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View Diary: MI-05: Dem Rep. Dale Kildee reportedly to retire (51 comments)

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  •  Stupid question (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    But as someone who's not up on my history of that time period in Michigan (though I know who Frank Murphy was), what exactly do you mean by Frank Murphy Democrat?

    •  It's not stupid at all. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MetroGnome, LordMike, MichaelNY

      Long post; skip if you don't like windbag comments not related to Kildee's retirement.

      Before FDR, Michigan really had no functioning Democratic Party. The only statewide figure with any stature was Woodbridge Ferris, who'd won two terms as governor and one for congress in the 1910's and 20's, and most of the people who ran the state Democratic Party were people who, since the Wilson administration, relied on the hope that a Democrat would be elected president and that they would benefit from federal patronage (i.e. judgeships, executive appointments, etc.). After Murphy won the governorship in 1936, this changed. Most famously, his sending the National Guard in to protect the striking workers and mediation during the Flint Strike which helped result in G.M. recognizing the U.A.W. as being their worker's bargaining agent for collective bargaining helped lead to the U.A.W. being one of the most pro-Democratic and liberal labor unions in the AFL-CIO coalition, and tied the state party to organized labor in ways that the national party never was, or is. You look at a map of Wayne or southern Macomb Counties in any election, and you see 95% white precincts that vote 70-80% Democratic, something you see in New York City or Chicago, but rarely see in large cities like Milwaukee or Cleveland nowadays. White voters in Kildee's district, for example, are much more Democratic than voters in Dennis Kucinich's district are, based in Cleveland. Labor is why that is, and Murphy helped cause that.

      Murphy also, as Governor-General of the Philippines, governor and a justice on the Supreme Court, always made a deep connection between his Catholic faith and his liberalism, something that politicians like Kildee has continued, and is less affected by concerns suburban voters have in districts like Dingell's or Levin's, like integration, busing, affirmative action, gun rights, etc. During the health care debate, for example, he actively whipped votes for the health care bill even when it became clear that it would not include the Stupak language and before Stupak announced the Obama signing-language compromise, and made his appeal directly based on Catholic teachings of social justice, the same way Democrats like Stupak (and other otherwise reliable liberals like Marcy Kaptur) were using those same teachings to say that concerns about abortion must precede any worries about economic justice. Murphy, along with John Dingell Sr., and later G. Mennen Williams and Walter Reuther, kept these issues at the forefront of the party's concern. Just look at the way someone like Andy Dillon, the State House Speaker, was swatted down in 2010.

      MI-06 (Home), MI-02 (College), Male, 20

      by koolbens on Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 06:33:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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