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Entries in Franklin Roosevelt (9)


US Elections 2012 Analysis: The Right's Fantasies about the Constitution, History, and "Americanism" (Crockatt)

A further consequence of the Right’s historical fantasising is that it militates against negotiation and compromise. If you believe the true faith has been denied and that only the true faith will do, there is no reason to come to an accommodation with your opponents. In the real world, however, negotiation is a necessity. That is true in the near-future in an America where the demographic trends are running against the Republican core constituency of white Protestant males.

It is recognition of this that could forestall confrontation borne out of fantasy, for seismic demographic change is a central challenge in American history which has been met on many occasions. On the basis of the Right’s grasp of America’s history in other fields the omens are not good but --- who knows? ---- realism may win out, despite the Sarah Palins, because it must to ensure the political fortunes of the Republican Party.

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US Elections Analysis: A "Game-Changer" for Obama or Romney? Assessing the 1st Debate and Good Numbers on Jobs

It has been a strange and unexpected week in the American Presidential election, with twists in the established narratives of the Obama and Romney campaigns.

First, the debate on Wednesday night in Colorado dispelled the Obama team's line that Mitt Romney does not represent all Americans. Whether he does or not is beside the point; Romney's performance –-- aided by the non-performance of the President –-- conveyed concern for the problems faced by everyone, nor just the "makers" rather than the 47% who are the "takers".

Then the job numbers released on Friday, with a drop in the headline unemployment rate from 8.1% to a more palatable 7.8%, spiked the guns of the Romney attack that the economy is just not working under Obama.

Are either of these a game-changer? With just over four weeks to go in this campaign probably not. However, despite the welcome job numbers for the Democrats, Republicans have had much the better week. Last Saturday Obama appeared a near-certainty for re-election; now those who have already placed a bet on the President will be silently sweating about the outcome.

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US Politics Feature: "Who was the Best Foreign Policy President?" --- Scott Lucas with CNN

Ronald Reagan amid the Iran-Contra scandal, 1986 (Photo: Dennis Cook/AP)

On Thursday, CNN's Global Public Square posted the responses of eight historians and analysts to the question, "Who Was the Best Foreign Policy President?" A majority named Franklin D. Roosevelt, but there was also a high level of support for the first George Bush (no one named the second one). One commentator named Ronald Reagan, a response matched by Thomas Jefferson and my friend David Ryan's selection of Jimmy Carter.

Then, at the end, I spoiled the party....

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France Audio Feature: Scott Lucas with the BBC "M. Hollande and The Spirit of Franklin D. Roosevelt"

After his victory in France's Presidential election on Sunday, François Hollande invoked the spirit of the US President Franklin Roosevelt as a guide for a French economic recovery.

So what lies behind Hollande's invocation of an American who led 75 years ago? And can American's New Deal really be applied to France in 2012?

Hollande's biographer and I considered this yesterday with Robin Lustig of the BBC World Service's NewsHour.

The discussion begins at 48:52.


US Politics Feature: The "Separation of Powers" is Crumbling (and Why It Matters)

When a freshman Representative from Louisiana, Jeff Landry, describes the role of the House Republicans as the conductor driving the train, not the cheerleading squad on the sidelines, are we meant to be enthusiastic or appalled? If a President were now to cede the legislative agenda and authority to Congress, how will the strength of his leadership be gauged? Is the American public prepared for such a sea change?

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US Politics Opinion: Getting Mad at the Supreme Court Over ObamaCare

It has been a distressing three days in the Supreme Court for liberals who, two years ago, initially scoffed at the suggestion of a constitutional challenge to the ACA. They have not reacted in with the consideration that they so often mock conservatives for lacking.

The reality is that there is a credible case for the individual mandate being unconstitutional. Condemning the Court, before it has even made a decision, is an evasion of the legal process --- whatever the eventual decision --- and it is poor politics, especially in an election year. There are alternatives for those seeking wider provision of health care, but they will disappear without an Obama second term.

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US Politics Feature: Those Wacky Presidential Challengers --- From 2012 Back to 1936

It occurs to me that history is repeating itself. Once there was an election where a popular incumbent faced odd-ball challengers as the American economy was suffering, when unemployment was rife and when those who did have jobs could hardly afford to keep themselves and their families.

From 2012 back to the 1936 Presidential campaign. By the end of 1935, Franklin D. Roosevelt had turned away from big business with the declaration, "They hate me and I welcome their hatred.” It was the politic thing to do, a vote winner. 

As for the alternatives, voters were given choices such as “The Radio Priest".

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Video & Transcript: Obama Speech to British Parliament "If We Fail to Meet Our Responsibility, Who Would Take Our Place?"

An extract from President Obama's speech today to the British Parliament, followed by the transcript --- we'll post further video when it is available:

Because we have always believed that the future of our children and grandchildren will be better if other people's children and grandchildren are more prosperous and free --- from the beaches of Normandy, to the Balkans to Benghazi. That is our interest and our ideal. And if we fail to meet that responsibility, who would take our place?

Our action --- our leadership --- is essential to the cause of human dignity. And so we must act --- and lead --- with confidence in our ideals, and an abiding faith in the character of our people, who sent us here today.

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Today's Washington Wisdom: To Save US Economy, Obama Should Start Iran War

David Broder in today's Washington Post:

Look back at FDR and the Great Depression. What finally resolved that economic crisis? World War II.

Here is where Obama is likely to prevail. With strong Republican support in Congress for challenging Iran's ambition to become a nuclear power, he can spend much of 2011 and 2012 orchestrating a showdown with the mullahs. This will help him politically because the opposition party will be urging him on. And as tensions rise and we accelerate preparations for war, the economy will improve.

I am not suggesting, of course, that the president incite a war to get reelected. But the nation will rally around Obama because Iran is the greatest threat to the world in the young century. If he can confront this threat and contain Iran's nuclear ambitions, he will have made the world safer and may be regarded as one of the most successful presidents in history.

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