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Barack Hussein Hoover, II

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.“)

RELATED:  Barack Hussein Hoover



  1. We’re living in Obamaville.

    Comment by TGC — June 16, 2011 @ 7:28 am - June 16, 2011

  2. Hoover’s Big Government actions – and FDR’s – were the *cause* of the Great Depression, in the sense that they caused what should have been just the Recession of 1930 to drag on and on, as the private sector could not recover under their chosen policies. Much like today.

    FDR, even more than Hoover, had the worst economic record of any President in history. Only WW2 saved his presidency; that is, if he deserves any respect, it should only be for his wartime leadership (and that only leaving out the racist parts, like FDR’s Japanese internment camps). Considering that WW2 cost tens of millions of lives, let us hope and pray that Obama’s presidency isn’t similarly “saved”.

    What I still don’t understand is how Americans could have voted for Roosevelt in 1936 or 1940. 1932 is understandable, because Roosevelt ran as something of a fiscal conservative, or at least something of a cipher; i.e. he didn’t run on his real agenda, a massive expansion of government for the ultimate benefit of his cronies. Again like Obama.

    Roosevelt must have gotten a lot of protection from the academic and media establishments of his day, again like Obama. And there was no New Media to counteract it. Also, many Americans must have figured incorrectly that since Presidents of neither party did a good job, the problems must be intractable (and thus forgiveable in some sense).

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — June 16, 2011 @ 9:20 am - June 16, 2011

  3. Just curious. Shouldn’t it be George W Hoover and Barrack Hussain Roosovelt?

    Comment by The_Livewire — June 16, 2011 @ 9:31 am - June 16, 2011

  4. TL, agree.

    Juat as Roosevelt expanded on many Big Government policies of Hoover’s, Obama has expanded many Bush policies – for example, the deficits. Or the financial regulations (Dodd-Frank as a follow-on to Sarbox). Or the crazy monetary policy (Bush reappointed Greenspan who ran 1% interest rates to finance his deficits and cover up his economic problems; Obama re-appointed Bernanke who runs 0% interest rates to do the same for Obama.)

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — June 16, 2011 @ 9:46 am - June 16, 2011

  5. If FDR continued the programs that Hoover started, then why is FDR considered in many quarters as our best president and Hoover the worst? I lived through both administrations and for my family the FDR was the worst.

    ILC. Yes. FDR did get a lot of help from the media. The only newspaper that I can remember that was not pro FDR was a weekly newspaper called the GRIT, and it was not much of a newspaper.

    Comment by John W — June 16, 2011 @ 6:19 pm - June 16, 2011

  6. Because, John W., FDR had charisma.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — June 16, 2011 @ 6:36 pm - June 16, 2011

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