My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


GOP Too Sanguine 

You read it all over the blogosphere, you see it from the talking heads: "If the economy gets better, the President will get the credit and an easy re-election; if it doesn't, he'll be a one-termer."

Sorry to throw cold water your way, everyone, but history does not support that conclusion.

Tell me if this sounds familiar:

While the . . . Dam and other . . . projects were ahead of schedule, the economy was not, at least not in the sense of being where it had been before. The . . . reported in late spring that 780,0000 workers who had been reemployed by the . . . administration in the autumn had been unemployed again by the spring.

Or this:

[He] and others had noticed that the medium . . . really did seem to create a new reality, separate from the reality of old politics. If voters focused on the voice and the message, and not the tardy recovery, that might carry the Democrats forward."

Or this:

We cannot indefinitely support one-sixth of our population on money borrowed against future taxes.

All three of those quotes can very easily be ascribed to some completely foreseeable future in which the President's "stimulus package" has failed to do the trick, and the country is still mired in a deep recession. Sadly for our side, the conclusion to this sequence of thoughts is this:

The days after the election found the Democrats claiming 9 new Senate seats, giving them a 69-seat majority . . . In the House, the early returns showed Democrats holding 318 seats compared with the Republicans 99 . . . Where the New Deal was faltering economically, it was gaining politically. Roosevelt's radio voice was succeeding.

All of these quotes are from the 7th chapter of Amity Shlaes excellent book, The Forgotten Man. "He" is, of course, Roosevelt; the medium was radio; and the year was 1934. The New Deal is not working out economically, but Roosevelt had something that Pres. Obama has at his disposal as well--a friendly press and the mastery of the major media form (Roosevelt/radio; Obama/television). The public back then was willing to be reassured by a President who would talk eloquently right to them; the public of today elected a man whose only credential is his ability to communicate.

It's the last line of the above quote, really, that's so startling. There were businessmen and -women who knew the President's plan wasn't going to work out so good, or who recognized that the program wasn't working; nonetheless, the President was having his way electorally because he could TALK DIRECLY TO THE PEOPLE


History disagrees.

Weblog Commenting by HaloScan.com

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?