April 13th, 2016

Gaming the Hoover-Roosevelt transition

I was raised by parents who were Democrats who venerated FDR, but the more I learn about FDR the more I don’t like many things he did. For years I’ve been reading the conservative point of view on the Great Depression and the New Deal, for example, which has been a mind-changing experience. But right now I’d like to talk about something related but with a different emphasis: FDR’s pre-inauguration strategy.

Years ago I came across an article (here’s the link I had for it, but the link now leads nowhere) about how FDR sabotaged any attempts by Hoover to help the situation prior to FDR’s coming to power:

Hoover, according to [Jonathan Alter, who is not a conservative], tried to involve Roosevelt in end-of-term actions, suggesting to the then-President-elect that they jointly appoint delegates to a World Economic Conference to be held in June 1933 (three months after FDR’s inauguration), a highly touted meeting which was arranged to tackle the global Depression. Roosevelt rejected the overture, fearing that his New Deal would be seen as just a continuation of the Hoover Administration if he worked with the departing President.

Alter wrote that on February 18, just two weeks before inauguration day, Hoover tried again to enlist Roosevelt into a joint effort — including a bank holiday — to stabilize markets, but again Roosevelt rebuffed the President.

In his book, Alter quotes James Warburg, a member of Roosevelt’s inner circle. The Roosevelt brain trust “wanted it to get as bad as it was going to get before he took office, so that he could come in on the turn rather than in the continuing downward spiral.”

For his part, years later, Hoover wrote the bank crisis that ensued “was the most political and unnecessary bank panic in all our history” and “it could have been cured by simple cooperation.”

That’s stunning, but in a way it’s not surprising. Politics.

Here’s more:

[Hoover and FDR] met at the White House in late November and found little agreement. Later meetings produced little. At one point, Roosevelt declared, “It’s not my baby.” By Alter’s account, Roosevelt’s standoffish posture was calculated. “His political instincts told him that if he were enlisted by Hoover in November, he would not be able to break sharply from the past the following March,” Alter writes.

Also see this (from another dead link; that’ll teach me to delay so much in writing a post I’ve already researched):

One of the few anti-Depression steps that Hoover had taken, with Congressional approval, was the establishment of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation making the government the lender of last resort. Speaker of the House John Nance Garner, soon to be Vice President, pushed through a legislative requirement for the RFC to make public the names of banks that borrowed. Fearing that depositors would swiftly withdraw funds from institutions that identified themselves as in need of loans, banks simply stopped borrowing.

At the same time, Henry A. Wallace, newly designated as Secretary of Agriculture, suggested that going off the gold standard might be the best solution to the crisis. A run on the banks followed, with several states closing all their banks for periods up to twelve days. Unemployment continued to rise. Hoover was convinced, as he said in his memoirs, that Roosevelt wanted to let conditions worsen and then close the banks himself as a sign of taking charge.

Seems plausible.

[NOTE: For what it’s worth, John Nance Garner was the guy who is famously supposed to have said that “The vice-presidency isn’t worth a bucketful of warm spit.”

Or was it “warm piss“? Easier to obtain a bucketful of that.]

32 Responses to “Gaming the Hoover-Roosevelt transition”

  1. Stan on the Brazos Says:

    Neo: my parents were dems, dad a coal miner(46 years), after a life time of living and working abroad , 50 years in the oil and gas industry, I decided FDR was our worst president ever, and then along came Obama. Suggest Amity Shlaes book Everyman, for a good understanding of FDRs errors.

  2. blert Says:

    Think night soil.

    &&&

    You can spot all of FDR’s campaign speeches by following the daily Dow-Jones Industrial Averages.

    They plunge after every FDR policy utterance.

    BTW, it’s wholly incorrect to say that FDR pivoted on Hoover.

    He double-downed on Hoover’s economic interventions.

    Which was a 180 from what he campaigned on!

    FDR — the campaigner — declared Hoover to be a Big Spender — and to be running wildly excessive deficits.

    FDR claimed — like Barry Soetoro — that he’d bring those horrific deficits under control.

    HAH.

  3. mf Says:

    The platform FDR ran on was a total lie

    [A Democrat and former candidate for President deconstructs the New Deal.]

    The Facts in the Case By Governor Alfred E. Smith January 25, 1936

    At the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC, before an American Liberty League audience of 2000 and a national radio audience.

    This is one of the greatest American political speeches. At the time it was considered the definitive analysis of the New Deal. Al Smith was the 1928 Democrat Presidential nominee, former governor of New York State and the leader of the Democrat Party until Roosevelt and the Communist wing took over in 1932. Smith was the person who gave Roosevelt his second chance in politics and therefore was responsible for FDR becoming President.

    Mr. Chairman, members and guests of the American Liberty League and my friends listening in, as I have been told by the newspapers, from all parts of the United States.

    At the outset of my remarks let me make one thing perfectly clear. I am not a candidate for any nomination by any party at any time, and what is more, I do not intend to even lift my right hand to secure any nomination from any party at any time.

    Further than that, I have no axe to grind. There is nothing personal in this whole performance in so far as I am concerned. I have no feeling against any man, woman or child in the United States. I am in possession of supreme happiness and comfort. I represent no group, no man, and I speak for no man or no group, but I do speak for what I believe to be the best interests of the great rank and file of the American people in which class I belong.

    NOW I am here tonight, also, because I have a great love for the United States of America. I love it for I know what it has meant to mankind since the day of its institution. I love it because it has grown to be the great stabilizing force in world civilization. I love it above everything else for the opportunity it offers to every man and every woman that desires to take advantage of it. No man that I know of or that I probably ever read of has any more reason to love it than I have.

    It kept the gateway open for me. It is a matter of common knowledge throughout the country, and I do not state it boastfully, because it is well known, that, deprived by poverty in my early years of an education, that gateway showed me how it was possible to go from a newsboy on the sidewalks of New York to the Governorship of the Greatest state in the Union.

    Now listen: I have five children and I have ten grandchildren, and you take it from me, I want that gate left open not alone for mine. I am not selfish about it–not for mine, but for every boy and girl in the country, and in that respect I am no different from every father and mother in the United States.

    Think it over for a minute. Figure it out for yourself. It is possible for your children’s success to be your success.

    I remember distinctly my first inauguration as Governor of New York. I am not sure that the young folks understood it thoroughly, but there were three people at that inauguration that did understand it, and one was my mother, and the other was my sister, and the third my wife. They understood. They were with me in all of the early struggles.

    NOW, I am here for another reason. I am here because I am a Democrat. I was born in the Democratic party and I expect to die in it. I was attracted to it in my youth because I was led to believe that no man owned it, and furthermore that no group of men owned it, but, on the other hand, that it belonged to all the plain people of the United States.

    I must make a confession. It is not easy for me to stand up here tonight and talk to the American people against the Democratic Administration. That is not easy. It hurts me. But I can call upon innumerable witnesses to testify to the fact that during my whole public life I put patriotism above partisanship. And when I see danger—I say “danger,” that is, the “Stop, look and listen” to the fundamental principles upon which this government of ours was organized – it is difficult for me to refrain from speaking up.

    NOW, what are these dangers that I see? The first is the arraignment of class against class. It has been freely predicted that if we were ever to have civil strife again in this country, it would come from the appeal to passion and prejudice that comes from the demagogue that would incite one class of our people against the other.

    In my time I have met some good and bad industrialists; I have met some good and bad financiers, but I have also met some good and bad laborers. And this I know, that permanent prosperity is dependent upon both capital and labor alike.

    I also know that there can be no permanent prosperity in this country until industry is able to employ labor, and there certainly can be no recovery upon any governmental theory of soak the rich or soak the poor.

    Even the children in our high schools–and let it be said to the glory of our educational institutions that even the children in our high schools know that you can’t soak capital without soaking labor at the same time.

    THE next thing that I view as being dangerous to our national well-being is government by bureaucracy instead of what we have been taught to look for, government by law.

    Just let me quote something from the President’s message to Congress: “In thirty-four we have built up new instruments of public power. In the hands of a people’s government this power is wholesome and proper. But in the hands of political puppets of an economic autocracy such power would provide shackles for the liberties of the people.”

    Now, I interpret that to mean: If you are going to be an autocrat, take me, but be very careful about the other fellow. There is a complete answer to that, and it rises in the minds of the great rank and file, and that answer is just this: We will never in this country tolerate any law that provides shackles for our people. We don’t want any autocrats, either in or out of office; we wouldn’t even take a good one.

    The next danger that is apparent to me is the vast building up of new bureaus of government, draining the resources of our people into a common pool and redistributing them, not by any process of law, but by the whim of a bureaucratic autocracy.

    WELL, now, what am I here for? I am here not to find fault. Anybody can do that. I am here to make suggestions. Now, what would I have my party do?

    I would have them re-establish and redeclare the principles that they put forth in 1932 platform. Even our Republican friends — and I know many of them, they talk to me freely, we have our little confidences among ourselves–they have all agreed that it is the most compact, the most direct, and the most intelligent political platform that was ever put forth by any political party in this country.

    The Republican platform was ten times as long; it was stuffy, it was unreadable, and in many points, not understandable, and no administration in the history of the country came into power with a more simple, a more clear or a more inescapable mandate than did the party that was inaugurated on the 4th of March in 1933.

    And listen, no candidate in the history of the country ever pledged himself more unequivocally to his party platform than did the President that was inaugurated on that day.

    WELL, here we are. Millions and millions of Democrats just like myself, all over the country, still believe in that platform, and what we want to know is why it wasn’t carried out.

    And listen, there is only one man in the United States of America that can answer question. It won’t do to pass it down to an undersecretary. I won’t even recognize him when I hear his name. I won’t know where he came from. I will be sure that he never lived down in my district.

    NOW, let us wander for a little while and let’s take a look at that platform, and let’s see what happened to it. Here is the way it started out:

    “We believe that a party platform is a covenant with the people, to be faithfully kept by the party when entrusted with power, and that the people are entitled to know in plain words the terms of the contract to which they are asked to subscribe. The Democratic Party solemnly promises by appropriate action to put into effect the principles, policies and reforms herein advocated and to eradicate the political methods and practices herein condemned.”

    My friends, these are what we call fighting words. At the time that the platform went through the air and over the wire, the people of the United States were in the lowest possible depths of despair, and the Democratic platform looked to them like the star of hope; it looked like the rising sun in the East to the mariner on the bridge of a ship after a terrible night. But what happened to it?

    FIRST plank: “We advocate the immediate and drastic reduction in governmental expenditure by abolishing useless commissions and offices, consolidating departments and bureaus, and eliminating extravagance, to accomplish a saving of not less than twenty-five per cent in the cost of government.”

    Well, now, what is the fact? No offices were consolidated, no bureaus were eliminated but on the other hand the alphabet was exhausted in the creations of new departments. And -this is sad news for the taxpayer – the cost, the ordinary cost, what we refer to as housekeeping cost, over and above emergencies – that ordinary housekeeping cost ofgovernment is greater today than it has ever been in any time in the history of the republic.

    ANOTHER plank: “We favor maintenance of the national credit by a Federal budget annually balanced on the basis of accurate Executive estimates within revenue.”

    How can you balance a budget if you insist upon spending more money than you take in? Even the increased revenue won’t go to balance the budget because it is “hocked” before you receive it. What is worse than that, we have borrowed, we owe something; we have borrowed so that we have reached a new high peak of Federal indebtedness for all time.

    Well, that wouldn’t annoy me so very much ordinarily. When I was Governor of New York they found a lot of fault with me because I borrowed a lot of money. That wouldn’t worry me. If it solved our problem and we were out of trouble I would say “All right, let ‘ergo!”. But the sin of it is that we have the indebtedness and at the end of three years we are just where we started. Unemployment and the farm problem we still have with us.

    NOW, here is something that I want to say to the rank and file. There are three classes of people in this country; there is the poor and rich, and in between the two is what has often been referred to as the great backbone of America, that is, the plain fellow. That is thefellow that makes from one hundred dollars a month up to the man that draws down five or six thousand dollars a year. They are the great army. Forget the rich; they can’t pay this debt. If you took everything they have away from them, they couldn’t pay it; there ain’t enough of them, and furthermore they ain’t got enough.

    There is no use talking about the poor; they will never pay it because they have got nothing. This debt is going to be paid by that great big middle class that we refer to as the backbone and the rank and file, and the sin of it is that they ain’t going to know they are paying it. It is going to come to them in the form of indirect and hidden taxation. It will come to them in the cost of living, in the cost of clothing, in the cost of every activity that they enter into, and because it is not a direct tax, they won’t think they’re paying it. But, take it from me, they are going to pay it.

    ANOTHER plank: “We advocate the extension of Federal credit to the states to provide unemployment relief where the diminishing resources of the states make it impossible for them to provide for their needs.”

    That was pretty plain. That was a recognition in the national convention of the rights ofthe states. But how is it interpreted? The Federal Government took over most of the relief problems, some of them useful and most of them useless. They started out to prime the pump for industry in order to absorb the ranks of the unemployed, and at the end of three years their affirmative policy is absolutely nothing better than the negative policy ofthe Administration that preceded them.

    “WE favor unemployment and old-age insurance under state laws.” Now, let me make myself perfectly clear, so that no demagogue or no crackpot in the next week or so will be able to say anything about my attitude on this kind of legislation. I am in favor of it, and I take my hat off to no man in the United States on the question of legislation beneficial to the poor, the weak, the sick or the afflicted, or men, women and children.

    Because why? I started out a quarter of a century ago when I had very few followers in my state, and during that period I advocated, fought for, introduced as a legislator, and finally, as Governor for eight long years, signed more progressive legislation in the interest of men, women and children than any man in the State of New York. And the sin of this whole thing and the part of it that worries me and gives me concern is that this haphazard, hurry-up passage of legislation is never going to accomplish the purposes for which it was designed. And bear this in mind,follow the platform—-“under state laws!”

    HERE is another one: “We promise the enactment of every constitutional measure that will aid the farmers to receive for their basic farm commodities prices in excess of cost.”

    Well, what is the use of talking about that? “Promise every constitutional measure!” TheSupreme Court disposed of that within the last couple of weeks, and, according to thepapers the other day, some brilliant individual has conceived the idea of how to get around the Constitution. We are going to have forty-eight A.A.A.’s, one for each state.

    The day that the United States Supreme Court decided that case I left my office to attend a meeting of a board of trustees of a hospital downtown that I am interested in, and as I stepped into the taxicab the driver was reading the extra, “Supreme Court Declares A.A.A. Unconstitutional.”

    We rode along for a few minutes and we got about three blocks from my office and we got caught in a red light and had to stand still, and the taxi driver turned around and looked at me and said, “Governor, ain’t there any lawyers in Congress any more?” Just then the light changed, and I was afraid to answer him for fear I might disconcert him, but I was all ready to say, “Yes, son, but they don’t function.”

    WE HAVE got another plank–“We advocate strengthening and impartial enforcement of the anti-trust laws.”

    What happened? Why, the NRA just put a gas bag on the anti-trust laws and put them fast asleep, and nobody said anything about it. I don’t know whether they are good or whether they are bad, but I know they didn’t work.

    Another one: “We promise the removal of Government from all fields of private enterprise except where necessary to develop public works and national resources in the common interest.”

    NRA, a vast octopus set up by Government, that wound its arms around all the business of the country, paralyzing big business, and choked little business to death.

    Did you read in the papers a short time ago where somebody said that business was going to get a breathing spell? What is the meaning of that? And where did that expression arise? I’ll tell you where it comes from. It comes from the prize ring. When the aggressor is punching the head off the other fellow, he suddenly takes compassion on him and he gives him a breathing spell before he delivers the knockout wallop.

    HERE is another one: “We condemn the open and covert resistance of administrative officials to every effort made by Congressional Committees to curtail the extravagant expenditures of governmental and improvident subsidies granted to private interests.”

    Now, just between ourselves, do you know any administrative officer that has tried to stop Congress from appropriating money? Do you think there has been any desire on the part of Congress to curtail appropriations? Why, not at all. The fact is that Congress approved them right and left – didn’t even tell what they were for. And the truth further is that every administrative officer sought to get all that he possibly could in order to expand the activities of his own office and throw the money of the people right and left.

    And, as to subsidies, why, never at any time in the history of this or any other country were there so many subsidies granted to private groups and on such a huge scale.

    The fact of the matter is that most of the cases now pending before the United States Supreme Court revolve around the point of whether or not it is proper for Congress to tax all the people to pay subsidies to a particular group.

    HERE is another one: “We condemn the extravagance of the Farm Board, its disastrous action which made the government a speculator in farm products, and the unsound policy restricting agricultural products to the demands of domestic markets.”

    Listen, I’ll let you in on something. This hasn’t leaked out yet, so kind of keep it to yourself until you get the news. On the first of February we are going to own 4,005,000 bales of cotton. The cost is $270,000,000. And we have been such brilliant speculators that we are paying thirteen cents a pound for it, when you add storage and carrying charges, and it can be bought at any one of the ten cotton markets of the South today for eleven and a half cents. Some speculators!

    What about the restriction of our agricultural products to the demands of the domestic market? Why, the fact about that is that we shut out entirely the foreign market, and by plowing under corn and wheat and the destruction of foodstuffs, food from foreign countries has been pouring into our American markets–food that should have been purchased by us from our own farmers. In other words, while some of the countries of the Old World were attempting to drive the wolf of hunger from the doormat the United States of America flew in the face of God’s bounty and destroyed its own food-stuffs. There can be no question about that.

    Now, I could go on indefinitely with some of the other planks. They are unimportant, and the radio time will not permit it. But just let me sum up this way:

    Regulation of the Stock Exchange and the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment, plus one or two planks of the platform that in no way touch the daily life of our people, have been carried out, but the balance of the platform was thrown in the wastebasket. About that there can be no question.

    LET’S see how it was carried out. Make a test for yourselves. Just get the platform of the Democratic Party, and get the platform of the Socialist Party, and lay them down on your dining room table, side by side, and get a heavy lead pencil and scratch out the word ‘Democrat’, and scratch out the word ‘Socialist,’ and let the two platforms lay there.

    Then study the record of the present administration up to date. After you have done that, make your mind up to pick up the platform that more nearly squares with the record, and you will put your hand on the Socialist platform. You couldn’t touch the Democratic. And, incidentally, let me say that is not the first time in recorded history that a group of men have stolen the livery of the church to do the work of the devil.

    If you study this whole situation, you will find that that is at the bottom of all of our troubles. This country was organized on the principles of a representative democracy, and you can’t mix socialism or communism with that. They are like oil and water. They refuse to mix. And, incidentally, let me say to you, that is the reason why the United States Supreme Court is working overtime throwing the alphabet out the window three letters at a time.

    Now, I am going to let you in on something else. How do you suppose all this happened? Here is the way it happened: The young brain trusters caught the Socialists in swimming and they ran away with their clothes.

    It is all right with me. It is all right with me if they want to disguise themselves as NormanThomas or Karl Marx, or Lenin, or any of the rest of that bunch, but what I won’t stand for is allowing them to march under the banner of Jefferson, Jackson or Cleveland.

    What is worrying me is where does that leave us millions of Democrats? My mind is now fixed upon the convention in June in Philadelphia. The committee on resolutions is about to report, and the preamble to the platform is: “We the representatives of the Democratic Party, in convention assembled, heartily indorse the Democratic Administration.”

    What happens to the disciples of Jefferson and Jackson and Cleveland when that resolution is read out? Why, for us it is a washout. There is only one of two things we can do. We can either take on the mantle of hypocrisy or we can take a walk, and we will probably do the latter.

    Now, leave the platform alone for a little while. What about this attack that has been made upon the fundamental institutions of this country? Who threatened them, and did we have any warning of this threat?

    Why, you don’t have to study party platforms. You don’t have to read books. You don’thave to listen to professors of economics. You will find the whole thing incorporated in the greatest declaration of political principles that came from the hands of man, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of United States.

    Always have in your mind that the Constitution and the first ten amendments to it were drafted by refugees and by sons of refugees, men with bitter memories of European oppression and hardship, by men who brought to this country and handed down to their descendants an abiding fear of arbitrary centralized government and autocracy.

    And, listen, all the bitterness and all hatred of the Old World was distilled in our Constitution into the purest democracy that the world has ever known.

    THERE are just three principles, and in the interest of brevity I will read them. I can read them quicker than I can talk them.

    “First, a Federal government strictly limited in its power, with all other powers except those expressly mentioned reserved to the states and to the people, so as to insure state’srights, guarantee home rule, and preserve freedom of individual initiative and local control.” That is simple enough. The difference between the state constitutions and the Federal Constitution is that in the state you can do anything you want to do provided it is not prohibited by the Constitution. But in the Federal government, according to that document,you can do only that which that Constitution tells you that you can do.

    What is the trouble? Congress has overstepped its powers. It went beyond that constitutional limitation, and it has enacted laws that not only violate that, but violate the home rule and the state’s rights principle.

    And who says that? Do I say it? Not at all. That was said by the United States Supreme Court in the last ten or twelve days.

    SECONDLY, a government with three independent branches; Congress to make the laws,the Executive to execute them, the Supreme Court, and so forth. You know that. In the name of heaven, where is the independence of Congress? Why, they just laid right down. They are flatter on the Congressional floor than the rug on the table here. They surrendered all of their powers to the Executive, and that is the reason why you read in the newspapers references to Congress as the rubber-stamp Congress.

    We all know that the most important bills were drafted by the brain trusters and sent over to Congress and passed by Congress without consideration, without debate, and without meaning any offense at all to my Democratic brethren in Congress, I think I can safely say without ninety per cent of them knowing what was in the bills, what was the meaning of the list that came over. And beside certain bills was “must.” What does that mean? Speaking for the rank and file of American people, we don’t want any Executive to tell Congress what it must do, and we don’t want any Congress to tell the Executive what he must do, and we don’t want Congress or the Executive jointly or severally to tell the United States Supreme Court what it must do. And, on the other hand, we don’t want the United States Supreme Court to tell either of them what they must do. What we want, and what we insist upon, and what we are going to have, is the absolute preservation of this balance of power which is the keystone, the arch upon which the whole theory of democratic government has got to rest,and when you rattle it, you rattle the whole structure.

    THE third one is methods of amending the Constitution. Of course, when our forefathers wrote the Constitution of the United States it couldn’t be possible that they had it in their minds that that was going to be all right for all time to come, so they said, “Now, we will provide a manner and method of amending it.” That is set forth in the document itself, and during our national life we amended it many times. We amended it once by mistake, and we corrected the mistake. What did we do? We took the amendment out. Fine! That is the way we want to do it, by recourse to the people. But we don’t want an Administration that takes a shot at it in the dark, and that ducks away from it and dodges away from it and tries to put something over in contradiction of it upon any theory that there is going to be a great public howl in favor of it, and it is possible that the United States Supreme Court may be intimidated into a friendly opinion with respect to it. But I have held all during my public life that Almighty God is with this country and He didn’t give us that kind of Supreme Court.

    NOW, this is pretty tough for me to have to go at my own party this way, but I submit that there is a limit to blind loyalty.

    As a young man in the Democratic Party, I witnessed the rise and fall of Bryan and Bryanism, and I know exactly what Bryan did to our party. I knew how long it took to build it after he got finished with it. But let me say this to the everlasting credit of Bryan and the men that followed him, they had the nerve and the courage and the honesty to put into the platform just what their leaders stood for, and they further put the American people into a position of making an intelligent choice when they went to the polls.

    Why, the fact of this whole thing is (I speak now not only of the Executive but of the Legislature at the same time) that they promised one set of things, they repudiated that promise, and they launched off on a program of action totally different. Well, in twenty-five years of experience, I have known both parties to fail to carry out some of the planks of their platform, but this is the first time that I have known a party, upon such a huge scale, to not only fail to carry out the planks, but to do the directly opposite the thing to what they promised.

    NOW, suggestions—and I make these as a Democrat anxious for the success of my party,and I make them in good faith. Here are my suggestions:

    Number 1: I suggest to the members of my party on Capitol Hill here in Washington that they take their mind off the Tuesday that follows the first Monday in November. Just take your mind off it to the end that you may do the right thing and not the expedient thing.

    Next, I suggest to them that they dig up the 1932 platform from the grave that they buried it in, read it over, and study it, breathe life into it, and follow it in legislative and executive action, to the end that they make good their promises to the American people when they put forth that platform, and the candidate that stood upon it, one hundred per cent. In short, make good.

    Third, I would suggest that they stop compromising with the fundamental principals laid down by Jackson, Jefferson and Cleveland.

    Fourth, stop attempting to alter the form and structure of our government without recourse to the people themselves as provided in their own constitution. This country belongs to the people, and it doesn’t belong to any administration.

    Next, I suggest that they read their oath of office to support the Constitution of the United States. And I ask them to remember that they took the oath with their hands on the Holy Bible, thereby calling upon God Almighty Himself to witness their solemn promise. It is bad enough to disappoint us.

    Sixth, I suggest that from this moment on they resolve to make the Constitution again the civil bible of the United States and pay it the same civil respect and reverence that they would religiously pay the Holy Scripture, and I ask them to read from Holy Scripture the parable of the prodigal son and to follow his example. “Stop! Stop wasting your substance in a foreign land and come back to your father’s house.”

    NOW, in conclusion, let me give this solemn warning. There can be only one Capital –Washington or Moscow. There can be only one atmosphere of government, the clear, fresh air of free America or the foul breath of Communistic Russia. There can be only one flag,the Stars and Stripes, or the red flag of the godless union of the Soviet. There can be only one national anthem, the Star Spangled Banner or the Internationale.

    There can be only one victor. If the Constitution wins, we win, but if the Constitution—Stop! Stop there! The Constitution can’t lose. The fact is, it has already won, but the news has not reached certain ears.

  4. JK Brown Says:

    Well, we know FDR wouldn’t have made unemployment worse and longer just to appease his union friends.

    One thing that made matters worse following 1929, than in preceding periods of depression, was that the American unions were really very powerful and they would not tolerate that the crisis should bring about those results which were the consequence of earlier crises in this country and in other countries—i.e., they would not tolerate a considerable drop in money wage rates. In some branches of business, money wages went a little bit down. But by and large the unions were successful in maintaining the wage rates which had been developed artificially during the boom. Therefore, the number of unemployed remained considerable, and unemployment continued for a very long time.

    von Mises, Ludwig (2010-12-08). Marxism Unmasked (LvMI)

  5. parker Says:

    FDR’s domestic policies, in particular the new deal, were a total mess and prevented a normal economic recovery. His attempt to expand SOTUS with his cronies was the act of a dictator wannabe. However, he was a wily SOB who leading up to Pearl Harbor schemed successfully to aid the UK in its hour of need to resist Hitler. He was a very good war time president.

    IMO there are two presidents who were/are far worse than FDR; their names are Wilson and Obama.

  6. Sevenwheel Says:

    We had a Presidential candidate in 1940 who could have reversed the FDR disaster. If you’ve never read any of Wendell Willkie’s writings, he had an excellent understanding of economics and made strong arguments against virtually everything FDR was doing. A few years ago I picked up and read his 1940 collection “This Is Wendell Willkie” and was left shaking my head. How did the country choose another 4 years of FDR over this guy?

    Which is pretty much what I thought after Obama’s reelection.

  7. Paul in Boston Says:

    Parker, you left out Kennedy/Johnson who brought us Viet Nam,against the advice of Eisenhower and MacArthur, and the Great Society which has metastisized into the out of control destructive monster that that inhabits Washington and is destroying the United States. Viet Nam let loose the totalitarian left on the country and gave it legitimacy while the Great Society vastly expanded the machinery to centralize all government into Washington D.C. without the ability of the citizens to control it, the New Deal on steroids.

  8. yara Says:

    in william manchester’s book, the glory and the dream he takes the same position regarding FDR’s refusal to commit to hoover’s policies. manchester (IIRC) describes that as an unwillingness to commit to any policies that weren’t his so that he would have a free hand.

  9. chuck Says:

    I read somewhere that Truman remarked that FDR was a great man, but a cold man. The coldest man he had ever known.

  10. chuck Says:

    @mf

    Thanks for posting the Alfred E. Smith speech, it is still remarkably relevant. I wish modern politicians could speak so simply and directly.

  11. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    chuck,

    You prompted me to do a little research into the relationship between FDR and Truman.

    “What Franklin Roosevelt & Harry Truman Thought of Each Other”

    “After they were both sworn-in on Inauguration Day, January 20, 1945, Vice President Truman would have only two meetings alone with President Roosevelt. And Truman hated both meetings, snapping afterwards: “He does all the talking and he talks about what he wants to talk about, and he never talks about anything you want to talk about, so there isn’t much you can do.”

    Truman’s primary dislike of Roosevelt, he told a former Senate Republican colleague, was simple: “He lies.”

  12. mf Says:

    chuck:

    You’re welcome. It is almost non-existent on the web which shows that the left has wrtten the history. There is alot missing and alot that is just not true.

  13. parker Says:

    Paul in Boston,

    I agree. I will amend my list to the 3 worst, as in most dangerous to the Repiblic, presidents were/are Wilson, Obama, and LBJ. I cut JFK a bit of slack because I think his mistakes were simply mistakes. I was 15 during the Cuba missle crisis and still think he handled that with fortitude.

  14. OM Says:

    Amity Shlaes: The Forgotten Man and Coolidge. Essential works.

  15. I won't submit Says:

    Like many of you, I’m more than casually interested in American history, and more than a casual viewer of the Hitler channels documentation of our past. That the History Channel’s “Beltway Unbuckled” would yield new information about FDR, then, is illustrative of how media selectively protects the image of patron Liberals, while targeting what were once called mainstream Americans.

    FDR mistress Daisy Suckley’s diary, which was discovered under her bed in 1991, isn’t a secret, as I discovered by searching the term. But, it sure as hell has not been been publicly aired. I’m talking about FDR telling Ms. Suckley about D-Day details a month prior to June 6th, 1944 (“… technically treason”). I’m talking FDR’s plan to partner up with Joe Stalin after the war, to crate a new world order, with FDR running the planned United Nations. Doris Kearns Goodwin, call you office.

    I dedicate this post to Senator Joseph R, McCarthy, who died for our sins.
    See comments at: http://tinyurl.com/zqbmfp8

    The US sheeple elected him four times!
    Obama TWICE!

  16. blert Says:

    Parker

    JFK gave us the Berlin Wall — and the Cuban Missile Crisis — BOTH were a consequence of the Bay of Pigs fiasco.

    Each compounding away — until JFK REALLY stuck his foot into Vietnam.

    LBJ didn’t have the moxie to reverse course, which awaited Nixon.

    Naturally Nixon is blamed for Vietnam — and JFK is exalted.

  17. Oldflyer Says:

    Parker, JFK like FDR enjoyed pet historians.

    Remarkable, his sycophants always tell us that although JFK got us into Vietnam, he would never have expanded the commitment as LBJ did; and folks never consider that all of the Defense and Security inner circle, known with good reason as the “Kennedy Mafia”, remained in place. Would they really deviate from JFK’s intent?

  18. parker Says:

    blert,

    As I stated above, I am willing to cut JFK a little slack. The Berlin Wall was built starting in August, 1961, a scant 7 months after JFK assumed the office of POTUS. IMO blaming JFK for the Berlin Wall is akin to blaming GWB for 9/11. The Bay of Pigs was a fiasco, no argument there. It was half a$$ed, doomed to fail operation. Presidents make mistakes, like the Bay of Pigs or the Lebanon Marine barracks attack 1983.

  19. parker Says:

    Oldflyer,

    I am not apologizing for JFK’s fallures. He was not above average. But to compare him to other failed POTUS is a bit too much for me. IMO his heart was in the right place, his head was not. I place him along side Carter. Failed, flawed, and sometimes (or often) foolish; but not demons from hell seeking to destroy the Republic.

  20. junior Says:

    Post-presidency Carter seems to be doing his level best to destroy the Republic…

  21. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    junior,

    IMO, Carter does not want to destroy America. Carter is a fool, one of those who Stalin referred to as “useful idiots” because he is willfully blind to the consequences of what he advocates. Carter is also antisemitic in a passive aggressive manner.

  22. SCOTTtheBADGER Says:

    MF, I thank you as well. I am glad I have that information, now.

    Can you feel your fingers yet? That was some impressive typing!

  23. blert Says:

    parker Says:
    April 13th, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    blert,

    As I stated above, I am willing to cut JFK a little slack. The Berlin Wall was built starting in August, 1961, a scant 7 months after JFK assumed the office of POTUS. IMO blaming JFK for the Berlin Wall is akin to blaming GWB for 9/11. The Bay of Pigs was a fiasco, no argument there. It was half a$$ed, doomed to fail operation. Presidents make mistakes, like the Bay of Pigs or the Lebanon Marine barracks attack 1983.

    &&&&&&&&

    You are making a huge mistake, then.

    The diary of Nikita Khruschev is EXPLICIT.

    The idea of a Berlin wall had been muted ever since 1953.

    Moscow was paralysed facing Ike, the president who preferred to be addressed as General.

    The go-ahead was ONLY given subsequent to the Bay of Pigs and the first meeting Nikita had with John.

    He deemed him a flake — WAY in over his head.

    This matter is now deemed settled history.

    The Berlin Wall is ‘owned’ by JFK … as is the Cuban Missile Crisis — as Nikita’s diary also shows.

    ALL of these events were keyed on what had just gone before.

    John was letting matters spiral entirely out of control.

    He made the EXACT WRONG decision during the Cuban Missile Crisis, too.

    EVERY seasoned hand realized that a rubicon was being crossed…

    AND that America had ALL the face cards.

    Moscow had absolutely no ICBMs capable of reaching North America at that time. Hence, the need to forward deploy.

    The critical weapon system that had Washington nervous — CRUISE MISSILES — not the R-4 — which took so long to launch — and was so visible during launch prep.

    Folks now forget that the Russians mimicked the USN — and developed cruise missiles during the 50’s, too.

    By 1962 their versions were fully operational.

    The USN had Regulus missiles deployed at sea — starting in 1953. (!)

    This first generation of sea launched cruise missiles is now forgotten history.

    The Russians were sending far more cruise missiles to Cuba than they were IRBMs.

    Their version was basically a Mig 15 without a pilot. The resemblance is uncanny.

    So the only engineering effort was stealing American guidance technologies.

    All of the above is white washed by the MSM, the Left, and Academe.

    Even the Pentagon does not want to dwell on the Crisis.

  24. blert Says:

    The only ICBM that Moscow had was the totally unsuitable R-7.

    It took 24-hours to launch once given authorization.

    It was solely a first strike — or propaganda — weapon.

    The base — there was only one — in Estonia — had 3 pads.

    That was all.

    Needless to say, it was under constant watch by U-2 flights.

    If even the first steps had been initiated, atomic war would have ensued. So Nikita had the base entirely stand down.

    One of the themes of the Soviet era was to NEVER falsely provoke the enemy to attack. ( Think June 22, 1941… June 22, 1812… )

  25. Ira Says:

    Neo and commenters: Congratulations. Another great post and thread.

  26. Artfldgr Says:

    The Berlin wall had nothing to do with JFK, and was not erected in the 1960s… it started WAY before that and it was a slow process of increasing methods of prevention, until a final step was taken

    yes, they put the date at 1961, but in truth, you couldnt really cross way before.

    Up until 1952, the demarcation lines between East Germany and the western occupied zones could be easily crossed in most places

    On 1 April 1952, East German leaders met the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in Moscow; during the discussions Stalin’s foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov proposed that the East Germans should “introduce a system of passes for visits of West Berlin residents to the territory of East Berlin [so as to stop] free movement of Western agents” in the GDR. Stalin agreed, calling the situation “intolerable”. He advised the East Germans to build up their border defenses, telling them that “The demarcation line between East and West Germany should be considered a border—and not just any border, but a dangerous one … The Germans will guard the line of defence with their lives.”

    in essence THAT was the wall, the rest was the constant upgrading of that prior position… first a tiny wall, barbed wire… some tanks… then bricking up the houses that had windows facing the other side, then bricking up sewers. then as people jumped out of hgher windows, those were bricked up. then when they tried coming down the roofs the buildings were destroyed and a no mans land with mines and towers created… and eventually, a L shaped wall (with the lower part of the L facing inwards), was created with a large circular top. the top prevented someone from being able to hold on or latch on to anything to climb. the L shape was to prevent a truck from ramming the wall and knocking it over. much like a modern moustrap, the weight of the truck would secure the wall from the trucks own actions.

    the rest, as we say, is history… the last few to try to get out went so far as to try to use a hot air balloon and a hang glider. a few guards made it accross, others were shot as they ran around the no mans land, for once you were in, that was that. you were very much like a deer stuck on a highway divide: roadkill

    Given my family is latvian, well, we already knew wht kind of guy FDR was. even worse, we knew that the german camps disposing of jews were not dismantled, but were also signed over at yalta where Stalin continued to use them for a long time. [the documentary Soviet Story i recommended covered it].

    my family had to come throug the DP (displaced persons) camps…

    though Neo brought up someone interesting..

    James Warburg a very famous elite family connected to the rothschilds, just as politicos today are connected to various banker backers (Kasich is with the Lehman family, and Cruz is in the pocket of GoldmanSachs, etc)

    Aby Warburg – Founder of the Warburg Institute
    Felix M. Warburg – Kuhn, Loeb and Co.
    Max M. Warburg – M. M. Warburg & Company

    And one of the most infamous:
    Paul M. Warburg who for the banking families to own the US and to meet the ideals of communism,, created the The Federal Reserve System..

    they facilitated the following

    1. Abolition of private property in land and application of all rents of land to public purpose.
    [those poor farmers getting shot up, you can see the video as our people basically murdered them – becuase most of the west is rental property owned by the state]

    2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax – which prevents people from climing up the wealth ladder and NOT gets wealthy to pay more, but gets them to pay less…

    5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly. – the Federal Reserve System as it is from Warburg on

    6. Centralization of the means of communication and transportation in the hands of the state.

    7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan. [FDR did this one but its gone back and forth]

    9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the population over the country. [open borders]

    10. Free education for all children in government schools. Abolition of children’s factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc. etc. [bernie and hillaries putsch]

    oh, the list? that was written in 1848 by Karl Heinrich Marx…

  27. Artfldgr Says:

    “We shall have World Government, whether or not we like it. The only question is whether World Government will be achieved by conquest or consent.” – James Warburg

    The warburgs are also connected not just with rotshchilds but are parf of the schiff family.

    son of Paul Moritz Warburg, nephew of Felix Warburg and of Jacob Schiff, both of Kuhn, Loeb & Co. which poured millions into the Russian Revolution through James’ brother Max, banker to the German government, Chairman of the CFR

    its from all these things that the tin hats draw their tin hat conclusions, but the facts remain despite their leaping around in crazy ways…

    What was perhaps Schiff’s most famous financial action was during the Russo-Japanese War, in 1904 and 1905. Schiff met Takahashi Korekiyo, deputy governor of the Bank of Japan, in Paris in April 1904. He subsequently extended loans to the Empire of Japan in the amount of $200 million, through Kuhn, Loeb & Co. These loans were the first major flotation of Japanese bonds on Wall Street, and provided approximately half the funds needed for Japan’s war effort

    Historian George F. Kennan noted that Schiff helped finance revolutionary propaganda during the Russo-Japanese war and revolution of 1905. The Jewish Communal Register of New York City stated that “Mr. Schiff has always used his wealth and his influence in the best interests of his people. He financed the enemies of autocratic Russia and used his financial influence to keep Russia from the money markets of the United States.”

    I knew about the Schiffs from the synagogue on Valentine Avenue in the fordham road area of the bronx.

    Schiff’s descendant Andrew Newman Schiff was married to former Vice President Al Gore′s daughter, Karenna

    The Schiffs and the Rosenwald’s of sears funded the tuskeegee syphilus study that the US and its people get blamed for. though now you only hear of the Rosenwald’s, not Schiffs part… they also funded the highlander school that taught rosa parks how to protest as they funded laws, like blacks at the back of the bus. what obamas green czar referred to as top down and bottom up

    funny… you would think people with lots of money would not be funding a movement that purports to grab it all and clean them out. eh? but they do and did, and structured all this. probably with the idea that a two party world where they are on the top forever, and everyone else is their minions, is the design.

    been like that since way before any of us were born.
    just most of us dont know the history, or know parts, and are scared away by the wackos who try to tie to it the longest running disenformatzia campaign of the jewish conspiracy… yes, a lot of them are jews, but a whole lot of them are other things depending on what part of the world they are in.

    who knows? i certainly dont, and association is not really evidence, is it? when the world had lots of top well educated people of jewish descent, it would be even more odd if they were NOT their…

    after all the whole reording of the world and such, even from marx, is an academic persuit, not a religious one. its academics who think they are smart enough to design a world and get eveyrone to march in line… from Philip Drew onwards…

  28. blert Says:

    Artfulldodger.

    Absolutely no historian dates the BERLIN wall to anything other than August 1961 — which was a CRISIS moment for JFK.

    He FLAKED.

    Prior to its erection, German talents were fleeing in a steady stream.

    Their economic impact was huge.

    The Commies were constantly facing factory shut downs be cause the critical talent had just fled to the West.

    Many West Germans were engaged in underground railroad activities — with plenty of help from the CIA and British Intelligence.

    It took the Bay of Pigs and the first confab to convince Nikita to give the go-ahead — so noted by Nikita in his diary — time stamped for the period.

    Like Adolf, Nikita’s vanity demanded that he look brilliant in the histories.

    Prior to that time, Nikita was afraid to put up a wall inside Berlin.

    1) He was violating the Occupying Powers Doctrine that had previously served Russia so well.

    That doctrine allowed the Russians to observe and vote on all governance of Berlin.

    And to travel throughout the city, at will.

    The governance of the city was split in half, with the West giving up on having any influence whatsoever in East Berlin — and vice versa.

    All pretence of joint powers was ended.

    Subsequently, Vienna became the spy and intrigue capital of Europe. The Great Game was shut down in Berlin.

    What had been perfunctory passport presentations became arduous and scary crossings. ( for Americans, British, and the French. )

    The laxity is evident in the film “One, Two, Three” as Cagney races straight through check point Charlie ( it wasn’t erected yet ) at high speed, including the Brandenburg Gate! This film was released in 1961.

    The feel of the times is also illustrated by “Our Man In Havana.”

    The Bay of Pigs and the Berlin Wall changed EVERYTHING.

    ALL of the anti-Castro statutes date after the Bay of Pigs.

    The more you look into the actual events during the Bay of Pigs the more you realize that Kennedy was running a clown show from the White House.

    The only president to look that foolish and stupid: President Soetoro.

  29. Dirtyjobsguy Says:

    Neo. I’m old enough that as a kid I thought there were two big depression era dams on the Colorado. I had heard of the Boulder and Hoover Dams. But they are one and the same. FDR was so against giving Hoover any credit that he renamed the dam. Only when the republicans took over congress again was the name changed.

    By the way Hoovers wife was quite an interesting person

  30. Beverly Says:

    Hey, Artful, was Joan Warburg (who married into a Warburg family and is a benefactress) one of These Warburgs? or do you know?

  31. somercet Says:

    There is a copy of your article.

  32. Dr. Toboggan Says:

    blert – I’m not following you on the Cuban Missile Crisis. What do you think Kennedy should have done?

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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