Saturday, August 14, 2010

Good Questions

In response to a Wall Street Journal article by Kim Strassel a Journal reader asks an interesting question.

JIm Altfeld wrote:

I am a fan of Kim Strassel and think she is a helluva good writer. I also think she and many others good writers are missing a very interesting point. Why now, in 2010, is the entire country up in arms and against re-electing any incumbent regardless of party ties (myself included), but not so during the FDR administration? FDR trounced Alf Landin in 1936 after 4 years of nothingness. Four years later, more of the same. Obama is virtually following FDR's playbook to a T and dancing as though he and FDR were Fred and Ginger. The interesting story is why now and why not then? Are we just more in tune? Are we just more disbelieving? Are we just more cynical? What!?! And why is it that FDR remains listed as the greatest president ever to hold the office, only behind Lincoln?!? Yet, Obama will probably end up somewhere right behind Jimmy Carter, our other totally Not Ready for Prime Time President of recent memory. If you get a moment, let me know YOUR thoughts on the matter. Thank you.
Any ideas?

Cross Posted at Classical Values


J Carlton said...

I think there are two things that are different. One the lines of communication and information were much simpler and easier to control. It was easier to hide the thuggery behind closed doors. Two, in the '30's the flavors of Progressivism, (Fascism, dictatorship, Communism and other forms of totaltarianism) had no track record and it was easier to blame bad business practices for the actions of the government.

Neil said...

In the 1930's, there were only two choices on offer from the political establishment: Hoover's mild form of fascism (which was what capitalism had degenerated into at the time), and FDR's mild form of socialism. The modern proponents of the free market were just beginning to formally make their arguments at the time. I'm not willing to say that the voters made the wrong choice there. By the 1950's, the U.S. had a mix of fascist and socialist policies anyway.

These days, there is a fairly well-developed intellectual argument for free markets, and the alternatives now have a long track record to point to, as J Carlton pointed out.

David said...

FDR did not project the kind of loathing for ordinary Americans that is the trademark of Obama's circle.

Nor were the New Dealers hostile to economic growth, however wrongheaded some ideas about how to achieve it might have been. FDR's posse wanted to *build* dams for power generation and flood control; today's "progressives" want to destroy them.

Tom Bridgeland said...

There are also inoculation effects. A voting populace can be burned by something and avoid it in the future. Also, internationally socialism isn't doing well, and a certain amount of information crosses borders.

A few percent change in voting habits can overturn a party. Carter scared people so we voted for Reagan, and it was 12 years before people were willing to give the left a try again.