Today marks the 130th anniversary of the birth of our second greatest President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who served 12 years and 39 days in the Presidency, and took America through the Great Depression and most of World War II.
Rated the greatest President in most polls of scholars and experts after Abraham Lincoln, FDR personified the growth of big national government, including the recognition that the federal government was needed to deal with the crisis presented by the depression, the worst economic downturn in American history.
Now in 2012, we are being told by the opposition Republicans that the answer is to revert to the philosophy of Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover, and keep the federal government out of the economy as much as possible. Mitt Romney can be seen as the new Herbert Hoover, aloof, imperial in nature, unable to relate to ordinary people’s problems and daily struggles, extremely rich, and believing that the private capitalistic system without government interference is the best for America’s future.
Even Herbert Hoover started to abandon that belief in laissez faire, and is called, therefore, the “forgotten progressive” by Joan Hoff and others. And maybe Mitt Romney, due to his past reputation of being a moderate to liberal as Governor of Massachusetts, might back away from his present promotion of a conservative image.
But the Republican Party, whether Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul or anyone else as the nominee, has fundamentally declared war on the New Deal!
The GOP wants to privatize Social Security and Medicare, and gut as many government departments and agencies as possible, along with destroying labor unions and showing lack of concern for the environment, all major tenets of the New Deal. When Republicans can claim that the New Deal was “socialism”, as some of them do, they are being ridiculous and setting out to end the laws and programs that have advanced America and helped to create the middle class!
Conservative scholars and propagandists have been advocating negatives about the New Deal as part of their aim to destroy the good programs that Barack Obama has achieved, and to go back to the mentality of the 1920s era and the Gilded Age of the late 19th century.
We can be sure that if FDR was alive today, that he would be on the attack against the Republican Party and their aims of destroying his New Deal, and it is therefore the job of Barack Obama to go out and assault, rhetorically, those who wish to destroy not only the New Deal of FDR, but also the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson, and the other progressive, human oriented programs of Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton.
This is the time to defend big government and FDR, not shrink from the challenge!