Saturday, April 4, 2009

Invoking FDR

Posted by Teresa at 12:39 PM
I bought Amity Shlaes "The Forgotten Man" a few weeks but really hadn't
made time to read it. While I reading the section about how FDR campaigned
and his economic philosophy during the Great Depression, I couldn't help but
think of President Obama. I know earlier this year there were claims that
Obama was trying to invoke FDR. After reading one particular chapter in the
book, I can absolutely see why!

I'm going to give you snippets and tell me if they don't remind you if President
Obama and the current Democrats.

Snippet 1 (p. 128):

The candidate also did not mind assailing the wealthy, a feature rare in
loyal culture of his class.

All this horrified some Democratic colleagues. Al Smith gave a speech at
the Democrat's Jefferson Day dinner, taking issue with the way Roosevelt
and others seemed willing to assail others: "We seems to seek negative
victory rather than affirmative victory," he told his party. "I will take
off my coat and fight to the end against any candidate who persists in any
demagogic appeal to the masses of the working people of this country to
destroy themselves by setting class against class and rich against poor."

Haven't we been hearing constantly about the Wall Street "fat cats."

This part also sounded familiar:

Roosevelt offered yet more ideas- again, contradictory, and more political
and moral than economic. On the one hand, he stuck to old and conservative
policies. He talked like Hoover about how "government, of all kinds, big and
little, be made solvent." He complained about high taxes: government "costs
too much." One the other had, he made expansive statements whose import
was hard to gauge.
I.e. supposed middle class tax cuts that have been the mantle of Republican
economic policy for decades.

Let's continue the paragraph:
The country, he believed, had grown too fast: beyond "our natural and
normal growth." The problem was there had been "an era of selfishness."
There existed "throughout the nation men and women, forgotten in the
political philosophy" of the last years.
See Obama calling for a new era of responsibility.

Next sentence:

These people "look for us for guidance and for more equitable opportunity
to share in the distribution of national wealth."

Hmm. Sounds like Obama got his "spread the wealth around" comment from
FDR.

A couple of sentences down:

Roosevelt also assigned blame to Hoover and Coolidge for the inflation
that they both wrongly believed was doing the damage.

Obama and Democrats have spent most of their time assigning blame to
Bush and Republicans.

These paragraph really reminded of Obama's whole '08 campaign (p. 136):

This vision was a darker one than had prevailed in the 1920s.
Where Americans- even the very poorest of Americans, such
as Father Divine's constituents souls- had believe in a future of
plenty, Roosevelt believed in a future of scarcity. The paradox
was that he presented the message in a framework of
optimism,
to the music of the tune "Happy Days," and with,
simultaneously, and unspoken offer of an end to Prohibition.
That is what always perplexed about the '08 presidential campaign: Why
was the candidate who made it seem like everyone is poor and treated
unfairly the candidate of hope? That's not hope.

This just goes to prove the Democratic Party is not the party of new ideas.
It's still the party of FDR, wrought with class warfare. Well there is one thing
different from the Democrats of the '30s and those of today. Back then
the Democratic Party wasn't beholden to isolationists (the reason why I love
FDR), so now they have the worst of both worlds.
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