Franklin D. Roosevelt’s false mandate

FDR

In my many college political science courses, I have yet to meet a professor who did not subscribe to the belief that Franklin D. Roosevelt was given a mandate by the people to institute his New Deal reforms.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Like many elected since, President Roosevelt attained office through deception.  If the people had known what his plans were, not only would he have failed to win, he would not have received the Democratic party’s nomination.  Roosevelt ran on the promise of less government, but after winning election, he abandoned his rhetoric and his electorate, and instituted a giant bureaucracy that the people did not want.

For proof, I refer the reader to Garet Garrett’s “The Revolution Was”, a pertinent excerpt of which I will provide:

“The first three planks of the Democratic party platform read as follows: We advocate: ’1. An immediate and drastic reduction of governmental expenditures by abolishing useless commissions and offices, consolidating departments and bureaus and eliminating extravagance, to accomplish a saving of not less than 25 per cent in the cost of Federal government…2. Maintenance of the national credit by a Federal budget annually balanced…3. A sound currency to be maintained at all hazards.’  

Mr. Roosevelt pledged himself to be bound by this platform as no President had ever before been bound by a party document.  All during the campaign he supported it with words that could not possibly be misunderstood.  He said: ‘I accuse the present Administration (Hoover’s) of being the greatest spending Administration in peace time in all American history–one which piled bureau on bureau, commission on commission, and has failed to anticipate the dire needs or reduced earning power of the people.  Bureaus and bureaucrats have been retained at the expense of the taxpayer…We are spending altogether too much money for government services which are neither practical nor necessary.  In addition to this, we are attempting too many functions and we need a simplification of what the Federal government is giving to the people.’  This he said many times.”

So when you hear a self-described intellectual claim that Roosevelt’s New Deal was an execution of the people’s will, or allowed by the electoral mandate, know that you are listening to a person who has no understanding of the 1932 election.

Letter to Senator Bob Corker, (R), TN

Senator Corker,

I met you through my friend Brad Smith at a UT football game during your campaign. 

I agree completely with your stance on the stimulus package.  Thank you for standing up for citizens, and not supporting the bill that I see as a not-so-creative vote-buying scheme. 

I was disappointed to read that you voted for the FISA reforms.  Please consider the Fourth Amendment and its origins.  If we allow ourselves to give in to fear, the terrorists have won.  If we lose a million lives, but keep our commitment to freedom, American principles have still triumphed.

The principles of freedom, which made this country great, do not regard America as their home, or the Congress as their protector.  If we abandon them here, principles of freedom will have no home on this planet.  Our aim should be to protect freedoms everywhere.  That is the purpose of American government, right?  That is what made Reagan a hero, in my opinion.

I met a young Chinese student at UT a couple of weeks ago.  He said that foreigners hold all Americans accountable for the continued atrocities in the Middle East, because they have always learned that America is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

When you make a decision, please remember that you are representing all of us, and that the expense of war is always ours.  All Americans get the blame, even though 70% of us want out of Iraq.  All Americans get the blame, even though few of us condone torture or unwarranted wiretaps.  And, if retribution comes (and America is not unbreakable), remember that all of us will be blamed for the injustices perpretrated by a powerful minority, and all of us will suffer the economic and/or military consequences.

Like you, I am small in stature.  When we met, I joked that we saw eye to eye, and I believe we do in a lot of ways.  Please, do not be a small man in Congress.  View things as they are, without regard to person or place, and stand up for American principles of freedom always, no matter the cost.  Uphold the promise of your oath, stand up for freedom, and you will be more than a senator: you will be a statesman. Thanks for your representation.

Sincerely,

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