Thursday Bookshelf: RIP Speaker Jim Wright

SpeakerWrightFormer House Speaker Jim Wright (D-Texas) passed away last night just months after his longtime friend Rep. Jack Brooks (D-Texas) passed. Both were 92 years old. Speaker Wright hailed from Fort Worth and used his power to help his local area (including a restriction of commercial flights into Dallas’ Love Field forcing airlines to use Dallas/Fort Worth Airport) and also supported New Deal and Great Society programs. The liberal economic populist tradition of some Texas Democrats was embodied in Wright but he also maintained a good relationship with business groups.

He was a fierce opponent of the Reagan Presidency, even engaging in his own diplomacy in Central America which contradicted administration policy which favored right-wing military juntas at every turn. He was embroiled in ethical dilemma’s and was forced to resign in 1989 months before Majority Whip Tony Coehlo (D-California) was similarly forced to resign due to ethical concerns. Full obituary from CNN. 

Below are links to two of Wright’s best books about his time in office:



Balance of Power: Presidents and Congress from the Era of McCarthy to the Age of Gingrich

Worth It All (On Wright’s Central American Diplomacy)

One comment

  1. salsagator · · Reply

    I had often wondered if he was still alive. He’s been pretty quiet for a while. His ousting was the work of Gingrich and company; his first scalp. Gingrich’s brand of scorched-earth/character-assassination politics would come to be the norm in D.C. and eventually swallowed him hole. I’m not sure if this meaner style of politics ever subsided, but with the growth of the tea-party it is certainly back in fashion again from the know-nothings like Sean Duffy of Wisconsin and Jason Chaffetz of Utah.


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