History repeats itself, and when the economy crashed in 2008 there was a great opportunity for President Barack Hussein Obama (BHO) to play the role of former US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR). And as time has gone on, the comparisons between these two Presidents and their actions has become more clear. Following are Three Ways in which President Obama is like President Roosevelt:
1. Both candidates ran for election the first time as moderates but have governed from the start as radicals.
In 1932, FDR ran for election on a platform promising less spending, less government, and vague policies and promises designed to appeal to a broad range of voters. Hoover attacked Roosevelt as a capitalist president who would only make the Depression worse by decreasing taxes, reducing government intervention in the economy, promoting “trade [with] the world”, and cutting “Government—Federal and State and local”.
In 2008, BHO ran for election on a platform that promised a balanced budget, more efficient government, and vague rhetoric and promises designed to appeal to a broad range of voters. Both won on these moderate platforms- but after winning both instead pushed for radical policies and betrayed voters by not doing anything that they promised to do.
FDR did not lower spending- he increased it. FDR did not deliver less government and less socialism- he expanded government and pushed for more socialism by government. FDR did not govern in a way that would appeal to a broad range of voters- he capitalized on crisis and wars to maintain power for too long while governing in a radical way. Hoover proved to be exactly wrong in his attacks on FDR- although FDR ran on a particular platform, he proved to govern in the opposite manner.
BHO also did not balance the budget and cut the deficit in half like he promised, instead doing the exact opposite by pushing for budgets that produced the largest deficits in history and drastically raised the amount of debt that America was forced to borrow from China and other nations. BHO has not even tried to create more efficient, smarter, faster, and responsive government, instead working hard to massively expand the size and scope of government bureaucracy and insulate it from any accountability or oversight. And Obama has not governed in a nonpartisan way that bridges the gaps between red and blue voters, instead actively promoting divisiveness and spewing forth bitterly partisan rhetoric and now presently engaging in the most relentlessly negative campaign in the history of our nation.
2. Both candidates inherited a bad recession and responded to it by turning the recession into a long and lingering depression.
In 1932, FDR did inherit a recession- after the economy collapsed in 1929 Hoover had responded to it by doing everything wrong, expanding the size of the national government, restricting free trade, increasing taxes on the wealthy, and having the government meddle in markets. The response to this liberal intervention by Hoover was predictable- the economy did not bounce back as it had from earlier recessions and instead lingered and got worse.
In 2008, BHO also inherited a recession- major companies were bankrupted by union policies, bad debts and investments caught up to banks and investors, and the housing market collapsed because government policies and community activists had encouraged and supported risky and unsustainable actions. This sharp recession hit in the later part of 2008 and likely would have lingered until 2009, after which the bottom would have been hit, bad investments written off, bankrupt companies gone under, and businesses and consumers adjusting the economic recession. But both FDR and BHO took these recessions and made them into depressions.
FDR responded to the recession by killing off economic activity by raising taxes and regulations, made investors and businesses nervous by rapidly changing the rules of the game and acting in an arbitrary manner, and soaking up excess capital by pushing for more government spending that turned out to simply be giveaways to political friends and allies. The economy did not improve- the Great Depression continued, the economy sank into another depression, and it wasn’t until after FDR’s death that the economy once again recovered to where it had been before his presidency.
BHO also responded to the recession by working to kill off the recovery and choke off economic recovery. During his entire administration he has pushed for increased taxes, in particular increased taxes on small businesses, investors, and ‘the rich’, making small businesses, investors, and the rich nervous about their income and become anxious to protect it from predatory government policies promoted by Obama. BHO has soaked up excess capital and money that should have been available for lending to consumers by instead borrowing massive amounts of money, turning money that could have built new businesses and fueled new investments into slush funds given to political allies and bad investments in green energy and other outlandish schemes. Efforts to reform businesses and labor were met with hostility by the Obama administration, which seized private companies that showed signs of economic distress by dividing them in half between themselves and labor, and working to punish companies that attempted to become leaner and more efficient through labor reforms. Even attempts to build new thriving and profitable industries in energy were met with hostility by Obama, which has worked tirelessly to kill off this economic activity and prolong the recession and deepen it so that the short recession turns instead into a severe depression.
3. Both inherited an unstable world situation and have through their policy actions made the world more unstable.
In 1932, Japan invaded Manchuria, unemployment was rising in Germany, Stalin’s continued to implement disastrous centralization programs in the Soviet Union, there were political upheavals in Brazil and Mexico, and there was instability in the Middle East.
But during the course of FDR’s administration, events around the world spiralled out of control, culminating in a World War. To be fair, at this time in history the United States had far less influence on world events and it is debatable whether or not actions by the United States might have been able to stop the Jewish Genocide, the Japanese invasion of China and the related atrocities there, the outbreak of a massive World War, the horrible results of Stalin’s government policies which resulted in the murder of millions, or any of the any other many bad results around the world. But it is also fair to say that these things all occurred under FDR, mostly as he stood by and watched- or even in some cases supported them.
BHO also inherited an unstable world situation- Afghanistan still was dealing with terrorism, dictatorships in the Middle East were facing efforts to replace and reform them, and China was exploring whether or not it could begin to seriously challenge the US in a range of areas.
And yet, only a short 4 years later, the world has not responded to Obama’s policies by becoming a safer, more stable, more humane world. The entire Middle East has now been engulfed a confusing and bloody uprising that President Obama has alternately and seemingly randomly supported and acted to suppress, highlighted by radical terrorists becoming more powerful in Egypt, a deadly civil war in Libya, continued oppression and atrocities in Syria, and instability in surrounding regions. Perhaps the only area that appears to be improving in Iraq- and Obama spent most of his life being critical of our actions there. Iran has moved steadily closer to obtaining nuclear weapons, captured one of our drones, fired on our troops, and continued to support terrorists around the world. Afghanistan has gotten worse, and Obama has responded by firing generals who supposedly disrespect him in tabloid magazines. Russia and China have filled the void in world leadership that Obama represents, mocking him as the weakling that he is and laughing as they routinely outmaneuver Obama and damage US interests around the world.
These are only three examples of how President Obama has governed like President Roosevelt- there are many more out there. Here is one article that does so- Comparing the Great Depression to the Great Recession. This is not good- FDR’s leadership was characterized by the Great Depression and World War Two, and although many people think that these are positives and that FDR is to be applauded for being a leader during a massive economic depression and a horrible world war, in my opinion it is much preferable to have a President like Reagan who presided over an economic boom and increased world stability. We can only hope that President Obama does not serve any more terms of office and that we get a nice moderate after him (like how Eisenhower eventually followed FDR) to restore the good times to America.
Original Post: A Conservative Teacher