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Mark Atwood
A great summary of a "great" president

I don't much like FDR. He was a lying bastard who tried to shred the Constitution and who introduced to the United States such wonderful concepts as the concentration camp and the President-for-life. But, credit where it is due, he and Churchill did between them Save The World from the Forces of Darkness, no shit.

He also had the decency to drop dead before he could fuck it up again.

6 comments or Leave a comment
sinanju From: sinanju Date: May 7th, 2004 09:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
These google links never work for me.
fallenpegasus From: fallenpegasus Date: May 7th, 2004 10:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's because they are "too new". I build them out of the message-id's of USENET articles as I read them, but Google Groups lags about 12 hours behind the advancing wavefront of USENET.

The link will be working by tomorrow morning.
docorion From: docorion Date: May 8th, 2004 03:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Now is the part where I say 'opinions are like...'?

On the one hand, FDR did some economically questionable things. But on the other, he did manage to prevent the nation from eating it's own liver at a time when despair laid over the land like a blanket. And eventually, the war came to pull everyone's butocks out of the financial badness. And he did, as the author mentions, manage to lead the team that defeated the forces of darkness decisively in their time. (The forces of darkness, like in bad horror movies, have an infinite regeneration cycle-they just keep coming back).

Concentration camps were Congress' idea-FDR simply didn't get in the way, because he had other political fish to fry. Short-sighted, in retrospect, I agree, but I cannot in good conscience lay that at the feet of FDR. Among others, California business interests who wanted their land and goods (all of which were forfeit) played at least as big a part as the Federal Guvmint.

(I hate it when folks use only the part of the historical record they like, or that suports their grievance. Read all the history; it's always more complex than it looks at first blush. Even our history will prove to be so, once the dust settles).
fallenpegasus From: fallenpegasus Date: May 8th, 2004 04:55 am (UTC) (Link)
"Some" questionable things?

Practically everything he did was wrong, and didn't work besides. One the the dirty little secrets you probably didn't learn in history was that just prior to his little court packing blowup, he had put the entire country's national economy on a centralized command & control basis, with "five year plans" and was drafting real plans for the final steps of full nationalization of all interstate business, and "organizing" the labor force with "industrial armies" that would be filled via "labor drafts".

Imagine having a draft board, instead of putting you in the Army, instead telling you what your job for the rest of your life was going to be...

This was the *cause* of the court-packing drama, because the Supreme Court told him ahead of time "we've held our noses for a lot, because of the problems, but we're not going to hold our noses for this".

I suppose I can't blame him TOO much for being such an ignoramous about this sort of thing, the Depression itself was caused by a few rounds of begger-thy-neighbor international tariffs, passed by spiritual forbears of the modern anti-globalization types, and by a Federal Reserve who thought that it's job was to Do Things and to Steer The Economy, instead of just hold tight to the tiller and keep it from moving, while giving everyone else the warm fuzzy feeling that someone is driving.

And I notice you didn't mention the "President For Life" problem.

One of the very greatest things that George Washington did was to *retire* after two terms. If he had not, the US would have, within another generation, turned into Yet Another western hemisphere despotism, just like all the Presidente-For-Life hellholes in Latin America.

It's a good that that FDR dropped dead, because otherwise it would have been necessary to assissinate him.
docorion From: docorion Date: May 8th, 2004 02:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'll give you the "president-for-Life" problem. I'll give you the Federal Reserve screwing up. I don't think I will give you the "spiritual forbears of the modern anti-globalization types"; these were sober businessmen, who were getting smacked by the beginning of the depression, and wanted help from the guvmint. Ill-considered help, although an argument can be made that the depression would have happened anyway.

As for "One the the dirty little secrets you probably didn't learn in history was..."; I was a history major. I actually *did* know about that. He, and his cabinet, were pretty damn desparate, at that point, to make some sort of difference in the economy and employment. I don't know the other party would have done any better, or even different.
fallenpegasus From: fallenpegasus Date: May 8th, 2004 03:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
I probably shoulda say "most people" instead of "you probably".

Bad habit of mine.
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