The Wicked Wine of Democracy
a memoir of a political junkie, 1948-1995
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: University of Washington Press
Title Page, Copyright
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Joseph Spencer Millerâor, better, just plain Joeâpreceded me at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Northwest outpost of W. R. Hearst, by a dozen years and damned near as many titles. I worked politics. Joe handled music, drama, literature (book reviews), labor, sports, and politics. ...
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I told him I was writing my memoirs, loosely quoting george Bernard Shaw to the effect that an âold manâs only reason for existence is to justify all the time that he has spent on this earth.â He sniffed, not sneeringly or disdainfully, but a definite sniff. âIt shouldnât take you long,â he said. ...
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Most of the material in this volume comes from memory. All my remembrances would have been discarded had it not been for an angel editor I met by chance: Marianne Keddington-Lang, then editor of Oregon Historical Society publications. She volunteered to edit my outpourings ...
1. A Political Junkie
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I was born to be a political junkie. A political junkie is distinguished by one universal characteristicâa fascination-absorption compulsion-passion for politics that sometimes defies rationality. There were periods in my life when my entire being was consumed by politics, ...
2. Something Special â Dick Neuberger
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The early morning mist, smelling like day-old fish, was rising from the saltwater flats of the Port of Tacoma when I pulled my 1949 Buick sedan into the Poodle Dogâs parking lot. It was six A.M., September 6, 1954, and I was en route from Seattle to Portland where I was going to spend the next two months ...
3. Maggie and the Tiger
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Jerry Hoeck did me one of those unwitting favors that ended up determining the course of what was to become my lifetime career in Washington, D.C. He took me to lunch at Seattleâs Washington Athletic Club in February 1956 and talked me out of managing Earl Coeâs campaign for governor. ...
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Coming up on the 1956 elections, I had a score to settle with someone over something that had been simmering in my psyche for some time. Curiously, the object of my animus would have only vaguely recognized my face and certainly not my name. My bÃªte noire was Herman Welker, Idahoâs junior senator. ...
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Wisconsin Senator Joseph R. McCarthy had died a few days before, on May 2, 1957, and I was being ushered into Lyndon Johnsonâs baronial office in the Senate wing of the Capitol by a curvy brunette with a smiling face. It was to be my first meeting with The Maximum Leader of the Senate Democrats. ...
6. Winning Big
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Bill Proxmireâs surprise victory in Wisconsin brought me onto the Washington political stage with a fanfare. Before that, not one line of type had been printed about my campaign efforts. That was by design. A provincialism in American politics had made the outside âexpertâ a sinister figure who manipulated local candidates ...
7. Revenge in Kentucky
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Earle Chester Clements did not spend much time savoring the great Senate election triumph of 1958. He had a big score to settle back home in Kentucky. The Bluegrass stateâs Democratic gubernatorial primary was on May 30, 1959, and there was no time to waste. Clements had been defeated for re-election to the Senate ...
8. Hawaiian Odysseys
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Around the Senate, I had acquired a largely undeserved reputation as an expert on matters Hawaiian and Alaskan. It had come about because my home-state senator, Henry M. (Scoop) Jackson of Washington, was chairman of the territories subcommittee of the Interior Committee. ...
9. A State That Time Forgot
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Lyndon B. Johnson called me to his office to give me an assignment. âGo to North Dakota,â he said. âWe can pick up a seat there.â If so, it would almost be a first. North Dakota once had elected a Democrat to the Senate, but he had died two months after assuming office. ...
10. Outside on the Inside
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I returned to Washington on New Yearâs Day 1959, my thirty-seventh birthday. Fidel Castro was marching on Havana from the Sierra Maestre, and television and radio bulletins reported his hourly progress. I kind of felt like Castro. I had been out in the provinces helping win great victories for the Democratic Party ...
11. The Campaign and Aftermath
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Returning to Washington in late June, two weeks before the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, a pile of invitations awaited me. The convention may choose the next leader of the free world, but it also was going to be the grandest and gaudiest party of my experience. ...
12. A Lobbyist Is a Lobbyist Is a Lobbyist
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Public relations consultant, government affairs counselor, legislative advocate, lawyerâcall it what you will, the fact remains: a lobbyist is a lobbyist is a lobbyist. This play on Gertrude Steinâs celebrated aphorism weighed on my mind as Maurice Rosenblatt, Charley Brown, and I opened the doors of our new offices ...
13. No Vestal Virgin in the Whorehouse
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If the preceding chapter implies that I was a vestal virgin dragged unwillingly into a cathouse of whores trying to seduce Congress, I have misrepresented myself. My blooding in that arena had come in the 1959 nationwide steel strike, the concurring battle in Congress over the Landrum- Griffin bill, ...
14. The Spotted Owl and Other Varmints
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âThe Japanese are outbidding us for raw materials right in our own backyard,â cried the excited young man from Oregon with the brush-cut hair. âThey could cause an economic Pearl Harbor in our industry if something isnât done.â He wasnât talking about automobiles, television sets, or transistor radios. ...
15. Mikeâs âFish Bowlâ
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Jones explained that Oregonâs maverick senator, Wayne Lyman Morse, had infuriated Kirwan by using the Senateâs arcane rules to kill the Ohioanâs pet project, a $10 million ânational aquariumâ on the Potomac River. By Kirwanâs standards, Morse had betrayed his support for western issues, and revenge was the only recourse. ...
16. Pirates of Pork
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âKill H.R. 163.â Jesse Calhoonâs voice was southern soft but steely. The president of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association (MEBA) was giving me my first real assignment since I had become the little unionâs lobbyist in the fall of 1967. Now it was July 1968, andâlooking out at New York harbor from Calhoonâs nineteenth-floor office ...
17. Strike! Strike! Strike!
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The 1981 nationwide strike of the air traffic controllers union still is cited as the domestic landmark of Ronald Reaganâs presidency. His outright firing of the 12,000 federal controllers who struck won him almost universal acclaim and established him as a decisive tough guy, not merely the charming former actor ...
18. Battle of the âBlack Hatsâ
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When Lloyd Duxbury and Ned Breathitt asked me to become the railroadsâ lobbyist in the upcoming congressional battle over coal slurry pipelines, I had finally given up on the fiction that lobbying was merely an interregnum in a career that would be dedicated to improving the human condition. ...
19. The Wicked Wine of the Democratic Process
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Is there anything new on money and lobbying, anything to be said that hasnât already been said a thousand times over? Senator John McCain aired it all in his early run for the presidency in 2000. Washington is being run, he said, by an âIron Triangleâ of lobbyists, money, and legislators, with the filthy lucre the connecting link. ...
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It is virtually obligatory that more than a half-century involvement with politics and government has to produce some profundities about whatâs wrong and, of course, a plan to fix it. Short of the impossible-to-do âget the money out of the game,â I have scant advice to offer. ...
A Word about Sources
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I fell in love with the Pacific Northwest long before I arrived there, in 1936 at age fourteen, singing âLilacs in the Rain.â My dad, Herbert R. Millerâborn in Iowa but raised in Portland, Seattle, and Tacomaâhad reversed Horace Greeleyâs maxim, âGo West, Young Man, Go West!â ...
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Publication Year: 2012