I'm having a good guess that one of the reasons why we don't hear anything about Winant now especially is that Winant was a *gasp* liberal Republican who was appointed by FDR as one of the three men to administer the new Social Security Act, passed by Congress in 1935 with bitter opposition by....guess who?....the Republicans!
That there seems to be not one single liberal Republican left on the planet is sad beyond imagining, but that the Republicans are STILL trying to deep six Social Security three-quarters of a century later is just business as usual. It's far from a surprise.
But that there actually was a man like Winant in our history is hugely encouraging. In 1942, when he was asked by Clement Atlee to help end the British coal miners' strike that was threatening to scuttle the war effort, he spoke these words to the assembled miners in the union hall:
What we want is not complicated. We have enough technical knowledge and organizing ability....We have enough courage. We must put it to use. When war is done, the drive for tanks must become a drive for houses. The drive for food to prevent the enemy from starving us must become a drive for food to satisfy the needs of all people in all countries. The drive for manpower in war must become a drive for employment to make freedom from want a living reality....Just as the peoples of democracy are united in a common objective today, so we are committed to a common objective tomorrow. We are committed to the establishment of the people's democracy.
We must always remember that it is the things of the spirit that in the end prevail. That caring counts. That where there is no vision, people perish. That hope and faith count, and that without charity there can be nothing good. That by daring to live dangerously, we are learning to live generously. And that by believing in the inherent goodness of man, we may...stride into the unknown with growing confidence."
Winant was a rich kid, who grew up in an old NY family on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and attended prep school in Concord, NH, at St. Paul's, whose rector stated "Our function is not to conform to the rich and prosperous world which surrounds us but rather, through its children, to convert it."
As an adult, Winant ran for governor of New Hampshire and won, despite his totally unimpressive speaking ability. In her book, Olson says he was "the youngest and most progressive governor in the country." Olson continues:
For Winant, 'every public policy was personal,' observed one historian. 'It was about people, sometimes specific individuals, and the effect of the policy on them.' The door to his capitol office was open to anybody who wanted to see him; on most days, the corridors of the statehouse were crowded with people wanting a few minutes of the governor's time. Not infrequently, Winant would use his own money to pay a medical bill, cover an educational expense, or help start a business for an impoverished state resident....During the Depression, he instructed the Concord police to allow transients to spend the night in the city jail, then feed them in the morning and send the bill to him. Walking to work, he would hand out all the money in his wallet to jobless men. Winant, said one friend, 'carried the Christian injunction, 'Give all thy goods to feed the poor,' further than any person I have ever known.'
Know any Republicans in public office like that? Me, neither.