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Clear it with SidneyHow our blog got its name >

Notes on journalism for the common good
by Lindsay Beyerstein

How our blog got its name

Sidney Hillman was a powerful national figure during the Great Depression, a key supporter of the New Deal, and a close ally of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

When the rumor spread that President Roosevelt ordered his party leaders to “clear it with Sidney” before announcing Harry S. Truman as his 1944 running mate, conservative critics turned on the phrase, trumpeting it as proof that the president was under the thumb of “Big Labor.”

Over the years, the phrase lost its sting and became a testament to Hillman's influence.

It's hard to imagine a labor leader wielding that kind clout today, but we like the idea—and we hope Sidney would give thumbs up to our blog.

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In his Hillman Prize-winning book, Fear Itself, Ira Katznelson argues that the New Deal was a deal with various devils. In order to save America's foundering democracy--and usher in the progressive reforms of the New Deal--Franklin Roosevelt had to ally himself with various anti-democratic factions including the racists of the Jim Crow South.Continue reading...

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