It almost passed by unnoticed before I was reminded that September 10th marked the 76th anniversary of Huey Long's death, the result of an assassination and one which to this day is cloaked in conspiracy theories and speculation.
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding Long's ignoble end, he has been viewed as something of a larger-than-life figure in post-World War 1 U.S. history. At the onset a staunch New Dealer, he quickly broke with FDR and went in the opposite direction to the point of being viewed by many as a Dictator-in-waiting.
In this 1935 address, on behalf of the Veterans Of Foreign Wars and the Bonus March movement, Long decried the Roosevelt Administration of being anti-veteran and subsequently anti-American in the process.
His slogan "Every Man A King" certainly had its fair share of appeal among the angry and disenfranchised during those dog days of the Depression. Long was quick to label The New Deal as a "combination of Stalinism and Hitlerism with a dash of Italian Fascism" (why does this sound so familiar??). However the irony was that Long's own state of Louisiana was viewed as a virtual Fascist Dictatorship by many and that his assassination was viewed as an attempt to overthrow a corrupt regime.
The fact that you can probably view Huey Long as something of an equivalent contemporary figure speaks to the notion there has always been a haywire fringe element in our country and it has always flourished in times of doubt and uncertainty. Comforting to know, it ain't - but better the devil you know about than the one you don't, right?
In any event, here's Huey Long from May 25, 1935.