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Chris Hedges "Death of the Liberal Class"

Apparently, Notes from Underground is the book to read...

NOTE Via Yves.

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goldberry's picture
Submitted by goldberry on

Sorry, I am sick of hearing the same old shit about Clinton, NAFTA and welfare reform from people like Hedges. Presumably, NAFTA also included Canada but the delusional purists look almost exclusively to Mexico all the while totally ignoring the real threat- Asia. They are so involved with NAFTA navel gazing that they will allow us to be completely wiped out by the new raja class in Chindia. Is there a point to this???
And presumably, Clinton did this all in a vacuum. He was the solitary agent of oppression of the working class. Congress was bound and gagged and had nothing to do with it. Newt Gingrich was just a figment of our fevered imaginations. Movement conservatives are just mythical creatures like evil unicorns.
Hedges has completely lost credibility with me. I find it hard to take anything else he says seriously after the 20 minute mark.
The most insane thing about this constant slamming of Clinton is that he's out there rescuing the Democrats from themselves and the working class LOVES him. How does Hedges square that with his preconceived notions?
Jeez, I was there during the 90s. I've been a political junkie for most of my life. This revision of history is the worst and most self destructive I've ever seen. If the liberal class is being destroyed, they're doing it to themselves.
And don't even get me started on Obama.

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

But it is radically different from an image-based culture, which is primarily emotion-driven, and most of the images which are disseminated throughout our culture are skillfully put together and disseminated by for-profit corporations. So that we are made to, or we confuse how we are made to feel with knowledge. Which is precisely how we ended up with Barack Obama.

I haven't gotten to the 20-minute mark yet.

CMike's picture
Submitted by CMike on

Here's Wikpedia's summary:

>>>>>Clinton made it one of his goals as president to pass trade legislation that lowered the barriers to trade with other nations. He broke with many of his supporters, including labor unions, and those in his own party to support free-trade legislation. Opponents argued that lowering tariffs and relaxing rules on imports would cost American jobs because people would buy cheaper products from other countries. Clinton countered that free trade would help America because it would allow the U.S. to boost its exports and grow the economy. Clinton also believed that free trade could help move foreign nations to economic and political reform.

The three-nation NAFTA was signed by Present George H. W. Bush during December 1992, pending its ratification by the legislatures of the three countries. Clinton did not alter the original agreement, but complemented it with the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation and the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation, making NAFTA the first "green" trade treaty and the first trade treaty concerned with each countries labor law, albeit with very weak sanctions.

NAFTA provided for gradually reduced tariffs and the creation of a free-trading bloc of North American countries–the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Opponents of NAFTA, led by Ross Perot, claimed it would force American companies to move their workforces to Mexico, where they could produce goods with cheaper labor and ship them back to the United States at lower prices. Clinton, however, argued that NAFTA would increase U.S. exports and create new jobs. He convinced many Democrats to join most Republicans in supporting trade agreement and in 1993 the Congress passed the treaty.

Clinton also held meetings with leaders of Pacific Rim nations to discuss lowering trade barriers. In November 1993 he hosted a meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Seattle, Washington, which was attended by the leaders of 12 Pacific Rim nations. In 1994, Clinton arranged an agreement in Indonesia with Pacific Rim nations to gradually remove trade barriers and open their markets.

Officials in the Clinton administration also participated in the final round of trade negotiations sponsored by the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), an international trade organization. The negotiations had been ongoing since 1986. In a rare move, Clinton convened Congress to ratify the trade agreement in the winter of 1994, during which the treaty was approved. As part of the GATT agreement, a new international trade body, the World Trade Organization (WTO), replaced GATT in 1995. The new WTO had stronger authority to enforce trade agreements and covered a wider range of trade than did GATT....

[In 1999] Clinton signed a landmark trade agreement with the People's Republic of China. The agreement–the result of more than a decade of negotiations–would lower many trade barriers between the two countries, making it easier to export U.S. products such as automobiles, banking services, and motion pictures. However, the agreement could only take effect if China was accepted into the WTO and was granted permanent “normal trade relations” status by the U.S. Congress.

Under the pact, the United States would support China’s membership in the WTO. Many Democrats as well as Republicans were reluctant to grant permanent status to China because they were concerned about human rights in the country and the impact of Chinese imports on U.S. industries and jobs. Congress, however, voted in 2000 to grant permanent normal trade relations with China. Several economic studies have since been released that indicate the increase in trade resulting lowered American prices and increased the U.S. GDP by 0.7 percent throughout the following decade.<<<<<

Having been there in the '90s, is this not how you remember it?

goldberry's picture
Submitted by goldberry on

People who go on unemployment want jobs, not welfare. It wouldn't matter how much they were getting a month. I know unemployed people, unemployed people are friends of mine. Chris Hedges doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about.

Hey, it's your front page but this lecture reinforces everything the working class thinks about pure, idealistic, vegan, birkenstock wearing, prius driving detached "so-called" liberals. I don't know what they are exactly but people like Hedges are not liberals.

Oh, now he's going on about sick children. Does he remember that Hillary Clinton got SCHIP implemented? Thank God she did. But he will never acknowledge that.

Dennis Kucinich? KUCINICH??? Can we honestly see a day when Dennis Kucinich ever reaches the White House?

You did this to provoke me, didn't you?

CMike's picture
Submitted by CMike on

Who knew? Is this the part in his talk where you're thinking Hedges is saying that the unemployed want to be on welfare?:

[21:40] The reforms that have been instituted by the Democratic Party are so alien to the rhetoric that the mechanism, that safety valve which can make a capitalist democracy function, has essentially been turned shut. So that now, with the creation of a kind of permanent underclass -- and even Lawrence Summers acknowledges this when he talks about a jobless recovery -- the inability on the part of working men and women to get access to credit, they keep prolonging unemployment benefits because, courtesy of Bill Clinton, once unemployment benefits run out people are going to have to try and live on the $143 a month they receive from welfare.

So the anger we are seeing expressed throughout the society, through the Tea Party, through militias, through the Christian right -- which I'm going to speak about in a minute -- comes with a two-pronged attack; one is against the power elite, which for them is defined as Washington -- one of the most interesting aspects of the Tea Party movement is the way Dick Armey, with corporate money, went into the Tea Party and made sure the anger was deflected from Wall Street and directed towards government with not very subtle undertones of overt racism -- and the other prong of the attack is against the liberal class, hatred for the liberal class. And I would argue that this hatred is not misplaced....

goldberry's picture
Submitted by goldberry on

...want people like Chris Hedges to stop representing them and get the fuck out of the way of a practical liberal who can actually get stuff done.

Ok, I need a drink.

ms_xeno's picture
Submitted by ms_xeno on

Don't you want to smugly inform Hedges and anyone who likes his work that we all need to be drug-tested, too?

Oh, and maybe you could sneer at the demonstrators in 1999 who dressed up like turtles for the Seattle march. And don't forget to call us "trustafarians" and accuse us of not ever bathing! That never gets old!


Submitted by ralphb on

Generally I like his work but he really has gone round the bend with some of that stuff. She certainly has a point about NAFTA. Anyone who feels that's the source of our problem with globalization should really get out more.

Have a nice one.

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

It's almost like he reads the blog nobody reads and everybody hates!

He's got it right in a couple of places, esp. where the source of the anger expressed by the Tea Party goes:

The anger throughout society we are seeing expressed, through the Tea Party, through militias, through the Christian Right, comes with a two-pronged attack. One is against the power elite, which for them is defined as Washington. [23:01] … And the other prong of attack is the liberal class. Hatred for the liberal class. And I would argue that this hatred is not misplaced. That the hatred for the liberal class is deserved. [23:44]. Because, the liberal class, and especially the progressive wing of the Democratic Party did traditionally watch out for the interests of the working class. And for money, for corporate money they sold workers out. And now the middle class. And so you can watch it with Obama.


[Dostoevsky expressed:] When the liberal class collapses, when the pillars of the liberal establishment no longer function, you enter an age of moral nihilism...the inevitable result of a system that didn't work. And that's where we are, our system that doesn't work. And it doesn't work, ultimately, not because of Sarah Palin, or the Christian Right, or Glenn Beck. It doesn't work because the liberal class failed us. The liberal class failed to find the intellectual and moral fortitude to defend liberal values at a time they were under egregious assault. 30:48.


[43:57] Anybody who's foolish enough to think that going to a ballot box at THIS point, and voting for a Democratic is going to change anything I think is living in a universe that is as non-reality-based as the Christian Right.

The Democrats number one goal is the same as that of corporate America (and the Republicans, of course, although Hedges is most concerned with destroying the myth that the Democrats give a cr*p, we already know the Republicans don't): to disemploy and dispossess the working class, and then the middle class. We're all just serfs in various phases of becoming and dawning realization.

His remedy is to acknowledge that voting is not the path to change, but making the boyars afraid of us, because that's the only path to political progress which has ever worked:

Most people frankly, who are attracted to power, are at best mediocre, which is Obama, or venal, which is Bush. The question is, how do we make the powerful afraid of us? And all of the social movements that were built, starting with the Liberty Party which fought slavery, the suffragists for women's rights, the labor movement, the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement, made the powerful frightened of them. Which is why the last truly liberal president in the United States was Richard Nixon. Because he was actually scared of movements. And passed OSHA, and the Clean Water Act, and the Mine and Safety Act. 43.53.

We have to remember that is not our job to take power. … Our job is remain fast around moral imperatives that we do not compromise on. It is our job to defend a dispossessed working class. It is our job to defend sick children. It is our job to defend those who are being tortured, abused and killed in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan...and we have to be willing to get up and make personal sacrifices on behalf of these moral imperatives, even if at first we become pariahs. That is the only hope left.

beowulf's picture
Submitted by beowulf on

Labor unions spent millions fighting NAFTA and lost. To win one for the corporations, Clinton burned up political capital that he sorely needed for other things. When healthcare reform came up next, unions were already tapped out and the corporations who were Clinton's allies on NAFTA went home to the Republicans and fought Clinton on HCR.

If Clinton had flipped the script, he would have pushed for HCR first and promised big business his support of NAFTA if and only they helped him pass HCR.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

I notice Obama with his stumping is still very careful in only saying he will promote the "middle class" ... not the working class or the poor. It is so painfully obvious to me. Fingernails on a chalkboard. He did that while campaigning, too. Of course, now we know he didn't even mean the middle class. The ruling class rules Obama.

Clinton also a gamesman not a statesman imho. More of a feeler than Barack, but still a gamesman. Too bad.

My job got outsourced half a dozen years ago and I googled to write Hillary as my senator assuming she would be an advocate and googled up a picture of Bill shaking hands with the outsourcing company founders that handled the deal of my particular ex-employers. To India, but now the job is being done by Philippines.

Submitted by lambert on

Up where I am we've got a ton of "adjunct professors" who think of themselves as "middle class" but are in fact working class. But no, no! We're not like the hourly employees!

Submitted by MontanaMaven on

Or The Shock Doctrine was embraced by Clinton and Gore in the 1980s. They fought the real left which was Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Coalition. This coalition fell apart after 1988. The left resurfaced in Seattle in 1999. It seemed like an accidental coalition. If a new young leader had taken all that energy and run as the green party candidate or challenged Gore in the primary, where would we be now?

I'm reading Michael Hudson's " the American Protectionist Takeoff: 1815-1914. Those economists beat back the imperialist free traders for a time. They fought the idea of pauper labor. They said we could have a high wage labor force paid for through tariffs that protected our manufacturers. It's a lost story that must be resurrected. Latin America is resurrecting it.

Submitted by lambert on

... which is another left permathread, is that I only started following "politics" when the Rs started Whitewater and the Lewinsky matter, and they were so obviously tendentious and lying, I assumed the Ds had to be different (and better; although, marginally, they were at that time; rising real wages and all). And I bought into the theory of comparative advantage, which is looking a lot like the efficient market hypothesis in terms of the damage it did, these days. And I only started blogging in the Bush administration. So I'm post-NAFTA in my understanding of the discourse. Ditto "welfare reform." It would be nice to have some good sourcing on those issues, instead of the talking points, and especially the CDS-inflected talking points.

Submitted by lambert on

Everything at Corrente is front paged by default; it takes an admin decision to de-front page something. Yes, this is the reverse of the policies on most sites.

* * *

Do I agree with everything Hedges says? No. Is it worth listening to him? Yes. He has a compelling set of analytical tools -- it's nice to listen to someone who begins with PR under Woodrow Wilson -- and a case to make. And it's interesting, to me, that he ends with the recommendation to go local. Is it more worth listening to Hedges than listening to NPR? Clearly.

I'm not sure that Hedges holds himself out to be the "representative" of anybody or anything. Despite the class and cultural markers of some of his audience (I did notice one guy with a "Union" T-shirt...)

NOTE Adding, that anybody who says that Hedges isn't advocating doing anything practical hasn't listened to the end of the presentation. You might not agree with the recommendation, but the it's there.

Rangoon78's picture
Submitted by Rangoon78 on

I enjoyed the way he recapped the last century in liberal politics and tied together the liberal church, labor, culture, and politics. I must say he lost credibility whit his scathing critique of Bill Clinton. What could a more "pure"Democrat have accomplished in the '90's with a backstabbing Democratic congress, not to mention Newt's ascendant R's. Still all in all, it's great to listen to a firebrand of the left like Hedges. 

john.halle's picture
Submitted by john.halle on

I share your appreciation of Hedges's talk.

I disagree, however, that he loses credibility on the basis of his critique of Clinton as you have described it: that Clinton was impeded by "backstabbing Democrats" and Gingrich Republicans.

Please notice that Hedges' is not criticizing Clinton for capitulating to a Republican congress and right wing Democrats, but rather for being the driving force behind much of the most destructive legislation which emerged during this period. Remember, it was the Clinton administration, and its dominant Rubinite wing, which pushed for NAFTA, Welfare Reform, repeal of Glass Steagal, and, were it not for the Lewinsky affair was moving forward on his own plan to privatize Social Security.

In fact, these were advanced against the opposition of the Democratic caucus and only passed into law with the overwhelming support of the Republicans.

It may be that Clinton is being unfairly maligned by Hedges, however, you will need to cite specific examples to make a compelling case along these lines, and I for one and dubious as to whether this is possible.

CMike's picture
Submitted by CMike on

Read this retrospective which features the opinions of Dani Rodrik and Brad DeLong.

More DeLong here (5 page pdf) -- and remember, he's a neo-liberal and proud of it.

Here are two passages, the first from the New York Times article, the second from DeLong's pdf.:

[One of the assumptions] was that tens of thousands of farmers who cultivated corn would act “rationally” and continue farming, even as less expensive corn imported from the United States flooded the market. The farmers, it was assumed, would switch to growing strawberries and vegetables — with some help from foreign investment — and then export these crops to the United States. Instead, the farmers exported themselves, partly because the Mexican government decided to reduce tariffs on corn even faster than Nafta required, according to Philip Martin, an agricultural economist at the University of California, Davis.

“We understood that the transition from corn to strawberries would not be smooth,” Professor Martin said. “But we did not think there would be almost no transition.”


And there is the problem of Iowa, a gigantic and heavily subsidized corn and pork producing machine. The way NAFTA has worked out, the biggest single change in cross-border shipments has been that Iowa’s agricultural produce is now sold in Mexico City. The impact on standards of living for Mexico’s near-subsistence, rural farmers is frightening to contemplate. Imports from Iowa have been an extraordinary boon to Mexico’s urban poor and urban working class. But have they been a good thing for the country as a whole?

We neoliberals point out that NAFTA did not cause poor infrastructure, high crime and official corruption. We thus implicitly suggest that Mexicans would be far worse off today without NAFTA and its effects weighing in on the positive side of the scale. We neoliberals point out that we could not have predicted the rapid rise of China: from the perspective of 1991, China’s future looked likely to be riddled with political turmoil, repression and perhaps economic stagnation as the Communist Party feared too-rapid change, rather than the greatest economic miracle we have ever seen.

That neoliberal story may be true, but, then again, it may not. Having witnessed Mexico’s slow growth over the past 15 years, we can no longer repeat the old mantra that the neoliberal road of NAFTA and associated reforms is clearly and obviously the right one.

Have you ever watched the 1993 Gore/Perot NAFTA debate hosted by Larry King? I think it plays straight through at this YouTube link. Maybe it's not worth watching the entire seventy minutes - regardless of the strength of his facts and theory Perot's debating skills were a little too weak for that length of a program. Do, at least, watch Part 2 of the 8.

As an aside, I'm a big fan of Al Gore's these days but I had nothing but contempt for him for years after he tried to slip in that anti-Keynesian Libertarian argument about the Smoot-Hawley tariff being a "principle cause" of the Great Depression. The tariff had been signed into law the summer following the October 1929 stock market crash:

The supply-siders have never been entirely clear about the mechanism by which Smoot-Hawley is supposed to have created the Depression, but in general it seems to go as follows: By increasing the cost of imported goods, Smoot-Hawley made the returns to work and investment less; it was the resulting reduction in investment and work effort that we call the Great Depression.

A non-supply-sider might note that this story implies an extraordinary response of work efforts to incentives. The Smoot-Hawley tariff raised the average tax on imports by about 40 percent, but before the tariff imports were only about 6 percent of gross national product. In other words, the effective tax increase was only about 2.5 percent. Yet unemployment dropped by one third from 1929 to 1933. Conventional economics find a response this large incredible. But supply-siders have no doubts about the correctness of their diagnosis -- after all, what else could it have been? [Krugman, Peddling Prosperity, 1994]

Notice also in Part 2 whom Gore cites as a distinguished American at 5:21.

Rangoon78's picture
Submitted by Rangoon78 on

I guess I tend to go a little easy on Bill now that we've seen how horribly wrong things can go (The Obama party). Nafta was bad. I need to learn more about that time in history.

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

Senate 90–8 (one not voting)
House: 362–57 (15 not voting)

so it wasn't really a Clinton-Republicans coalition that got it passed. Even this site, which takes an extremely dim view of Clinton's efforts toward the repeal of G-S, notes that "tremendous pressure was exerted on the Clinton Administration" to accept the final (worst) Senate version, which Clinton had threatened to veto.

House: 234 to 200 (including 102 Democrats)
Senate 61-38

Welfare Reform was, of course, not-at-all-famously vetoed twice by Clinton before the final bill passed. Clinton acknowledged that the final bill had significant defects and promised to work to correct them. And he did correct one of the major criticisms (from the left) by restoring disability and health benefits to legal immigrants in 1997. (yes, it's Pravda, but it's Froomkin).

The Welfare vote:
House: 328 (including 98 Ds)
Senate: 78-21

The "cheap shot" aspect of Hedges speech, to which I imagine RD is taking exception, is that he precedes or follows his criticism of other politicians (even Bush) with groundwork explaining the circumstances and basis for the criticism. The two Clinton shout-outs were machine-gunned "thanks to Bill Clinton" shots out of nowhere.

As Lambert said elsewhere, Clinton was certainly a player in the Washington Consensus , but the Washington Consensus has been trying to flatten (or reverse) real wages and advance other neoliberal travesties (including all of the above, plus deregulation of just about everything) for the past 30+ years. He wasn't the only player, and every single mortal sin ascribed to him (deregulation, welfare reform, nafta) was well under way in the 12 years preceding him. Why was welfare reform so popular in the mid 90s? Because Reagan-Bush I spent 12 years hammering relentlessly about “welfare queens” and their Cadillacs. I'm not old enough to remember Nixon, but I'm old enough to remember how viciously, and successfully, Reagan and the Republicans of 80s played the division and hostility cards.

It's not that Clinton isn't responsible for advancing some bad policies, or many; what is bewildering is the propagandistic copy & paste litany that always pops up at any mention of Bill or Hillary's name which singles him/her/them out as the critical, original, and sole source of neoliberalistic crap policy. And as if he was operating in, and in fact was the sole factor in derailing, some sort of all-but-there leftist paradise instead of the hostile, Republican-happy political environment he was (and we were) in.

Throw in the fact that the obligatory copy & paste “progressives” litany was, for 2 years, mixed in with other copy & paste elements pushed by “progressive” obamafans which were outright lies from the laundry meme machine to discredit both Clintons (zomg! Hillary wants to assassinate Obama!), and it becomes very hard not regard the entire list as tainted. And esp. so when: 1) it crops up as one-off shout-outs in the midst of what (as I wrote above) is a very well-thought out analysis of the current state of our political stage; or 2) it lacks supporting information.

(note, please, I don't direct the last 2 paras. at you, John)

That, I think, is more than anything, the reason that Clinton earns a notch on the permathread list.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

If mentioning the fact that middle and working class wages rose by nearly 7% during the Clinton years is not viewed positively, then any other clarifying of the record on Clinton which absolves him (and "his wife") in any way, is not likely to be viewed favorably.

This post and subsequent comments are an example of an interesting new phenomenon at Correntewire, which could almost be called Democrat Degrangement Syndrome. It's now seemingly considered impolite or unworthy of comment to praise any Democrat here.

There are a lot of reasons why I think this is ill-advised. For those interested, I'll discuss them in the future.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

in terms of morality and the public trust and the common good!!!!!

Cronyism keeps even the best of the best Dems, past and present, shut up and not calling out the horrors that have been perpetrated.


Submitted by libbyliberal on

I actually think it came from Happy Days ... when they knew the plot had "jumped the shark" ... meaning gone too ridiculously and repellantly far -- NOT BELIEVABLE -- because they literally had the Fonz (Henry Winkler) "jump a shark" on water skis. I think this is the origin iirc. The Fonz was cool and brave, but come on!!!!!

Since then, when a show is continuing on fumes, been on too long and plotlines are losing their sense of truth, the epitaph is "it jumped the shark". I think there is even a book out there about the exact point tv shows actually "jumped the shark."

You know, I am so narcissistic as a writer I often don't bother explaining my own vocab. So glad you slowed me down on this one.

So you see, Obama has "jumped the shark" a lot! Made outrageous, anti-liberal choices or, rather, he has jumped lots of sharks. FISA, the Gazan War indifference, not reinstating habeas corpus and his assumption to the right of extrajudicial assassination. etc, etc, etc.

The whole friggin' Dem Party has jumped the shark by enabling all his shark jumps! And Obamacare and not ending the war. I could go on and on and on.

Rangoon78's picture
Submitted by Rangoon78 on

the closest the left ever got to power in America: the 1934 nomination of Socialist, Upton Sinclair as Democratic candidate for California governor. 
There's a book about it -- "Campaign of the Century"

From the Nation:

The Sinclair threat—after he easily won the Democratic gubernatorial primary—so profoundly alarmed conservatives that it sparked the creation of the modern political campaign, with its reliance on hired guns, advertising and media tricks, national fundraising, attack ads on the screen and more.
Standing for End Poverty in California, EPIC was an effort for well-knownmuckraking writer and former Socialist Upton Sinclair to implement socialist reforms through California's Democratic Party during the Great Depression by recruiting supporters into the party and then securing that party's nomination for the 1934 California gubernatorial election.
The EPIC plan was based on Sinclair's proposal that the state of California take over idle factories and farmland, which would then be run as cooperatives in the theme of production for use, instead of production for profit. The idea was to use these cooperatives to put the unemployed back to work. To run the cooperatives, Sinclair proposed the formation of an agency to be called theCalifornia Authority for Production. The proposal received widespread attention, and supporters formed EPIC clubs to promote it.
Sinclair's movement aroused the strong opposition of business leaders andRepublicans in the state, including Louis B. Mayer, head of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie studio, who was chair of the California Republican Party in 1932 and 1933. Meanwhile, many moderate Democrats and Republicans alike, who found Sinclair's proposals extreme, rallied around third-party candidateRaymond L. Haight of the Commonwealth-Progressive Party The effort to stop Sinclair marked the birth of modern media politics including the use of ad agencies, attack ads, motion picture propaganda, and professional campaignstrategists.
Upton Sinclair received 879,537 votes, or 37% of the vote in the 1934 election. His Republican opponent, Frank Merriam, won the election with 1,138,620 votes, or 48%. Raymond L. Haight took 13% of the vote (302,000 votes), making Merriam a minority governor.
The Sinclair campaign did inspire many young idealists who would become future leaders of the California Democratic Party - like Jerry Voorhis, who was to serve 10 years in Congress before being defeated by Republican Richard Nixon- and set the stage for the 1938 election of Democrat Culbert Olson as Governor. Later State Supreme Court Justice Stanley Mosk, who began his political career as Olson's secretary, remembered that EPIC was “the acorn from which evolved the tree of whatever liberalism we have in California.” [1]