Reprinted from Smirking Chimp
What's the biggest difference between "socialist-lite" candidate, Bernie Sanders, and a political heavyweight like Huey Long?
For one thing, Long didn't mind bending the rules. After his scuffle with Standard Oil, (Note: The Louisiana legislature tried to impeach Long after he threatened to raise taxes by $.05 on every barrel of oil refined in the state.), Long threw away the rulebook and decided he'd do whatever-it-takes to defeat his enemies.
"You sometimes have to fight fire with fire," Long said. "The end justifies the means. I would do it some other way if there was time or if it wasn't necessary to do it this way."
And he was right, too. You can't beat corporate America by playing nice and hoping that truth will prevail. It won't prevail. The corporations are too powerful and too willing to crush anyone that gets in their way. Long learned that the hard way. His falling-out with Standard Oil turned the media and the wealthy elites against him like a pack of rabid dogs. He was demonized in the papers and accused of all kinds of nefarious things including trying to have a political rival assassinated and attending parties "where half-naked women danced the Hula." Naturally, these fabrications paved the way for his impeachment.
But Long outfoxed them all. He fired up his base by barnstorming across the countryside denouncing Standard Oil and he enlisted the support of 15 senators who helped him block the impeachment. His critics claimed that the senators were bribed for their support, and they probably were. But the fact is, the experience taught Long how the game was played, how to fight dirty and win. And when he won, the people of Lousiana won, because the money he collected on the oil tax went to roads, bridges, universities and free books for schoolkids.
Can you imagine Sanders doing anything like that? Can you imagine him doing anything even slightly shady or underhanded?
Nope. Then he won't succeed, because you can't beat Wall Street and the giant corporations playing by the Marquess of Queensberry rules. Politics is bloodsport, not pattycake. If a person is too squeamish to get his hands dirty or twist a few arms, he should find another line of work. Like Long said, "I used to get things done by saying please. Now I dynamite 'em out of my path."
What's not to like about that?
Long was a scrappy street fighter who liked confrontation and didn't mind getting his nose bloodied every now and then. He also liked winning, which is precisely what we need right now, someone who knows how to win and doesn't sweat the details. Leave that to the historians.
"I fought the Standard Oil Company and put those pie-eating members of congress out of office. I used a crowbar to pry some of them out and I'm using a corkscrew to take the rest of them out piece by piece." (All of this is available in the excellent Huey Long Documentary)
Can you imagine Obama boasting that he just rubbed some corporate honcho's nose in the dirt?
Heck no. The man has been bowing and scraping ever since he took office in 2000. It's embarrassing. Name one corporation or financial institution he's taken to task? Just one?
There aren't any. The man is a complete lightweight, he couldn't even get Guantanamo shut-down after eight years of trying. What kind of lame chief executive is that?
Should we care that Long might have bribed the 15 senators or should we focus on the schools, and bridges, and roads and universities he built? Here's what he said about the matter: