills.
The repudiated president also launched a project to protect his legacy, commissioning aides to write favorable assessments of his presidency and seeking a satisfactorily conservative buyer for the financially troubled Washington Post. (Ultimately, Hoover’s Federal Reserve chief, Eugene Meyer, would purchase the paper.) One of Hoover’s aides wrote a pseudonymous article declaring that “younger Republicans” recognized Hoover as the party’s future. (The aide was almost 50 years old at the time.)
Most importantly, in his last weeks in office Hoover refused to do anything to address the worsening banking crisis. Waves of bank failures had occurred throughout his presidency. This last one began just before the election. Federal Reserve officials and lawyers advised the president that he had the power to close the banks temporarily, providing time for officials to inspect their books and guarantee their safety, thus restoring financial confidence. They pleaded with him to do it. He would not. “I certainly hope the crash won’t come until we go out,” he told an aide. But he had no intention of stopping it for an ungrateful citizenry. “They are dissatisfied with what has been done and turn to other leaders,” he said…
At least we don’t have to worry about the current Oval Office Squatter badmouthing the Russians, for what that’s worth.