New America: Politics and Society in the Age of the Smooth Deal

By Karl E. Meyer | Go to book overview

4/
Suitors in the Cloakroom

There are periods when the principles of experience need to be modified, when hope and trust and instinct claim a share with prudence in the guidance of affairs, when, in truth, to dare is the highest wisdom.

-- WILLIAM ELLERY CHANNING

YEARS AGO, WHEN JOHN F. KENNEDY was a stripling Congressman from Massachusetts, he incautiously observed: "The House is run by a crowd of old men who would have been pensioned off years ago if they were in private industry." The diagnosis is more apt than ever; the sleepy pace of age tranquilizes both chambers of Congress. In recent sessions, the mood of weary surrender has even afflicted most of the younger members who once lent a crackle of excitement to the Congressional Record.

Muckrakers used to belabor Congress for its failings off the floor, where lobbyists used their influence for dubious ends. The lobbyists are still at work, but the shame of Congress now is what takes place on the floor, in full view of the public. Most often, nothing really takes place.

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New America: Politics and Society in the Age of the Smooth Deal
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page ii
  • Contents ix
  • Beforeword - The Fallen Idol 1
  • Part One / Symptoms 5
  • 2 - Washington: Leviathan, Inc. 18
  • 3 / - The Coming of the Smooth Deal 34
  • 4/ - Suitors in the Cloakroom 48
  • 5/ - Texas Leaves Its Landmarks 62
  • 6 - That Image in the White House 75
  • 7/ - Fortress of Yesterday 85
  • 8/ - The Soothing Cassandras 99
  • Part Two / Sources 117
  • 10 - The Twilight of Regionalism 127
  • 11 - The Old in Heart 136
  • 12 - Bohemia Moves Uptown 146
  • 13/ - Who Killed the Bull Moose? 158
  • 14 - Signposts to Futopia 167
  • 15 - The Two Worlds 181
  • Afterword - The Sweet Smell of Excess 190
  • Acknowledgments and Sources 197
  • Index of Names 207
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