I didn't know American Experience did a show on Coughlin. Hot damn! That guy was a real douche. And he was as American as they come.
After this asshole there was Wally George and Morton Downey Jr. and then the golden age of assholes like O'Reilly, Oliver North and Rush Limbaugh.
It's the Evil Clown Act, and the rubes buy it every generation.
How could you leave out Liddy?
If you want the feel of the era, I highly recommend It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis.
It's not a particularly well written book (it was basically a rushed first draft and boy does it feel it in parts), but damn if it doesn't perfectly capture what a fascist rise would look like in this country. It's amazing reading something from the 1930s and realizing that the language and reasoning of reactionaries hasn't changed AT ALL.
I mean, not changing is kind of reactionaries whole thing, but you know...
The thing is, had he refrained from the racism, he'd be a progressive hero on the economic directives. He just bought the Protocols of Zion stuff because he was in physical proximity to Henry Ford and the motivation to accept the money wore him down. Awful guy, but there's a progression to his development.
Yeah, and if Trump weren't a white nationalist Democrats would probably applaud his infrastructure plans. It's like that old joke that ends "But fuck just ONE goat and that's all anyone remembers about you."
Huey Long sounded an awful lot like Bernie Sanders, if you tacked on a "ruthlessly crushed rivals" clause.
Well.... yeah. Huey Long was all kids of awesome. Bernie Sanders *plus* ruthlessness? Sign me up!
(I was amazed when I read a biography of him to find out that he didn't resort to racism or bullshit scapegoating; he pointed fingers at the *actual* causes of misery. Shame about the assassination.)
If Hitler had stopped in 1934, he'd be remembered for Strength Through Joy (free vacations to Italy for the working class? Great!), the Autobahn and banning smoking in government buildings.
A couple things:
First, Hitler literally *couldn't* stop; he created a teetering juggernaut that was financed by debt and a peculiarly top-down state control of the economy & money supply The moment he stopped & tried to be "reasonable" would have been the moment that the house of cards came tumbling down.
More importantly, even if we consider the hypothetical where Hitler stopped & was remembered for those (ostensibly) good innovations, his anti-Jewish & "stab-in-the-back" rhetoric was already in place. He was an asshole from the get-go, and the fact that people might have forgotten his anti-Semitism doesn't change the fact that it was there.
Huey Long, on the other hand, always avoided racism (as far as I remember), and consistently fought the good fight, albeit ruthlessly. Assuming I'm not misremembering his record, that's *exactly* what I want in a public figure.
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