Found at Wikipedia:
"...[Y]ears later libertarians argued that Hoover's economics were statist. Franklin D. Roosevelt blasted the Republican incumbent for spending and taxing too much, increasing national debt, raising tariffs and blocking trade, as well as placing millions on the dole of the government. Roosevelt attacked Hoover for "reckless and extravagant" spending, of thinking "that we ought to center control of everything in Washington as rapidly as possible." Roosevelt's running mate, John Nance Garner, accused the Republican of "leading the country down the path of socialism."
And that's even before they get to the Bonus Army.
But that's not my point. Once the second Mr. Roosevelt was elected, he found himself spending and taxing, increasing the national debt and putting millions of citizens on various government assistance programs. Oh, he tried to keep his promises at first -- reducing Federal spending by slashing military budgets and "...cuts on veterans' benefits. He removed 500,000 veterans and widows from the pension rolls and reduced benefits for the remainder. He cut the salaries of federal employees and reduced spending on research and education." But it didn't hold; in the Second new Deal, he began to really throw money at the problem, in the manner of Mr. Hoover but even more so. His critics compared him to Marx and Lenin -- and there we are, right at the point where we came in.
That's my point: it has become pretty much standard far in the Presidencey to campaign against what the incumbent was doing -- then get elected and do the same thing. Mr. Obama has presently got himself one more war than Mr. Bush, for example, and he's planning on keeping the Gitmo detainees detained right where they are....
I'm not necessarily demonizing or lionizing any of these guys. I think the Presidency is an impossible job and that Presidents end up holding the hot potato for a lot of things Congress and the bureaucracy do; an awful lot of the power of the office, aside from missile launches and the occasional pest control effort (Mr. bin Laden, etc.) consists of making speeches and appearing to be leading the way.
But I do think we'd be better off if the power wielded by the Legislative and Executive branches were scaled way back. At the very least, there'd be a lot less reason for partisan rewriting of history and we wouldn't see one President excoriated and another lauded for doing the exact same thing, with the names switched around according to the affiliation and predilections of the commentator.
1. I don't know how many people get that movie-going reference any more. Tsk.
2. Although, depending on how you interpret the term, "lionization" could make sorting out the primaries much simpler: one lion, one Flavianesque Ampitheatre, x candidates. Run, Mr. P@ul, run! Oh, gee, Mr. Dean, I'm sure they can stitch that right back on....
3 weeks ago