Yesterday, two of my favorite blogger/pundits, Glenn Reynolds and Michael Barone, linked a post where Walter Russell Mead compared the incumbent chief executive not just to the worst president of many of our lifetimes, but also to the man considered by many the worst president of the century just concluded, Herbert Hoover. That big-government Republican . . .
. . . had long been known as a leading progressive, and in the face of the Depression he was ready to countenance a significant expansion of the government’s role. His Reconstruction Finance Corporation would be taken over by FDR; it lent money to distressed companies in an effort to jump start the economy. He proposed the creation of a federal Department of Education; he was willing to countenance significant budget deficits and supported important public works projects (like Boulder Dam) as a way of stimulating employment and rebuilding confidence in the economy. . . .
With great intelligence and serious goodwill, both men set about to address the most important issues facing the country and the world — only to find that their chosen remedies failed one by one. . . .
[Hoover] failed to give people a sense that he understood what was happening. Over-optimistic forecasts issued in part to build confidence came back to haunt him. To the public he seemed fuddled and doctrinaire, endlessly recycling stale platitudes in the face of radically new economic problems.
Just like Hoover, Obama has held to his platitudes rather than acknowledge the failure of his programs (well, maybe he was tacitly acknowledging that failure earlier this week when he said that “Shovel-ready was not as … uh .. shovel-ready as we expected.“)
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