John R. Houk
© August 11, 2014
Here is the next group of Presidents that may have been involved in impeachable crimes. In the last post of Nefarious Presidential Actions was Teddy to Harding. Just as a point of reprise these posts are in response to a G+ exchange between myself and Gideon Money who is one of the Liberals that can’t see past the Obama cover-up with the typical blind support for President Barack Hussein Obama and his impeachable actions:
Gideon fewer Executive Orders does not translate into less unConstitutional actions. Obama’s EO’s contradict the Constitution’s Separation of Powers instituted by the Founding Fathers.
How so? Be specific and use SCOTUS precedent, not Fox talking points.
Calvin Coolidge: 8/2/1923 to 3/4/1929
At 2:30 on the morning of August 3, 1923, while visiting in Vermont, Calvin Coolidge received word that he was President. By the light of a kerosene lamp, his father, who was a notary public, administered the oath of office as Coolidge placed his hand on the family Bible.
Coolidge was “distinguished for character more than for heroic achievement,” wrote a Democratic admirer, Alfred E. Smith. “His great task was to restore the dignity and prestige of the Presidency when it had reached the lowest ebb in our history … in a time of extravagance and waste….” (Calvin Coolidge; WhiteHouse.gov)
Notorious for saying practically nothing when not giving a public speech, Calvin Coolidge takes the second spot of controversial-free presidents on this list. His no-nonsense presidency restored public faith in the office after the scandal-wracked presidency of Harding. (Calvin Coolidge; By Freeman Stevenson; Deseret News; 3/20/13 12:51 p.m. MDT)
Herbert Hoover: 3/4/1929 – 3/4/1933
As a kid growing up in Washington State, whenever Herbert Hoover’s name was mentioned in my family the look of disgust came from both my Grandmother and my Mother. My Grandmother was a young adult and mother of three children during the depression and my Mother was one of those children. Their memories of Conservative Republican President Hoover were not fond. My Grandmother and Mother idolized Hoover’s successor – President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. My family blamed Hoover for the Depression making them lifelong Democrats.
As much as the voting Americans blamed Hoover for the Great Depression he really did nothing impeachable. Hoover became unpopular and with about seven or eight months left in his term of Office in election year 1932 (Hoover would later loose in a landslide to FDR), an incident took place which was huge at the time. In 1924 WWI veterans were promised a bonus that would mature in 1945. By 1932 the Great Depression was in full swing in the USA with unemployed, homeless and hungry Americans all over the place. This included WWI veterans who were involved in the world’s most horrific war in terms wounded and killed in history. The WWI veterans began to grumble for an early payment of their promised 1945 bonus to occur in 1932. To protest WWI vets, their wives and children organized a march to Washington DC to make their grievance clear to Congress and President Hoover. The organized marchers called themselves the Bonus Expeditionary Force (BEF) after the term used for the U.S. Army contingent sent to Europe to fight Kaiser Wilhelm’s German army in 1917. That contingent was called the American Expeditionary Force. The American press called the BEF the Bonus Army, the Bonus March or the Bonus Army March.
I have read three versions of what happened during this march. I can summarize the part that might have been impeachable for Hoover. The U.S. Army led by General Douglas MacArthur was sent to Washington DC to break up and disperse the BEF. Violent confrontation eventually took place and a few veterans died and wives and children were under threat of MacArthur led violence. The impeachable Offense was in using the Army as a police force in a domestic issue with the use of armed infantry and tanks. According to a Congressional Act passed in 1878, mobilizing the army to engage in police action on U.S. was supposed to be illegal without prior authorization from Congress. This law is still on the books today and is called the Posse Comitatus Act:
This article is about a United States statute prohibiting the use of the armed forces for law enforcement. For the sheriff‘s powers of law enforcement at common law, see posse comitatus. For the terrorist organization, see The Posse Comitatus.
The Posse Comitatus Act is a law of the United States (18 USC 1385) passed in 1878, after the end of Reconstruction, and was intended to prohibit Federal troops from supervising elections in former Confederate states. It generally prohibits Federal military personnel and units of the United States National Guard under Federal authority from acting in a law enforcement capacity within the United States, except where expressly authorized by the Constitution or Congress. The original act only referred to the Army, but the Air Force was added in 1956 and the Navy and Marine Corps have been included by a regulation of the Department of Defense. This law is mentioned whenever it appears that the Department of Defense is interfering in domestic disturbances.
There are a number of exceptions to the act. These include
· National Guard units while under the authority of the governor of a state
· troops when used in pursuant to the Federal authority to quell domestic violence as was the case during the Rodney King riots
The relevant legislation is as follows:
Sec. 1385. – Use of Army and Air Force as posse comitatus
Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.
The three versions I read have a bit different views of what happened with the most detailed being written by a person that begins by glorifying FDR as a person that “rewrote history”. The brief description is then clarified in the most positive of lights.
The Bonus Army was the popular name of an assemblage of some 43,000 marchers—17,000 World War I veterans, their families, and affiliated groups—who gathered in Washington, D.C., in the spring and summer of 1932 to demand cash-payment redemption of their service certificates. Its organizers called it the Bonus Expeditionary Force to echo the name of World War I’s American Expeditionary Forces, while the media called it the Bonus March. It was led by Walter W. Waters, a former Army sergeant.
Retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler, one of the most popular military figures of the time, visited their camp to back the effort and encourage them. On July 28, U.S. Attorney General William D. Mitchell ordered the veterans removed from all government property. Washington police met with resistance, shots were fired and two veterans were wounded and later died. Veterans were also shot dead at other locations during the demonstration. President Herbert Hoover then ordered the army to clear the veterans’ campsite. Army Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur commanded the infantry and cavalry supported by six tanks. The Bonus Army marchers with their wives and children were driven out, and their shelters and belongings burned.
… Attorney General William D. Mitchell ordered the police to remove the Bonus Army veterans from their camp. When the veterans moved back into it, they rushed two policemen trapped on the second floor of a building. The cornered police drew their revolvers and shot two veterans, William Hushka and Eric Carlson, who died later.
At 4:45 p.m., commanded by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the 12th Infantry Regiment, Fort Howard, Maryland, and the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, supported by six battle tanks commanded by Maj. George S. Patton, formed in Pennsylvania Avenue while thousands of civil service employees left work to line the street and watch. The Bonus Marchers, believing the troops were marching in their honor, cheered the troops until Patton ordered the cavalry to charge them—an action which prompted the spectators to yell, “Shame! Shame!”
After the cavalry charged, the infantry, with fixed bayonets and tear gas (adamsite, an arsenical vomiting agent) entered the camps, evicting veterans, families, and camp followers. The veterans fled across the Anacostia River to their largest camp and President Hoover ordered the assault stopped. However Gen. MacArthur, feeling the Bonus March was an attempt to overthrow the U.S. government, ignored the President and ordered a new attack. Fifty-five veterans were injured and 135 arrested. A veteran’s wife miscarried. When 12-week-old Bernard Myers died in the hospital after being caught in the tear gas attack, a government investigation reported he died of enteritis, while a hospital spokesman said the tear gas “didn’t do it any good.”
During the military operation, Major Dwight D. Eisenhower, later the 34th President of the United States, served as one of MacArthur’s junior aides. Believing it wrong for the Army’s highest-ranking officer to lead an action against fellow American war veterans, he strongly advised MacArthur against taking any public role: “I told that dumb son-of-a-bitch not to go down there,” he said later. “I told him it was no place for the Chief of Staff.” Despite his misgivings, Eisenhower later wrote the Army’s official incident report which endorsed MacArthur’s conduct.
… READ ENTIRETY (Bonus Army; Wikipedia; last modified 7/24/14 at 22:39)
… Herbert Hoover was still president, an assemblage of some 43,000 marchers – 17,000 World War I veterans, plus their families, and affiliated groups – many being penniless and despairing – gathered in Washington, D.C. Their goal was simple: in the starving season of despair that engulfed America, now known as the Great Depression, the veterans rather reasonably begged for the early distribution of funds the government promised them. Specifically, they wanted immediate payment of a soldiers’ “bonus” promised by the World War Adjusted Compensation Act of 1924; the bonus was to be distributed in 1945 but if the men could receive it in 1932 it was estimated it would amount to approximately $500 per man.
The BEF marchers encamped in parks, dumps, abandoned warehouses, and empty stores. They were unarmed and determined to act like peaceful and law abiding citizens; they had taken care to ferret out and expel radicals preaching revolution and violence from their ranks. Despite their evident hunger they didn’t panhandle. To many observers they appeared too weak and pitiful to pose a menace; one reporter described them as “ragged, weary… with no hope on their faces.”
… It’s estimated that over one hundred thousand Washingtonians lined the streets as the veterans marched down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House. …
… Their vigil became a test of endurance and heartbreak and was watched by the entire nation.
The President, his Attorney General William Mitchell, and most of Congress railed against the BEF as “dangerous insurgents” and “violent socialists.” The Hearst newspapers and other conservative organs decried them as radicals; many said there wasn’t a true veteran among their number, that they were fakes and frauds and criminals. Others took pity; truckloads of food arrived from goodhearted people all over the country. A hundred loaves of bread were shipped each day from a sympathetic baker and pies came from another. Many people worried about the women and children and a health inspector described the encampments spread around Washington as “extremely bad and unhealthful.” The men tried to raise money by staging boxing and wrestling bouts among themselves and charging the locals a small admission to watch; they willingly beat themselves into submission and raised about $2500.00 to buy food and small comforts.
… The police, under the supervision of a retired general named Pelham Glassford, tried to respond with a degree of kindness. After Hoover made it clear he was going to do absolutely nothing to alleviate their hardship, the police began to offer weak coffee, stale bread and watered down stew at six cents a day to the marchers. This enraged Hoover who said the police were pandering to criminals. Congress formally rebuked Glassford for ever allowing the marchers to enter the city in the first place. The police department’s small relief effort withered away under the glare of presidential and Congressional condemnation.
The BEF was a humiliation to the Administration and as summer wore on there was an overall hardening across the land against the BEF. The majority of the country’s newspapers took up the cause on behalf of Hoover, his Attorney General and those in Congress, all of whom continued to insist the marchers were dangerous socialists and anarchists, and that most had never served one day in service to their country. Typically, many Americans were persuaded by such official claims – but not all. Will Rogers said the BEF had the “record for being the best behaved” of any “hungry men assembled anywhere in the world” and some military leaders like General Billy Mitchell and Marine Corps General Smedley Butler had the courage to say the men should be paid their bonuses early.
… most military leaders agreed with Hoover. One of them, Brigadier General George Moseley, wanted the bonus marchers arrested and sent to “concentration camps on one of the sparsely inhabited islands of the Hawaiian group not suitable for growing sugar” so they could “stew in their own filth.” Moseley also thought that while the government was in the business of rounding up American citizens it might as well do it right and round up people of “inferior blood” (presumably to be handled in similar fashion). Remarkably, no one thought Moseley was a lunatic. Years later Dwight Eisenhower, who knew Moseley well, described him as “a brilliant” and “dynamic officer.”
On July 28th the Attorney General declared the BEF was “guilty of begging and other acts” and ordered police chief Glassford to evacuate all veterans encamped on any piece of government property. Police wielding nightsticks decided to first clear out abandoned buildings where some of the BEF squatted and their raid began peacefully enough because most of the marchers were taken by surprise and disorganized. Word spread quickly, however, and angry BEF reinforcements arrived from camps across town. They began to throw bricks and the police fired back; horrified, Glassford shouted orders for the police to hold their fire, but the skirmish cost two veterans their lives and several more were seriously wounded.
Hoover was appalled; he ordered Secretary of War Patrick J. Hurley to deploy troops. Hoover also issued a communiqué announcing the military would “put an end to rioting and defiance of civil authority” and charging that the men who clashed with police were “entirely of the Communist element.”
Secretary of War Hurley gave the order to Four-Star General Douglas MacArthur. … A young career officer named Dwight D. Eisenhower was MacArthur’s aide and Ike strongly protested against military intervention; he warned his boss it was a “political matter for civilian authorities.” Specifically, he called the clash between the BEF and the police a “street corner brawl” and said it was inappropriate for a general to become involved in a local political issue.
MacArthur, of course, disagreed. “There is incipient revolution in the air!” he snapped. “We’re going to break the back of the BEF.”
On July 28, 1932, at 4:45 p.m., commanded by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the 12th Infantry Regiment, Fort Howard, Maryland, and the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, supported by six battle tanks commanded by Maj. George S. Patton, formed in Pennsylvania Avenue while thousands of civil service employees left work to line the street and watch. …
… The veterans fled across the Anacostia River to their largest camp and President Hoover ordered the assault stopped. However Gen. MacArthur, feeling the Bonus March was a Communist attempt to overthrow the U.S. government, ignored the President and ordered a new attack. Fifty-five veterans were injured and 135 arrested. A veteran’s wife miscarried. When 12-week-old Bernard Myers died in the hospital after being caught in the tear gas attack, a government investigation reported he died of enteritis, while a hospital spokesman said the tear gas “didn’t do it any good.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt: 3/4/1933 to 4/12/1945
He was elected President in November 1932, to the first of four terms. By March there were 13,000,000 unemployed, and almost every bank was closed. In his first “hundred days,” he proposed, and Congress enacted, a sweeping program to bring recovery to business and agriculture, relief to the unemployed and to those in danger of losing farms and homes, and reform, especially through the establishment of the Tennessee Valley Authority.
By 1935 the Nation had achieved some measure of recovery, but businessmen and bankers were turning more and more against Roosevelt’s New Deal program. They feared his experiments, were appalled because he had taken the Nation off the gold standard and allowed deficits in the budget, and disliked the concessions to labor. Roosevelt responded with a new program of reform: Social Security, heavier taxes on the wealthy, new controls over banks and public utilities, and an enormous work relief program for the unemployed.
As the war [i.e. WWII] drew to a close, Roosevelt’s health deteriorated, and on April 12, 1945, while at Warm Springs, Georgia, he died of a cerebral hemorrhage. (Franklin D. Roosevelt; WhiteHouse.gov)
Gideon Money will decry the sources I use as information on FDR information. The reason being criticism of FDR is still considered a moral evil by Liberals-Leftists-Progressives just as criticism and exposés of Obama are considered a moral evil. So am going to share some FDR criticism from respected Conservatives. Trust me I can find some FDR criticism that has enough elements of truth to sound credible but the polemical style is so vindictive that the Progressive crowd can easily refute the vindictiveness as Right Wing propaganda. Really stabbing on FDR is the website WhatReallyHappened.com which takes some evidentiary facts and make them sound like pejorative pros. That website’s post of the FDR Scandal Page is full of info that I know Gideon will dismiss as unsubstantiated information. If you check out the full link there is the appearance that WhatReallyHappened.com did a little cross posting from a Geocites page. Progressives and Liberals alike can be somewhat critical of a Joe-American free website posting exposés. Hence in all honesty I used the FDR Scandal Page as a reference to search from more reputable Conservatives.
Recall when I was examining Herbert Hoover that I wrote my Grandmother and Mother grew up in during the Great Depression. I shared the family that raised me loathed Hoover in blame for this Depression and idolized FDR for fixing the roughly decade long Depression.
The program developed by the FDR Administration was called the New Deal. The problem I have with my family idolizing FDR was more the result of a very effective propaganda campaign that simply did not match the reality of the statistics.
For 70 years there has been a holy creed–spread by academia until accepted by media and most Americans–that Franklin D. Roosevelt cured the Great Depression. That belief spurred the growth of modern liberalism; conservatives are still on the defensive where modern historians are concerned.
Not so anymore when the facts are considered. Now a scholar at the libertarian Cato Institute has demonstrated that (a) not only did Roosevelt not end the Depression, but (b) by incompetent measures, he prolonged it. But FDR’s myth has sold. Roosevelt, the master of the fireside chat, was powerful. His style has been equaled but not excelled.
Throughout the New Deal period, median unemployment was 17.2 percent. Joblessness never dipped below 14 percent, writes Jim Powell in a preview of his soon-to-be-published (by Crown Forum) FDR’s Folly: How Franklin Roosevelt and His New Deal Prolonged the Great Depression. Powell argues that the major cause of the Depression was not stock market abuses but the Federal Reserve, which contracted the money supply by a third between 1929 and 1933. Then, the New Deal made it more expensive to hire people, adding to unemployment by concocting the National Industrial Recovery Act, which created some 700 cartels with codes mandating above-market wages. It made things worse, ”by doubling taxes, making it more expensive for employers to hire people, making it harder for entrepreneurs to raise capital, demonizing employers, destroying food . . . breaking up the strongest banks, forcing up the cost of living, channeling welfare away from the poorest people and enacting labor laws that hit poor African Americans especially hard,” Powell writes.
Taxes spiraled (as a percentage of gross national product), jumping from 3.5 percent in 1933 to 6.9 percent in 1940. An undistributed profits tax was introduced. Securities laws made it harder for employers to raise capital. In ”an unprecedented crusade against big employers,” the Justice Department hired 300 lawyers, who filed 150 antitrust lawsuits. Winning few prosecutions, the antitrust crusade not only flopped, but wracked an already reeling economy. At the same time, a retail price maintenance act allowed manufacturers to jack up retail prices of branded merchandise, which blocked chain stores from discounting prices, hitting consumers.
Roosevelt’s central banking ”reform” broke up the strongest banks, those engaged in commercial investment banking, ”because New Dealers imagined that securities underwriting was a factor in all bank failures,” but didn’t touch the cause of 90 percent of the bank failures: state and federal unit banking laws. Canada, which allowed nationwide branch banking, had not a single bank failure during the Depression. The New Deal Fed hiked banks’ reserve requirement by 50 percent in July 1936, then increased it another 33.3 percent. This ”triggered a contraction of the money supply, which was one of the most important factors bringing on the Depression of 1938–the third most severe since World War I. Real GNP declined 18 percent and industrial production was down 32 percent.”
Roosevelt’s National Recovery Administration hit the little guy worst of all, Powell writes. In 1934, Jacob Maged, a 49-year-old immigrant, was fined and jailed three months for charging 35 cents to press a suit rather rather (sic) than 40 cents mandated by the Fed’s dry cleaning code. The NRA was later ruled unconstitutional. To raise farm prices, Roosevelt’s farm policy plowed under 10 million acres of cultivated land, preventing wheat, corn and other crops from reaching the hungry. Hog farmers were paid to slaughter about 6 million young hogs, protested by John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. New Deal relief programs were steered away from the South, the nation’s poorest region. ”A reported 15,654 people were forced from their homes to make way for dams,” Powell writes. ”Farm owners received cash settlements for their condemned property, but the thousands of black tenant farmers got nothing.”
In contrast, the first Depression of the 20th century, in 1920, lasted only a year after Warren Harding cut taxes, slashed spending and returned to the poker table. But with the Great Depression, the myth has grown that unemployment and economic hardship were ended by magical New Deal fiat. The truth: The Depression ended with the buildup to World War II. (FDR’s Raw Deal Exposed; Originally posted at Chicago Sun-Times [link dead]; By Thomas Roeser [Wikipedia bio] on 9/30/03; Posted at Free Republic by Cathryn Crawford; posted on 8/30/2003 1:59:46 PM [I know the dates don’t match up but that is how it is found on Free Republic])
In 2008 (2009 in paperback) Burton W. Folsom, Jr. wrote a book with a similar title Roeser’s review (entitled: FDR’s Raw Deal Exposed) of Jim Powell’s book written in 2003: “FDR’s Folly: How Franklin Roosevelt and His New Deal Prolonged the Great Depression” (similar PDF written for CATO Institute). Folsom’s book is entitled “New Deal or Raw Deal?: How FDR’s Economic Legacy Has Damaged America”. I realize Folsom, Roeser and Powell are people that express a Conservative view on Economics. This means my critic Gideon Money would cry ‘these guys are Conservatives and hence Right Wing propagandists and unreliable.’
The problem I have with such a cop-out criticism is that if you click on the bios I linked to their names, you will see they well educated with MA’s and Ph.D.’s. These guys are Academics that paid their dues in acquiring their degrees. Just because they affiliate themselves with Conservative politics, history and/or Economics does not make them non-credentialed. So if Gideon’s maintains the inept line of Right Wing Propagandists then that exposes his prejudice more than validates his argument.
Here is another well respected Academic – Thomas Sowell – who is a Free Market Economist that praises Folsom’s book on FDR Folly written at the often dissed Conservative Internet news site WorldNetDaily:
Guess who said the following: “We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work.” Was it Sarah Palin? Rush Limbaugh? Karl Rove?
Not even close. It was Henry Morgenthau, secretary of the treasury under Franklin D. Roosevelt and one of FDR’s closest advisers. He added, “After eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started … and an enormous debt to boot!”
This is just one of the remarkable and eye-opening facts in a must-read book titled “New Deal or Raw Deal?” by professor Burton W. Folsom Jr. of Hillsdale College.
Roosevelt blamed the country’s woes on the problems he inherited from his predecessor, much as Barack Obama does today. But unemployment was 20 percent in the spring of 1939, six long years after Herbert Hoover had left the White House.
Whole generations have been “educated” to believe that the Roosevelt administration is what got this country out of the Great Depression. History textbooks by famous scholars like Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. of Harvard and Henry Steele Commager of Columbia have enshrined FDR as a historic savior of this country, and lesser lights in the media and elsewhere have perpetuated the legend.
In more recent years, there have been both academic studies and popular books debunking some of the myths about the New Deal. Nevertheless, Professor Folsom’s book “New Deal or Raw Deal?” breaks new ground. Although written by an academic scholar and based on years of documented research, it is as readable as a newspaper – and a lot more informative than most.
Far from pulling the country out of the Great Depression by following Keynesian policies, FDR created policies that prolonged the Depression until it was more than twice as long as any other depression in American history. Moreover, Roosevelt’s ad hoc improvisations followed nothing as coherent as Keynesian economics. To the extent that FDR followed the ideas of any economist, it was an obscure economist at the University of Wisconsin, who was disdained by other economists and who was regarded with contempt by John Maynard Keynes.
… (FDR’S ‘RAW DEAL’: Thomas Sowell recommends new book exposing true nature of Roosevelt’s policies: By Thomas Sowell; WND; 11/2/10 12:00 AM)
The very first task undertaken by Roosevelt upon taking office was saving the country’s banks, which had shut down the day of his inauguration. … And by saving the system they meant consolidating the hold of the biggest banks.
Once the system was saved from total meltdown, Roosevelt and his “Brain Trust” initiated a variety of programs to convince the country that they could end the Depression. One such was the public works program, most famous in its later WPA (Works Progress Administration) incarnation, but originally known as the Public Works Administration, and which was originally proposed by some FDR advisers to work in tandem with the National Recovery Administration. Together the two would hasten recovery: the former would put money in the pockets of workers so that they could spend them on businesses overseen by the latter.
Says Schlesinger: “though the code authority exercised public powers, it was not a public body. It was, as [NRA administrator Hugh] Johnson put it, ‘an agency of the employers in an industry.’” The result was just enough renewed economic activity to keep the biggest corporations from going under. Thus Maurice Spector could write in the New International in 1938 that there had been no recovery in the sense of an expansion of capital, of increasing opportunities for accumulation, which is the norm for a recovering capitalist economy. Instead “capital secured its profits by restriction” of production, reviving existing production facilities to levels still below the 1920s peaks. In fact it’s universally acknowledged, even by the most ardent mainstream academic defenders of Roosevelt, that the system did not fully recover until the war and the associated meteoric expansion of production for war.
By his second term Roosevelt was facing a rising tide of dissatisfaction among workers and farmers, as well as demands from the ruling class that reforms be stopped now that the immediate crisis had passed. Roosevelt was more than happy to stop the family feud with the more conservative capitalists disgruntled at the “socialistic” nature of his early projects. But Roosevelt’s turn toward the War Deal wasn’t based solely on such narrow political calculations: he was in fundamental agreement with his ruling class colleagues that the country’s economic and social crises couldn’t be solved within the confines of its borders but required international economic expansion. And such expansion, given the worldwide extent of the Depression and the resulting manic search by all imperial powers for new markets and fields for capital investment both at home and abroad, could only be achieved by war.
Preis summarizes the switch thus: “The ‘New Deal’ proved to be a brief, ephemeral period of mild reforms granted under pressure of militant mass action by the organized workers, both employed and unemployed. By late 1937, Roosevelt had adopted the policy of propping up basic industry with government war orders, while cutting relief expenditures even though unemployment rose. The ‘New Deal’ became the ‘War Deal.’”
Once FDR had been elected, progressive-minded newspaper editorial boards, politicians, and pundits exhorted him to become a “dictator.” The revered reporter and political commentator Walter Lippmann, for instance, told Roosevelt in a private meeting: “The [economic] situation is critical, Franklin. You may have no alternative but to assume dictatorial powers.” Similarly, Eleanor Roosevelt mused that America might need the leadership of a “benevolent dictator.”
In FDR’s day, the term “dictator” did not carry the negative connotations with which it is currently freighted; rather, it signified the idea that a political “general” or “commander” was needed to take charge of the battle against the economic depression in a manner similar to how Woodrow Wilson and the progressives had fought World War I.
“The New Deal,” writes Jonah Goldberg, “was conceived at the climax of a worldwide fascist moment, a moment when socialists in many countries were increasingly becoming nationalists and nationalists could embrace nothing other than socialism.”
Many of Roosevelt’s ideas and policies were entirely indistinguishable from the fascism of Mussolini. In fact, writes Goldberg, there were “many common features among New Deal liberalism, Italian Fascism, and German National Socialism, all of which shared many of the same historical and intellectual forebears.” Like American progressives, many Italian Fascist and German Nazi intellectuals championed a “middle” or “Third Way” between capitalism and socialism. Goldberg explains:
“The ‘middle way’ sounds moderate and un-radical. Its appeal is that it sounds unideological and freethinking. But philosophically the Third Way is not mere difference splitting; it is utopian and authoritarian. Its utopian aspect becomes manifest in its antagonism to the idea that politics is about trade-offs. The Third Wayer says that there are no false choices—’I refuse to accept that X should come at the expense of Y.’ The Third Way holds that we can have capitalism and socialism, individual liberty and absolute unity.”
The German and American New Deals — i.e., fascism and progressivism — also shared the bedrock belief that the state should be permitted to do whatever it wished, so long as it was for “good reasons.” …
Roosevelt used the FBI and other government agencies to spy on domestic critics. He also authorized the use of the American Legion to assist the FBI in monitoring American citizens.
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was perhaps the most popular program of the New Deal, mobilizing some 2.5 million young men to work mostly as a “forestry army,” performing such tasks as clearing dead wood. …
Johnson and the NRA dispatched a large army of informants, represented by such diverse constituencies as union members and Boy Scouts, to monitor compliance with the Blue Eagle program in neighborhoods across the United States. “When every American housewife understands that the Blue Eagle on everything that she permits to come into her home is a symbol of its restoration to security, may God have mercy on the man or group of men who attempt to trifle with this bird,” Johnson said.
To further promote voluntary compliance with the Blue Eagle program, Johnson organized many military parades and Nuremberg-style rallies, where marchers donned the uniforms of their respective occupations.
The fascist mindset underlying the NRA’s authoritarian mandates was confirmed in the results of a study commissioned by the NRA’s own Research and Planning Division. Titled “Capitalism and Labor Under Fascism,” it concluded: “The fascist principles are very similar to those which have been evolving in America and so are of particular interest at this time.”
Soon after having taken his second Oath of Office in January 1937, President Roosevelt, in a conversation with a speechwriter, articulated his belief that the limits on governmental power that were enshrined in the U.S. Constitution were impediments to the transformative social and economic policies he wished to implement:
“When the chief justice read me the oath and came to the words ‘support the Constitution of the United States,’ I felt like saying: ‘Yes, but it’s the Constitution as I understand it, flexible enough to meet any new problem of democracy — not the kind of Constitution your court has raised up as a barrier to progress and democracy.'” READ ENTIRETY (THE PROGRESSIVE ERA’S LEGACY: FDR’S NEW DEAL; Source attributed to Jonah Goldberg; DTN)
FDR was elected to an unbeatable record four terms. A record due to blank Amendment inspired by those four terms. FDR barely got into his fourth term when he was taken down by a massive cerebral hemorrhage on April 12, 1945.
FDR also his share of personal scandals pertaining to mistresses and his wife Eleanor. I have run out of space and time to write about those here. Even in the 1940s Christian Morality was still central as cultural mainstay. In all probability if FDR’s tryst became proven public knowledge I suspect would have resigned. As I had written earlier I used the WhatReallyHappened.com article entitled, “FDR Scandal Page” as a template for looking up more scholastic articles. The first paragraph of that page begins the personal scandals as an exposé. A more even tempered of what is proven about FDR and Eleanor’s personal life can be found at the Scandalous Women blog entitled, “FDR and his Women”.