Monday, August 31, 2009

James Riddlesperger and Anthony Champagne on The Austin-Boston Connection

From the New Deal to the end of the Reagan era, Democratic leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives was divided between Massachusetts and Texas.

In a recent interview on Dallas station KERA's Think radio program, James W. Riddlesperger and Anthony M. Champagne, co-authors of The Austin- Boston Connection: Five Decades of House Democratic Leadership, 1937-1989, discuss this unique period in American history and its lasting impact.

An excerpt:

"Members of Congress went to Washington with their families and their entire worldly goods - lock, stock, and barrel. It was not easy to get from Texas to Washington. It was a three-day trip on a train. So, they didn't come home. John Nance Garner often didn't come home during his re-election campaign. He was a terrible campaigner, and the Jim Wells machine in Texas took care of it for him. The result is that these people all knew one another. They were social friends, they were intimate friends, they had to deal with one another on the weekends, because they were each others' intimates. It was not just Democrats from the north and south who got along passively well, but they also had to get along with the Republicans."

Listen to the full interview here.