August 25, 2014
It's A Great Quote, But James Farley Didn't Say It


Here's a persuasive discussion of the question from Walt Crowley:

Let me begin with the famous toast offered by U.S. Postmaster and national Democratic Party leader "Big Jim" Farley in the mid-1930s: "To the 47 States of the Union and the Soviet of Washington."

It's one of my favorite stories.  Unfortunately it's probably not true.  James Farley denied ever saying it, there is no contemporary press report or other documentation of its original utterance, and it makes no sense since the left wing of the state Democratic Party, then organized as the Washington Commonwealth Federation, was among the most loyal supporters of FDR and the New Deal at the time.

Now someone should pass this fact on to Ellis Conklin and, perhaps, to Knute Berger.

Cross posted at Jim Miller on Politics.

Incidentally, I discovered that the quote was dubious some years ago, not by any great feat of research, but with a simple search, when I was hoping to use the quote, and wanted a source.

(James Farley is worth study, because of his skill as an executive and political organizer, his part in FDR's political career, and the reasons he broke with FDR.)

Posted by Jim Miller at August 25, 2014 02:21 PM | Email This