Wednesday, February 03, 2010

FDR's Hypocrisy (and our failure to learn from it)

In doing some background research for a potential editorial, I came across this description of FDR's campaign:
Economist Marriner Eccles observed that "given later developments, the campaign speeches often read like a giant misprint, in which Roosevelt and Hoover speak each other's lines." Roosevelt denounced Hoover's failures to restore prosperity or even halt the downward slide, and he ridiculed Hoover's huge deficits. Roosevelt campaigned on the Democratic platform advocating "immediate and drastic reductions of all public expenditures," "abolishing useless commissions and offices, consolidating bureaus and eliminating extravagances reductions in bureaucracy," and for a "sound currency to be maintained at all hazards." (emphasis added)
Certainly later politicians, including Bush and Obama learned from FDR's example. Hopefully the tea party movement is a sign that the public is becoming less credulous and more informed -- and therefore more civically responsible.

(To see the contrast between word and deed, continue reading the first link to the section on the New Deal, then check out FDR's proposed second bill of rights.)


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