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Barack Hussein Hoover

Last week, Michael Ledeen compared the President to one of the worst presidents of the twentieth century, Jimmy Carter. But, as I read Amity Shlaes’s The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression, it seems he has more in common with another failure of the previous century, Herbert Hoover.

Like that hapless (as least as president) Republican, this ambitious Democrat has great faith in the power of the state to fix the economy.

Writing about Hoover in his pre-presidential days, Shlaes observes that Hoover “feared criticism . . . he encountered it so infrequently. Luck and talent had done their work, and he began to feel his greatness was unlimited.” Kind of sounds like his twenty-first century successor.

But, the similarity doesn’t end there; Hoover “disdained laissez-faire economics.” Indeed his presidential predecessor Calvin Coolidge didn’t much care for the incredibly intelligent Iowan:

Where the president [in 1927] eschewed technology, Hoover was always playing with it. Coolidge also hated Hoover’s tendency to react to news with grand-intrusive plans. Could not Hoover see where some of his rescues led?

From this introduction to Hoover and our forty-day experience with President Obama, it seems the two presidents share what Victor Davis Hanson describes as the liberal philosophy:

The liberal philosophy maintains that government, better than thousands of informed and self-interested individuals, can direct and guide our lives and national purpose. It has more confidence in the tenured bureaucrat than it does the small businessman, whose unpredictability and autonomy prove too disruptive to the common vision.

And we all know the results of Hoover’s trust in bureaucrats.



  1. Hee Hee. Barack Hussein Hoover. Not only a reference to the late President, but also to the vacuum. Can’t you hear the giant sucking sound of all our debt to China?

    Comment by Neptune — March 2, 2009 @ 5:34 pm - March 2, 2009

  2. GPW, spot-on. “Hoover did nothing” and “Hoover was into laissez-faire” are Left myths, created to cover up the facts that:

    1) Government intervention in the economy was the *cause* of the Depression – the thing that took an ordinary business recession and turned it into a 13-year crisis of high unemployment;
    2) Hoover did a lot of it, and it did not work;
    3) Roosevelt did a lot of it, and it did not work.

    Lefties want socialism, period. They will say or do anything, no matter how far-fetched, to slander laissez-faire capitalism and avoid the blame that should rightly fall on lefties and socialism.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — March 2, 2009 @ 6:02 pm - March 2, 2009

  3. Ah, Coolidge. One of my all-time favorite presidents. One of the funniest, too.

    Comment by Ignatius — March 2, 2009 @ 8:26 pm - March 2, 2009

  4. I’m reading it too! What page are you on????? 🙂

    Comment by Sonicfrog — March 3, 2009 @ 2:25 am - March 3, 2009

  5. When Obama was campaigning (and he still is), to me he sounded like a combination of the Great Society of LBJ, and the foreign policy of Jimmy Carter.

    Comment by Roberto — March 3, 2009 @ 12:45 pm - March 3, 2009

  6. Yeah, Cal rocked. Wilson, on the other hand… The more I read the real history of Woodrow Wilson and his clown-show presidency, the more I feel that he- and not Carter, nor Roosevelt the Lesser- was indeed the worst American president in this century.

    Comment by DaveP. — March 3, 2009 @ 3:48 pm - March 3, 2009

  7. […] He has political gifts similar to those of the Gipper, a natural stage presence and a winning smile. But, not even a week in office, Obama showed instead the traits not of the greatest Republican president of the last century but of one of the two worst (while putting forward policies similar to those of the other member of that dishonorable duo). […]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » Is it in Obama’s Political Makeup to Govern as a Divider? — October 26, 2009 @ 3:18 am - October 26, 2009

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