Could FDR get nominated today?

The Weakly Standard:

Democratic Heretics


Four years later, the protest wing of the Democratic party was in the saddle and delivered the nomination to George McGovern. Whatever similarity might be discerned between the Tea Party and the antiwar movement, the Tea Party has not remade the Republican party in anything like the way the New Left remade the Democrats, or else Ron Paul or Herman Cain would be the nominee instead of Mitt Romney.

LBJ is only the first of many supposedly liberal heroes who would be unacceptable to the liberal base today. Start with Franklin Roosevelt. Despite his New Deal programs, he piled up a considerable record of statements that would be anathema to contemporary liberal orthodoxy. “The lessons of history, confirmed by the evidence immediately before me,” he told Congress in 1935, “show conclusively that continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. To dole out relief .  .  . is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit.” A liberal can’t talk about our welfare state that way today.

FDR opposed public employee unions. In a 1937 letter to a public employees’ association, FDR wrote: “All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. .  .  . Militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees.”

FDR, an Episcopalian, made the kind of remarks about religion that send the American Civil Liberties Union into paroxysms of rage when someone like George W. Bush or Sarah Palin says the same thing today. During World War II, FDR wrote a preface for an edition of the New Testament that was distributed to American troops: “As Commander-in-Chief, I take pleasure in commending the reading of the Bible to all who serve in the armed forces of the United States.” On the eve of the 1940 election, FDR said in a campaign radio address: “Freedom of speech is of no use to a man who has nothing to say and freedom of worship is of no use to a man who has lost his God.” Today, the left-wing fever swamps would call this “Christianism.”

Environmentalists would stoutly oppose FDR because of his massive public works projects, such as the giant habitat-destroying dams on the Columbia River and in the Tennessee Valley. The car-haters of the left decry FDR for promoting urban sprawl and road-building. Historian James Flink wrote, “The American people could not have done worse in 1932 had they deliberately set out to elect a president who was ignorant of the implications of the automobile revolution.”

Okay, I admit TWS is a wingnut site, but they have a point. FDR was a foreign policy hawk, he smoked cigarettes and he had a mistress. He was rich too.

If he were alive today, could FDR win the Democratic nomination? Ronald Reagan was a “liberal” New Deal Democrat and a supporter of FDR. Years later he said “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party. The party left me.” Does that sound familiar?

The only two-term Democratic president in my lifetime is Bill Clinton, and the Progs call him a Republican. They also bashed Hillary for being too conservative.

What do you think?

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75 Responses to Could FDR get nominated today?

  1. myiq2xu says:

    Reagan was no liberal when he was president.

    • Lola-at-Large says:

      He wasn’t a crazy right-winger, either. You cannot unite people like he did with radicalism.

      • myiq2xu says:

        If you were to judge Raygun solely by his rhetoric he was a crazy right-winger. If you judge him by what he actually did while in office he was much more moderate.

        He talked tough, but the only country he invaded was Grenada.

        • angienc says:

          I guess I was in about 6th grade when Reagan became President & high school when he left office — so, young girl not that politically aware — but I think honestly both the left & the right have exaggerated his presidential legacy — one demonizing it, the other cannonizing him for it. He was OK — I’d rank him as “not good” on my good (Clinton)/not good/bad but not as bad as Obama/worst (Obama) scale.

        • Lola-at-Large says:

          We must be close in age. I was 9 when he was elected and loved him dearly. I cried when he was shot. By the end of his term, I was pretty much over him.

        • angienc says:

          I cried when he was shot too — but I don’t think that’s a bad thing even I had been an adult — no one wants that (except true nuts like Brinkley) plus that poor Secret Service man Brady was killed too. As a child, Reagan had a very appealing/granddad kind of feel to him that made you feel “safe.” It was only as I grew & became more politically aware that I began to question things/him. Still, despite the ins & outs with professional politicians, as far as the public goes he was a uniter. I remember reading an interview with Tip O’Neil saying Dems in his district — his voters — would tell him “don’t be so hard on Reagan” etc. Regan had people who voted straight Dem down-ticket voting for him & supporting him. And you are right — being able to create that kind of feeling means he wasn’t “psychotic” (as Lizzy calls him — that’s the kind of demonization of him that I’m talking about) even if his record doesn’t make him the “saint” as the right claims. It is that unity feel he gave to the country that makes me put him in the “not good” rather than “bad but not as bad as Obama” category.

      • Lizzy says:

        I didn’t notice that reagan was particularly a uniter. In my opinion he was a full blown psychotic. I am at a loss to explain his attraction He seemed to nap through his term when he wasn’t complaining about welfare queens.

        • Lola-at-Large says:

          You must have forgotten the landslide of ’84 and the term “Reagan Democrats.” Who can forget 525 Electoral votes to 13, and a 49-state win? Hell, even MA & Hawaii voted for him.

          A POV is limited by what a person exposes him-or-herself to.

        • myiq2xu says:

          I am at a loss to explain his attraction

          Pat Brown, Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale couldn’t figure it out either.

        • Lola-at-Large says:

          To be fair, Pauline Kael was probably just as aghast as those three, Myiq.

        • angienc says:

          You must have been napping through the 80s.

  2. SWPAnnA says:

    the super delegate process created to prevent the McGovern thing from recurring, was sabataged by Howard Dean. I think that Governor Dean, a physician, played ball with Obama to become H & HS but was stiffed after selling his soul to “the One.” Now he’s reduced to sucking up to the crazies to find a way back into a job. He is, unfortunately, the demographic the punks are pushing out in their know-it-all march to take over.

  3. myiq2xu says:

    Imagine trying to pass the TVA today. Even if it passed there would be 30 years of lawsuits on each project.

  4. myiq2xu says:


    I enabled ratings on posts and comments. I will probably tinker with it some more. Let me know what you think.

  5. yttik says:

    This is probably off topic, but how come facebook doesn’t have a stupid button? Gawd, it’s like a playground for morons.

  6. HELENK says:

    FDR was the right man for his time. He knew history, which many today do not. He understood finance, which many today do not, He loved the country , which many in government today do not, He knew the American people and believed in them, which many today do not.
    He fostered independence, but knew that some would need a TEMPORARY helping hand, many today do not
    I do not think today’s democratic party would elect him. They want the people downtroddened and beholden. That is something he never wanted

    • yttik says:

      I think some of the best President’s lead with optimism and genuinely love this country. They make us feel good about who we are and where we’re going. FDR used to play, “Happy days Are Here Again,” and Reagan had his, “it’s morning in America.” Bill Clinton would be out there playing his saxophone and his love of life is just contagious. Now contrast that all to some of today’s leaders, “America is a mean country, all you greedy, racist, freeloaders who’s kids are fat!” Uhg, no wonder Americans are not out there building and innovating. We’re too darned depressed because all we ever here is how awful we are.

  7. votermom says:

    These thumbs up & down are freaking me out. 😀

    Edit – I don’t mind them, they just will get some getting used to.

    • myiq2xu says:

      I can change it to stars (1-5) or turn it off. I just want to see how it goes.

      • HELENK says:

        I like the thumbs up or down. It lets you know when people agree or disagree with you

        • Lola-at-Large says:

          Exactly. And it will cut down on gratuitous comments, which will make threads last longer. Now we can thumb you up instead of honking at you. And the actual honking will mean more. Consider it a value-added change. 😀

        • angienc says:

          Yeah, that doesn’t quite work with me. If people agree with me, I figure they’re smart; if people don’t, I figure they’re idiots & their disagreement just proves I’m right. 😉

        • DandyTiger says:

          As I have more drinks I worry that I’ll think hands are trying to grab the comments. And not just any hands, but ZOMBIE hands!!!

      • Lola-at-Large says:

        Change can be unsettling at first, but people adapt. I love it, but then I’m usually on the cutting edge of technology changes. Have had them at my blog for over a year.

    • angienc says:

      Just like the nesting thing — I didn’t like it at first, but now that I’m used to it I vastly prefer it.

  8. HELENK says:

    I love when people have creative ideas. A good response to backtrack wedding gift highjack.

  9. HELENK says:

    I lost any respect I had for the supreme court over this ruling.
    the stolen valor act

    the obamacare we can fix , throw the bums out and repeal it,
    But the stolen valor overturn was just scuzzie

  10. myiq2xu says:

    Who cares? They don’t have to run for reelection.

  11. DeniseVB says:

    Noticed we have thumbs up and downs now? Yikes, that could be helpful to the obots.

    Oh well, could Lincoln get nominated now? I truly think the mood of our country is bordering on civil war again. Glad I’m too freaking old to care, just shoot me 😀

  12. Lola-at-Large says:

    BTW, I think this is why the intertubes freaked out yesterday. Remember those error messages we got?

  13. DM says:

    I believe that if the economic conditions were as bad as they were in 1932, the depth of the Great Depression, the voters would elect someone like FDR. The economy is bad, but not like in 1932.

    • myiq2xu says:

      In 1932 FDR was seen as a moderate. He had a southern conservative as his running mate and he accused Hoover of being a big spender who was leading the country into socialism.

  14. Lola-at-Large says:

    Says it all. Expect more of this.

  15. gxm17 says:

    So maybe this thread isn’t the place to celebrate that Jill Stein is the first Green Party presidential candidate to qualify for federal matching funds. Sorry but I just can’t contain myself. And her tagline is “A Green New Deal for America.” 🙂

  16. yttik says:

    This hypocrisy really pisses me off all over again:

    In ’08, Obama Attacked Hillary Clinton For A Health Care “Penalty”

    • DM says:

      But Hillary’s plan included the public option so that those who didn’t want private insurance could have public insurance, like Medicare which costs lots less to administer than private insurance.

      • Locked-N-Loaded says:

        Hillary also wanted to open up the federal employees health insurance to anyone who wanted it. It is great health care, affordable, single-payer, and NOT run by the government.

      • gxm17 says:

        Exactly! The obot trolls kept telling everyone their policies were the same. So I read them both and nope, not the same. Hillary’s was the only one with a public option.

  17. DandyTiger says:

    FDR always reminds me of the penguin (from batman) in that picture. Which means, he must remind me of Dick Cheney. I can tell I haven’t quite had enough to drink. That crazy talk almost made sense.

    By the way, I’m Batman.

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