The Man Who Corrupted Washington

In this age of “neoconservatism,” many Americans feel that the federal government has grown too large for our own good—that President Bush has breeched his “contract” with us, expanded the Washingtonian influence beyond its “concrete slab” borders, and has, on several occasions, acted like Big Brother in order to accomplish his evil bidding. I exaggerate, of course; but the majority of the country disapproves of President Bush’s policies, especially when it comes to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the economy, and domestic issues. According to various polls conducted by Polling Report, only 29 – 35% of the country approves of the President. However, I have also realized that a majority of Americans never fully studied their history well. It seems that while President Bush is to blame for expanding greatly the awesome influence of the federal government, another President in our brief political history has done the same—and history regards him as a “demi-god” or a “divine being,” as if he came from the heavens to spread his good word and save our country from the inevitable tabloids of Doomsday. He was an unknown outsider to the American people, a Senator and Governor from New York who suddenly burst onto the political scene after an unsuccessful bid for the Vice Presidency in 1919. That man was Franklin Delano Roosevelt—the man who changed our country permanently, with scars, sadly, that may never heal. What convinced the American people of his ingenuity and political prowess were his superb and effective oratory skills, whether by fireside or confronted by a large crowd of supporters: “…first of all let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself— nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give support to leadership in these critical days….For the trust reposed in me I will return the courage and devotion that befit the time. I can do no less….” Prior to the Great Depression (1929 – 1945), the United States had adopted a “big business” culture under liberal and moderate Republicans who saw their country as a “money-making machine,” as a “small business,” the President acting as a CEO while the people were the peons to political bosses. With the rise of the credit card and a surplus of jobs after the close of World War I, Americans (and the federal government) began to spend more than they had; as a result, banks went bankrupt, took over checking and savings accounts, and with the collapse of the stock market, the United States economy crashed. Like the American people today, they blamed the reigning party for the problem, and not themselves. Franklin Roosevelt was elected based upon the assumption that they could “Kick Out Depression with a Democratic Vote.” Roosevelt seemed like the attractive candidate—a “no name” with economic credentials and good oratory skills while incumbent President Herbert Hoover was a “scumbag” that caused the Depression. In his Democratic nomination acceptance speech, Roosevelt said:

“I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people.”

What kind of deal was the New York Senator offering? Not even his campaign knew. Eric Foner, renowned American historian, gives his own interpretation of FDR’s New Deal: “Roosevelt conceived of the New Deal as an alternative to socialism on the left, Nazism on the right, and the inaction of upholders of unregulated capitalism. He hoped to reconcile democracy, individual liberty, and economic planning. ‘You have made yourself,’ the British economist John Maynard Keynes wrote to FDR, ‘the trustee for those in every country who seek to mend the evils of our condition by reasoned experiment within the framework of the existing social system.’ If Roosevelt failed, Keynes added, the only remaining choices would be ‘orthodoxy’ (that is, doing nothing) or ‘revolution.’” FDR did too much. He expanded the federal government greatly in order to implement his dastardly-needed economic plans. Many of his programs and secular institutions—still in affect to this day—have caused controversy within the federal sphere, and which allowed the Judiciary in Roosevelt’s time to question his authority. Criticism has rocked the legacy of the Roosevelt Administration (1933 – 1945):1.Unemployment was reduced, but not abolished.2.There was a shift from individualism (independence, self-reliance, and individual liberty, in this case with the economy) to collectivism (stress that communal, community, group, societal, or national goals should take priority over individual goals). The Republicans coerced the laissez-faire system, and the Democrats favored Roosevelt’s system—still debated to this day.3.FDR dramatically expanded and believed in the American Welfare State. FDR felt that it was the government’s duty to create a permanent system of social insurance to poor families. This created the Social Security Act, which created unemployment insurance, old age pensions, and aide to the disabled, elderly poor, and families with dependent children. The idea of an American Welfare State was not new. (It was the top issue in the 1912 election.) FDR’s system, in lamens terms, meant “…a system of income assistance, health coverage, and social services for all citizens.”iv This, in turn, became the platform of the Democrats after his death—that the government should heavily regulate the economy. Austrian economist Thomas DiLorenzo said the following of FDR’s New Deal: “FDR’s New Deal made the Great Depression longer and deeper. It is a myth that Franklin D. Roosevelt ‘got us out of the Depression’ and ‘saved capitalism from itself,’ as generations of Americans have been taught by the state’s education establishment.” Historian Jim Powell offers this explanation: “…by doubling taxes, making it more expensive for employers to hire people, making it harder for entrepreneurs to raise capital, demonizing employers, destroying food…breaking up the strongest banks, forcing up the cost of living, channeling welfare away from the poorest people and enacting labor laws that hit poor African Americans especially hard [made the Depression worse, and prolonged it].” As a result of FDR’s New Deal, the United States Communist Party saw a surge, and the term “leftist” became an umbrella for socialists, communists, labor radicals, and many New Dealers. The CIO and Communist Party became the focal points for a broad social and intellectual impulse which helped redraw the boundaries of American freedom. Communism has now become a strong ideology for Democrats, who champion its “equality first, then liberty” slogan. In American political history, the Democrats have been known as the “party of war,” as prominent Democrats began many of the wars the United States became involved in:1.James Madison (D-R): War of 18122.James Knox Polk (D): Mexican War3.Abraham Lincoln (Rep.): Civil War4.William McKinley (Rep.): Spanish-American War5.Woodrow Wilson (D): World War I6.FDR (D): World War II7.Harry Truman (D): Korean War8.JFK (D): Vietnam9.Jimmy Carter (D): Iran-Contra Crisis and subsequent Middle East issues10.Bill Clinton (D): War on Terror (1993), Somalia11.Bush II (Rep.): War on Terror (2001), Iraq, Afghanistan Isolationist leaders—like Charles Lindburgh—considered FDR a war monger. After he was reelected for an unprecedented third time, FDR promised that he wouldn’t send the “boys” into war. “I hate war….I despise war,” he said. “I promised that I wouldn’t send our boys into war—and they won’t go into war!” Those remarks were met with a mighty, ferocious round of applause as they undoubtedly supported their President; but secretly, FDR planned to send the “boys” into war. War, he considered, would create jobs and get the United States out of the Depression. His assumption was correct—and the American people forgave him for his lethal backstab. The History Channel and their ground-breaking documentary FDR: A Presidency Revealed suggested that FDR goaded the Japanese into attacking Pearl Harbor. Bruce Cumings writes in Parallax Visions: Making Sense of American-East Asian Relations, “Ten days before the Attack on Pearl Harbor,” (Henry L. Stimson, United States Secretary of War at the time,) “entered in his diary the famous and much-argued statement—that he had met with President Roosevelt to discuss the evidence of impending hostilities with Japan, and the question was ‘how we should maneuver them [the Japanese] into the position of firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves.’” The fact remains that the same controversies FDR was accused of were similar in scope to the criticisms of current President Bush. FDR had a dream—intentional or not—to make our country a socialist one, having acted upon the cries of Eugene V. Debs and Upton Sinclair whom petitioned the liberal and moderate Republicans dominating the White House. The United States had a socialist dream during the early 1900s, a dream that could have come true—but, for now, it has died. FDR breeched his promise “to the best of [his] ability to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States,

“So help me God.”

American journalist H. L. Mencken wrote in his diary the following words about Franklin Roosevelt:“...[he would be remembered as a great president], maybe even alongside Washington and Lincoln...[and that he] had every quality that morons esteem in their heroes.”An unknown in the American political sphere; a Senator from New York with no political aspirations; a man with no political experience except being named a Vice Presidential nominee, governor of New York for one term, and an assistant secretary to the Navy; a man who admired far-left liberals such as Woodrow Wilson and James Mifflin Cox; and a man who was, in literal sense, treated as a celebrity in the 1920s—and ultimately reached stardom. He was elected—the people loved him—with the idolism of being a “savior” to the Union; and he saved it—but with dastardly consequences.“While it isn't written in the Constitution, nevertheless it is the inherent duty of the federal government to keep its citizens from starvation,” FDR observed. “We look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms....Freedom of speech...freedom of...worship...freedom from want...freedom from fear.”FDR's New Deal has shifted the federal government and the people to the left, ingraining within their minds that it's the government's sole duty to take care of the people like their mother, to somehow watch them and stuff their pockets with money without any person having to work, and handing them free food and health care without having that passion to work for what you need; and many argue different sectors of the public are disadvantaged—but history begs to differ. Of Roosevelt's experience to be President (Commander-in-Chief, as stated in the Constitution), he was not highly qualified. By “qualified,” it meant, prior and during his time period, years of military service—of which FDR had none. All his predecessors before him served in the military (with the exception of Grover Cleveland) and/or served in public office (with the exception of Zachary Taylor). For FDR, his public service was only brief—his predecessors before him having served for multiple terms within the political spotlight.Of his public service, he was a Senator from the State of New York (January 1, 1911 – March 17, 1913); Assistant Secretary of the Navy under President Wilson (1913 – 1920); and the 44th Governor of New York (January 1, 1929 – December 31, 1932).Grover Cleveland, a Democrat, was a man of many quotes. I find one quote in particular that sums up what the principle philosophy of the United States should be. And although he was a Democrat, Cleveland had conservative ideals; and his belief—congruent to the ideology of Henry David Thoreau—should be the cancer against Big Brother and socialist mobsters.“I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution; and I do not believe that the power and duty of the General Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duty should, I think, be steadily resisted, to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that, though the people support the Government, the Government should not support the people.”   As colorful and heroic as FDR was, his influence on the American Presidency has left its mark, albeit permanently, within the far-left realms of democratic socialism. His rapid expansion of government, his economic policies, his enormous popularity, and his advocacy of government social programs was instrumental in redefining liberalism for coming generations. With such actions come dire consequences; and if we fail to study our history properly, we may never fully understand the ideals and philosophies of American government. It is our duty, not only as citizens, but as employers, to read carefully our candidates' resumes and pick the best one—a person who will, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution all-the-while hiring the best and profitable people to help him get the job done.In the shadow of Franklin Roosevelt lies his theory of government—which has now been adopted by the Democrats in the 21st century, and may never die.“Throughout the nation men and women, forgotten in the political philosophy of Government, look to us here for guidance and for more equitable opportunity to share in the distribution of national wealth. On the farms, in the large metropolitan areas, in the smaller cities and in the villages, millions of our citizens cherish the hope that their old standards of living and of thought have not gone forever. Those millions cannot and shall not hope in vain. I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people. Let us all here assembled constitute ourselves prophets of a new order of competence and of courage.  This is more than a political campaign. It is a call to arms. Give me your help, not to win votes alone, but to win in this crusade to restore America to its own people. ”