18 Political Defeat and Moral Victory, 1932-1933

AFTER his win in the 1930 election, LaGuardia did not imagine that he would wage only one more congressional campaign or that his defeat in 1932 would usher in an era of victory for all the proposals he had been making throughout the decade. He went about his usual political shenanigans, exasperating the Republicans, teasing the Democrats, perplexing the Socialists, and delighting his supporters. It was noted in the Brooklyn Eagle that the congressman from the Twentieth District "had become the leader and spokesman for the so-called Progressives in the House and as such a favorite of the galleries." The Eagle said:

An experienced and clever parliamentarian and debater, he is much more active than either Bertrand H. Snell or Henry T. Rainey, leaders of the regular Republicans and Democrats respectively. So quick is his wit and so devastating his sarcasm that few members of the House will venture to cross swords with him, though he frequently baits Republicans as well as Democrats. As leader of the Progressives, he is their chief sponsor of so-called Progressive legislation.1

The Republicans, needing every vote in order to organize the new Congress, wheedled and cajoled to get LaGuardia's support, while he remained by turns aloof or intransigent. Invited to attend a Republican "caucus" in early 1931, LaGuardia insisted on a clear definition of whether this was a "caucus," binding its members, or an informal "conference." He replied: "I am quite will-

____________________
1
Jan. 16, 1931.

-241-

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