Robert Tracinski makes an interesting point:
I have been wondering whether Barack Obama will turn out to be another Jimmy Carter or another Franklin Roosevelt. The least bad option is Carter: a leader whose policies are disastrous for the economy and for US foreign policy, but who ends up being rejected by the American people and voted out of office after only one term–as opposed to a leader like FDR, whose policies are also disastrous, but who ends up being loved by the American people nonetheless and voted back into office.
After viewing Obama’s speech last night, I am forced to conclude that he has the makings of another FDR.
I have an uncle who was a child during the Great Depression. He worshipped FDR then. He kept an FDR scrapbook, in which he lovingly saved newspaper clippings about his hero.
As strange as it now seems, there was a sense in the 1930’s of FDR as the nation’s savior. People talked about how he could “bear the pain for us all.” He was almost a Christ figure, sacrificing himself for America. Remember, the Great Depression and the welfare state FDR founded were all virgin territory at that time. They couldn’t look back on it all and learn. They had little idea what was happening in the Soviet Union. Austrian economics was not widely know and the novels of Ayn Rand, aside from We the Living, had not been written.
Based on all that, I don’t think Obama will get the full FDR treatment, however hard the media work to make it happen. The world is different now. In a way America is worse, but part of it is better. We now live in an America in which Atlas Shrugged was published over 50 years ago. Knowledge that would have devastated the New Deal is now out there in circulation. Rand’s name constantly comes up among critics of Obama’s economics.
There was no internet in the 1930’s. The writers on this blog would have been so many forgotten men complaining on the street corner to anyone who might listen while leftists controlled all publishing in Manhattan.
The left succeeded in creating a myth of FDR that survives to this day. It is a model of successful propaganda that surely the left wants to repeat. Whatever success they might achieve in creating a myth of Obama, it will only be a fraction of their previous success. The people at Daily Kos will accept the Obama Myth, but at least half of America will reject the myth. It’s a new world now. The Obama Presidency will not be a strict copy of either Carter or FDR, but something new. As in the 1930’s, time sweeps us into virgin territory.