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The other day I came across a speech President Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave at the New York State Democratic Convention in 1936. He described in great detail how Republicans brought the nation to the brink between 1929 and 1933; their lies about his administration; their promises to preserve parts of the New Deal while also lowering taxes for the wealthy. FDR could easily have been describing the modern GOP.

I would like to share his speech with you and compare and contrast Republican claims in 1936 with Republican claims in 2012. I think you'll agree that they're remarkably similar, and FDR’s speech is, sadly, even more relevant today than when he gave it 76 years ago.

So many of us claim, and believe, that politics have never been so divisive. That isn't entirely true. Politics in this country in the 1920s and 1930s were, in many ways, equally bitter and divisive.

The Ku Klux Klan had become a powerful force in US politics, both in the North and South, in the 1910s and 1920s. They fell from grace in the North after a scandal involving bribery, Election fraud, and the brutal rape and murder of Madge Oberholtzer, a young white state employee, by KKK controlled politicians in Indiana in 1925. But they retained their foothold in Southern states, and to give you an idea of how reactionary many Americans were at time, only a few years before President Roosevelt was elected, the KKK proudly boasted active members serving in both Houses of Congress, and even on the US Supreme Court. Corporate America and the far right-wing were so outraged by President Roosevelt's "New Deal", that they wanted to have him deposed, possibly even assassinated. They hoped to replace him with a Fascist puppet - someone more congenial to Corporate America. And but for the oddly named General Smedley Butler, they might have succeeded! The BBC produced a wonderful documentary on the subject which you can find online.

In his speech, President Roosevelt discussed the Republican smear campaign he'd been forced to combat. The GOP in 1936, like the modern Republican Party, tried to focus on "false issues" instead of real problems, claiming that the President was a Communist.

ROOSEVELT: There will be—there are—many false issues. In that respect, this will be no different from other campaigns. Partisans, not willing to face realities, will drag out red herrings as they have always done—to divert attention from the trail of their own weaknesses. This practice is as old as our democracy. Avoiding the facts — fearful of the truth — a malicious opposition charged that George Washington planned to make himself king under a British form of government; that Thomas Jefferson planned to set up a guillotine under a French Revolutionary form of government...They called Abraham Lincoln a Roman Emperor...Woodrow Wilson a self-constituted Messiah.

In this campaign another herring turns up...Desperate in mood, angry at failure, cunning in purpose, individuals and groups are seeking to make Communism an issue in an election where Communism is not a controversy between the two major parties.

The Republicans in 1936 attempted to brand FDR as somehow foreign - a socialist, trying to turn the United States into the Soviet Union.
ROOSEVELT: You are familiar with my background; you know my heritage; and you are familiar...with my public service extending back over a quarter of a century. For nearly four years I have been President of the United States. A long record has been written...
Republicans today insist that Obama is a Socialist or a Communist, a "radical Muslim", a Kenyan, or just plain un-American.
“I believe there is about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Communist Party.”~ Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.)

"There’s no question, and I have no reservation in saying this. We have seen President Obama usher in socialism under his watch over the last two years. And Obamacare is quite clearly the crown jewel of socialism." ~ Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN)

“I wish this president would learn how to be an American...This guy is not really one of us. He’s someone and something else.” ~ Former New Hampshire governor, White House chief of staff, John Sununu speaking as a Mitt Romney surrogate about Pres. Obama.

"I want you to remember when our White House reflected the best of who we are, not the worst of what Europe has become." ~ Mitt Romney

"I love being home in this place where Ann and I were raised, where both of us were born. Ann was born in Henry Ford Hospital. I was born in Harper Hospital," Romney said. "No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised." - Mitt Romney

"Imam Hussein Obama - mmm, mmm, mmm - I wanna be fair to, he probably is the best anti-American president the country's ever had."  ~ Rush Limbaugh

"Washington Post leaves out the fact that 1 in 10 Democrats think that Imam Obama is a Muslim."~ Rush Limbaugh

"The Achilles heal on Barack Obama - and nobody sees this - is this Muslim Brotherhood thing...He is so deeply in bed with the Muslim Brotherhood, and that's his Achille's heel. His support of the Arab Spring is his Achilles’ heel. He didn't just kinda get involved; he's totally on the wrong side...Whatta ya say, we stop talking about the War on Women, that doesn't exist with the GOP here in America, and start talking about the War on Women in Egypt, which this President endorsed! And (Obama) has invited the Muslim Brotherhood, and their leadership, into our White House. I'm not talking about the ones who have infiltrated. I'm mean the actual Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood meeting with the President, and being legitimized the Globe over by the President of the United States. (The Muslim Brotherhood) who has just said, "You know what, you can have sex with your wife, she's dead, so long as it's not seven hours, that's sick, but six hours, sure. As long as she's posable. Then you can also assign a husband to your 14 year old daughter and marry her off. And by the way we also think it's moderate and reasonable to cancel all women's education and employment." I'm telling you, this President knows...remember he grew-up, and there's no slight on this, he grew-up in Indonesia. He grew-up surrounded by Islam. There's no way he doesn't understand Islam...he understands it, he knows it. Okay, so he knows Sharia Law. There's no way that he doesn't understand who the Muslim Brotherhood is...The people he's appointing are connected to the Holy Land unindicted co-conspirator to take down the United States. Those people are now working for this key roles, and he knows it. He doesn't have a problem with the Muslim Brotherhood." ~ Glenn Beck's April 27, 2012 radio broadcast from a clip posted at his blog. I refuse to add the link; you can easily find it using Google.

Someone needs to tell Glenn that Sharia law has, apparently, existed for some time in states like Alabama, where they allow 14 year olds to marry with parental consent, and in New Hampshire, where they will allow girls with parental consent to marry at the age of 13.

FDR, like President Obama and President Clinton, reminded the public of what average Americans suffered during the darkest days of the Great Depression, and reminded them, too, that Republican policies had, in part, caused their suffering.

ROOSEVELT: In the spring of 1933 we faced a crisis which was the ugly fruit of twelve years of neglect of the causes of economic and social unrest. It was a crisis made to order for all those who would overthrow our form of government. Do I need to recall to you the fear of those days—the reports of those who piled supplies in their basements, who laid plans to get their fortunes across the border, who got themselves hideaways in the country against the impending upheaval? Do I need to recall the law-abiding heads of peaceful families, who began to wonder, as they saw their children starve, how they would get the bread they saw in the bakery window? Do I need to recall the homeless boys who were traveling in bands through the countryside seeking work, seeking food - desperate because they could find neither? Do I need to recall the farmers who banded together with pitchforks to keep the sheriff from selling the farm home under foreclosure? Do I need to recall the powerful leaders of industry and banking who came to me in Washington in those early days of 1933 pleading to be saved?
In 2008 and 2009, "powerful leaders of industry and banking," once again came to Washington, hat in hand, begging for help.
The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (Division A of Pub.L. 110-343, 122 Stat. 3765, enacted October 3, 2008), commonly referred to as a bailout of the U.S. financial system, is a law enacted in response to the subprime mortgage crisis authorizing the United States Secretary of the Treasury to spend up to $700 billion to purchase distressed assets, especially mortgage-backed securities, and supply cash directly to banks. The funds for purchase of distressed assets were mostly redirected to inject capital into banks and other financial institutions while the Treasury continued to examine the usefulness of targeted asset purchases. Both foreign and domestic banks are included in the program. The Federal Reserve also extended help to American Express, whose bank-holding application it recently approved. The Act was proposed by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson during the global financial crisis of 2008.

In December 2008, the three major U.S. auto industry companies -- GM, Chrysler and Ford -- asked  the government for a $34 billion bailout to avoid bankruptcy.The Big 3 stated that their demise  would trigger 3 million layoffs within a year, plunging the economy further into recession. In January 2009, the Federal government used $24.9 billion of the $700 billion bank bailout fund to rescue two of the Big 3...

In return, the companies promised to fast-track development of energy-efficient vehicles, and consolidate operations. GM and Ford agreed to streamline the number of brands they produced. They also won agreements from the UAW union to delay contributions to a health trust fund for retirees and reduce payments to laid-off workers. The three CEO's agreed to work for $1 a year and sell their corporate jets.

And the auto companies, unlike the banks, have already repaid at least half of their loans.

In 1936, just as now, there were those who wished to forget the economic collapse, and preferred not to discuss what (and who) had caused it.

ROOSEVELT: A few people- a few only —unwilling to remember, seem to have forgotten those days. In the summer of 1933, a nice old gentleman wearing a silk hat fell off the end of a pier. He was unable to swim. A friend ran down the pier, dived overboard and pulled him out; but the silk hat floated off with the tide. After the old gentleman had been revived, he was effusive in his thanks. He praised his friend for saving his life. Today, three years later, the old gentleman is berating his friend because the silk hat was lost.
President Clinton made similar remarks about the 2008 economic collapse, and the Republican response to it, in his convention speech last week.
CLINTON: In Tampa, the Republican argument against the president's re-election was pretty simple: we left him a total mess, he hasn't cleaned it up fast enough, so fire him and put us back in. In order to look like an acceptable alternative to President Obama, they couldn't say much about the ideas they have offered over the last two years. You see they want to go back to the same old policies that got us into trouble in the first place: to cut taxes for high income Americans even more than President Bush did; to get rid of those pesky financial regulations designed to prevent another crash and prohibit future bailouts; to increase defense spending $2 trillion more than the Pentagon has requested without saying what they'll spend the money on; to make enormous cuts in the rest of the budget, especially programs that help the middle class and poor kids. As another president once said— there they go again. ~ President Clinton at the 2012 Democratic National Convention:
The Republicans in 1936 made claims about taxes, job creation, and Social Security that are quite similar to those being made by the GOP in 2012. They claimed it wasn't Social Security that they opposed, but simply the way the Roosevelt Administration had implemented Social Security.
ROOSEVELT: Let me warn you and let me warn the Nation against the smooth evasion which says, "Of course we believe all these things; we believe in social security; we believe in work for the unemployed; we believe in saving homes. Cross our hearts and hope to die, we believe in all these things; but we do not like the way the present Administration is doing them. Just turn them over to us. We will do all of them- we will do more of them we will do them better; and, most important of all, the doing of them will not cost anybody anything."

But, my friends, these evaders are banking too heavily on the shortness of our memories. No one will forget that they had their golden opportunity—twelve long years of it. Remember, too, that the first essential of doing a job well is to want to see the job done. Make no mistake about this: the Republican leadership today is not against the way we have done the job. The Republican leadership is against the job's being done...

You cannot be an Old Guard Republican in the East, and a New Deal Republican in the West. You cannot promise to repeal taxes before one audience and promise to spend more of the taxpayers' money before another audience. You cannot promise tax relief for those who can afford to pay, and, at the same time, promise more of the taxpayers' money for those who are in need. You simply cannot make good on both promises at the same time.

If elected, Mitt Romney has vowed never to raise taxes, while also "saving", "preserving" and "reforming" Social Security and Medicare.
"For the people who are already retired or 55 years of age and older, nothing changes. With Social Security--if you will, the 2.0 version for the next generations coming up-- I'd lower the rate of inflation growth in the benefits received by higher-income recipients and keep the rate as it is now for lower income recipients. And I'd also add a year or two to the retirement age under Social Security. With regards to Medicare, again, for higher-income recipients, lower benefit, a premium support program which allows people to buy either current standard Medicare or a private plan." ~ Mitt Romney, Fox News debate on MLK Day in Myrtle Beach, SC , Jan 16, 2012

"A Romney-Ryan administration will protect and strengthen Medicare, for my Mom's generation, for my generation, and for my kids and yours." ~ Paul Ryan

"We're saying no changes for Medicare for people above the age of 55. And in order to keep the promise to current seniors who've already retired and organized their lives around this program, you have to reform it for the next generation." - Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan

Ryan offered no details about his own proposal to overhaul Medicare, a part of his budget blueprint that has become a flash point in the presidential campaign. Ryan said only that he and Romney “will protect and strengthen Medicare for our current seniors and for our future seniors of tomorrow.” ~ Washington Post. Aug 16, 2012

How can Romney/Ryan simultaneously lower taxes and "preserve" Social Security and Medicare, you ask? Simple answer - as pointed out by Roosevelt - they can't. Unfortunately, for the GOP, facts tend to have liberal bias.
An average a man or woman retiring at age 65 in 2023, would have to pay $59,500 more for healthcare over the length of their retirement under Romney's plan. The numbers are even higher for younger Americans who retire later, the study found. A person who qualifies for Medicare n 2030 — today's 48-year-old — would see an increase of $124,600 in Medicare costs over their retirement period. While Romney's changes to Medicare would affect future retirees, the study also said that Romney's plan to get rid of Obama's health care law could raise health care costs in retirement by $11,000 for the average person who is 65 years old today by reinstating limits on prescription drug coverage. ~ Yahoo News

"Speaking of tough calls, last week at their convention, our opponents pledged that they too had the courage to make tough calls. But in case you didn't notice, they didn't have the courage to tell you what calls they would make. They talked about how much they cared about Medicare. How much they wanted to preserve it. That's what they told you. But what they didn't tell you, is that their plan would immediately cut benefits to more than 30 million seniors already on Medicare. What they didn't tell you is what they're proposing would cause Medicare to go bankrupt by 2016. And what they really didn't tell you is, they're not for preserving Medicare. They're for a whole new plan. They're for Vouchercare. That's not courage. That's not even truthful." ~ Vice President Joe Biden speech at 2012 Democratic National Convention

Vice President Biden nailed it. The Republican Party opposed the creation of Social Security in the 1930s. The Republican Party opposed the creation Medicare in the 1960s. And decades later, they still want to privatize (and thereby destroy) both programs.
"[Social Security] is a Ponzi scheme for these young people. The idea that they're working and paying into Social Security today, that the current program is going to be there for them, is a lie. It is a monstrous lie on this generation, and we can't do that to them." ~ Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX)

"But here's what I would tell people of my generation. I turn 40 this year. There isn't going to be a Social Security. There isn't going to be a Medicare when you retire." ~ Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)

"It's time to stop the raid on the Social Security trust fund and start allowing Americans to invest their Social Security taxes in personal savings accounts...By requiring that any surplus in Social Security taxes be returned to the American people in personal savings accounts, the plan ensures that Social Security taxes will be used for Social Security." ~ Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN)

"Social Security is every bit as insecure as the stock market...The real sin with Social Security is that it's a long-term rip-off and a short-term scam." ~ Tony Snow, former White House Press Secretary for George W. Bush

"Under the current pay-as-you-go Social Security system, not one person is actually guaranteed benefits...The women who pass away before they receive Social Security, for them this is nothing but a tax from which they or their family will never receive a benefit." ~ former Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL)

"I believe that we should allow younger workers to contribute toward a personal account that they own, as long as it is coupled with deficit reduction measures that enhance the long-term condition of Social Security." ~ Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL)

These programs are so deeply important to the GOP, that their presidential candidate barely mentioned them in his convention speech. To be exact, Romney didn’t utter the words Social Security once during his speech at the Republican National Convention. As for Medicare, Romney said the word Medicare only once in his speech.

And what about tax cuts for the rich, that Third Rail of modern Republican politics?

In an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press," Romney said he would offset his proposed 20 percent tax cut for all Americans by eliminating loopholes and deductions for high-income earners. He argued that his plan would in effect lower taxes for middle class Americans while keeping tax rates the same for wealthy Americans. "People at the high end, high income taxpayers, are going to have fewer deductions and exemptions. Those numbers are going to come down. Otherwise they'd get a tax break," Romney told NBC. "And I want to make sure people understand, despite what the Democrats said at their convention, I am not reducing taxes on high income taxpayers...And I've indicated as well that contrary to what the Democrats are saying I'm not going to increase the tax burden on middle-income families. It would absolutely be wrong to do that."
Load the Liar Cannon. As it turns out, he would have to increase the tax burden on middle-income families.
According to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, even assuming that Romney eliminates all deductions and exemptions for high-income individuals, he would still have to raise middle-class taxes in order to pay for his tax plan. Romney, of course, is not going to completely eliminate all tax preferences enjoyed by the wealthy, so his plan will either raise middle-class taxes or bust the budget. And even Fox News, it seems, wants Romney to divulge the details sooner rather than later. ~ Think Progress, Sep 7, 2012.
What does Mitt Romney have to say about the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)? Well, at first Romney vowed to repeal it.
"Obamacare raises taxes on the American people by approximately $500 billion dollars. Obamacare cuts Medicare by approximately $500 billion dollars. And even with those cuts, and tax increases, Obamacare adds trillions to our deficits and to our national debt, and pushes those obligations on to coming generations. Obamacare also means that for up to 20 million Americans, they will lose the insurance they currently have, the insurance that they like and they want to keep. Obamacare is a job-killer. Businesses across the country have been asked what the impact is of Obamacare, 3/4 of those surveyed by the Chamber of Commerce said Obamacare makes it less likely for them to hire people. And perhaps most troubling of all, Obamacare puts the Federal Government between you and your doctor. For all those reasons it's important for us to repeal..." ~ Mitt Romney, July 2012
Then Mitt had a change of heart, and on Sunday, announced that he just wanted to "replace" Obamacare, promising to preserve the most popular bits of it if elected.
On the subject of Obamacare, Romney did offer from specifics — two parts of the health-care overhaul he now says he will keep if elected “I’m not getting rid of all health care reform,” he said in a pre-taped interview for NBC’s Meet the Press. “Of course there are a number of things that I like in health care reform that I'm going to put in place," Romney said. "One is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage. Two is to assure that the marketplace allows for individuals to have policies that cover their family up to whatever age they might like.” In the past, Romney has vowed to repeal President Obama’s health-care reform law. Now he says the idea is to “replace” it -- but not all of it.
In a remarkable record-breaking flip-flop, Romney changed his mind, again, the very same night!
In reference to how Romney would deal with those with preexisting conditions and young adults who want to remain on their parents’ plans, a Romney aide responded that there had been no change in Romney’s position and that “in a competitive environment, the marketplace will make available plans that include coverage for what there is demand for. He was not proposing a federal mandate to require insurance plans to offer those particular features.”
After discussing the hypocrisy of the Republican Party, and their corporate supporters, FDR reminded Americans of his Administration's accomplishments.
ROOSEVELT: Why did that crisis of 1929 to 1933 pass without disaster? The answer is found in the record of what we did...We met the emergency with emergency action. But far more important than that, we went to the roots of the problem, and attacked the cause of the crisis. We were against revolution. Therefore, we waged war against those conditions which make revolutions—against the inequalities and resentments which breed them. In America in 1933 the people did not attempt to remedy wrongs by overthrowing their institutions. Americans were made to realize that wrongs could and would be set right within their institutions. We proved that democracy can work.
And Obama's accomplishments? They are too many to list, but here are a few.
1. Reformed deferral rules to curb tax advantages for investing overseas. and established new offshore investment policy that promotes in-sourcing.
2. Cut salaries for 65 bailout executives (Pay Czar).
3. Closed offshore tax safe havens, tax credit loopholes.
4. Passed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act and established a credit card bill of rights.
5. Negotiated deal with Swiss banks to permit US government to gain access to records of tax evaders and criminals.

1. Increased funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to the highest level since 1992.
2. Created an artist corps for public schools and championed the importance of arts education.
3. Enacted largest reform of student aid in 40 years.
4. Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010.
5. Established President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability to assist in financial education for all Americans.
6. Provided means for students struggling to make college loan payments to refinance.
7. Expanded Pell grants for low-income students and expanded Pell grant pool by eliminating private lender subsidies for student loans.
8. $26 billion state aid package saved 160,000 teacher jobs (Aug 2010)
9. Provided $77 Billion for reforms to to strengthen Elementary and Secondary education.
10. Established State Equalization Fund; new funds for school construction (ARRA)
11. Provided funding for high-speed, broadband Internet access to K-12 schools.
12. Provided over $2.3 billion in additional funding to Head Start and Early Head Start programs in 2009.
13. Provided $5 billion dollars for Early Learning Programs under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
14. Eliminated abstinence-only funding in budget.

1. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)
2. Required large employers to contribute to a national health plan.
3. Required insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions.
4. Required health plans to disclose how much of the premium goes to patient care.
5. Established an independent health institute to provide accurate and objective information.
6. Provided minimum essential health care coverage by Veteran’s Affairs.
7. Expanded eligibility for State Children’s Health Insurance Fund (SCHIP).
8. Prevented children from being refused health insurance coverage.
9. Established Early Retiree Reinsurance Program.
10. Cut prescription drug costs for Medicare recipients by 50% and began eliminating the plan’s gap (“donut hole”) in coverage.
11. Extended COBRA to provide for a continuation of health care.

1. Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act to include gender, sexual orientation and disability.
2. Supported the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT).
3. Civil Rights History Project Act of 2009.
4. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act; instituted equal pay for women.
5. Presidential Memorandum extending benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees and Presidential Memorandum protecting gay and lesbian partners’ visitation/healthcare decision-making rights (4/15/2010).
6. Increased federal employment of individuals with disabilities (Exec Order)
7. . The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act.
8. Established White House Council on Women and Girls (Executive Order 13506 ).
9. Signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

FDR then went on to explain how the Republican Party - and their corporate friends - who publicly railed against Revolution had, in fact, created the perfect conditions for revolt and anarchy to thrive. He points out that the Republicans helped cause the Depression, and, once it had occurred, they failed to relieve the suffering of average Americans affected by the economic collapse.
ROOSEVELT: Discontent and fear were spreading through the land. The previous national Administration, bewildered, did nothing. In their speeches they deplored it, but by their actions they encouraged it. The injustices, the inequalities, the downright suffering out of which revolutions come — what did they do about these things? Lacking courage, they evaded. Being selfish, they neglected. Being short-sighted, they ignored. When the crisis came — as these wrongs made it sure to come — America was unprepared. Our lack of preparation for it was best proved by the cringing and the fear of the very people whose indifference helped to make the crisis. They came to us pleading that we should do, overnight, what they should have been doing through the years.
And the Republicans still expect us to clean up their messes overnight!
"Every new college graduate thought they'd have a good job by now. A place for their own. They could start paying back some of their loans and build for the future.  This is what our nation was supposed to start paying down the national debt, and rolling back massive deficits.  This was the hope and change America voted for. It is not just what we wanted, it is not just what we expected, it is what Americans deserved...I wish President Obama had succeeded, because I want America to succeed. But his promises gave way to disappointment and division. This isn't something we have to accept.  Now is the moment when we can do something.  And with your help, we will do something." ~ Mitt Romney, 2012 Republican National Convention
FDR went on to explain that Republican short-sightedness was the reason we weren't prepared to combat the worst effects of the Depression. That Republicans then, as now, are unable to relate to the 99%, seem to have great difficulty with the notion of cause and effect, and as a result, they don't learn from their mistakes.
ROOSEVELT: And the simple causes of our unpreparedness were two: First, a weak leadership, and, secondly, an inability to see causes, to understand the reasons for social unrest—the tragic plight of 90 percent of the men, women and children who made up the population of the United States.

It has been well said that "The most dreadful failure of which any form of government can be guilty is simply to lose touch with reality, because out of this failure all imaginable forms of evil grow. Every empire that has crashed has come down primarily because its rulers did not know what was going on in the world and were incapable of learning." It is for that reason that our American form of government will continue to be safest in. Democratic hands. The real, actual, undercover Republican leadership is the same as it was four years ago. That leadership will never comprehend the need for a program of social justice and of regard for the well-being of the masses of our people.

Mitt Romney and his sidekick are living proof that the Republicans STILL don't comprehend the need for a program of social justice.

FDR then discussed the Republican Party's long history of opposing legislation promoting social justice, using Republicans in New York State as an example:

ROOSEVELT: This contrast between Democratic and Republican leadership holds true throughout the length and breadth of the State of New York...Here was a State noted for its industry and noted for its agriculture—a State with the greatest mixture of population- where the poorest and the richest lived, literally, within a stone's throw of each other—in short a situation made to order for potential unrest. And yet in this situation the best that the Republican leaders of those days could say was: "Let them eat cake." What would have happened if that reactionary domination had continued through all these hard years?

Starting in 1911, a Democratic leadership came into power, and with it a new philosophy of government...We were all joined in a common cause. We did not look on government as something apart from the people. We thought of it as something to be used by the people for their own good.

New factory legislation setting up decent standards of safety and sanitation; limitation of the working hours of women in industry; a workmen's compensation law; a one-day-rest-in-seven law; a full train-crew law; a direct-primary law—these laws and many more were passed which were then called radical and alien to our form of government. Would you or any other Americans call them radical or alien today?

Ten years from now, do you think anyone will view the repeal of DADT, the creation of Obamacare, or the President's support of Gay marriage, as "radical or alien?" The answer is no.

Finally, President Roosevelt explained why America couldn't afford to return the Republicans to power.

ROOSEVELT: Who is there in America who believes that we can run the risk of turning back our Government to the old leadership which brought it to the brink of 1933? Out of the strains and stresses of these years we have come to see that the true conservative is the man who has a real concern for injustices and takes thought against the day of reckoning. The true conservative seeks to protect the system of private property and free enterprise by correcting such injustices and inequalities as arise from it. The most serious threat to our institutions comes from those who refuse to face the need for change. Liberalism becomes the protection for the far-sighted conservative....Wise and prudent men- intelligent conservatives—have long known that in a changing world worthy institutions can be conserved only by adjusting them to the changing time. In the words of the great essayist, "The voice of great events is proclaiming to us. Reform if you would preserve." I am that kind of conservative because I am that kind of liberal.
The nation will never regret rejecting the GOP in 1936 and re-electing President Roosevelt. Let's hope we have the good sense to do the same in 2012.

OBAMA: "We don't think the government can solve all of our problems, but we don't think the government is the source of all of our problems — any more than our welfare recipients or corporations or unions or immigrants or gays or any other group we're told to blame for our troubles — because — because America, we understand that this democracy is ours.We, the people recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which asks only, what's in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense. As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us. It's about what can be done by us, together through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government. That's what we believe." ~ President Obama, 2012 Democratic National Convention
The speech I quoted in this diary was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "Address at the Democratic State Convention, Syracuse, N.Y.," September 29, 1936
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  •  The Convention left me fired up... (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ohiodem1, greblos, brae70, dotdash2u, kurt, bunsk

    I was inspired by all of the speeches I heard last week - from Clinton to the Obamas, VP Biden, Gov. Granholm - they were all phenomenal.

    When I read the speech I quoted above by FDR it left me similarly inspired. So many of his speeches were nothing short of awe-inspiring.

    Transcript of the clip above, from another great, and extremely relevant, FDR speech, President Roosevelt addressing the Second New Deal, Oct. 31, 1936:

    ROOSEVELT: For nearly four years you have had an Administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. We will keep our sleeves rolled up. We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace - business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

    They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

    Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me - and I welcome their hatred.

    I should like to have it said of my first Administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match. I should like to have it said of my second Administration that in it these forces met their master.

    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Gandhi

    by AuroraDawn on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 09:36:37 AM PDT

  •  Nice research, terriffic diary. T & R'd. nt (5+ / 0-)

    Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

    by Ohiodem1 on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 10:03:35 AM PDT

    •  Thank you. n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ohiodem1, ParkRanger

      First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Gandhi

      by AuroraDawn on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 10:10:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here are a couple more videos that are germaine (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AuroraDawn, Musial, dotdash2u

        to the diary, if you are interested:

        Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

        by Ohiodem1 on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 10:53:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you so much for posting those! (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Musial, Ohiodem1, dotdash2u

          The Alf Landon Clip is priceless. Can you say curmudgeon? Landon, for those who don't know, was the Republican Presidential nominee in 1936, and Governor of Kansas from 1933 to 1937. He was a banker and...wait for it...oilman!


          LANDON: This is the largest tax bill in history. And to call it Social Security is a fraud on the working man.
          I seem to recall Rush Limbaugh saying: "Obamacare is the largest tax increase in the history of the world."

          Their shtick hasn't changed all that much in the last 80 years, it seems.

          Here is a transcript of the second clip for the hearing impaired. It is an excerpt from FDR's Second New Deal Speech Speech at Madison Square Garden (October 31, 1936).

          Here is an amazing paradox! The very employers and politicians and publishers who talk most loudly of class antagonism and the destruction of the American system now undermine that system by this attempt to coerce the votes of the wage earners of this country. It is the 1936 version of the old threat to close down the factory or the office if a particular candidate does not win. It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them.

          Every message in a pay envelope, even if it is the truth, is a command to vote according to the will of the employer. But this propaganda is worse—it is deceit.

          They tell the worker his wage will be reduced by a contribution to some vague form of old-age insurance. They carefully conceal from him the fact that for every dollar of premium he pays for that insurance, the employer pays another dollar. That omission is deceit.

          They carefully conceal from him the fact that under the federal law, he receives another insurance policy to help him if he loses his job, and that the premium of that policy is paid 100 percent by the employer and not one cent by the worker. They do not tell him that the insurance policy that is bought for him is far more favorable to him than any policy that any private insurance company could afford to issue. That omission is deceit.

          They imply to him that he pays all the cost of both forms of insurance. They carefully conceal from him the fact that for every dollar put up by him his employer puts up three dollars three for one. And that omission is deceit.
          But they are guilty of more than deceit. When they imply that the reserves thus created against both these policies will be stolen by some future Congress, diverted to some wholly foreign purpose, they attack the integrity and honor of American Government itself. Those who suggest that, are already aliens to the spirit of American democracy. Let them emigrate and try their lot under some foreign flag in which they have more confidence.

          The fraudulent nature of this attempt is well shown by the record of votes on the passage of the Social Security Act. In addition to an overwhelming majority of Democrats in both Houses, seventy-seven Republican Representatives voted for it and only eighteen against it and fifteen Republican Senators voted for it and only five against it. Where does this last-minute drive of the Republican leadership leave these Republican Representatives and Senators who helped enact this law?

          I am sure the vast majority of law-abiding businessmen who are not parties to this propaganda fully appreciate the extent of the threat to honest business contained in this coercion.

          I have expressed indignation at this form of campaigning and I am confident that the overwhelming majority of employers, workers and the general public share that indignation and will show it at the polls on Tuesday next.

          First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Gandhi

          by AuroraDawn on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 11:15:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent Research! Great Resource! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AuroraDawn, dotdash2u

    Tipped, Recced, and Hotlisted!

    So many answers to so much Right Wing, Tea Pot Idiocy!  It's only too bad that the Republicans choose to ignore facts and have chosen to select fallacy to guide them in their policy proposals.

    Dick Cheney said, "Pi$$ on 'em!" And, Ronald Reagan replied, "That's a Great Idea. Let's Call it 'Trickle Down Economics!"

    by NM Ray on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 12:51:33 PM PDT

    •  As an uncle of mine once said... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      about Ronald Reagan, "He's a good Republican, and a good Republican never lets pesky facts get in the way of a good story."

      First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Gandhi

      by AuroraDawn on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 01:16:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent diary! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AuroraDawn, Ohiodem1

    I had no idea that the parallels between FDRs situation and ours today were quite so apparent and stark.

    In a weird way it's encouraging.  A battle we've fought and won before and must again.  But more of a known quantity than I had realized.

    Btw I tried to rec comments posted before mine and this comment as well.  Nothing went thru. Never had trouble on that computer before. Found another computer and could post.  Perhaps others are having the same problem.

    •  That's how I look at it.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ohiodem1, dotdash2u
      In a weird way it's encouraging.  A battle we've fought and won before and must again.  But more of a known quantity than I had realized.
      And that's part of the reason I wrote this diary. I think sometimes Dems need to remind each other that we have fought - and won - uphill battles in the past, and we can do it, again.

      While the situation isn't exactly the same - during FDR's time in office, for instance, Dems controlled both Houses of Congress -  I find the parallels interesting. Many people forget that FDR wasn't always revered. During his lifetime there were many Americans who despised him. Especially, in Corporate America and among the upper classes, who branded him a "class traitor."

      Have you ever read the novel "It Can't Happen Here" (1935) by Sinclair Lewis? In the book, Lewis warns Americans that, yes, Fascism could happen here. The book is a bit dated, but well worth reading.

      Senator Berzelius "Buzz" Windrip, a charismatic and power-hungry politician, is elected President of the United States on a populist platform, promising to restore the country to prosperity and greatness, and promising each citizen $5,000 a year.

      Portraying himself as a champion of traditional American values, Windrip easily defeats his opponents, Senator Walt Trowbridge and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Though having previously stated that some authoritarian measures would need to be put in effect in order to reorganize the United States government, Windrip goes so far as to outlaw dissent, incarcerate political enemies in concentration camps, create a paramilitary force, called the Minute Men, who terrorize citizens and enforce the policies of Windrip and his "corporatist" regime.

      One of his first acts as President is to eliminate the influence of the United States Congress, which draws the ire of many citizens as well as the legislators themselves. The Minute Men respond to protests against Windrip's decisions harshly, attacking demonstrators with bayonets. In addition to these actions, Windrip's administration, known as the "Corpo" government, curtails women's and minority rights, and eliminates individual states by subdividing the country into administrative sectors. The government of these sectors is managed by "Corpo" authorities, usually prominent businessmen or Minute Men officers. Those accused of crimes against the government are tried in kangaroo courts presided over by "military judges". Despite these dictatorial measures, a majority of Americans approve of them, believing them to be necessary though painful steps to restore American power.

      Others, those less enthusiastic about the prospect of corporatism, reassure themselves that fascism cannot "happen here"; hence the novel's title.

      Open opponents of Windrip, led by Senator Trowbridge, form an organization called the New Underground, helping dissidents escape to Canada in manners reminiscent of the Underground Railroad and distributing anti-Windrip propaganda...

      You'll note that in Lewis' novel the paramilitary troops were called Minute Men. You have to wonder if the doofuses who were "guarding" our border calling themselves Minute Men realized the irony that they were fulfilling - in a small way - the nightmare fantasy Lewis had 70 years before. There really are some frightening parallels between the novel and reality in 21st Century America.

      About your inability to rec comments - I've had that problem before. Usually, I have to refresh the page. Thank you for the tip and the post!

      First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Gandhi

      by AuroraDawn on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 02:25:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sounds like a pertinent read. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Will pick up a copy.

        Wish your diary had gotten more attention.  We can draw strength and guidance  from the leadership of FDR.  I hadn't realized the similarity in depth and source of venom that he faced.

        Hope this diary becomes one  of a linked series.  So much more to explore.  I am sure that readers who would have enjoyed this diary missed it.

        •  Thank you, that's so kind of you to say. (0+ / 0-)

          I probably shouldn't have posted it on 9/11. I should have known, given the tragic anniversary, that it would fly under the radar (understandably so), but I'm going to be so busy later this week, and I didn't want to post and run without responding to comments.

          I'm glad you enjoyed it.

          If I can find the time between work, phonebanking and other GOTV efforts, I want to write several diaries that explore the parallels between past politics and present problems.

          I think it was Santayana who said that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. IMHO he was absolutely right. And I think that's why we keep falling into this right-wing death spiral politically, socially and economically. As a society, we don't seem to learn from our mistakes.

          The similarities between current domestic terrorism between the 1910 and 1940s are striking. How many Americans remember that the KKK was fire-bombing neighborhoods and homes all throughout FL and AL in the 1940s? The stuff that's going on now, I believe a lot of it has its roots in unresolved issues from our past.

          Other subjects I'd like to explore in diaries are the rise of the KKK in the North, and it's eventual defeat. The KKK once had a thriving membership of millions in the North. Domestic terrorism, and reckless, opportunistic politicians endorsing and excusing violence, those aren't "new" things. Virtually every politician in Indiana, for example, was a KKK member in the 1920s - including the Republican Governor.

          FDR's election and Corporate America's response to it, Gen Smedley Butler and the White House Coup, I would like to write a diary about that as well.

          FDR wasn't the last  President before Obama to engender such hatred, either, sadly. President Kennedy was also deeply reviled for his efforts to push through the Civil Rights Act in 1963. They actually printed an obituary in the local newspapers, lined in black, on the day he arrived in Dallas. Little knowing that he would, in fact, die there. Do you remember the late Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) threatening Bill Clinton? In 1994 he insinuated that Clinton would be assassinated if he set foot in North Carolina.

          Bill Clinton knew exactly what he wanted to do after learning that North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms had told a Raleigh newspaper that the President "better have a bodyguard" if he ever visited his state. "I'm ready to go to North Carolina right now," an angry Clinton informed White House chief of staff Leon Panetta, who brought him the news last Tuesday.
          I've also been thinking about writing a diary discussing Herbert Hoover pre-1929 for a long time. I know, sounds enthralling, doesn't it? ;-) But most people, when they compare Bush, Romney, and the rest of the modern Repubs to Hoover have absolutely no idea who this man was, or why he was elected. All they know is that Hoover royally screwed up following the Stock Market crash.

          He was actually considered an American hero before 1929, because of his humanitarian work. The US Government saved millions of lives in Europe during WWI and in Russia following the 1917 Revolution via humanitarian aid, and Hoover was responsible for orchestrating the entire project. For some reason, maybe because he'd risen out of poverty due to hard work, he just couldn't get past that "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" mentality. He felt that Europeans were different than Americans. That we ought to be able to help ourselves without government aid. Part of the reason Americans reacted so angrily to Hoover's failure to help them was because they knew how many starving people he'd helped save abroad. They didn't understand why he refused to institute similar programs to save his own people.

          I think I've rambled enough for now. Thank you, again, for the kind comments!

          First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Gandhi

          by AuroraDawn on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 12:57:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  A few things that disturb me but otherwise an A! (0+ / 0-)

    Meaningful pursuit of true criminals- Bush and co. and Wall Street as examples

    Drone attacks?

    Rabid pursuit of pot growers/sellers and states that have legalized it. This is such a sham and I had hoped he would not perpetuate the sham...

    Using advisers that helped cause much of our current mess...

    When compared to the likes of Romney and others, Obama is like a messiah. When taken on his own, it is a bit disappointing to folks like myself.

    My vote is for Obama once again so no worries there :) Honestly, I haven't voted for many Rs over the years and I have not voted for one in well over a decade (Buddy Roemer being the last). The current batch of them, both young and old, is the stuff of nightmares.

    I think people should be allowed to do anything they want. We haven't tried that for a while. Maybe this time it'll work. -George Carlin

    by CentristandProud on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 02:39:20 PM PDT

    •  It would be an understatement... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ohiodem1, CentristandProud, dotdash2u

      To say I'm not at all pleased about the drone attacks. I am descended, in part, from Quakers. The whole idea of violence, except in cases of self-defense, is revolting to me. I don't support the death penalty. I don't believe in wars of choice. My feelings about our involvement in Afghanistan would be far too difficult to sum up in a comment - it would require a new diary.

      As for Pot, though I don't use drugs, I fully support the legalization of Pot. The War on Drugs IMHO is a pointless failure - a waste of time and money, that has resulted in many needless deaths.

      But, you see, whatever disagreements I may have with President Obama, I know the alternative, and ultimately, I prefer the man currently running the country.

      I may not agree with with each and every policy the President has endorsed, but I believe him to be decent, and I trust him to tell me honestly what he believes and what he intends to do. That is more than I could ever say for Bush, let alone Romney. From my POV the good that Obama has done far outweighs the rest.

      I now understand - after seeing just how hate-filled and potentially violent the right-wing has become - why certain Kossacks used to react so angrily to criticism (even constructive criticism) of the President. Constructive criticism is usually a very healthy thing, but I really don't feel that this is the moment for it. You can offer it up if you wish, of course. Right now, however, I'm more interested in highlighting the many good things President Obama has done, rather than dwelling on areas of disagreement. Too much is at stake and the opposition is detached from reality. There will be time enough to critique and criticize individual policies when the election is over.

      First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Gandhi

      by AuroraDawn on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 03:35:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I stated my upcoming vote :) (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        You said something that rings true. He is a decent person. I just hope for more this next term. I also agree it is vital that the Rs don't grab even more congressional seats as well as the presidency. Dark days indeed those would be...

        I think people should be allowed to do anything they want. We haven't tried that for a while. Maybe this time it'll work. -George Carlin

        by CentristandProud on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 07:30:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My comment was more in response... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          to the part of your first comment in which you stated: "A few things disturb me." I'm really not quite sure what you meant by that. Did you mean there were a few thing about Obama that disturb you? Or did you mean that there were a few things about my diary which disturb you? My assumption, based on the rest of your first comment, was that you were disturbed by the compliments I paid Obama. If my assumption was incorrect, I apologize.

          We are in absolute agreement, however, about what would happen if the Republicans retain Congress and gain control of the Executive Branch - total disaster.

          Thank you for reading my diary and for the 'rec. :-)

          First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Gandhi

          by AuroraDawn on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 08:25:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I was not disturbed by your praises at all (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Just voicing disturbing thoughts about the govt. Biggest reason I mention the whole criminal thing and pot is I was personally involved in a major 'bust' which involved corrupt police officers. I was treated like shit and was labeled a felon for over 5 years thanks to a screwed up court system, despite never having been a felon. To see Obama perpetuate this destruction of our citizens' lives is a VERY disturbing thing !!

            Try getting a job when your record shows you as a drug felon in this economy.... Literally cost me the last 4-5 years of my life despite not being a criminal... It is even worse for folks actually caught with some 'evidence' who are tossed into the prison industrial complex labor, Inc. !

            I think people should be allowed to do anything they want. We haven't tried that for a while. Maybe this time it'll work. -George Carlin

            by CentristandProud on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 07:00:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm so sorry, that is so awful.... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Biggest reason I mention the whole criminal thing and pot is I was personally involved in a major 'bust' which involved corrupt police officers. I was treated like shit and was labeled a felon for over 5 years thanks to a screwed up court system, despite never having been a felon. To see Obama perpetuate this destruction of our citizens' lives is a VERY disturbing thing !!
              I'm so sorry for everything you lost. That should never have been allowed to happen to you or anyone else. I don't blame you for being angry.

              Unfortunately, I have my own experience with corrupt police officers. Thankfully, only the one cop, and I wasn't left with a record, but I did end up bruised, battered, and in the hospital for several days when I was 19.

              The cop in question had gone to the wrong address. He meant to bust down the door of 2407 102nd St. My family lived at 2107 102nd St. He didn't even bother to check if he had the right family before he started trying to "detain" me. He wouldn't even tell us why he was there. He basically just held us hostage in our own home for two hours, insisting that I needed to leave with him, and becoming very physically aggressive when I refused. I knew that legally I couldn't fight back, I had no intention of doing anything that would give him cause to charge me with a crime. So, once he knocked me down, I just lay there limp on the floor for about the last half-hour, while he tried to drag me by my ankles out of the house.

              My neighbor could see into our front window, and not seeing the cop car, assumed he was a burglar (or worse) and called the cops. Authorities came expecting to find a break-in with possible injured parties - the paramedics came, the fire department came, and 2 female officers came. There was another hour long standoff while my mother had to search for my birth certificate - they wouldn't accept just a photo ID - to prove I wasn't who Officer David believed me to be. When she finally found it, I was sent to the hospital to treat the injuries he'd given me. He was given a reprimand. They didn't even pay to replace our front door. Two years later he was arrested for assaulting another young woman. It seems this was a pattern for him.

              Two of my cousins are cops. I was raised to respect the police, but I have to admit, it was really hard for me to trust cops, again, after that experience. The current system is incredibly unjust. I'm just fortunate he never managed to get me out of the house. Who knows how long I would have been held - or what would have happened - before my parents were able to prove he grabbed the wrong girl.

              First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Gandhi

              by AuroraDawn on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 09:34:04 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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