Everybody likes to re-fight battles that they’ve already lost. I’ve probably replayed the last two minutes of the 2008 Superbowl in my head a hundred times, usually with Eli Manning getting sacked or Ashante Samuel picking off that pass that was thrown right to him.
But no one likes to fight re-fight lost battles as much as today’s conservatives. The “southern strategy” is, of course, built on anger about the Civil War and civil rights movement. I’m pretty sure I once read David Brooks indicate he wished the Age of Enlightenment had never happened (and Gary Wills believes that conservatives may have re-won the War Against Enlightenment). But the mother of all battles that needs re-fighting is the FDR presidency. Not many conservatives have the balls to ally themselves with Herbert Hoover, though Amity Shlaes comes pretty damn close. And yesterday McCain and Richard Shelby came out in favor of letting Citi and Bank of America fail. In fairness, Shelby’s description of letting them “close down” sounds a lot like nationalization and, in fact, letting these two banks fail would probably usher in a second Great Depression on which they could test their neo-Hooverite theories again (I don’t think that’s too much of an exaggeration).
Luckily, going to jail seems to sober conservatives up. Conrad Black offers a shockingly lucid defense of FDR in the National Review:
The more extreme revisionists now claim that Roosevelt should not have stabilized food prices and financed, through public-works projects, flood and drought control and rural electrification, because it would have been better to starve these people off the land and to the cities, where, a generation or more later, they would have had higher standards of living. Apart from the fact that the resulting human misery would have been morally and politically unacceptable in the United States, the already militant farm unions would have disrupted the nation’s food supply. Such a policy would have put Roosevelt in the same general category of agrarian reformers as Stalin and Mao.[….]
It is, to say the least, unrigorous for current spokespeople of the intelligent Right to claim that Roosevelt’s peacetime elimination of unemployment was a failure, that war-mongering was his real antidote to economic depression, and that the grateful electors of the most successful politician in the country’s history were hoodwinked, as FDR would have said, “again and again and again.” Instead of trying to debunk FDR, Amity Shlaes, Holman Jenkins, and even Jim Powell should complete his liberation from leftist kidnappers and claim him for themselves. He was a reformer, and also one of the very greatest conservatives in American history.
I’m not sure I buy the “Roosevelt was a conservative” line but I don’t really care: if conservatives want to take sane policies and embrace them as “conservative”, God bless them.
Me, I’ve replayed this year’s Super Bowl in my head a hundred times, usually with somebody – ANYBODY – stopping that 100 yard TD runback at the end of the first half. Usually it’s Larry Fitzgerald who gets that one extra step that allows him to catch up to Harrison and tackle him at the Arizona 1 yard line.
Cards win 23-20 and that play gives Fitzgerald the edge over Warner for Super Bowl MVP. Best of all, Steelers fans get to STFU [well except for you John ;-) ] and live with the eternal ignominy of having lost the big one to the Cardinals.
What was the topic again???
Nothing like looking back 80 years or so and completely misunderstand the political landscape then. In the period of the Great Depression, there were sane people who genuinely thought that we should have a dictatorship. FDR was conservative in that he conserved our form of government and our form of economy – he saved the capitalist system. Obama is trying to do the same. The people who wave their arms and yell about the glories of capitalism are actually the enemies of capitalism – they would make it odious to 80% of the American public, and no economic system can prevail that is not supported by the public. (Offthread – the same can be said for religion – those who wave their arms and yell about the necessity of religion are the ones who are making religion odious to the public.) Pardoxically, the liberals are the ones who protect the capitalist system and the conservatives are the ones who would destroy the system completely in a vain attempt to "save" it.
Of course they call FDR a conservative. In their warped little world, conservative==good, liberal==bad. Saying FDR was good is simply a way of restating "FDR was conservative".
I’ve always been amazed at how little the current republicans like Abraham Lincoln, one of the greatest liberals and founder of their party.
Conrad Black? Isn’t he in chains somewhere for excessive–and I do mean excessive–crony capitalism? Fuck if FDR needs *his* defense.
Frequent reader, very infrequent poster, but I thought this crowd would appreciate mocking Larry Johnson. Larry hates a baseball analogy used by Obama’s budget director, Peter Orszag. Apparently Orszag’s analogy involving a relief pitcher coming into the ninth inning was lacking, so this is Larry’s scathing response, At No Quarter:
HAHAHA he BRAGS about middle school baseball! He calls someone a geek(!) (the guy works on budgets, he’s not director of parks and rec!), and then he BRAGS about playing a level of sports BELOW high school!!! I mean, WTF?!?! I hate these people
That’s hilarious; FDR was hated by contemporary conservatives, who were also wrong about Nazi Germany (they generally embraced isolationism – in other words, standing athwart history yelling ‘STOP!’).
In fact, google "Coup Attempt of 1934". Some particularly unhappy conservatives plotted to overthrow FDR, until Maj. Gen. Smedley "War Is A Racket" Butler exposed the conspirators (who had mistakenly approached Butler to help lead the effort).
But yes, if calling FDR a mavericky reformer helps wrong-wingers finally embrace the New Deal, sure I’m all for it.
One of the many, many wrong-wing tropes which drive me nuts is their insistence that FDR’s policies failed. To believe that, you not only have to disregard the completely unprecedented four presidential elections which he won, one also has to completely disregard the context of his times. During the Great Depression, it was widely assumed by many around the world that perhaps liberal democracy/capitalism had failed; that’s why substantial numbers of people were looking to answers in other governing ideologies, such as fascism and nazism and communism.
FDR saved capitalism from itself; that’s a fact.
Liberals want to modify capitalism to help spread the wealth to more of society.
Conservatives see capitalism as a tool to plunder wealth and hoard it for themselves.
End of story.
@BC: What? You mean if the masses are made to suffer they will rise up in a paroxysm of violence and install a dictator? When has this ever happened? In France? Russia? China? Germany? Italy? Where I ask, where!?
Dude you are right on. The government is legitimate only to the extent that people agree that it is. If the Folks have it hard the political and economic elites ignore them at their peril.
I have never gotten what Amity Shales is going on about. And that people give her a platform to say this? (shakes head in disgust).
OT–and maybe this will not be a very popular comment to make, but I see that Stiglitz is out with a piece today. I have the uttermost respect for him and have always sympathized with his efforts for progressive policies that make economic sense. But–about two years ago he wrote a pretty long article fiercely defending the Kirchners and their policies in Argentina, even hinting that he thought they were ‘better’ progressives for them than Lula or Bachelet. At the time it seemed odd to me given that Brazil and Chile seemed on a more solid economic and political footing. Today Argentina is on the verge of economic collapse (there is a likelihood they will suffer from famine in a few months) and Brazil looks like one of the only countries totally missing the economic downturn. So even though i grant stiglitz is a brilliant economist I now look at his recommendations askance because I feel there is little consideration of the politics and consequences of some of his policy prescriptions.
Not an awesomely trenchant point, but Black’s esteem for FDR isn’t a change of heart. He wrote an actually pretty good 1200-page biography of the man before his legal troubles began.
I wouldn’t go that far. If universal health care and social security "save" capitalism, it is only by being what capitalism is not and filling in the gaps of the free-for-all economic system.
It’s not a matter of "saving capitalism" or "destroying capitalism", but of setting up a system that works versus adhering to a system that doesn’t work.
After all, private insurance was profitable back in the ’90s before premiums skyrocketed and coverage sharply declined. The banking system wasn’t flying off the rails under the old regulatory system. We’ve proven for the last 80s years that we can exist in a regulated open market and maintain a socially acceptable standard of living for the majority of the voting population.
But the conservatives changed the rules in the 80s and they changed them again in the 90s and the 00s, each time making the system increasingly unstable. The status quo wasn’t really embraced by the American Left, but at least it functioned. It was the balance between liberals and conservatives – a balance exemplified by moderates like Clinton and Bush 41 – that kept the system going. When we lost that balance, we lost the system.
I don’t think modern liberals want to step in and "save capitalism", but modern centrists do. It is the centrist American that fights to keep capitalism, and – if he should lose faith – it’s the centrist who will allow it to be dismantled.
@Slim Tyranny: Ha! Then he turns around and absolutely tortures that metaphor. What a dick.
If I had known DougJ was a Patriots fan, it would be commenter DougJ and not front page poster DougJ.
That is all. This fall is going to be ugly.
@r€nato: They opposed lend-lease, they downplayed Hitler. All kind of amusing considering modern conservatives call anyone who doesn’t agree with every one of their belligerent aims an “appeaser.”
For the first time in my life I think I want to skip summer to get to fall, just to see what results.
I believe it is Rod Dreher, not David Brooks, who believes, like many of us, that the Enlightenment was a dark period in our history when everything started to go wrong and that conservatism must try to get us back to the way things were before that terrible era.
You know, most Patriots fans I know like the Steelers just fine. We’re not traditional rival.s
Indianapolis and Miami, them I hate.
The main problem all recent conservative arguments have with the economy is their absolute ignorance of the destructiveness of UNEMPLOYMENT. Yeah, let those banks fail, let GM go bankrupt, go Galt as a way to strike back with flacidity against the 1337 libruls…
BUT DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE ENSUING FOOD RIOTS!
I swear, the Repubs need to change their mantra to: "Let them eat cake."
I think we can provide a not-so-small amount of "green" energy simply by attaching dynamos to the graves of Franklin Roosevelt and Harry S Truman, then let the Rethuglicans claim them as "true conservatives." We could probably light four to six states for the next four years that way.
A lot of us would not be here today if it weren’t for FDR because our parents might not have survived the Depression, seriously. Whether that’s a good thing or not is to be debated, sort of like abortion.
Read a book (about 15 years ago, so don’t remember the title) that were letters from Eleanor Roosevelt written to Franklin and other members of his Administration during the Depression and before WWII. What came through very strongly — and surprisingly to me, being an ignorant slut — was how much the Roosevelts were afraid they would lose control of the country and communism would gain the upper hand. Eleanor was traveling to some of the hardest hit areas, especially rural areas, and would write back urging help or changes to what was being done, partly as a way of supporting growth but also often as a way of keeping the citizens from becoming completely radicalized. She really seemed to believe that large swaths of the country were on the brink of revolution.
the logical consequence of pretty much all conservative/libertarian critiques of the Keynesian approach to a severe recession/depression, is just letting it seek its own level, even if that means the economy collapses and goes back to zero.
Sure, I suppose that perhaps if we did that a new, stronger economy would arise… eventually… in about 20 to 50 years. And what would we do in the meantime?
The logical analogy would be if we just let sick people get well or die on their own without resorting to doctors and medicine to intervene. I suppose in the long run this would make the gene pool stronger by weeding out the weaker members, right?
That very possibly is true and was one of my history professors opinions in college (I majored in history). He did what was necessary to insure the successful survival of capitalism in this country at a time a more radical president could have significantly weakened it.
joe from Lowell
My wife’s a Steelers fan. On our first date, we watched the last regular season game of 1997, the Kordell Stewart Stillers vs. the Drew Bledsoe Pats. No worries, just two teams.
We used to hate the Raiders, but…you know…that just be lame at this point.
They would have loved him the second Huey Long, or Eugene Debs, became president.
Agent Flowbee has some unresolved childhood issues.
This is practically Andrew Sullivan’s entire approach to defending conservatism.
Hmm. Me, I’ve about had it with the Phoenix Suns losing important games to the San Antonio Sterns, and I’m ready to just forfeit any future playoff series to them, at least so long as Parker/Ginobili/Duncan and company are playing for them.
*sigh* Except for the 2001 D’backs… Arizona teams will always be the bridesmaid, never the bride.
Just once I wish we could get a REAL socialist for president, so that the right would finally know what one looks like.
Obama would be center-right in any modern European nation.
goddamit I forgot to spell it ‘soc*ialist’.
Fuck your spam filter, John!
Winner of the NoFuckingWay…Really? Award.
Like a lot of Canadian Tories, Black is a big admirer of FDR. By building a social safety net and putting minimal regulations on capital markets, FDR made America safe for wealthy people again. Black has written a lot on FDR, although I don’t know how well his work compares to real academic scholarship on the subject.
Just Indy for me. Peyton and his bitches can’t DIAF soon enough.
@DougJ: Isn’t there some question as to whether the Pats had tape of the Steelers’ practices before some AFC Championship games? You Pats fans may not dislike Pittsburgh, but I think their fans have developed a dislike of the Pats.
I suggest you read "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" by Shirer on the period 1929 to1933 in Germany, as well as "The Anatomy of Fascism" by Robert Paxton, to see that the implication of your question fails. Indeed, it was the desperate economic situation in post WW1 Germany that made the Nazis’ violent alternative plausible to enough people so that when the real crisis hit in 1933 Hitler, in spite of never having a majority in the Reichstag, was installed as Chancellor. You might also want to note that the February 1917 (first) Russian Revolution began with food riots in St. Petersburg. And that in 1933, before Roosevelt was inaugurated in March (and this is one reason the date was moved up to January) there was a real possibility of revolution, or at least anarchy, in the US. A tableau that sticks in my mind is the scene at an auction for a foreclosed farm: the evicted owner bids one dollar, and a group of friends carrying loaded shotguns makes sure no one in the crowd bids one cent more…and local law enforcement looks away. My father, who was at the time 21 and card-carrying Communist, said that to him it looked like Marx’s prediction of the collapse of capitalism was coming true, and as he moved to the center for the rest of his life (becoming a fairly successful businessman, with a grandson who is now a Wall Street attorney!) that Roosevelt saved capitalism. In short, before you bloviate about history, learn some.
It has always mystified me that these MBA’s, these Masters of the Universe, are, in the words of Michael Clayton, too f**king dumb to see that their unbridled greed is destroying the public’s trust in their "free" market system and thereby threatening the very market system that they
profess to love (except that of course when they have access to political power they strain every nerve and muscle to rig the system in their favor, which is why I write "free" instead of free).
Where did the strike-throughs come from in my previous comment?
Michelle Obama’s guns did it.
Do not even BEGIN to joke about skipping my beloved baseball season, rife with fantasy baseball, baseball wagering (in Vegas, of course!), wanton Yankee hating, and the collective despondent apoplexy of the entire KC region as the local "team" starts 2-0, everyone starts screaming "World Serious, bitches!", then proceedes to go 78-82 and it lauded for finishing (I kid you not) "not last" in the AL Centy.
Ignore previous entry. Sorry.
Good stuff. It always amazes me that libertarian and conservative goofballs believe that markets self-correct painlessly, or maybe they think that as long as they are not hurt, then other people’s misery does not matter.
And this anti-FDR stuff seems to be a continuation of the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld mania for attempting to prove that everything that happened in America at the hands of the Democrats beginning with FDR was a mistake that had to be undone by right-thinking conservatives.
This new twist, that FDR must be transformed into a conservative in order to be admired is as goofy as a promo I heard this morning for the Limbaugh radio program, in which the Bloated One proclaims that the Republicans will soon convince Americans that the Republican policies of the 1980s were correct and should be re-applied to solve today’s problems — because, apparently, the Dubya Administration never happened.
Meanwhile, recent good books about FDR are competing with the never-ending stream of books about Lincoln (e.g., "NOTHING TO FEAR: FDR’s Inner Circle and the Hundred Days That Created Modern America," by Adam Cohen; "THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF ROOSEVELT: Brokers of Ideas and Power From FDR to LBJ," by Michael Janeway; and of course ‘Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, by HW Brands.
Christ, Cole, I come to your blog for the funny, not 10th grade spelling bee terms. And with DougJ now posting, may I insist you add a dictionary.com link to your blogroll for us underedumucated?
Damn fancy words. Also, therein.
@Punchy: Billy "Oftenwrong" Kristol was arguing on FNS that it was perfectly normal for the losing party to be leaderless for a while in order for new ideas to come to the fore and be tested in the marketplace. Um, unless you’re banishing and executing all the dissenters.
let me guess – Bush was not a conservative and so he did not really apply Reagan’s economic policies.
Also, Reagan never cut and run from Lebanon or pursued peace with the Soviet Union. Librhul lies those are. Reagan was a towering genius, a WW2 combat hero with the strength of 20 men and the ability to kill a man at 100 yards’ distance with his laser-beam eyes.
@jrosen: No offense jrosen, but I was being snarky. Every nation I mentioned had a revolution hot on the heels of economic upheaval that made the masses hungry, literally, for radicalism.
@jrosen: Ok, peace.
That brings back memories.
@r€nato: Or, that Reagan inherited an economic mess, one that deepened and got worse AFTER the inauguration. Or that his government spending as a % of GDP wasn’t that far from what Obama is proposing. See no evil, hear no evil, but they can sure speak it.
@Rick Taylor: I’d forgotten that the original title was "Archie Bunker’s Place". Thanks for digging that up.
Weren’t some on the right also saying that Bush II wasn’t a conservative? Could it be that what they really mean is that in order to be a conservative a president must be admired?
Comrade Sock Puppet of the Great Satan
Jim Powell’s anti-FDR book "FDR’s Folly" contains *not one* table of GDP groth. You can’t find the term "GDP" in the index.
Why? Well, ‘cos from 1933-1940, real GDP grew *on average* over 8% per annum. Which is better than the ~7.5% Saint Ronnie ever managed in his best year (1984: springtime in America!).
If Powell and similar right-wing anti-FDR hacks talked about GDP growth, then their case against FDR would fall apart. So that why you won’t find discussions of real (not nominal) GDP growth in their books.
Actually, Black’s book about FDR brought about a change of heart in my deep-dyed Republican brother and convinced him that Roosevelt had been a great president after all. This was before the winger meme took hold that FDR had actually caused the Great Depression/made it worse. I haven’t asked my brother whether he’s changed his mind back again.
@Slim Tyranny: My first thought on this is the scene from the second Fantastic 4 movie:
General Hager: [to Reed] Let me make this clear for you and your pack of freaks. I’m the quarterback, you’re on my team. But I guess you didn’t play football in high school, did you, Richards?
[Hager starts to walk away]
Reed Richards: You’re right. I didn’t. I stayed in and studied like a good little nerd. And fifteen years later, I’m one of the greatest minds of the 21st century. I’m engaged to the hottest girl on the planet. And the big jock who played football in high school, he standing right in front of me asking me for my help, and I say he’s not going to get a damn thing, unless he does exactly what I say and starts treating me and my friends with some respect.
@Dennis-SGMM: A conservative is someone who is successful.
If you want to get a real flavor of what 1932-1933 was like, I suggest reading the first few chapters of The Glory and the Dream by William Manchester. The country was close to anarchy and FDR’s swift actions and calming influence pulled us back from the abyss. The current attempts by conservative hacks to undermine FDR’s legacy is not unlike their approach to science. Either through ignorance or malice they ignore and distort reality to support their own daft positions.
Excellent point, and adding on, the libertarian and conservative goofballs are also blindly certain that ‘they’ will not be affected by the market correction. They remind me of the adolescents who indulge in alcohol/drug use, unprotected sex, and other risky behaviors. Adverse effects happen to other people, not to me, seems to be the attitude.
I work from home (my company, all 5 of us are still working and even signed a new customer last week – holding my breath here on staying viable), and keep MSNBC on in the background. All morning, they’ve been covering the tent city in Sacramento, talking about the ‘hard-working, blue collar and middle class’ people who have been drifting in at the rate of 20-50 per week. If nothing else comes of this recession, perhaps we’ll see a destigmatization of the homeless. This has never been a population comprised solely of addicts, alcoholics, and the mentally ill, but that is the cultural stereotype that is propagated.
It’s hardly surprising he’d defend the man, seeing as how he owns a great deal of FDR’s private papers, and wrote a 1,300-page book about him, called "Franklin D. Roosevelt — Champion of Freedom."
Haven’t read it, but I did read his nauseating 1,000-page Nixon hagiography "A Life in Full." I’ve spent a good deal of my life fine-tuning an aversion to the 37th president, and so I read whatever I can get my hands on. According to Black, Richard Nixon was perfection personified. After the first ten pages, I knew I’d made a mistake buying the book (if even for $15 on the remainders table) but I just couldn’t put it down. I read some of the more laugh-out-loud portions to my wife. Black’s view is that Americans didn’t deserve a man of Nixon’s overarching magnificence to be their president.
Oh, and, uh, Black’s fucking nuts.
Mike in NC
I have a bad habit of buying ‘important looking’ books as soon as they’re published and then I often neglect to read them. Case in point is David M. Kennedy’s "Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945", Volume IX in the Oxford History of the United States (1999).
You know, I think I’ll start it tonight, seeing as we’re once again dealing with depression and war. Timely stuff indeed.
Kudos, I guess, to Conrad Black as he apparently understands what the idiotic capitalist class of 1932 and our own idiotic capitalist class today can’t understand: that Roosevelt probably saved capitalism from itself.
When I was an undergraduate history major I wrote a paper on Unemployed Councils in Seattle from 1929 to 1933. These were spontaneous organizations that merged out-of-work workers and middle class people with professional political activists from the local Socialist Party and the remnants of the radical American trade union, the IWW (crushed in 1918 by A. Mitchell Palmer). The Commies joined later.
Because capitalism wasn’t helping them, they helped themselves. They organized soup kitchens. They organized job banks. They resisted evictions. They ran and won in local races. By 1932, as the Depression deepened, they began to take over factories – they took over a shoe factory – and manufacture items for themselves, cooperatively. They also established links with farmers in Eastern Washington and were in the process of setting up a food-labor exchange program whereby workers from the cities would trade (trade, not sell) goods for food. They avoided the cash economy scrupulously.
The local capitalists were, with good reason, freaking out. This looked like socialism in action. One of Hoover’s cabinet once toasted the "47 states and the Soviet of Washington." But the truly scary thing for American business people was that this movement was spreading and springing up across the country.
How did this experiment end? Not through repression – though the New Deal. The government took over the local charity relief efforts and got people back to work building the dams on the Columbia River and the impressive system of rural electrification and irrigation that exists throughout the Northwest to this day. The radical spirit was sapped out as the government moved in and reestablished all these activities not in opposition to government, but under its aegis.
The Commies got it – they accused Roosevelt of forestalling revolution through reform. They realized that by preventing things from getting worse, FDR saved capitalism from itself. In a way that never happened in Germany – and look what happened there.
Sorry for the long post.
Leelee for Obama
Once upon a time, I read a piece about Roosevelt wherein he said the neighbors in Duchess County hated him and he thought it was odd, since his policies kept the working class from arriviing on their lawns with pitchforks and torches, or words to that effect.
I was born in 1951, to a Mom who stewed me in Roosevelt love in the womb. I had no choice but to love him, but I’ve never felt I was wrong. He saved this country when others were ready and willing to go down the fascist or the communist paths.
If Obama can get the policies in place that he is proposing, the USA may just survive into the future as a country worth living in. I never wanted to be rich, except in the gee, I’d love to win Lotto sense. But, I’d love to know I could continue to age without considering the Thelma and Louise option for retirement. It would be grand if my kids and their kids could live a decent middle middle-class life, and picture the end of this century without being nauseous.
Really? That’s almost a word for word swipe from scene in Ultimate Galactus Book 3: Extinction where Reed Richards is arguing with the Samuel L. Jackson version of Nick Fury.
How the could the writers of the Fantastic Four films have read the Ultimate line of comics and still made their version of the franchise suck so massively that I can’t make myself watch them baffles and befuddles me.
Well, at least your not a Browns fan. We are ignored with extreme prejudice.
@dadanarchist: Long, but dead fucking on. The government that capitalists claim will fuck up capitalism, will also fuck up socialism or communism, or galtism (whatever the hell that is), and wet-dreamism.
The Browns may be ignored, but at least they’re not evil. The Pats are the Gordon Gekko of football.
Speaking for me, the Jets fan, only, of course.
B.b.b.b.b.b.b.b.b.but those Steelers are the greatest Evah, they have won Six — yes Six! — Super Bowls.
Didn’t you see Swan make that great catch to win the game?
And that perfect throw by Bradshaw …. awesome!
I think conservatives miss that Roosevelt saved the United States from becoming a more socialist/communist country. At the same time of his presidency, many nations in the world were tilting that way, and some became socialist and authoritarian to their detriment. The New Deal and the alleviation it allowed likely prevented a socialist revolution here.
I would disagree strongly that FDR was a conservative. However, he definitely saved capitalism in America.
I haven’t been brave enough to say, that in addition to being a lifetime Brownie, I also am a big Tom Brady fan, and by extension I suppose, a Patriots fan as well. I hope that doesn’t get out, so mum, k.:)
Yes, everybody knows that the Pats invented sign stealing in sports.
Oh wait, sign stealing was invented … in the 19th century, about five minutes after the first baseball sign was invented.
Holy Moly! Is this the return of Hoovervilles?
Limbaugh the Bloated and other conservative goons love to portray the poor and homeless as "losers," as though a failure to achieve the American Dream is both unpatriotic and proof of some personal weakness or moral failure. But the people know better, and many have personal memories of the Great Depression.
It’s time to pull out "The Grapes of Wrath" again. And the wonderfully subversive comedy films like "Sullivan’s Travels" and "My Man Godfrey" (available on DVD)
Sorry, update … further research reveals that Olympic wrestlers in ancient greece were putting red pepper into the eyes of their opponents. Apparently cheating was invented several hundred years BC.
@TheHatOnMyCat: Wait, what? Cheating and sports have always been together? Oh my god, that must be why sports have rules!
Not too long, and you make the very good point that FDR’s Presidencies were vitally important, not only in saving American capitalism from itself, but from saving the USA from something far worse.
Without him, and especially if he’d taken that bullet in 1933 and Nance Garner had become President, the New Deal arguably wouldn’t have got off the ground. The Depression would have been longer, worse, and seemingly endless. In those circumstances, with both major parties proven incapable of solving the problems the country was suffering, I don’t think it’s too much of a leap to see someone like Lindbergh scraping into office in 1936 at the head of a right-wing bipartisan coalition much like the one that Reagan is said to have built.
Which would have been very, very bad.
Yes, but mainly in Boston.
Now, there is also the "home job" officiating problem, as in "Immaculate Deception."
I dunno which is worse. Stealing signs, or the Home Job.
A, or 2? Eeny, or meeny?
Wile E. Quixote
This is what modern conservatism has been reduced to, pathetic arguments to authority based upon anecdotes about the expertise you gained from your middle school, junior varsity baseball experience as a "catcher" (I’ll leave the double entendres about Larry Johnson being a "catcher" to whomever might have a more juvenile sense of humor than me) and analyzing urban combat in Iraq in your backyard sandbox with a 1/32nd scale Mattel Bradley Fighting Vehicle.
There are two kinds of participants in pro sports. Those that cheat and those that cheat and are dumb enough to get caught.
Well, Sarah Palin did say that everything she knows, she learned from playing sports.
Hey, did I mention that Sarah Palin did say that everything she knows, she learned from playing sports?
@TheHatOnMyCat: Stalin or Hitler? Coulter or Limbaugh? Bush I or Bush II? I know its hard to make judgments about which thing is worse, but we are the Keyboard Brigade and judge we must!
The upper classes of the time, whose funded policy planning groups and policy advisory groups largely helped Roosevelt (and Hoover before him) implement the policies under the New Deal were under no confusion as to the utility of Roosevelt-led reforms to help the position of they, themselves, the economic upper classes.
The upper-class Roosevelt surrounded himself with upper-class advisors and implemented policies designed and facilitated by upper-class funded scholars and managers. They looked out at a nation which might not survive more chaos, and they both respected and feared the growing ability of Americans to organize themselves, to strike, to protest, to generate their own policies.
And yet the policies implemented helped both a great swathe of the poorest and working classes and the nation’s own upper classes.
It was conservative, certainly, from the point of view of preserving a market-regulated and government-subsidized capitalism from some more revolutionary change and / or collapse; and yet it was dramatically progressive from the point of view of the most venal and primitive reactionaries, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Liberty League, the typical rogues’ gallery of the cold bastards of power.
Interesting – My local paper, the Cleveland Plain Dealer (cleveland.com) ran a story yesterday on a "riot" in July ’33 set off by a similar local organization where basically a huge group of people simply refuse to let people be evicted.
Here is the link:
It became a widespread phenomenon in the 1930’s, partially organized by the Communist Party USA as a political response to the New Deal.
One of the things I argued in my paper – which was pretty bad, but I was only 20 – was that by the time the Communists took over, the truly radical nature of the experiment was over: it was the self-organization that was radical, the move to trade and barter rather and cooperative factories that was truly threatening. The Commies turned it into political theater, ineffective political theater at that – the organization fell apart in 1934.
On evictions: the tactic that the Seattle Unemployed Council used was to simply put the furniture back into the apartment or house of the evicted. Then they would just sit there and dare the cops to do something.
Similar things happened out in the countryside. I read reports about how banks couldn’t auction off foreclosed farms because the local community would show up at the auctions and intimidate anyone who attempted to bid on the foreclosed farms.
Where did I say the Pats invented sign stealing? Where did I even MENTION sign stealing? Projection, my boy, projection.
I would just like to wake up in a world where every day Bill Belichick has itching powder applied to the sweaty underpants he wears to match his charming torn sweatshirt, which I would also hope contains tons of itching powder.
And if you don’t unnerstand the Jet fans’ hostility to Mr. Belichick then you don’t unnerstand nuttin.
I hear ya. All my favorite winning football coaches have been sensitivity trainers in their spare time.
So ( fistbump ) I feel ya, muh brother.
I always marvel at the righties who insist it was WWII that ended the Depression because all that military spending stimulated the economy, jobs were created, etc. …
The fact is that unemployment went away during the war because something like 22% of the pre-war labor force was in the military. After the war, unemployment figures went up.
We financed the war by issuing bonds, rationing goods, capping profits, imposing price controls, etc. Gross private domestic investment tanked and real consumer well-being declined.
But Americans were willing to make those sacrifices to win the war.
It was after the war, when market controls were loosened and investment began again, that the wartime investment in industrialization paid off
Oh, and did I mention we’re STILL paying off that war?
And that would be MRS. Brother, to you.
Oh, sorry. As anyone around here can tell you, I never really know anyone’s gender unless they tell me. And with all the spoof here, even then I am not always really sure.
As they say, on the Intertrons, nobody knows you are a space alien.
My portrait ….. that’s me on the right.
Before the botox.
It sure seems that way. Although perhaps this round they can be Boehnervilles? Goopervilles? Malkinvilles? Rushvilles?
I spent 3 years (93-96) homeless and on the streets. Triggered by physical illness, exacerbated by emotional distress, for several years I just couldn’t care to make the effort to try to rebuild a conventional life. I’d had that and it blew up on me when I got sick. One of my favorite anecdotes of my time on the street recalls a period when I was camping in an abandoned streetcar graveyard in San Francisco, and devised a woodburning stove from a wheel rim, a piece of sheet metal, half of an truck’s air cleaner and some metal ducting. I routed the ducting out of one window in my streetcar. I got my wood from the furniture maker’s dumpster down the street. Worked great provided you had the good sense to watch it. A couple of weeks after I moved on, whoever took over my streetcar managed to burn out the streetcar.
For years, I’ve thought that municipalities should consider designating space in which the homeless (working poor, unemployed, whatever) can work with city government to set up shelter with appropriate sanitation services. There are probably enough people now in need of services who also have the skills to register incoming residents, manage space allocations and coordinate with the city and service agencies to ensure public safety, sanitation and food services. Most cities have vacant warehouse or other space serving no other useful purpose…. If it’s corporate space, the donation of space can be a writeoff or deduction for tax purposes. Much better to manage risk early.
I become angry at the ignorance that some who have never gone without a meal or a bed display about the circumstances of the homeless. These are solvable problems at the best of times, and the imperative now is clear. OK, enough for now….
You can call me Mister Sister Stuck, or Sister Mister Stuck, or just Ray.
Not bad. I recommend Muscle Tech Nitro Hardcore protein powder, for a quick boost to the ol’ physique. I hear it’s what Billy B. recommends for his D-line.
And @Comrade Stuck:
( voice of Hank Hill )
I tell you what ….
After 10,000 years, the collagen starts to go.
With Conrad Black it is not a case of "going to jail seem(ing) to sober conservatives up." He wrote THE preeminent biography of FDR a few years back, a brilliant and highly readable 700 or so pages. The argument he makes in National Review is the same he makes in that book.
Let’s see, Amity Shlaes is an English major who actually took "Atlas Shrugged" seriously. Jim Powell has a BA in economics and a career (before he became a RW hack) as a travel writer. That’s who the RW relies on for historical analysis– a woman who can’t tell bad fiction when she reads it and a guy who spent his career criticizing airline food.
A couple years ago I noted that Powell had an entry on Wikipedia that made it sound like he was the greatest writer on freedom since Jefferson. I ran a quick search on the IP address that kept puffing up his entry and, huh, it traced back to a travel agency in New York City, where Powell worked as a travel writer. Small word huh?
Once things hit a certain level, they don’t just bounce back. And sadly, once in power, bad people can hold on a long, long time.
In the scenario where there’s some kind of social collapse occurs, we’d probably end up like Zimbabwe. You’d get the crazies in charge (i.e. Republicans), who’d just keep making things worse, but the people would be powerless to stop them.
Absent external forces, those kinds of "take overs" don’t right themselves.
I read Shelby’s comments as a sabotage attempt (just as Judd Gregg’s aborted cabinet nomination was sabotage). He knows that making statements about letting such banks fail in an environment like this is equivalent to yelling fire in a theater. You do not say to the world that you will just let these banks collapse. The Republicans have become a nihilistic, fundamentalist cult that seeks to return to power by sowing disarray and collapse.
@KDP: What do you think of the EDAR shelter? It seems terrible that this sort of thing is necessary, but in some cases it might be preferable to a homeless shelter.
On the other topic in this thread: like Dougj, I am a Patriots fan. I’m assuming that Doug is about half my age or less, so I am guessing that I’ve been following that team for about his lifetime. I moved to Boston from the midwest in 1972, having started out with the old Browns (the Hall-of-Fame guard Gene Hickerson was a good friend of mine and I learned a lot about the game from him) , but started watching the Patriots shortly thereafter. So that gives me about 35 years, and a right to my allegiance. (I grew up to hate the Yankees, but I certainly respect the right of native New Yawkers and especially Bronxosauri to their team.)
Now all of you guys that love to hate the Pats could consider that those of us who put up with the arrant nonsense and BS of the Sullivan years, suffered through the Chuck Fairbanks affair, watched Jim Plunkett move from Foxboro, where he was ground into dust behind an el cheapo offensive line and then went on to win it all with Oakland, groaned as the Bears whupped our a**, and suffered the embarrassment of the infamous snow-plow game might have earned the right to crow and strut a bit when we fielded one of the best teams in the history of the game, and suffer some more thinking about 8 minutes of bad luck wherein (look it up!) that pass lodged next to Tyrees helmet and the next season, a lunging lineman tore up Brady’s knee…and the Pats still went 11 – 5 (think the coaching staff may have had something to do with that?) and missed the playoffs because the ***$%# Jets gave up the last quarter (I’ll bet that Favre wasn’t too thrilled about that either).
As for Spygate, I can so that another time. This post is long enough already.
An idea I’ve had for a long time–and I’m sure it’s not original, is this–
Government-funded shelters in every city over a certain size, 50,000 people, maybe? The size could be debated.
The shelters would offer basic food, roof over the head, place to contact for people job-searching, basic medical, like vaccinations for the kids, well-baby screenings, etc. (Of course, if we finally get a sensible universal health care policy, my shelters wouldn’t need to offer any sort of health care, thereby making them even cheaper to operate.)
People staying there would be expected to perform the basic maintenance chores, swilling out latrines, repairs, etc., unless physically unable to do so.
A lot of expenditure currently goes into making sure that only the "deserving" get any sort of help. Social service agencies are so underfunded and overworked that very little actual assistance can be provided to often quite dysfunctional individuals and families.
Consequently, in my shelters there would be no means tests. All are welcome. The point being that the services offered would be so basic and bare bones, that very few people would be tempted to make it a way of life, but at the same time there would be a basic safety net for people, especially in times like we’re having now. And if a few people did decide to make such a shelter a permanent solution, so what? In my vision, the services being offered would be inexpensive enough that a few permanent individuals wouldn’t "break the bank", so to speak.
People who believe that poor people are that way because they are lazy and "unproductive" would rail against such an idea. However, it’s been my experience, in 63 years of life, dealing with people from all walks of life, that the majority of people want to live productive lives which contribute in some small way to the wellbeing of us all. If my assumption, based upon experience, is correct, my shelters would be temporary abodes for the overwhelming majority of people, to help them while they get back on their feet.
An interesting concept, and too sad that such devices may become more prevalent.
Although shopping carts allow the homeless to carry their stuff, they are a cumbersome and difficult option. I see this as somewhat more viable since the bedding is contained within the unit, but the ideal even for the houseless is to have a safe, fixed location to which one returns. If you are out looking for work, you can’t reasonably be pushing a cart with you. In conjunction with a fixed location to park your unit and some form of protection from theft and vandlism, this seems like a fine option for the individual. What about the families though? In my homeless days, I would have appreciated something like this and a place to park it during the day.
I have this vision of a homeless community that, to a large extent, will police itself. Just because people are without a house does not mean that they become savages and unlearn all of the social niceties with which we are able to coexist. If provided the dignity of a place in which a community can form, with sanitation services, showers, and other support services, I (perhaps naively) hope that the residents of that community would see more value in helping each other than in taking from each other. Those unwilling to respect the community could be sent off to make it as best they can on their own.
Idealized, I know, but I believe that, given the opportunity, most of us would recognize that in difficult times we need to support rather than abuse each other.
...now I try to be amused
In a sense liberals, by defending and extending the New Deal, are the real conservatives, while "conservatives" are more accurately called reactionaries.
In other words, he has enlightened self-interest. I understand that Otto von Bismarck set up the first state-supported social safety net, not for the good of the people for the good of the state, and its elite.
Portland, Oregon has tried such a program:
So, I’m not so lost in an idealist’s dream after all.
Conrad Black is a massive joke! He thinks he’s clever, but got caught stealing from the RICH in the USA!!! How clever is that?
Here’s a hilarious video in which he featured before he went to the hoosegow.
In it, he shows how to wax maple leaves (a Canadian thing), but obviously didn’t get it that soon all he’d be waxing for the next few years was his carrot.
Sorry, forgot to post the link to the video. Here it is:
(Blame it on the drink!)