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Hall of Fame: The Case Against FDR



FDR. A Hall of Famer? AP Photo

Earlier this week we made the case for Franklin Delano Roosevelt's inclusion in the Fix Political Hall of Fame. Today we argue the opposite case.

(Make sure to check out our cases for and against Richard Nixon's inclusion in the HOF too.)

Government Is (Not) Good

FDR's "New Deal" -- in which he used the power of the federal government to try to pull the country out of its economic morass -- is generally seen as the best solution the drastic problem of the Great Depression.

Not so fast.

There is a strain of argument -- particularly among conservatives -- that Roosevelt's policies actually extended the length of the Great Depression rather than shortening it. A piece by two UCLA economists in 2004 argued that Roosevelt's policies in the New Deal wound up lengthening the Great Depression by seven years due to its "anti-competition" and "pro-labor" provisions.

Amity Schlaes, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, made a similar argument in a February 2009 op-ed piece for the Washington Post.

"Roosevelt inspired those in despair," she wrote. "But Roosevelt the economist is unworthy of emulation."

More broadly, Roosevelt's New Deal led -- ultimately -- to the resurgence of conservatives in the country who rankled at the federal government's heavy involvement in every day American life.

Former President Ronald Reagan's political career was birthed in the rejection of the New Deal philosophical underpinnings, and the Reagan mantra of smaller government and lower taxes led to a Republican revolution that kept the GOP in control of the White House for 12 straight years kn the 1980s and early 1990s.

Power Hungry

Roosevelt made no secret of his desire to expand the powers of the presidency. But, that willingness to push the boundaries of what a president could and couldn't do led to several questionable decisions during his time in office -- most notably his unsuccessful attempt to pack the Supreme Court with supporters in the wake of his 1936 re-election victory.

Upset that the Court was functioning as a block to several of his New Deal policies ("The Court has been acting not as a judicial body, but as a policymaking body," Roosevelt said in his Fireside Chat in March 1937) and supremely confident following his crushing defeat of Alf Landon the previous November, Roosevelt decided to push legislation that would allow him to add justices to the Court.

The essence of the plan, which involved a broad re-organization of the federal court system, would have allowed Roosevelt to name up to five additional Justices for every sitting member of the Court who was older than 70 1/2 years old and had not retired. Such a move would have allowed Roosevelt to put enough like-minded Justices on the Court to ensure approval for the various New Deal programs he was pushing at the time.

The plan drew considerable skepticism from the public initially, and lost momentum throughout the spring of 1937 as the Supreme Court ruled in Roosevelt's favor several times. The surprise death of Senate Majority Leader Joe Robinson, Roosevelt's main ally on the court-packing plan in Congress, in July 1937 essentially doomed the bill.

Next week: The cases for and against former House Speaker Tip O'Neill (D-Mass.)

By Chris Cillizza  |  July 10, 2009; 4:52 PM ET
Categories:  Hall of Fame  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Kirk Opts Out of Senate Race (Or Maybe He Doesn't)?
Next: The Line: Not Just For Fridays Any More!

Comments

To andygoodman, I don’t dispute that FDR belongs in the Fix Political Hall of Fame, just not before Richard Nixon. Politics is a dirty game sometimes. Bearing that in mind, the Watergate break-in(s), before they got caught and covered it up, is also a plus. Nixon resigning from office is also a plus. Which one do YOU think was the better politician?

Who knows, maybe I will vote for FDR next time, if he's the best politician of the three in contention. Not if Chris Cillizza includes Nicholas Machiavelli or Alexander Hamilton though. I've already admitted that FDR was a better President than Nixon. The question at bar is who was the better politician.

Posted by: Lisa421 | July 13, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Funny how my biggest plus for FDR was listed as a negative (the Court packing incident).

I tend to agree with the negatives espoused, but I don't think anyone is entirely positive in what they've given to the game of politics. It's a dirty game.

Posted by: andygoldman | July 13, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

To JayPen, those two points are not the most compelling case against FDR, as pointed out in the comments. Not only does it completely ignore the Japanese-American internment, it doesn't even mention the other things we brought up on the prior thread (he cheated on his wife, he made it illegal to have gold bullion, his cabinet was chock-full of Soviet sympathizers, Henry Wallace being an actual Soviet spy, his "political" decision to keep his own Vice Presidents out of the loop of war decisions, and his pre-knowledge of the Pearl Harbor attack). No wonder people get so frustrated posting here.

As someone pointed out on the earlier post, FDR was helped tremendously by the media complicity in covering-up his medical condition. While I give him credit for personally overcoming adversity, that political victory was owed more to those who covered it up. As far as I can tell, no one has answered the question "Could someone in a wheelchair even be elected President today?" I would say that leaves the answer as "no."

Bottom line: I think that Nixon, whatever his faults, played the game of politics much better than FDR. As Chris said in the original inductee post "Part of membership in the Fix Political Hall of Fame is possessing a rabid (and uncontrollable) love for the game of politics. No one this side of Bill Clinton can match Nixon in this regard."

While I agree with all the criticism of FDR, there's much more. Chris does bring up a good point about FDR spawning a conservative resurgence. On their own side (apart from their own Vice Presidents), Richard Nixon arguably spawned Reagan and both Bush Administrations as well. All FDR gets is Clinton, maybe, if you're stretching it. I think that he and Obama are more products from Camelot if anything. In addition, regarding Electoral Votes, FDR never swept in the "All but one State" category in any of his four attempts (unlike Richard Nixon in 1972). Only George Washington has done better than that.

Posted by: Lisa421 | July 13, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Chris, as you have said, the HOF isn't about who was the best or most effective president; it's about who was the best and most effective politician. FDR changed politics for a generation, and, through LBJ, influenced a second. As a pure politician, he was unsurpassed, except maybe by Alexander Hamilton, who led America's first party (Federalists), single-handedly elected a president (Jefferson, since he so loathed Burr), and outmaneuvered Jefferson to create our modern economic system (the famous trade of the District of Columbia for assuming state debts). FDR, Hamilton---they should have been in the inaugural class.

Posted by: maris9 | July 13, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Roosevelt was, by a wide margin, the most influential American politician and President of the 20th century. This is absolutely undeniable. Roosevelt set into motion the most enduring political coalition in American political history, if you are looking at a purely political achievement.

In fact there is probably only one American who had anywhere near the impact on life in the United States in the twentieth century, and that man (Martin Luther King) was not even strictly a politician.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | July 13, 2009 3:35 AM | Report abuse

There may be a case against FDR as a good or wise or special or admirable person. But there is no credible case against FDR as a masterful politician. This whole thread is a waste of bytes.

==

Not only that, but most of the "case" made above comes from right-wingers, mostly right-wing economists, and to even entertain the notion that their position is not based on deliberate falsehoods is to ignore everything about the last 30 years.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 12, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

This is a very solid argument for choosing FDR. The case against him is hopeless. He was power hungry? Golly, that's a rarity amongst politicians in the last 100 years.

And he expanded the role of government? Well, Reagan rolled some of it back, but not all, and Obama is expanding it again. So his legacy there lives on.

FDR is a shoe-in, if this is the most compelling case against him.

Posted by: JayPen | July 12, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

There may be a case against FDR as a good or wise or special or admirable person. But there is no credible case against FDR as a masterful politician. This whole thread is a waste of bytes.

Posted by: nodebris | July 12, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

I didn't say "take your meds," scriv ol' bean, I recommend you get on them. I mean it. If you are entertaining the idea that people are paid to discredit you on a silly blog, then you are pretty close to showing up on the evening news in some spectacular firearm-involved meltdown. I hope you don't live in my town.

That said, I don't think yours is a terribly interesting psychosis. If anything it's predictable and mundane. But psychosis it certainly is.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 12, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

chrisfox8:

You are just too transparent; just who is it that keeps you assigned to the keyboard in your little cubicle and how do they keep THEIR job?

Why don't you top it off by invoking the "take your meds" meme?

Such lame psy ops... aren't you the least embarrassed? Does Roz Mazer or J-Nap have people trolling these pages to "out" under-performers?

http://nowpublic.com/world/govt-fusion-center-spying-pretext-harass-and-censor


Posted by: scrivener50 | July 12, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

The post below, headlined, "What Would FDR Have Done -- 'Panetta's Box'", elicited a "comment submission error" message (that I do NOT believe emanated from WaPo) and would not post until I called out apparent government fusion center censorship in a commentary on the ACLU "freedom blog" (see most recent posts, here):

==

dude, seriously, all jokes aside, get some help

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 12, 2009 1:17 AM | Report abuse

FYI, ADHERENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION AND DISINFO TROLLS ALIKE:

The post below, headlined, "What Would FDR Have Done -- 'Panetta's Box'", elicited a "comment submission error" message (that I do NOT believe emanated from WaPo) and would not post until I called out apparent government fusion center censorship in a commentary on the ACLU "freedom blog" (see most recent posts, here):

http://blog.aclu.org/2009/01/26/internet-filters-voluntary-ok-not-government-mandate

BUT the "Panetta's Box" comment was TAKEN DOWN from The New York Times' story about Dick Cheney and the secret CIA counterintel program and would would NOT re-post at all -- no explanation, no "comment submission error" message, just what I consider outright CENSORSHIP.

And I don't think it was initiated by The New York Times on a Saturday night. My prime suspect is a rogue government domestic spying operation that apparently is using the pretext of national security to harass and censor "targeted" American citizens by way of the telecomunications system.

I offer this background here as a cautionary tale for those who give short shrift to First Amendment rights in favor of the false choice between security and liberty.

WaPo has kept its blog comments sections free and open -- unlike the "Great Gray Lady of Broadway." This paper should be commended for not giving in to pressure from those who would like to shut some of us down for good (metaphorically and, apparently, physically).

Now let's hope Bob Woodward re-activates the WaPo investigative reporting unit, which has yet to break open the story of apparent crimes against humanity and the Constitution enabled by multiple, secretive agencies of the federal government.

Maybe he's now doing his own "Deep Throat." Bob?

http://NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | July 12, 2009 12:58 AM | Report abuse

I may be on meds, but at least I haven't posted eight times in a row on a SATURDAY night.

Posted by: JakeD | July 12, 2009 12:27 AM | Report abuse

Each time I read this blog I get angrier. How dare CC and the post give credence to a bunch of right-wing economists, doesn't he know that right-wingers lie without hesitation? The Depression was only lengthened when FDR listened to the deficit hawks.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 11, 2009 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Gov. Palin, it looks like she is going to campaign on behalf of conservative DEMOCRATS to start. Nice move!

==

Dumb move, leave it to you to buy it.

Not even Republicans want to be seen with Palin, save only fellow secessionist Rick Perry.

Get back on your meds, Jake, toot sweet.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 11, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Unscientific data point: guy I see at the gym all the time, hasn't spoken a word to me since just after the election, when I said something that revealed me to be an Obama supporter.

He told me today he was wrong to support Palin. This is a hard-core GOP kinda guy, says McCain was nuts to choose her. Wouldn't go all the way to supporting Obama, though.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 11, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Why not the Post? Scared of being too "Liberal" for your columnists?

==

It's probably that neocon tool Hiatt. I doubt Krauthammer calls the shots

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 11, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

About Jake's troll: Ford's loss to Carter was not seen as any kind of realignment. It was just a loss; Ford was an OK guy but he suffered a lot from his pardon of Nixon, because a lot of people saw it as justice denied. I was one of them but later I changed my mind, and agreed with the pardon; not that Nixon was innocent of Watergate but we had been through enough and had to move on.

Nixon had authorized a burglary and had political enemies' phones tapped, nothing like the war crimes that Bush and Cheney need to be tried for. They really did lie, causing the deaths of many, and the radicalization of a generation of Muslim youth.

But FDR? Jake is just trolling to get some attention. Poor fellow must be hurting because that nasty b*tch he reveres is on the outs.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 11, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Whenever JakeD's around, this place fills up with drivel.

Now we get dumb rhyming slogans, I guess that's JakeD's revenge for being ignored

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 11, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Yes, we heard the "GOP out for decades" when Ford lost to Carter too.

==

No, all we heard was that Ford lost.

This time they really are out for decades

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 11, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Back on topic:

FDR LIED, PEOPLE DIED!

Posted by: JakeD | July 11, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

scrivener50:

Just checking, maybe that was it.

Posted by: JakeD | July 11, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

YOU HAVE BEEN SCOOPED! Locally, by the Moonies! Ain't you proud?

Posted by: thrh | July 11, 2009 9:05 PM | Report abuse

TO: JakeD @ 6:28 p.m.

This ain't no acoustic LRAD. We're talking "people cookers" here... "DEW assassination squad..."

...or is it the "Fryin' Legion"?

I jest, to contain my outrage...

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america
http://nowpublic.com/world/domestic-torture-radiation-weaponry-americas-horrific-shame

OR (if links are vaporized by laser weapon):

httpL//NowPublic.com/scirvener RE: 'GESTAPO USA"; "DOMESTIC TORTURE VIA RADIATION WEAPONRY"

Posted by: scrivener50 | July 11, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Hey, the Big-League paper in Washington, D.C. has run the Cheney story, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jul/12/intel-official-congress-not-briefed-on-cia-program/.

Why not the Post? Scared of being too "Liberal" for your columnists?

Posted by: thrh | July 11, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone noticed the story that the Washington Post [new motto: "All the News That's Right] isn't reporting? That the CIA concealed its "secret" program from Congress, and from CIA Director Panetta, under personal orders from Dick Cheney?

Funny. The New York Times has it.

Posted by: thrh | July 11, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

"Americans took the easy way out and Reagan was the result.

Posted by: DDAWD"

More like, Americans took the easy way out and elected Reagan and we are now seeing the result.

Posted by: thrh | July 11, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

"Panetta's Box"?

THE SECRETIVE SECURITY / MILITARY / INTEL 'MULTI-AGENCY COORDINATED ACTION PROGRAM'...

A NATIONWIDE, SECRETIVE SECURITY/MILITARY/INTEL/ EXTRAJUDICIAL TARGETING AND 'TORTURE MATRIX'...

...FAR MORE EXTENSIVE THAN A CIA 'ASSASSINATION RING'...

...INVOLVING THE WEAPONIZATION OF THE ELECTROMAGNETIC SPECTRUM...

... AND 'DIRECTED ENERGY WEAPONS' TORTURE OF UNJUSTLY 'TARGETED' AMERICAN CITIZENS.

Now will Congress investigate?

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america

OR (if link is corrupted / disabled:

http://NowPublic.com/scrivener

RE: "GESTAPO USA: Gov't-Funded Vigilante Network Terrorizes America"

Posted by: scrivener50 | July 11, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

"Panetta's Box"?

THE SECRETIVE SECURITY / MILITARY / INTEL 'MULTI-AGENCY COORDINATED ACTION PROGRAM'...

A NATIONWIDE, SECRETIVE SECURITY/MILITARY/INTEL/ EXTRAJUDICIAL TARGETING AND 'TORTURE MATRIX'...

...FAR MORE EXTENSIVE THAN A CIA 'ASSASSINATION RING'...

...INVOLVING THE WEAPONIZATION OF THE ELECTROMAGNETIC SPECTRUM...

... AND 'DIRECTED ENERGY WEAPONS' TORTURE OF UNJUSTLY 'TARGETED' AMERICAN CITIZENS.

Now will Congress investigate?

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america

OR (if link is corrupted / disabled:

http://NowPublic.com/scrivener

RE: "GESTAPO USA: Gov't-Funded Vigilante Network Terrorizes America"

Posted by: scrivener50 | July 11, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Yes, we heard the "GOP out for decades" when Ford lost to Carter too.

Posted by: JakeD | July 11, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

The GOP comeback BS is getting on my nerves. We get a succession of nonentities and lots of chirpy hoo-hah about how they're going to revitalize the GOP. Pawlenty, Daniels, Gingrich .. with Palin for seasoning. Ugh.

The GOP ain't comin' back for decades. They're at least two more lost presidentials from admitting to themselves that the Base is not the electorate, that the American people are not secretly as stupid and nasty as they themselves are, and they're not going to make any comeback or even regain any ground until they not only realize that, but internalize it.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 11, 2009 6:27 PM
_________
Most of the legitimate analyses I've seen say the demographic changes alone -- which will get greater over time -- make a GOP comeback nationally impossible for several generations. As well BHO's election proves middle America cannot be as easily manipulated by appeals to race religion, fake patriotism, religion, and Drudge-created "controversies." Now locally, you might get GOP surprise results now and then, a function of special circumstances or a special candidate. But nationally?--no way. I don't mind blogs including this one pushing the comeback theme (or Sarah is a Klondike hero waiting for 2012) when it is fact-based. But when it is just a talking point pushing an agenda fed by other interests, it's bunk.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | July 11, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

"The Reagan Revolution was a combination of factors, but it was the last gasp of the anti New dealers, who were rapidly leaving the voter rolls the permanent way. While the base and bulk of Reagan's victory was actually the beginnings of the last gasp of Jim Crow and his northern relatives, the voice and the face was the old Anti-New Deal Gang. THEY were going to finally undo FDR. Since Reagan wasn't exactly a doctrinaire anything, just an actor flubbing his lines, they got less than they expected. Most of that gang is now gone to old age and dementia, but their anti-intellectual heirs are still out there, AND THEY STILL CONTROL the nominating mechanism of the Republican Party."

The major impetus behind the Reagan Revolution was the fact that the economy was so crappy in 1980. Given that the New Deal was so successful in putting people back to work, it was hard for any conservative backlash to gain any real traction. You had to wait for the rare case where a Democratic presidency and a bad economy coincided. That's what happened under Carter and Reagan took advantage with his cynical promise that the free market will solve our energy problems. Americans took the easy way out and Reagan was the result.

Posted by: DDAWD | July 11, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Unable to get any responses by pleading for them, Jake reverts to mere trolling.

No point reading this blog as long as Idiot Boy is here .. off to the gym.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 11, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Gov. Palin, it looks like she is going to campaign on behalf of conservative DEMOCRATS to start. Nice move!

Posted by: JakeD | July 11, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

scrivener50:

Have you watched "Whale Wars"?

Posted by: JakeD | July 11, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

LOL!!!

==

go play on facebook

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 11, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

"Lisa421:

FWIW, I think RMN belongs in the PHoF as well. We just disagree on the order in which RMN and FDR should be inducted."

Ditto. Whatever you think of FDR, he played a major role in redefining the role of government as an active player in economics. He is kind of an equal, but opposite Reagan. Obama is drawing a lot from FDR in his policies. Say what you will about Nixon, but he didn't change the paradigm of the role of government the way that Reagan and FDR did. At best, Nixon's long lasting accomplishment was to lead to steps being taken to limit the power of the executive, but this was short lived through Reagan and Clinton and completely obliterated by the second Bush.

Posted by: DDAWD | July 11, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

But to your point, the late Katherine Graham would never have allowed such revisionist, non-fact-based "history" about FDR under the Post banner. It's a free country but you don't expect to see neo-con FDR bashing in the Post or an endless series of "poor Sarah" or "GOP comeback" blogging.
Oh well.

==

The GOP comeback BS is getting on my nerves. We get a succession of nonentities and lots of chirpy hoo-hah about how they're going to revitalize the GOP. Pawlenty, Daniels, Gingrich .. with Palin for seasoning. Ugh.

The GOP ain't comin' back for decades. They're at least two more lost presidentials from admitting to themselves that the Base is not the electorate, that the American people are not secretly as stupid and nasty as they themselves are, and they're not going to make any comeback or even regain any ground until they not only realize that, but internalize it.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 11, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Just admitting that FDR is less than perfect is "beneath contempt". LOL!!!

Posted by: JakeD | July 11, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

yeah but once is enough

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 11, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

CF8:

Actually, scrivener's question is a good one -- one that I would be tempted to answer that the 3rd term FDR probably would have approved of "directed energy weapons" (think Manhattan Project) and secretive military/intel multi-agency coordinated action plans (creation of the OSS).

Posted by: mnteng | July 11, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Looks like scrivener is in extremis

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 11, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

What Would FDR Have Done?


***

'PANETTA'S BOX'?

THE SECRETIVE SECURITY / MILITARY / INTEL 'MULTI-AGENCY COORDINATED ACTION PROGRAM'...

A NATIONWIDE, SECRETIVE SECURITY/MILITARY/INTEL/ EXTRAJUDICIAL TARGETING AND 'TORTURE MATRIX'...

...FAR MORE EXTENSIVE THAN A CIA 'ASSASSINATION RING'...

...INVOLVING THE WEAPONIZATION OF THE ELECTROMAGNETIC SPECTRUM AND 'DIRECTED ENERGY WEAPONS' TORTURE OF UNJUSTLY 'TARGETED' AMERICAN CITIZENS.

Now will Congress (and the ACLU) pay attention and investigate?

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america

OR (if link is corrupted / disabled:

http://NowPublic.com/scrivener

RE: "GESTAPO USA: Gov't-Funded Vigilante Network Terrorizes America"

Posted by: scrivener50 | July 11, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

What Would FDR Have Done?


***

'PANETTA'S BOX'?

THE SECRETIVE SECURITY / MILITARY / INTEL 'MULTI-AGENCY COORDINATED ACTION PROGRAM'...

A NATIONWIDE, SECRETIVE SECURITY/MILITARY/INTEL/ EXTRAJUDICIAL TARGETING AND 'TORTURE MATRIX'...

...FAR MORE EXTENSIVE THAN A CIA 'ASSASSINATION RING'...

...INVOLVING THE WEAPONIZATION OF THE ELECTROMAGNETIC SPECTRUM AND 'DIRECTED ENERGY WEAPONS' TORTURE OF UNJUSTLY 'TARGETED' AMERICAN CITIZENS.

Now will Congress (and the ACLU) pay attention and investigate?

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america

OR (if link is corrupted / disabled:

http://NowPublic.com/scrivener

RE: "GESTAPO USA: Gov't-Funded Vigilante Network Terrorizes America"

Posted by: scrivener50 | July 11, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Ever wonder if Froomkin's firing was a shot across the bow, and the remaining bloggers know to toe the neocon line or they'll suffer the same fate?

I agree, those words up there about the New Deal are beneath contempt. The people who say FDR extended the Depression are, to cut to the chase. a pack of liars.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 11, 2009 4:45 PM
_____________
BTW, I think Froomkin landed at HuffPo, but we don't know it's a paying gig.

I agree, too. A clear negative signal (heard by practically everyone) was sent some weeks ago when the Post oped page featured "columns" (more like dreck) by three prominent neo-cons on the same day.

But to your point, the late Katherine Graham would never have allowed such revisionist, non-fact-based "history" about FDR under the Post banner. It's a free country but you don't expect to see neo-con FDR bashing in the Post or an endless series of "poor Sarah" or "GOP comeback" blogging.
Oh well.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | July 11, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

What Would FDR Have Done?

'PANETTA'S BOX'?

THE SECRETIVE SECURITY / MILITARY / INTEL 'MULTI-AGENCY COORDINATED ACTION PROGRAM'...

A NATIONWIDE, SECRETIVE SECURITY/MILITARY/INTEL/ EXTRAJUDICIALTARGETING AND 'TORTURE MATRIX'...

...FAR MORE EXTENSIVE THAN A CIA 'ASSASSINATION RING'...

...INVOLVING THE WEAPONIZATION OF THE ELECTROMAGNETIC SPECTRUM AND 'DIRECTED ENERGY WEAPONS' USE ON CIVILIANS.

NOW WILL CONGRESS INVESTIGATE?

http://NowPublic.com/scrivener

RE: "GESTAPO USA: Gov't-Funded Vigilante Network Terrorizes America"

Posted by: scrivener50 | July 11, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

What absolute republican tripe. What bogus historical revisionism. You become a worse tool of the righwingers every day, Cilizza. Do you think you might stop just typing everything they say to you amd put a little thought and/or
research into it?

==

Ever wonder if Froomkin's firing was a shot across the bow, and the remaining bloggers know to toe the neocon line or they'll suffer the same fate?

I agree, those words up there about the New Deal are beneath contempt. The people who say FDR extended the Depression are, to cut to the chase. a pack of liars.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 11, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

JakeD:
Read my last post to Lisa421.

Posted by: mnteng | July 11, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

To them, World War II was actually, well, lost (don't ask).

==

Something you're not likely to read in the history books .. conservatives returning from WWII would tell each other to hang onto their bayonets, because there were still a lot of Jews in America, that the war ended before Hitler could "finish the job."

The conservatives roll their eyes about Soviet sympathizers, but Nazi sympathizers get a pass, and they were pretty numerous, and still are even now.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 11, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

It's worth noting that Peggy Noonan actually wrote a lot of those applause lines that Palin supporters like to recite. And Peggy has Palin pegged.

Like a bug.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 11, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

FDR -- one of the best presidents ever, and a savior to the middle class. One of the few to try to turn overe the oligarchy that seized this country, the same one that has caused our downfall now. I only hope Obama can be as strong as he is, and resist the evil rightwingers and corporate thugs who threaten the very existence of this country.

Posted by: drindl | July 11, 2009 3:25 PM
________
What he said.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | July 11, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

If anyone else wants to discuss the topic without all of the strawman arguments, let me know.

Posted by: JakeD

==

Little hint to the slow children .. if you need to invite people to discussion, and they still don't bite, maybe nobody wants to have a discussion with you.

Everyone who posts here knows that "JakeD" is a tiresome idiot whose posts could be done by a few dozen lines in a scripting language. Your reputation precedes your posts, and you remain, and always will remain, beneath the notice of those who put some actual thought into what they write.

And no it's not about the liberal/conservative divide. We actually do have some conservative posters here whom we liberals disagree with, vehemently sometimes, but it would never occur to call them idiots.

Hardly any other word suits you better, though.

When you and zouk take a powder, this place improves qualitatively. We have real discussions, real debates, real interaction, intellectually rewarding and good for the soul. Once you show up all that goes away, with your stupid, tiresome, entirely predictable crap.

Are Sasha and Malia fair game? I wouldn't vote for Sanford. LONG FORM. Let me know. Anyone else? For the record. In a civil manner.

Two (2) people will respond to you. The rest of us with you would go the hell away and never come back.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 11, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

FDR LIED, PEOPLE DIED!

==

shut up and go away you damned little yappy dog

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 11, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Peggy Noonan -- once special assistant to Ronald Reagan, on Sarah Palin in the Wall Street Journal:

"The elites hate her." The elites made her. It was the elites of the party, the McCain campaign and the conservative media that picked her and pushed her. The base barely knew who she was. It was the elites, from party operatives to public intellectuals, who advanced her and attacked those who said she lacked heft. She is a complete elite confection. She might as well have been a bonbon.

"She makes the Republican Party look inclusive." She makes the party look stupid, a party of the easily manipulated.

"She shows our ingenuous interest in all classes." She shows your cynicism.

"Now she can prepare herself for higher office by studying up, reading in, boning up on the issues." Mrs. Palin's supporters have been ordering her to spend the next two years reflecting and pondering. But she is a ponder-free zone. She can memorize the names of the presidents of Pakistan, but she is not going to be able to know how to think about Pakistan. Why do her supporters not see this? Maybe they think "not thoughtful" is a working-class trope!"

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124716984620819351.html

And so we see as the fracture becomes a great divide, as the intellectuals of the R party recoil in horror at the braindead monster they have created - their own base.

Posted by: drindl | July 11, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

FDR LIED, PEOPLE DIED!

Posted by: JakeD | July 11, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

FDR -- one of the best presidents ever, and a savior to the middle class. One of the few to try to turn overe the oligarchy that seized this country, the same one that has caused our downfall now. I only hope Obama can be as strong as he is, and resist the evil rightwingers and corporate thugs who threaten the very existence of this country.

Posted by: drindl | July 11, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

"There is a strain of argument -- particularly among conservatives -- that Roosevelt's policies actually extended the length of the Great Depression rather than shortening it. A piece by two UCLA economists in 2004 argued that Roosevelt's policies in the New Deal wound up lengthening the Great Depression by seven years due to its "anti-competition" and "pro-labor" provisions.

Amity Schlaes, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, made a similar argument in a February 2009 op-ed piece for the Washington Post.

"Roosevelt inspired those in despair," she wrote. "But Roosevelt the economist is unworthy of emulation."

More broadly, Roosevelt's New Deal led -- ultimately -- to the resurgence of conservatives in the country who rankled at the federal government's heavy involvement in every day American life.'

What absolute republican tripe. What bogus historical revisionism. You become a worse tool of the righwingers every day, Cilizza. Do you think you might stop just typing everything they say to you amd put a little thought and/or
research into it?

Posted by: drindl | July 11, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cillizza's half-hearted thread barely sratched the surface of the case against FDR. Luckily, we the jury are free to bring in other evidence and argue why FDR was a worse politician compared to Nixon or O'Neill.

Posted by: JakeD | July 11, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

"The Regan revolution didn't happen until FDR had been dead for 36 years. While obviously there could be no backlash against the New Deal if it didn't exist, I think it's somewhat pointless to call the RR a consequence of the New Deal given the countless events in between... (cue we didn't start the fire.) Posted by: theamazingjex "

The conservative rejection of the New Deal came with the new deal. They had the same complaint then they had now: It won't work, it's socialism, its class warfare, it costs money and that means taxes and deficits". They vary the order of the complaints and ratchet up the volume every once and a while, but the words never change. Thirty years after they had flatly lost the debate, Barry Goldwater went back to the conservative mantras to rally the diaspora. He ALSO had the Republican nomination process jiggered, and before the moderates and progressives realized it had the nomination locked up, and the nominating mechanism solidly in the control of the Conservative wing of the party. He then ran a campaign that was bizarre in its own right, "telling truth" to all the wrong parties, as, for instance, giving speeches to retirees in Florida who depended on Social Security telling them how Social Security was something he was going to do away with.

1964 was a year for political satire at its best because the country was actually in a swing toward the liberal side of politics, and the landslide reflected that.

The anti New Dealers didn't give up, and when Johnson gave them the South to work with they took advantage of it to go back to being a political force.

The Reagan Revolution was a combination of factors, but it was the last gasp of the anti New dealers, who were rapidly leaving the voter rolls the permanent way. While the base and bulk of Reagan's victory was actually the beginnings of the last gasp of Jim Crow and his northern relatives, the voice and the face was the old Anti-New Deal Gang. THEY were going to finally undo FDR. Since Reagan wasn't exactly a doctrinaire anything, just an actor flubbing his lines, they got less than they expected. Most of that gang is now gone to old age and dementia, but their anti-intellectual heirs are still out there, AND THEY STILL CONTROL the nominating mechanism of the Republican Party.

They got GWB electe3d, and found the sock puppet they really wanted in the White House, but they DIDN'T get the remake of government they have been seeking since 1936. In 2004 they sensed their chance, Shrub's "political capital" for him to "spenn'". As usual they were wrong about the country's rejection of the New Deal.

Sixty four years after his death, FDR is still effecting the politics of the country in an important way.

In 2040 Nixon will be just another name for kids to memorize in history class.

Posted by: ceflynline | July 11, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

If anyone else wants to discuss the topic without all of the strawman arguments, let me know.

Posted by: JakeD | July 11, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Nixon or FDR? It's too silly to even argue. Even the argument against FDR is so weak it is ludicrous. No mention of years 1940-45? Did we win the war? Who was the leader?

Posted by: fulrich | July 11, 2009 2:19 PM
_____
You must remember they are reading from a different history book.

To them, World War II was actually, well, lost (don't ask).

There was no "Great Depression" (they present as evidence those great Busby Berkeley musicals with folks in tuxedos and tails) but just a slowdown that would have corrected itself through "market forces" eventually...like in 100 years.

Their history book also contains no mention of the Civil War, only of some event called "the War Between the States," which was fought, not over slavery, but "states' rights." They characterize slavery not as an abomination, but as full employment.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | July 11, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

fulruch:

We (including Truman) won the war, but FDR died before that -- I remember his name being listed with the KIA the next day -- still unanswered is whether FDR knew about the attack on Pearl Harbor beforehand and why he invaded a different country than Japan. FDR lied, people died!

mnteng:

I don't understand if you realize only one of them can be inducted at a time.

Posted by: JakeD | July 11, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Believe it or not I agree with Reagan being in the Hall of Fame.

He was a Great Communicator. I personally think he was a better host of GE Theatre than a president, but I digress. He put a smiling grandfatherly face on extreme domestic and foreign policies that his base supported.

Extreme? When you start your campaign giving a speech on "states' rights" at the site where legendary civil rights martyrs Cheney and the rest were murdered, and follow up with a friendly dedication to the S/S dead in Bitburg, Germany, that's extreme in the mind of the civilized world. Not even "conservative" GOP leaders Audra Shay or Chip Salsman would go there, would they?

Fortunately since Ray-Gun passed away, America has regained its senses, and the its demographics have changed such that it would impossible to put across that craziness (see, e.g., Iran Contra) again.

But, bottom line: give him credit, Ray-Gun had an agenda and implemented it successfully...to the lasting detriment of the American people.

Welcome to the Hall of Fame, Ron.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | July 11, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

JakeD:

Try to keep up. I've already written numerous times that I think RMN deserves to be in the PHoF. I even wrote that I thought RMN was a better politician than Pete Rose ever was as a baseball player.

What part of that do YOU not understand?

Posted by: mnteng | July 11, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Nixon or FDR? It's too silly to even argue. Even the argument against FDR is so weak it is ludicrous. No mention of years 1940-45? Did we win the war? Who was the leader?

Posted by: fulrich | July 11, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

mnteng:

The Baseball HOF doesn't just vote on one induction among three nominees. Also, if Nixon is on any "permanently inelligible" list, then so should Clinton. We are being asked to vote on who the best POLITICIAN was among these three nominees. You do understand that, right? If Clinton was allowed, then so should Nixon. That's the "fair and balanced" I'm talking about.

blert and John1263:

For the last time, these threads are not about which one was the best President. Between FDR and RMN, who played the game of politics best. That's the only question (unless you think that Tip O'Neill was a better player).

Posted by: JakeD | July 11, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

nixon definietley does not belong in any hall of fame. He belonged in jail, and pardoning him was a great mistake on the part of president Ford. reagan, he was influential, but in such a negative way that a hall of infamy is closer to the truth than a hall of fame.

Posted by: John1263 | July 11, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

There is a reason FDR is ALWAYS listed with Washington and Lincoln as part of the best 3 presidents the nation has ever had. reagan never comes close. And even at his usual position of 8-12th he is too highly rated because of his recent political importance. Conservatives from 1933 to the present have tried to sully the image of FDR. He was not God, he made mistakes, but he was a great man, a great leader, and if the other side had continued in power we would probably not still be a country.

Posted by: John1263 | July 11, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I think FDR set a lot of bad policies and made a lot of bad decisions. His economic policies did little to help the country; his executive on Japanese internment was racist and a gross violation of the Bill of Rights, no matter what Korematsu said; his decision to seek the presidency beyond a second term rejected more than a century and a half of precedent and consolidated too much power into one man's hands through the continuous executive authority.

However, as with Nixon, Reagan, or LBJ, none of his failures, shortcomings, or illegal actions should disqualify him from a political Hall of Fame. FDR was arguably the most influential president of the 20th century, for better or for worse, and he led the country through the bulk of the Depression and WWII, which together economically, militarily, diplomatically, and otherwise shaped the nation during the past century probably more than any other events. Even those who dislike FDR will admit that he belongs in any Hall of Fame; it's just a matter of the wording that FDR gets in the description below his bust.

Posted by: blert | July 11, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

@ Lisa:

The Regan revolution didn't happen until FDR had been dead for 36 years. While obviously there could be no backlash against the New Deal if it didn't exist, I think it's somewhat pointless to call the RR a consequence of the New Deal given the countless events in between... (cue we didn't start the fire.)

Posted by: theamazingjex | July 11, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

P.S. to seemstone -- there's nothing wrong with making money on book(s) just like Obama BTW -- it's the love of money, to the exclusion of what's really important, that is the root of all kinds of evil -- Gov. Palin has plenty of time to prove herself.

Posted by: JakeD

==

Obama didn't quit his responsibilities to make some money. Funny how you leave out that part. Or maybe you can't keep more than one screed in your head at one time.

Palin got bored with being governor because the legislature started to push back, so she quit to go do something more fun. That's like a pilot who gets bored with the flight and parachutes out to go play golf.

As for proving herself, she already has. More than enough. She's an idiot. So are you.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 11, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Back on topic, the Fix HOF needs to be fair and balanced. There are two Democrats (LBJ and Clinton) already. If FDR is inducted before Nixon, that would be three to one.

==

What nonsense. The selections should be based on merits. If there are three slots then they should be the three best choices. Since Republican presidents have carried out Republican policies, they have tenured inferior administrations, because Republicans favor ideas and policies that don't work well. More and more as time goes on.

Lest readers forget, you're the pea-brain who said Sarah Palin belongs on that short list and all she ever did was deliver a lot of nasty speeches in the McCain campaign. Why should anyone care about the opinion of someone as demented as that? Stick to the birth certificate and "are Sasha and Malia far game" BS.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 11, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

JakeD writes:
"Back on topic, the Fix HOF needs to be fair and balanced."

That is a patently ridiculous statement. The Baseball HOF doesn't require balance between AL and NL players when there's clearly a difference, for example, for AL pitchers that have to face the DH. If you are the best, you should be in the HOF regardless of your affiliation. Why should Chris' PHoF have to be any different?

And I would argue the same, regardless of which party had more members of the PHoF.

Posted by: mnteng | July 11, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Back on topic, the Fix HOF needs to be fair and balanced. There are two Democrats (LBJ and Clinton) already. If FDR is inducted before Nixon, that would be three to one. Given the case against FDR, it is a close call at best. I still vote for Nixon. If Watergate alone disqualifies Tricky Dick (a la Pete Rose or Shoeless Joe Jackson), then impeached President Clinton should not have been inducted either.

Posted by: JakeD | July 11, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

The Devil's Advocate has a long and important history in debate. Better for Obamaniacs to quash any dissent and just drink the Kool aid, I guess. Someone must not have read the "Case Against Nixon" thread.

P.S. to seemstone -- there's nothing wrong with making money on book(s) just like Obama BTW -- it's the love of money, to the exclusion of what's really important, that is the root of all kinds of evil -- Gov. Palin has plenty of time to prove herself.

Posted by: JakeD | July 11, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

"There is a strain of argument -- particularly among conservatives -- that Roosevelt's policies actually extended the length of the Great Depression rather than shortening it."
______

"Strain" is right; this neo-con revisionist history is an extreme strain on reality. And, yes, we get the underlying neo-con agenda: Around the world, BHO is likened to undisputed icon FDR (who ended the Depression and won WWII (look it up in a real encyclopedia, not the Fox News web site or here)). So if you tarnish FDR's memory, you indirectly tear down BHO.

Coming soon (but we don't know why):

The case against Washington
The case against Jefferson
The case against Gandhi
The case against Churchill
The case against Mandela
The case against Geromino
The case against MLK
The case against Earl Warren

Stay tuned...

Posted by: broadwayjoe | July 11, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

The vast majority of Americans do not vote for deep, ideological reasons.It satisifies the moral vanities of both liberals and conservatives to imagine that in the wake of every turn in their direction that a major ideological shift is taking place.

Reagan's victory in 1980 was a consequence of Jimmy Carter's failure to deal with the domestic and foreign issues of that era. It is instructive to remember here that Reagan proved himself to be flexible in his relations with the democratic Congress and more than willing to negotiate with the so-called "Evil Empire". There was no Reagan "revolution". There was some movement to the right on taxing and social issues and on the foreign front, Reagan was little differnet than his predecessors in dealing with the Soviets in the Cold War. There is even an argument to be made that he was fairly liberal in his dealings with Gorbachev and received a good deal of heat from the conservatives because of it. The rest is just the inevitable historical revisionism to make Reagan fit into some preconceived left or right wing mold, neither of which describes the reality of his administration.

The same is true today. Obama will prove more than capable, will likely be a two term President and will leave the country better than he found it. But, there isn"t going to be any liberal revolution any more than there was a conservative one when Reagan was elected.

We had our Revolution in the 18th century. And Americans have shown time and again that they are less interested inrevolution than in simple, steady, good government and national and social security for their families.

Posted by: jaxas | July 11, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Conservatives are forever making the argument that it was WWII that got us out of the Great Depression. For the sake of argument, let us accept that as truth. What follows then is this: War and the vast cost and spending that go along with it constitutes on of the biggest acts of stimulus spending one can conceive of.

Do the conservatives not understand that they are making the case for hugem amounts of stimus spending during a deep recession or a depression when they make the case that WWII got us out of the depression?

The truth is, government spending by itself won't get us out of this. What is needed is the same sort of committment and sacrifice that WWII imposed upon us. But that is not likely to happen in today's cynical partisan environment where you have a media and talk radio bloehards and television pundits peddling the cynical, self serving claptrap that we can have everything we demand of government without having to pay for it through higher taxes.

The message the public gets today from the media is a cynical, selfish one that promotes a self indulgent public who wants everything but does not want to apy for it.

Posted by: jaxas | July 11, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Remember, this is who JakeD wanted to be vice president or even commander in chief.

Posted by: seemstome | July 11, 2009 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Levi Johnston, ex-boyfriend and baby-daddy to Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol, has put his would-be mother-in-law on the defensive by saying that the Alaska governor hastily abandoned her position in order to cash in on fame. "[She] had talked about how nice it would be to take some of this money people have been offering us and just run with it, and saying forget everything else," said the 19-year-old during a news conference in Anchorage.

Posted by: seemstome | July 11, 2009 7:45 AM | Report abuse

FDR sent hundreds of thousands of innocent American citizens to concentration camps purely because of their race.

He made a criminal (bootlegger and stock-manipulater Joe Kennedy) ambassador to England in their darkest hour.

He tried to undermine the Constitution by packing the Supreme Court.

Even though he knew he was dying, he kept his vice president totally in the dark in the middle of a war.

Only a partisan Democrat could imagine this scoundrel being a great man.
.

Posted by: gitarre | July 11, 2009 7:40 AM | Report abuse

JakeD has been staring at the Palin wallpaper in his bathroom for so long that it has left him weak and addle brained.

Posted by: seemstome | July 11, 2009 7:39 AM | Report abuse

And simpleminded nonsense like that won't work again for another 40 years.

We all remember all those dumb one-liners, you guys trot them out in your nostalgia for that season of swagger when you could "feel good" about being ignorant.

Our current president is a Constitutional scholar, not a chucklehead.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 11, 2009 1:47 AM | Report abuse

Ronald Reagan -- 1962 (so that I don't get accused of plagiarism).

Posted by: JakeD | July 11, 2009 1:43 AM | Report abuse

Sample one liner applause line: "I did not leave the Democratic Party; it left me."

Posted by: JakeD | July 11, 2009 1:35 AM | Report abuse

CC wrote:

"Former President Ronald Reagan's political career was birthed in the rejection of the New Deal philosophical underpinnings"

I honestly don't think the people who voted for Reagan were thinking about the New Deal at all. They were thinking about the inflation rate and the Iranian hostage crisis, and it was a time of unsurpassable shallowness, with disco on the radio and TV shows cooing lovingly over the nasty lives of the fictitious rich. Along came an avuncular character assuring people they could have their cake and eat it, with some fluff about morning in America, and we were gullible enough to buy into it.

Reagan and the Dumb Conservative movement came to power on a few one-liner applause lines, not on anything as dignified as a "rejection of philosophical underpinnings. This is not only revisionist pap, it's bilgewater.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 11, 2009 1:24 AM | Report abuse

JakeD:

Did you see my remark at 11:58? Why have you not answered in a civil manner? I won't answer YOUR questions until YOU answer MINE.

Bzzzzt. Click. Whirrrrrrrr.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 11, 2009 12:55 AM | Report abuse

You nincompoops are always predicting a big backlash. It's your opiate.

Why should there be a backlash against success?

Try to make sense, would you? Just for the sheer hell of it.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 11, 2009 12:42 AM | Report abuse

ebabin:

You are disputing that there was, in fact, any conservative resurgence / backlash against FDR and the New Deal?

Posted by: JakeD | July 11, 2009 12:40 AM | Report abuse

The history could not possibly be more explicit; it was government spending that got us out of the depression, not tax cuts for the wealthy. Since the facts contradict what conservatives choose to believe, they reflexively tell lies about the history.

Every few generations we throw them out, and they start lying their way back. They tell people what they want to hear, that they can get safety and prosperity with no sacrifices, and after a few generations people believe it and give the conservatives another shot. And they screw up again.

Let's hope our memories lengthen, instead of the Shadow.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 11, 2009 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Who cares what the conservatives say, as if there is a shred of evidence that they have any clue of what they're talking about.

Posted by: ebabin | July 11, 2009 12:26 AM | Report abuse

Isn't it amazing, the moment JakeD shows up the IQ around here instantly drops 30 points, as he starts posting idiotic baiting questions and throws hissy fits when people don't bother to answer

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 10, 2009 11:59 PM | Report abuse

We had a GREAT day of discussion without you, Jake, including people on both sides of the aisle. This place is much better without you around. Look forward to more great discussions here in your absence.

Take a hint.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 10, 2009 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Monk:

I've never heard a single right-winger claim that government employees are "unemployed" (including below). Do you have a link to any credible conservative making that argument? Did you see the actual criticisms of FDR on this thread?

Posted by: JakeD | July 10, 2009 11:57 PM | Report abuse

The right-wing case against the New Deal is based largely an two major false premises (which, of course, spring from their ideology): the first is that they count all people employed by federal work programs (WPA, CCC, etc.) as unemployed; the second (which is more pertinent to the argument that the ND prolonged the Depression) focuses on the recession year of 1938 to make the case that the ND worsened economic conditions. In fact, there was gradual but fragile recovery throughout most of the '30s (after the nadir of '32/'33) but after the '36 election FDR began to listen to those concerned about balancing the budget; cuts were made to programs and there was a subsequent contraction which really wasn't reversed until the advent of WWII when federal spending increased again.

Counting people as unemployed because they were paid by the federal government is patently insane in a Zen kind of way. Making out that 1938 is the whole of the Depression goes through inanity and out the other side.

Posted by: MeddlingMonk | July 10, 2009 11:45 PM | Report abuse


When you get as much of your agenda moved into position as Roosevelt did (and all while trying to rescue the country's economy and save the world from the Axis) I think you have to be pretty skilled at the *game* of politics, too. If a politician gets results, then he's good at the game whether he is perceived as being a player or not.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | July 10, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

jpd910:

FDR was a worse politician than Nixon, right?

Posted by: JakeD | July 10, 2009 11:18 PM | Report abuse

It is my opinion that FDR is one of the trilogy of great presidents; Lincoln and Washington are the other two. However, if I were to rank his mistakes, his casual attitude toward his 1944 running mate Harry S Truman is most damning. FDR knew that he was dying and yet was quite casual about HST's nomination as his (FDR's) potential successor. Worse, he met with him just twicw between the election and FDR's death in April 1945. Truman knew nothing of the atomic bomb nor of FDR's post-War plans for Europe. As a nation, we were incredibly fortunate that HST was the man that he was.

Posted by: jbd910 | July 10, 2009 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Lisa421:

Don't bother trying to reason with "chrisfox8". I'm surprised that no one mentioned such a "brilliant" politician got bested by Stalin at Yalta. Nixon is going to win this contest.

Posted by: JakeD | July 10, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

The furthest back I can go, at least historically, is the Harold Wilson era

==

o/~ Don't ask me what I want it for
(ah-hah, Mr. Wiiilson)

If you don't want to pay some more
(ah-hah, Mr. Heath)

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 10, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Apologies to Lisa for speculating she was a Jake moniker. You have ten times Jake's brains.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 10, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Lisa421:

FWIW, I think RMN belongs in the PHoF as well. We just disagree on the order in which RMN and FDR should be inducted.

Posted by: mnteng | July 10, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

Thanks for another masterful article--I'm impressed that you're able to move effortlessly between contemporary politics and historical ones. The furthest back I can go, at least historically, is the Harold Wilson era (with a slight detour furher back to Stanley Baldwin & King Edward VIII, future Duke of Windsor).

FDR does have more than a few blots on his copybook, hasn't he? I still think he should be inducted into the Fix Hall of Fame, but with 'warts and all' disclosed.

Posted by: sverigegrabb | July 10, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

To chrisfox8, mnteng, and toritto, I don’t dispute that FDR belongs in the Fix Political Hall of Fame, just not before Richard Nixon. Who knows, maybe I will vote for FDR next time, if he's the best politician of the three in contention. I've already admitted that he was a better President than Nixon. FDR was also a masterful politician but not the Machiavellian that Nixon clearly was, as Chris Cillizza has admitted. Nixon’s paranoia consumed him on the political side, just like Clinton. Watergate, essentially, was unnecessary because Nixon knew from every legal source that he was going to win re-election. The “politician” in him, however, was not content with that and pulled out all the stops for an electoral landslide. 47 million votes was unheard of for an American President (FDR only got 22-27 million) and that record would not be broken until Reagan's SECOND election.

I really gotta go now. See you all on the Tip O'Neill post.

Posted by: Lisa421 | July 10, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

FDR was revered by the "common man" and detested by his "class".

Proof enough that he did something right.

:-)

He belongs on the list.

Posted by: toritto | July 10, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

To theamazingjex, I believe you are missing that Chris Cillizza's attack on the New Deal is about the politics, not the substance "Roosevelt's New Deal led -- ultimately -- to the resurgence of conservatives in the country who rankled at the federal government's heavy involvement in every day American life."

And, it was not just Reagan and therefore George H.W. Bush, but also George W. Bush for a total of 20 years under the heading of "Unintended Consequences." Richard Nixon's boomerang ended with Jimmy Carter. That has to be part of the calculus in voting between Nixon and FDR.

Posted by: Lisa421 | July 10, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

My grandmother was an Italian communist. I remember a picture of Togliatti in the house along with a statue of the Madonna of course.

Grandma was so disappointed that I was a Democrat. She swore that it was FDR that kept the revolution from coming to America. FDR, she said, kept the rich and well off from going up against the wall during the Great Depression.

The wealthy never learn said Grandma..."When they took Marie Antoinette to her execution, when they laid her head on the block, after all she had been through, she still didn't know why she was there" After all, "I was a good Queen!".

We forget the social conditions of the 1930s (or ignore them), the strength of socialist, communist, anarchist and fascist groups in this country. The danger of revolution was very real

FDR calmed the unemployed masses and gave hope where there was only dispair under Hoover.

FDR belongs on the list.

Posted by: toritto | July 10, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

From Wikipedia "In private he used a wheelchair, but he was careful never to be seen in it in public, although he sometimes did appear on crutches. He usually appeared in public standing upright, while being supported on one side by an aide or one of his sons. For major speaking occasions an especially solid lectern was placed on the stage so that he could support himself from it; as a result, in films of his speeches Roosevelt can be observed using his head to make gestures, because his hands were usually gripping the lectern. He would occasionally raise one hand to gesture, but his other hand held the lectern."

==

And when Reagan was shot he walked upright into the hospital. Was he engaging in conspiracy to cover up the seriousness of his wound?

Or was he trying, as Roosevelt was, to maintain the stature of his office?

Bah.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 10, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Lisa421:

I think you underestimate how political FDR was. He was a state Senator, won 2 2-yr terms as Gov. of NY, and lost elections for US Senator for NY and as VP nominee (to Harding's ticket of all things!). I do think he was a gamer.

Posted by: mnteng | July 10, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

The deprecation of Roosevelt's New Deal is one of the big reasons I have such a low opinion of economics. If the esteem of some new fad by "neoliberal" free-marketeers outshines the success of Keynesian spending stimulus, what good is that esteem?

It's junk.

Right now we're suffering through another era of Gilded Age thinking, with all the same marker antigens .. reverence for the wealthy, hatred of government, the conviction that businesses must be allowed to fail.

Those ideologues will tell you that only WWII ended the Depression, as though we should look around the world for more wars to get into. In reality, it was only the return to placing deficits before stimulus that brought back the Depression.

Author William Kennedy has a great series of books set in the late Depression, one "Ironweed" was made into a movie some years ago. Great reading, fiction but very well researched in period.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 10, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

To margaretmeyers, overcoming his handicap politically is a point in his favor. But it's not a crime to ask whether someone like him in a wheelchair today could be elected President. People back then knew that FDR had polio, but he was able to convince many people that he was in fact getting better and had been cured (when he wasn't), which he himself believed was essential if he was to run for public office again. His deteriorating medical condition before his last election was closely guarded.

From Wikipedia "In private he used a wheelchair, but he was careful never to be seen in it in public, although he sometimes did appear on crutches. He usually appeared in public standing upright, while being supported on one side by an aide or one of his sons. For major speaking occasions an especially solid lectern was placed on the stage so that he could support himself from it; as a result, in films of his speeches Roosevelt can be observed using his head to make gestures, because his hands were usually gripping the lectern. He would occasionally raise one hand to gesture, but his other hand held the lectern."

If the media wasn't in on this, why is this one of the only known photographs of FDR in his wheelchair?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rooseveltinwheelchair.jpg

Posted by: Lisa421 | July 10, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Court packing clearly belongs prominently in the case against FDR. Whatever your take on it, it was the most risky political move he ever took.

But attacking the New Deal? Huh? First of all, isn't this the political hall of fame? From a political standpoint, it was an enormous accomplishment, breaking a hundred years of republican control of the federal government. Politically, it was a huge success.

But the critique is also weak, you can find economic papers arguing all kinds of ideas. The prevailing historical view is that the New Deal clearly helped the economy. Look at a graph of GDP vs. government spending and it's not hard to see why. As you can see in this chart, the economy improved w/ new deal spending:

http://tinyurl.com/mt6xm2

We see...
-Pre FDR: low spending, GDP collapses nearly 50%
-1933: FDR inaugerated and starts spending, economy recovers.
-1936: nearly back to pre-crash
-'36 to '37: the New Deal is cut back and GPD goes into a second recession
-'37 on: Public works resumes and GDP grows back to near pre-crash level by 1940
-After that, mobilization starts

All in all, the New Deal was a shining achievement that turned nearly a hundred years of republican control of the government into a democratic political juggernaut. What do some anti-Keynesian ideologues 75 years later matter?

Posted by: theamazingjex | July 10, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

To margaretmeyers, this is not a contest to see who the best President is. You are fighting the wrong fight, as I actually agree that FDR was a better President than Nixon. Still curious why Chris Cillizza waited until after hours, however, and he didn't address most of the issues brought up against FDR on the earlier post.

Bottom line: I think that Nixon, whatever his faults, played the game of politics much better than FDR. As Chris said in the original inductee post "Part of membership in the Fix Political Hall of Fame is possessing a rabid (and uncontrollable) love for the game of politics. No one this side of Bill Clinton can match Nixon in this regard." On the politics, alone, Nixon beats FDR.

Posted by: Lisa421 | July 10, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

If there was a conspiracy to cover-up Roosevelt's polio the whole country was in on it.
The indoor swimming pool built at the White House in 1933 was paid for by public subscription, and it was announced as specifically for the POTUS' physical therapy.
FDR also was central in the creation of the March of Dimes in 1938, a group that specifically raised money for Polio research.
Everyone knew he had polio.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | July 10, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Ok, so I think we get that Lisa HATES Roosevelt, and there are some other folks who really really hate him, too. But then, these are opinions from people who troll on comments pages for a living.

Roosevelt? Leader of the free world for 13 of the toughest years faced during the 20th century. Did in fact oversee our rise from the Depression (I know -- the Republicans gives the credit to WWII -- the facts are the previous administrations had put us in a tailspin and he was in charge when we climbed OUT, so I think he gets some credit). Did in fact gear-up our formidable industry and lead this country in saving the World from the Axis. Did in fact make a lot of despairing people feel safe again. Made establishing oversight of industry and creating social safety nets a priority. etc, etc.

Anyone who argues that he was not an important political force for good in this country is so partisan they can't think straight.As his relation, also a POTUS said, it is easy for the nay-sayers to stand around at the edges and find fault with the man in the ring. They aren't even in the fight.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | July 10, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

It wasn't a "media conspiracy," it was an expression of common decency that is completely dead in our society.

Read David Brooks' most recent column over at NYT.

"conspiracy." bah.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 10, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

To colby1983, FDR did get more lucky than Nixon, that's for sure. As someone pointed out on the earlier post, FDR was helped tremendously by the media conspiracy in covering-up his medical condition. Could someone in a wheelchair even be elected President today?

Posted by: Lisa421 | July 10, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

These seem more like moral/ideological arguments than political ones, though the Court-Packing plan WAS a major misstep.

Still, a far more cogent reason to vote against FDR is the idea that he may have lucked into his political success- ANYONE was going to beat Hoover in '32, and all the rest of the success can really just be seen as the result of the rise of Urban Dems and the delayed exodus of Southern Dems.

Posted by: colby1983 | July 10, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

The complexities of America's support of the Soviet Union don't seem to have gotten the attention that historians ought to have given them, and the colors are fading fast, so perhaps some one of you current historians ought to get on it.

Posted by: ceflynline

==

This is a smashing good point

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 10, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

"mnteng: sympathizer I don't dispute, spy I do. I think some people don't care to distinguish between the two. And I agree that support for the SU in the US after 1939 was pretty hard to justify; prior to that it was at worst "a little starry-eyed" but not criminally insane to believe in the Worker's Paradise. People don't realize how shocked the American Left was in that year, how credible the Communist Party had been here, what a shambles it was in afterward. Not trying to whitewash Communism, but Stalin was more a brutal dictator than a committed leftist ideologue. Posted by: chrisfox8"

Actually after 1941 it is easy to tolerate, since we were so obviously in a war for survival in Europe, and like JS or not he had the divisions that kept Hitler from making things infinitely worse for the west. The complexities of America's support of the Soviet Union don't seem to have gotten the attention that historians ought to have given them, and the colors are fading fast, so perhaps some one of you current historians ought to get on it.

Posted by: ceflynline | July 10, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

""his "political" decision to keep his own Vice Presidents out of the loop of war decisions," so? "

Yeah, SO? At least his VP's were men of (perhaps odd) Quality. Compare Garner, Wallace, and Truman to Agnew, Quayle, and Cheney. And THEIR Presidents actually let them into Governance. (OK, Agnew was solely the bad cop in the Nixon GC/BC act.)

In That era and before VP's were OFTEN on the ticket for Balance, and once elected left to find places in D. C. to twiddle their thumbs until the Senate deigned to let them take up the gavel just in case.

Posted by: ceflynline | July 10, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Short, sweet, and essentially, well, the Conservatives didn't like him.

His failed attempt to pack the Supreme Court actually argues FOR his inclusion in a P O L I T I C A L Hall of fame, because, even though he failed in his attempt to pack the SCOTUS, he still essentially got his way, particularly on the one item, the Constitutionality of Social Security, that he really needed. Sometimes you lose a battle but because of it win a campaign, ala Nathanial Greene, who lost several and in so doing ran Cornwallis out of the Proprietary Colonies, and sometimes you lose a battle but win the campaign in spite of the loss. His Court Packing probably only hurt his standing among nit picking historians because he got what he needed, even where he lost so many programs he thought were working.

I had thought that the REAL blots to his POLITICAL record, his willingness to put civil rights for blacks on hold for the duration of his administration, his failure to do more to ameliorate the plight of jews fleeing the holocaust, and his totally unconscionable submission to the internment of Japanese citizens from the west coast, which really showed only a willingness to give in to political trends that he might have opposed and thereby turned away. He went along, and yet in none of those cases could he be seen to have gained anything at all politically.

Still, though it is not an inconsequential blot on his personal record, it was a minor sideshow in his political accreditation.

Primus inter pares in this hall.

And for later consideration, that three time loser, WJB, who first showed Presidential Timber how to stop being rooted in dignity and start hitting the hustings.

Posted by: ceflynline | July 10, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

To mnteng, this is the HALL OF FAME, baby. Of course, the standards are gonna be high (Ronald Reagan did win "All but one State" and DC is an asterisk, just like like the designated hitter rule). I won't argue that LBJ and Clinton met that standard, but they were political animals through and through. If they are in the Fix Political Hall of Fame, then Nixon deserves induction as well.

Posted by: Lisa421 | July 10, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

mnteng: sympathizer I don't dispute, spy I do. I think some people don't care to distinguish between the two.

And I agree that support for the SU in the US after 1939 was pretty hard to justify; prior to that it was at worst "a little starry-eyed" but not criminally insane to believe in the Worker's Paradise. People don't realize how shocked the American Left was in that year, how credible the Communist Party had been here, what a shambles it was in afterward.

Not trying to whitewash Communism, but Stalin was more a brutal dictator than a committed leftist ideologue.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 10, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

CF8:

The problem was the Henry Wallace, who admittedly was a Soviet sympathizer, was FDR's VP from 1941-1945 -- after Stalin's gulags were exposed. I think Wallace even wrote a book later on about why he was wrong about the Soviet Union.

Posted by: mnteng | July 10, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Also, FDR was not averse to stretching the law -- what was the Destroyers for Bases deal (the precursor to Lend-Lease) if not stretching the law?

Lisa421:
I do have to say that the "All but one State" argument is a bit weak. First off, FDR won all but two in 1936 (RWR lost DC and MN in 1984, so he actually lost two jurisdictions). Also, RWR is already in the PHoF, with two others who didn't come close to that standard.

Posted by: mnteng | July 10, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Again, as Chris Cillizza said in the original inductee post "Part of membership in the Fix Political Hall of Fame is possessing a rabid (and uncontrollable) love for the game of politics. No one this side of Bill Clinton can match Nixon in this regard."

Posted by: Lisa421 | July 10, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

No.

Posted by: Lisa421 | July 10, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Not only does this ignore the Japanese-American internment, it doesn't even mention the other things we brought up on the prior thread (he cheated on his wife, he made it illegal to have gold bullion, his cabinet was chock-full of Soviet sympathizers, Henry Wallace being an actual Soviet spy, his "political" decision to keep his own Vice Presidents out of the loop of war decisions, and his pre-knowledge of the Pearl Harbor attack)

==

What a load of contemporary GOP crap.

"he cheated on his wife,"

so?

"he made it illegal to have gold bullion,"

restricted to $100 in coinage face. So what?

"his cabinet was chock-full of Soviet sympathizers, Henry Wallace being an actual Soviet spy,"

"Soviet sympathizer" sounds so a-LAR-ming after decades of right-wing hysteria, but it wasn't then. Not until 1939, anyway, when revelations of Stalin's gulags all but killed the ACP.

You have proof Wallace was a Soviet spy? Show it. And no, Michelle Malkin doesn't count.

"his "political" decision to keep his own Vice Presidents out of the loop of war decisions,"

so?

The sneer-quote sounds suspiciously familiar.

"and his pre-knowledge of the Pearl Harbor attack)"

We've already been through this. The idea that he knew of an impending attack and decided to ignore it describes Bush. not FDR.

This is Jake with another moniker, right?

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 10, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

In fact, FDR suppressed the fact that his own intelligence agencies had established that the interned Japanese-Americans were not a security risk, even as the matter was litigated before the Supreme Court. While you may think that this was good "politics" I do not.

Posted by: Lisa421 | July 10, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

To mark_in_austin, you should read "Justice at War" by Peter Irons before you vote for FDR.

Posted by: Lisa421 | July 10, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Why did Chris Cillizza wait until after business hours (East cost time) to finally post this? It seems like he is trying to bury the lede in favor of FDR. Smells a little like Sarah Palin announcing her resignation on July 3rd. In addition to reading the Nixon posts, I hope everyone reads the comments in full before voting.

Posted by: Lisa421 | July 10, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

I do not blame FDR for the Korematsu decision but I do fault him for the internment policy. I do not blame him for the Federal Reserve strangling the money supply during the early part of the Depression. This historical fact was one of Milton Friedman's great contributions to monetary theory. Quoting Bernanke:

"In contradiction to the prevalent view of the time, that money and monetary policy played at most a purely passive role in the Depression, Friedman and Schwartz argued that "the [economic] contraction is in fact a tragic testimonial to the importance of monetary forces" (Friedman and Schwartz, 1963, p. 300).

To support their view that monetary forces caused the Great Depression, Friedman and Schwartz revisited the historical record and identified a series of errors--errors of both commission and omission--made by the Federal Reserve in the late 1920s and early 1930s. According to Friedman and Schwartz, each of these policy mistakes led to an undesirable tightening of monetary policy, as reflected in sharp declines in the money supply. Drawing on their historical evidence about the effects of money on the economy, Friedman and Schwartz argued that the declines in the money stock generated by Fed actions--or inactions--could account for the drops in prices and output that subsequently occurred."

First 3 should have been TR, HST, and FDR.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | July 10, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Not only does this ignore the Japanese-American internment, it doesn't even mention the other things we brought up on the prior thread (he cheated on his wife, he made it illegal to have gold bullion, his cabinet was chock-full of Soviet sympathizers, Henry Wallace being an actual Soviet spy, his "political" decision to keep his own Vice Presidents out of the loop of war decisions, and his pre-knowledge of the Pearl Harbor attack). As someone pointed out on the earlier post, FDR was helped tremendously by the media complicity in covering-up his medical condition. Could someone in a wheelchair even be elected President today?

Bottom line: I think that Nixon, whatever his faults, played the game of politics much better than FDR. As Chris said in the original inductee post "Part of membership in the Fix Political Hall of Fame is possessing a rabid (and uncontrollable) love for the game of politics. No one this side of Bill Clinton can match Nixon in this regard."

While I agree with all that, there's much more. Chris does bring up a good point about FDR spawning a conservative resurgence. On their own side (apart from their own Vice Presidents), Richard Nixon arguably spawned Reagan and both Bush Administrations as well. All FDR gets is Clinton, maybe, if you're stretching it. I think that he and Obama are more products from Camelot if anything. In addition, regarding Electoral Votes, FDR never swept in the "All but one State" category in any of his four attempts. Only George Washington did better than that.

Posted by: Lisa421 | July 10, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

What? No mention of internment and the political pressure FDR put on his SCOTUS appointees in Korematsu?

That's as lame as not including him in the PHoF in the first place.

Posted by: mnteng | July 10, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

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