Cover

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Half Title, Title Page, Copyright, Quotation

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Table of Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Introduction

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pp. 1-8

In a querulous conversation late in Richard Nixon’s presidency, John Ehrlichman, Nixon’s domestic policy director, bemoaned the torrent of new regulatory laws from Congress. These laws impinged on the freedom to harm, sicken, deceive, and pollute of the morally impaired business lobbyists to whom Nixon owed allegiance. ...

Part I

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pp. 9-10

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1. An Accidental Bumblebee

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pp. 11-22

I was bred a New Deal Democrat. President Franklin Roosevelt was an icon in our family. But it never occurred to me to engage in politics, other than to vote robotically for Democrats. By high school, I wanted to be a poet. So troubled was my father by his conviction that a poet could never earn a living that he began pocketing Cuban cigars at social events ...

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2. Jerry and Maggie

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pp. 23-34

For the next five years, until 1969, Jerry Grinstein was my boss. At first I bristled internally, since we were the same age. But my ego was swiftly quieted. Jerry never pulled rank. He would become my mentor and model and an increasingly close friend. More than that, Jerry quickly revealed a caring disposition that has characterized him as long as I have known him. ...

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3. A Bumblebee's Crucible

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pp. 35-48

After two years with Senator Neuberger, I still knew little about the process of legislating. Neuberger had never managed a bill in the Senate, much less for the Commerce Committee. My experience with consumer issues gave me a start, but it would be a while before I worked on a project I knew anything about. ...

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4. A Triumph of Passionate Truth over Power

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pp. 49-68

Jerry Grinstein launched the development of the Magnuson Bumblebees, but Ralph Nader contributed more than anyone else to our Bumblebee strategies to overcome the seemingly impregnable power of the corporate interests that still hound us today. In 1965, Nader launched a personal campaign to persuade Congress to enact new legislation to curb the automobile industry’s unconscionable neglect of safety. ...

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5. High Spirits and High Gear

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pp. 69-88

By mid-1966, we had blocked the unbeatable tobacco lobby. We had beaten the unbeatable Detroit. We were high on our triumphs. By we, I mean Senator Magnuson, Jerry Grinstein, and me. Magnuson had rediscovered himself in a new light and gained enough confidence to overcome much of his resistance to conflict. With patient persuasion from Jerry and me, he began to introduce more consumer protection laws, ...

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6. Jerry's Juggernaut

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pp. 89-102

Despite Magnuson’s consumer successes in the 89th Congress and our jump-start on consumer protection bills in the 90th Congress, and despite the favorable publicity Magnuson’s consumer efforts had garnered in Washington State, Jerry still worried that we had not yet done enough. In August 1967 he ordered a poll in Washington State to measure prospective voters’ awareness of Magnuson’s consumer protection initiatives. ...

Part II

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pp. 103-104

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7. Colonizing the Bumblebees

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pp. 105-124

As early as 1966, Jerry was already planning for his successor. He had laid the foundation by transforming the Commerce Committee into a consumer protection juggernaut. His first priority, however, was to lead Magnuson’s campaign for reelection in November 1968. To take formal control of the campaign, in compliance with Senate rules, ...

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8. The Flights of the Bumblebees

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pp. 125-144

By the fall of 1970, all the Senate Commerce Committee staff members —not just those working on consumer protection—were itching for Bumblebeehood. Some would bring their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit to the newly pressing issue of energy conservation and the wide range of environmental hazards never before faced by the committee. ...

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9. Finishing Unfinished Business—with Bumblebee Guile

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pp. 145-154

Along with the flights of the Bumblebees into previously unpollinated fields, sampled in the preceding chapter, the Commerce Committee did not slack in its relentless pursuit of consumer protection laws. Though Magnuson, no longer driven by reelection anxiety, largely withdrew from chairing the Consumer Protection Subcommittee, its new chairman, ...

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10. Advise and Dissent

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pp. 155-170

Under the Constitution, the Senate is granted the power to give “advice and consent” to the president on such matters as the appointment of ambassadors and Supreme Court justices. Senate committees have the authority to evaluate the presidential nominees who pass through their committees and to recommend to the Senate that they be acted on. ...

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11. Pushing the Boundaries

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pp. 171-182

While Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford were in office and Democrats continued to lead Congress, the more entrepreneurial of the Democratic senators (served by their entrepreneurial staff) transformed the oversight function. The Senate Commerce Committee, more than any other committee, expanded its oversight strategies to achieve the complementary goals of weakening ...

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12. Pushing Open the Closed Door

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pp. 183-194

When I approached Senator Magnuson in 1969 with a proposal that we transfer a particular one of his able office staff members to the Commerce Committee, he would have none of it: “We can’t have a woman in the Senate meeting room. We won’t be able to talk freely with women in the room.” What totally escaped his consciousness was that there were already two or three women in attendance at every committee session. ...

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13. Time to Move On

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pp. 195-202

One evening in mid-December 1976, I came home feeling high on the events of the day. I told my partner, Anna—soon to become my wife—that that morning had begun with breakfast in the Senate cafeteria. I had sat alone, reviewing the day ahead. One by one, a coterie of Senate staff people had approached my table to pay their respects or to ask favors. ...

List of Interviewees

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pp. 203-204

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 205-206

So many to thank! I started this book as a memoir of the good years I served on the staff of Senator Warren Magnuson, chairman of the Commerce Committee. I soon realized, however, that my stories were thin gruel for a book, and so I reached out to my former colleagues on the staff, seeking their stories about how they helped our boss and other committee ...

Notes

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pp. 207-210

Index

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pp. 211-222