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View Diary: Please God Just Give Us One More FDR (125 comments)

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  •  Yes, we've been reminded endlessly... (14+ / 0-)

    ...of the civil rights issues in which FDR's actions and inactions were - um - less than stellar.

    The point is, you can find something to criticize in the term(s) of any President, something egregious.  Yet we still have the ability to compare and weigh the effect of any one President against another, imperfect as both will be.

    Obama ran for office expecting one type of Presidency, one that he felt suited his ambitions and demeanor.  As he was running, those circumstances changed dramatically, and Americans voted for a man who they felt would rise to those altered circumstances as FDR did.  Obama is not that type of President, the type who can pivot to the new and much greater demands of a time of great crisis.  It's not who he is, who he wants to be.  It's what the nation desperately needs, but it's not Obama.  He's the low-drama functionary who wants to achieve a steady press of incremental alterations.  That's not what we need right now, at all, but it's what he is, what we have.

    To keep trying to concentrate readers' attention on FDR's missteps -- which were absolutely the norm of his time -- so as not to give any credit to his achievements from which we, and Obama, could take much-needed lessons today is tiresome, all the more so for being repeated so endlessly by those who only wish to defend this Administration against any comparison to anything that could be better or greater, and it's frankly beneath any worthy thinker.

    •  Ah, so lynching (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SoCalSal, FiredUpInCA, JoanMar, Lying eyes

      Black people was good in the 1930s because it was the norm back then, and thus it's quite understandable that FDR would do nothing about it.  Yes indeed, you should dance you monster.  I grew up with parents who constantly railed against FDR because of his capitulation to the segregationist, although they liked his wife (who he was screwing around on).  Nevertheless, they voted Democratic anyway because they did not have the luxury of looking for the perfect White leader.  You go boy with your FDR worship.

      •  Abominable straw man noted. (15+ / 0-)

        You really should be ashamed.

        grieving citizen of the murdered Republic, unrepentant rebel against the Empire.

        by khereva on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 04:12:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Show me where in my comment I said... (5+ / 0-)

        ...that lynching -- or interning or any other civil rights issue -- was "good in the 1930s."  Show me, o wizard of wisdom.

        I do not worship FDR, though I appreciate his achievements and wish we were seeing something comparable today, at the same time as I acknowledge what was awful in his time and in his actions regarding them.  And as an historian of the FDR period, and indeed of the AA experience then, I feel confident in saying that Obama will not be regarded as another FDR.  More's the pity.  I would have loved for Obama to have had that esteem.  Honestly (unlike your characterization of my comment above).

      •  Another quote from the 1936 convention speech (5+ / 0-)
        Governments can err, presidents do make mistakes, but the immortal Dante tells us that Divine justice weighs the sins of the cold-blooded and the sins of the warm-hearted on different scales.

        Better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.

        Which scale will the Obama administration be judged on?  I would submit that we don't yet know.

        DC politicians don't realize they're corrupt for the same reason fish don't realize they're wet.

        by Dallasdoc on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 05:20:40 PM PDT

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        •  Thanks for this. (0+ / 0-)

          I'll just explain to the families of the Scottsboro boys that FDR was not cold blooded, so it was OK that he let them rot in jail.  

          •  Do that (2+ / 0-)

            But don't forget to listen to the families of the millions of Americans who derived hope from a president who fought the moneyed interests for them, and won a lot more battles than he lost.

            DC politicians don't realize they're corrupt for the same reason fish don't realize they're wet.

            by Dallasdoc on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 08:26:41 PM PDT

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            •  I appreciate your honesty (0+ / 0-)

              It helps me understand why solving the "class question" will never be enough for me.  Under your reasoning, it was ok for fdr to sacrifice minorities (black and Japanese Americans) in order to serve poor and working class whites.  Can't you come up with a more ethical position than that?

              •  Your straw man is tedious (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Celtic Pugilist

                You want to blame FDR for lynchings?  Why not blame Obama for the disproportionate incarceration of minorities in prisons today?  

                LGBT folks in Roosevelt's day were killed too, and he didn't stop that.  But as a gay man I don't blame him personally for that, and if I did I suspect you'd call me ridiculous for doing it.

                DC politicians don't realize they're corrupt for the same reason fish don't realize they're wet.

                by Dallasdoc on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 09:09:23 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You reversion to the straw man cliche (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  is also tedious, as is your avoidance of the issue I raised.  I did not blame FDR for lynchings.  That has to be clear to anyone who can read.  I simply said he didn't do anything to stop them because he was too interested in currying favor with the segregationist.  It's true and you know it.  But you want to preserve the myth of FDR, and therefore the double standard you and others use to bash Obama.  I've learned to expect this kind of double standard.  Racial hierarchies that put Whites on top are fundamental to this nation's history.  But I pray that it will end some day.

          •  That was a matter of Alabama state law. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Celtic Pugilist, Bluefin

            If FDR had been the governor of Alabama, he'd have some culpability.  Some really horrifying things are going wrong in state criminal trials today, too.  Is President Obama responsible for those?

          •  What about the thousands of blacks helped (0+ / 0-)

            by employment in the WPA and CCC?
            Nothing is ever 'black and white'.

            "Double, double, toile and trouble; Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble... By the pricking of my Thumbes, Something wicked this way comes": Republicans Willkommen auf das Vierte Reich! Sie Angelegenheit nicht mehr.

            by Bluefin on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 11:03:46 AM PDT

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            •  Actually, (0+ / 0-)

              my understanding is that the WPA and the CCC also followed discriminatory hiring practices.  I'll find a citation and post it later, when I have time.  But, as dance you monster would probably tell you (he's a Black history specialist, don't you know), that was the norm in the 1930s.

              •  FDR (probably prodded by Eleanor) (0+ / 0-)

                set out to apportion the jobs created under those programs based on population demographics (in each state IIRC). He realized that times were bad for everybody, not just anglos.
                I think that there were attempts to have integrated camp companies that didn't work out too well, and reverted to segregated work groups (thinking of a PBS  tv program on West Texas' Palo Duro Canyon Park). At least they had jobs with equal pay and working conditions.

                "Double, double, toile and trouble; Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble... By the pricking of my Thumbes, Something wicked this way comes": Republicans Willkommen auf das Vierte Reich! Sie Angelegenheit nicht mehr.

                by Bluefin on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 03:45:05 PM PDT

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                •  Well, I shouldn't do quick posts on this (0+ / 0-)

                  but I'm in the middle of a painting project, and don't have time to look up the source of my understanding that the pay and working conditions were not equal in the WPA especially (I don't remember what I read about the CCC), because the Roosevelt administration also capitulated to the South on setting unequal wage standards for people of color.  I could be wrong about this, and I really want to check it out, but I really need to get this painting done.  But I'll be back.

      •  Lots of starving babies on one's hands... (0+ / 0-)

        black and white would have been victims of legislation that failed anyway after two cloture motions on the lynching bill because Dixicrats made up almost half the party and were on every major committee(though Eleanor worked behind the scenes to pass the bill).

        Life and history is more complicated than that. There were no good choices back then and FDR had real constraints, unlike Obama's fake ones with the backroom deals on HCR among other things.

        The victims from starvation considering the work the WPA gave black and white people would have been exponentially worse, though it was an appalling time in American history that no lynching bill could pass.

        Domestically and in that context as well as financial reform we do need another FDR, though he had a lot of faults, challenging the moneyed class was not one of them and being from that class he certainly didn't have to..

        Pro Life??? Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers!- George Carlin

        by priceman on Sat Jul 09, 2011 at 09:06:18 PM PDT

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    •  Well said. There was little he could have done to (5+ / 0-)

      change the fear on the west coast or the determination of CA's governor at the time (think Earl Warren) or the farmers who were in competition with, and benefited financially from the internment of, the Japanese-Americans.  Yes, he signed the Executive Order, but then rescinded it two and a half years later.  (BTW, Canada did the same - it is hard for us to imagine the fear that was felt on the West Coast of North America at the time.)

      He made a lot of mistakes, as most humans do, but we should focus on what he did right, as that is what we need to repeat.

    •  FDR HAD 59 TO 60 dems in the SENATE (0+ / 0-)

      314 Dems in the house and both parties had people of like ideologies. FDR didn't have a republican party where all but 2 of them voted against him 100% FDR was filibustered according to Rachel Maddow's chart about 16 times his first term. Obama was filibustered 147 times in his first 18 months. If you really looked at FDR even though he did some great things, he did a lot of things conservatives wanted. He even tried to show he was fiscally conservativ on some issues. That's right, he even cut veteran benefits by 15%. Bailed out large financial institution under the economy act and removed the U.S from the gold standard. He compromised and people even took to the street in opposition to what they saw as socialist policies and cuts in veteran pensions.

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