Mr. Democrat: Jim Farley, the New Deal, and the Making of Modern Politics

Daniel Mark Scroop, Author . Univ. of Michigan $29.95 (275p) ISBN 978-0-472-09930-6

Scroop, a lecturer in American history at the University of Liverpool, launches this biography of the Roosevelt-era political operator Jim Farley with a comparison to President Bush's adviser Karl Rove. Like Rove, Farley helped engineer two electoral triumphs, in 1932 and 1936, and like Rove, Farley was a shrewd political tactician, an expert reader of the public mood and master of the millions of details that make a successful campaign. Unlike Rove, Farley was a master of old-style machine politics whose primary loyalty was neither to FDR nor to the New Deal but rather to the Democratic Party. Thus, when Roosevelt veered from party loyalty to support New York's Republican Mayor La Guardia and the Progressives of the Midwest, Farley was appalled. It led to a break between the two men and Farley's futile bid to capture the 1940 presidential nomination. Scroop gives us a workmanlike study of Farley's role in forging the New Deal coalition and ushering in a new type of politics in which the power of local bosses gave way to that of organized labor, minorities and women—a shift that, ironically, rendered Farley himself irrelevant long before his death in 1976. 10 b&w photos. (May)

Reviewed on: 03/06/2006
Release date: 05/01/2006
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Open Ebook - 294 pages - 978-1-282-42254-4
Open Ebook - 294 pages - 978-0-472-02150-5
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