Sunday, June 20, 2010
Interesting take on Obama and FDR
What Obama Could Learn from FDR
If President Obama intends to use President Roosevelt’s leadership during World War II as his model for handling the BP oil spill, he has it exactly backward.
On the one hand, Roosevelt is a natural role model for a president pressing the most interventionist and redistributionist agenda since the New Deal. It was FDR, after all, who broke the power of Wall Street and those he termed “the royalists of the economic order” under a welter of regulations and tax increases. And it was that big government, anti-business agenda that has made Roosevelt a Democratic Party icon ever since, even though we now know it actually deepened and extended the Great Depression.
On the other hand, if Obama intends to use Roosevelt’s leadership during World War II as his model for handling the BP oil spill, he has it exactly backward. FDR built that arsenal of democracy by working with business, not fighting against it—let alone by keeping a boot on its neck. If Roosevelt had been speaking from the Oval Office last Tuesday, he would have announcing the creation of a presidential panel of oil executives and engineers to help BP solve the oil spill, rather than a scheme to strip BP of its profits.