Saturday, December 26, 2015

FDR Is Just Republican Lite; Sorry, Flappers, But I'm Still Voting for Norman Thomas

As many of you have noticed, Salon has an ongoing series called Millennials Are the Fucking Worst1. Yastreblyansky had an excellent post on this ("take-my-ball-and-go-homism", as Martin Longman calls it) yesterday.

At the risk of giving these boy-children more attention than they deserve, I just want to single out one bit from the latest entry in the series:
If the New Deal taught us anything it’s that unprecedented sweeping government action can happen quickly. FDR achieved significant reforms within the first hundred days of his presidency....Now, we must show courage and not settle for anything less than a New Deal-style overhaul.
Of course, the real FDR--not the FDR who resides in the lefty imagination--faced bitter criticism from the left for what they considered the inadequacy of his efforts. But that's not until after he's inaugurated. More relevant, I think, is how he campaigned. Here's a bit of his nomination speech:
Just one word or two on taxes, the taxes that all of us pay toward the cost of Government of all kinds.

I know something of taxes. For three long years I have been going up and down this country preaching that Government--Federal and State and local--costs too much. I shall not stop that preaching. As an immediate program of action we must abolish useless offices. We must eliminate unnecessary functions of Government--functions, in fact, that are not definitely essential to the continuance of Government. We must merge, we must consolidate subdivisions of Government, and, like the private citizen, give up luxuries which we can no longer afford.

By our example at Washington itself, we shall have the opportunity of pointing the way of economy to local government, for let us remember well that out of every tax dollar in the average State in this Nation, 40 cents enter the treasury in Washington, D. C., 10 or 12 cents only go to the State capitals, and 48 cents are consumed by the costs of local government in counties and cities and towns.

I propose to you, my friends, and through you, that Government of all kinds, big and little, be made solvent and that the example be set by the President of the United States and his Cabinet.
Oh, and did someone say "free trade"?
[T]here emerges one great, simple, crystal-pure fact that during the past ten years a Nation of 120,000,000 people has been led by the Republican leaders to erect an impregnable barbed wire entanglement around its borders through the instrumentality of tariffs which have isolated us from all the other human beings in all the rest of the round world....By our acts of the past we have invited and received the retaliation of other Nations. I propose an invitation to them to forget the past, to sit at the table with us, as friends, and to plan with us for the restoration of the trade of the world.

Go into the home of the business man. He knows what the tariff has done for him. Go into the home of the factory worker. He knows why goods do not move. Go into the home of the farmer. He knows how the tariff has helped to ruin him.
Does that sound like someone the 1932 edition of Walker Bragman would have voted for?

1Not the actual title, though it is apparently designed to demonstrate this proposition.


Never Ben Better said...

Jut a bunch of ideological virgins throwing a tantrum because their progressive unicorn refuses to show up to lay its head in their waiting laps.

Yastreblyansky said...

Hahaha. Old budget-balancer tax-cutter FDR in the 1932 campaign. The Kos diarist you linked to points out the most Obama-like misbehavior, when Roosevelt nominated Joe Kennedy to head the SEC: "Fox guarding the henhouse!" That really does sound kind of awful, but in the actual course of events Kennedy really did a good job--because the task wasn't just to regulate but at the same time to encourage investment at a time when the capitalists were threatening to go on strike against this socialist New Deal, and he had both covered. A lot more effective than Geithner's handling of a similar challenge at Treasury in 2009, in fact.

Ten Bears said...

What was the closing sentence of George Orwell's Animal Farm, I don't have it at hand. Oh, right, here it is:

The cows couldn't tell the difference between the people, and the pigs*

"Republican Lite" was probably a poor choice for a headline.

*paraphrased, I don't have the book at hand.

Victor said...

In reality, neither FDR not Reagan were as pure as the respective "Purity Police" of both side would have liked.

But I think we on the left love the real FDR, warts and all, and did't/haven't gone to the extremes that our right-wingers have with Reagan.

After his death, FDR's greatness was so apparent, so blindingly, in-your-face evident, that even though he said he didn't anything in the way of monuments, and things getting named after him, it happened naturally.

Contrast that with our conservatves - led by that infamous sociopath, Gover Norquist - who, almost immediately after Reagan left office, led the charge wanting to name EVERY THING after him - and even put his blank-eyed, smiling/smirking visage on Mt. Rushmore, and stick that same puss on coins and bills.

FDR didn't need PR and marketing efforts.

Conservatives have tried oh so very, very hard to polish the turd that was Reagan's 2-term Presidency to a diamond-like brilliance, and to market it to Americans as the brightest jewel of the entire 44 set gem collection.

So much so, that "Old Dutch" would have a hard time recognizing himself in the mirror today if he were still alive - something that, sadly, but in reality, actually happened more and more often as his Presidency wore on. *

Unfortunately for them, as with everything else the right tries to over-sell, facts and reality have a well-known liberal bias, and, at best, RWR comes through as a barely adequate POTUS - AT BEST!

* If the right wants to name or rename something after Reagan, may I (dis)respectfully suggest some middlingly popular vegetable?
How about we Americanize them, and call them, 'Reagan Sprouts'?
Sorry, Brussells...

Ken_L said...

Some of the rubbish Salon publishes almost makes me feel empathy with the American right.

Sweet Sue said...


Unknown said...

My grandfather, a Swedish immigrant, voted for Norman Thomas in 1940 because he didn't think any president should serve more than two terms.

Unknown said...

It will save some wear-and-tear on your keyboard if you simply save "Shut up and vote for Hillary" in a text document and then copy-and-paste that into any future blog post where you feel a need to express your contempt for voters whose progressive aspirations extend beyond a candidate who "learned from her mistake" about the Iraq War by cheerleading the destruction of Libya and who is so deep in the pocket of her Wall Street sponsors that she can't even see daylight.

petrilli said...

For boomers like me who complain about millienials, I like to give them links to the Old Economy Steve meme.

Tom Hilton said...

Unknown: Just to be clear, I'm not saying "shut up and vote for Hillary" in the primary. But anyone who fancies himself/herself a progressive who doesn't vote for the Democratic candidate in the general election--whoever that candidate happens to be--is too fucking stupid to live. If having contempt for clueless privileged shitheads who think their precious purity is more important than electoral consequences is wrong, I don't want to be right.

Ten Bears said...

EYup, can't tell the pigs from the people.

theHatist said...

Well, I tell you what- if Hillary Clinton is elected and breaks up the banks and starts something along the idea of the WPA, I will apologize.

If she is elected and refuses to break up the banks her asshole husband collaborated with republicans to deregulate, doesn't undo the huge damage that NAFTA had done to the middle class- which her asshole husband got passed when George Bush I couldn't, will you apologize?

The utter and complete fallacy here is that while FDR may not have gone far enough for some on the left, there is no way that Hillary will go left AT ALL. Look at Obama- the best thing he's managed to do is pass Mitt Romney's healthcare plan- which, while being a modest improvement, is still profits first, patients last.

All you have to do is look at her record- she was a miserable failure while everyone has been tearing out their hair about Benghazibenghazibengazhi, few seem to have noticed that a decade after the worst president of all time got us into Iraq, destabilizing the area and leaving it vulnerable to people like ISIS, HRC goes and does EXACTLY THE SAME STUPID THING IN Libya.

I can see it now: Hillary gets elected, and we'll spend six years of her passing Republican policies while apologists say that she can't do anything the first two years because it will hurt the midterm elections. Then two years later, she can't do anything too crazy because she has to get re-elected. Then two more years pass, but she has to play ball because Democrats in conservative state need to be re-elected.

Look at what a diagram Obama has been. Wealth inequality is worst than ever. No one on Wall Street (except for those who stole from rich people) has gone to prison. The Too Big To Fail banks that Bill Clinton helped create are bigger than ever. His foreign policy is breeding more terrorists than it's killing. Most of the people he's killed in drone strikes are civilians.

You really want another 8 years of that shit?

Steve M. said...

You really want another 8 years of that shit?

If the only alternative is any of the Republicans? Yes, absolutely.

What amazes me about liberal purists is that, in your world, what Republicans actually do when they hold power doesn't exist. You never talk about what Scott Walker and a GOP legislature have done to Wisconsin, or what Sam Brownback and his allies have done in Kansas, or Pat McCrory and his allies have done in North Carolina. You tell us about the inadequacies of Obamacare, but don't shed a single tear for the people in Kentucky who are about to lose O'care-based health coverage now that a GOP governor is in place. You don't care that women in Texas are dying of self-administered abortions -- not a dime's orth of difference between the GOP and Democrats like Wendy Davis, right? And you don't recognize that a Supreme Court with President Gore's appointees would not have given us Citizens United and would not have gutted the Voting Rights Act, nor would it now be on the verge of rewriting one person, one vote in a brazenly overt effort to help the GOP. What will a Cruz/Rubio/Trump court do, after which you'll say, "Whoopsie! Sorry I stayed home in November!"?

And I'm not even getting into the war in Iraq, which Gore would not have fought.

Yes, President Hillary Clinton will be a disappointment -- except compared with the alternative.

Steve M. said...

A small taste what Republicans do as soon as they're sworn into office.

And he's just getting started. Maybe you want this on a national level. I don't.