Excellent article by @KBAndersen but I think it is a misinterpretation, though a common one, to say that the Powell Memo was the "founding scripture for an economic crusade to discredit the New Deal consensus and rewrite the social contract." /1 nytimes.com/2020/09/11/bus…
In my book, FREE ENTERPRISE, I wrote that "the document is less important because it was original than because it synthesized so many elements of a pervasive free enterprise discourse" that had been around since the start of the New Deal. /2
What was different was less than the text than the _context_. Although the Powell Memo didn't say much that was new, it said it at a time when the New Deal order was beginning to fall apart and an emerging conservatism was becoming more popular. /3
One interesting tidbit from my research is that when I interviewed John C. Jeffries, the distinguished law professor and former Dean of UVA Law School, a clerk for Powell in 1973-74, and his biographer, I asked him why he didn't mention the memo in his superb 1994 biography.../4
...he explained that he did not see its content as very different from other things Powell had been saying. Even though Jack Anderson uncovered the existence of the memo in 1972, it was only after 2000 that journalists and scholars began pointing to it as a pioneering document/5
Prof. Jeffries is right that Powell had been saying similar things for a while. Indeed that is why his Richmond neighbor Eugene Sydnor asked him to write the Memo for the Education Committee of US Chamber of Commerce as a recapitulation of conversations they'd been having./6
And in my book I show that Powell was not unique. Indeed, his Memo employed a lot of the rhetoric of the anti-New Deal free enterprisers that dated back four decades./7

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More from @LarryGlickman

Aug 12
Critics of Reconstruction and Civil Rights made claims very similar to George F, Will’s argument about the need to weigh the rule of law against other values, such as “comity” and “domestic tranquility.” /1
An 1867 editorial in the Milwaukee News, entitled, "The War Upon President Johnson," highlighted the need for “tranquility,” but claimed that Reconstruction had “engendered strife” and “inflicted new wounds” instead of “trying to heal the old ones./2
The 1868 convention of California Democrats condemned the Republicans for impeaching Andrew Johnson and had this to say about their inability to secure domestic tranquility. /3
Read 8 tweets
Aug 11
In Feb 1866, less than a year after the conclusion of the Civil War, Robert E. Lee told Congress's Reconstruction Committee that white Southerners were beginning to get "restive" because, among other things, Congress refused to let rebel leaders to represent them./1
One response by Congress could have been to let Lee's implicit threat of backlash govern policy, and to claim, as many politicians did, that the "work of Reconstruction...has nearly been completed," to abandon the effort to produce an interracial democracy./2
After all, the threat of violence was real./3
Read 5 tweets
Aug 9
This is a good article but quoting GOP spokespeople with no context or correction and the highlighting the emotions and anger of GOP politicians are two distorting practices that continue. /1 washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/…
For example, this piece quotes a GOP spokesperson saying the Biden Agenda is “historically unpopular,” when it would have been very simple to add that polling suggests otherwise. /2

And this paragraph tells us that Republicans were not only “livid” but “angry,” which led them to block a bill to help veterans. I recall many similar characterizations of Trump’s emotional state. /3
Read 5 tweets
Jul 31
Manchin, you may have heard, did the "Full Ginsberg" today. I have now watched 3 of his 5 Sunday interviews-- with Tapper, Todd & Karl. All 3 questioned Manchin from the right, asking about whether the IRA is, in fact, inflationary (all quoting the same Penn-Wharton study)./1
There were essentially no questions about the substance of the bill, although Manchin, to his credit, did provide some details of the proposed legislation in his answers./2
They all asked totally appropriate questions about whether Manchin has an inkling of whether Sinema is on board./3
Read 5 tweets
Jul 30
On this date in 1965, LBJ signed the Social Security Amendments of 1965, aka Medicare and Medicaid, at the Truman Library.
Ronald Reagan's 1961 speech against Medicare contained apocalyptic rhetoric and inaccurate predictions./2
You'd think that Reagan's speech would have been memory holed. Yet it continues to be quoted as if it were prescient, including by Eric Trump at the 2020 GOP Convention. /3
Read 4 tweets
Jul 28
These Mike Wallace interviews are quite a resource.
Q: Is it possible that capitalism is on its way out?
ER: “I don’t know much about capitalism but I do know about democracy and freedom…I’m not really very much interested in capitalism." /1
ER's answer cont'd: "I’m enormously interested in freedom…and having sufficient democracy so that the people actually hold the government in their own hands.”/2
Wallace: you do not think it would be a catastrophe if socialism came peacefully to the United States?
ER: I don't see any real need for socialism in the United States immediately. But things change. And it may be that there may come a need for partial changes in our economy./3
Read 4 tweets

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