5 Responses

  1. Brother John at |

    These comparisons are good, but I prefer to liken G.W. Bush to Hoover, and BHO to FDR. Aas a broader, longer-view comparison, there are greater parallels. Consider:

    A Republican followed by a Democrat. The actual dates of “crisis” occurred at the end of one Republican’s term (2008) and at the beginning of another (1929). Both Republicans reacted in similar fashion: by creating government programs, by hiking taxes everywhere, by promising federal action, promising relief, and ramping up debt to make Keynes smile. In other words, they departed completely from their own Republican predecessors, whose policies saw growth and prosperity in their times: Coolidge and Reagan.

    These men were each followed by 0bama and Roosevelt, Democrats: each took the federal spending accelerator and floored it, hiking taxes and expenses still further. Each created vast new programs, and each created new entitlements. In FDR’s day, they were unprecedented. Today, they threaten the existence of the dollar as we know it. Each man repeatedly seized powers he did not legitimately have, from other branches of the federal government and from the states; each man lied with impunity to his friends, Congress, and the public whenever he thought it politically convenient. Neither man was above political scapegoating, including of private citizens, and neither was ever known to take responsibility for his own missteps. Each man heaps incomprehensibly huge debt burdens upon his country and upon future generations. Each used the IRS to advance himself politically in unprecedented ways. The policies of each prolonged the downturns seen before he took office. Each man inspired both irrational loyalty and bitter hatred on both sides, and each cultivated the cult of personality in ways unseemly and unbecoming the Presidency.

    Many have stated that our current situation parallels 1979; In fact, it parallels 1937. The president has just been re-elected, but his own arrogance has hobbled him temporarily. He thinks nothing of flouting convention, the Constitution, protocol, and civility to advance his own political future and his own objectives, whatever the consequences to the people or to open government. The question is, whether the current executive’s colossal mishandling and bungling in foreign affairs will cause us to parallel the 1940s next.

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    1. 5minutes at |

      Giving this some thought, I’m not sure I agree with the FDR comparison. Here’s why:

      1. The depth of the crisis. To put it simply, the Great Recession is not the Great Depression. The effects are far different and the timeline to recovery is likely to be different as well. While the “experts” claim the GR ended in ’09-’10, the effects will likely be felt for, my guess, the next 15-20 years. FDR’s approach to the Depression was aggressive because his political machine thought he had to be. I’m not sure the same can be said about BHO.

      2. The charges of corruption. This may shock some, but every President has been charged with doing corrupt things. They’ve all taken shots at their predecessors, they’ve all bent the constitution to accomplish their goals, and they’ve all used the machinery of government to silence opposition. Yes, even that President. That one, too. They’ve all done it.

      3. The Timeline. Simply put: FDR did what he did because he knew he had no real time limit other than “is FDR still breathing”. Barack Obama will have, at most, 8 years as President, which means his gears will shift in the next year or so to the thoughts of legacy, and depending on how things go in 2014, he may have the full support of Congress behind him, or – more likely – will be a lame duck whose final years will involve final fleeting grasps at power. Despite his attempts otherwise, the days of the Imperial Presidency are gone, gone, gone.

      4. Congress. FDR had the benefit of a very willing Congress. The only branch of government holding him in check was the Supreme Court, and his threats of stacking the court in his favor basically turned them to his side, too. BHO doesn’t have that luxury. He had 2 years of a supermajority to get his job done and 4 years since of a split Congress. This means that he’s had to govern differently, in a way FDR never had to.

      Basic gist is: I don’t really think you can compare BHO to… well, anyone. Saying one President is just like another misses the point that they are all very different people who have very different approaches to their jobs, which means that every single comparison is going to be faulty. He’s not Lincoln (just because he’s a tall lanky Illinois guy doesn’t negate the fact that Lincoln was not a liberal and certainly not a Democrat), Wilson (who had the benefit of a war footing to steady his Presidency, right up until he stroked out and control of the country went to his wife for some reason), FDR (the truely imperial President who answered to absolutely no one), Carter (one disastrous term with no idea how to control the national party), Reagan (a populist middle-conservative who was far more unifying), Clinton (far better admired and respected, and a far smarter politician), or Bush (whose party gave him near-complete control of Congress for 6 years).

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  2. 5minutes at |

    Excellent list. I’m not sure I compare Obama to Hoover, but there are reasonable comparisons and this was a highly enjoyable list.

    Reply
    1. Shell Harris at |

      High praise coming from 5mintues. Thanks.

      Reply
  3. Dan at |

    For # 1, when the title of an Article is “10 Ways Barack Obama IS JUST LIKE Herbert Hoover”, using sentences like ‘It is not completely inconceivable that…’ is foolhardy. You are speculation possibilities… which is very different that something being JUST LIKE, as in, the similiarties need to actually exist and not be possible outcomes.

    Just a thought, still a good article!

    Reply

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