Think of this as Volume 18, Number 11 of the newsletter I have written weekly since March, 1997. Enjoy.
When I first began studying America's political cycles in 2006, I posted lots of articles about “the 1966 game.” For years I mainly compared what was happening in American politics to a bizarro version of the Nixon cycle.
More recently, I've been looking at the present crisis through the eyes of 1996. (Blame Doris Kearns Goodwin.) What most historians have been unable to explain is why people like J.P. Morgan essentially surrendered on issues like miners' wages, or why John D. Rockefeller calmly accepted the break-up of Standard Oil.
Goodwin never answers that one in “The Bully Pulpit,” but I have my own theory.
Business isn't always conservative. The word “progressive” includes the word progress, and business is inherently progressive, always pushing change with the aim of profit. Mass manufacturing, the growth of GM and Ford, would have been impossible without sure prices for inputs like electricity and for rail transport costs. What regulation did, in the end, was create that certainty. It enabled business progress.
Then, in recent weeks, we suddenly began playing The 1938 Game.