The National Whig

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Monday, June 25, 2007

FDR's True Legacy

There is a new book hitting the shelves about FDR and the thirties by a former Wall Street Journal editorialist by the name of Amity Shlaes titled The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression. Mr. John Updike takes up the task of reviewing the book for the liberal New Yorker and he makes no bones about what he thinks of this book.

He begins by poking fun at Ms. Shlaes by saying that, "Where the words 'new history' appear, revisionism will follow." By this he means to say that any one taking a look at the history of the New Deal better mention how great it and its founder were or else it will be rediculed as hack revisionism. What Shlaes does however is not revisionism, it is rather a rebuke of the New Deal using the basic tenets of economics. Shlaes writes that deflation was the real culprit in the Depression not the stock market crash of 1929, as well as the Smoot-Hawley tariff. She also states that extraordinarily high taxes strangled any attempt by the private sector to recover. These ideas are not the rantings of a mad capitalist, but an assessment of an honest economist who's views are supported by another book dealing with the same subject by Jim Powell titled FDR's Folly. Updike's only rebuke to this is the mocking suggestion that "[b]usiness knows best."

Updike wraps up his little diatribe by explaining that Shlaes would have been better served if it included some "real" life stories from people who suffered through the Depression. He notes a story related in an earlier book from the 70's about a young girl standing in a soupline hoping to get her bucket dunked far enough into a vat of soup so as to get some meat and patatos just to be denied. And then he argues the real reason why FDR should be held up as the second coming: "Roosevelt made such people feel less alone. The impression of recovery—the impression that a President was bending the old rules and, drawing upon his own courage and flamboyance in adversity and illness, stirring things up on behalf of the down-and-out—mattered more than any miscalculations in the moot mathematics of economics." So you see, the "down-and-out" weren't looking for economic recovery, no, they were looking for symbolism and a feeling that some one in Washington cared. One thing is certain, had I been living through the Depression and all I was given was symbolism rather than the means to provide for my family, I would have died on the White House lawn from starvation while trying to find the SOB that was the symbol.

FDR definitely has my respect in that he fought and won World War II, but his domestic legacy is a sham built upon quicksand. Rather than solving the problem wrought by the Depression, FDR simply prolonged the problem and thus created the sentiment that we are still dealing with today. FDR created within the American culture a sense that Washington has to show "caring" for the people's concerns in order to get any credit for accomplishments. This is why, in the 2000 Presidential campaign, then-Governor George W. Bush coined the phrase "Compassionate Conservatism" thus sounding the end to the Reagan Revolution.

If you wish to read Updike's piece go here:

For a piece by Ms. Shlaes go here:,filter.all/pub_detail.asp

Stalinism Revised

The US Left are currently working on a plan to destroy talk radio because of its perceived imbalance towards Conservatism. The plan is to revise a little known regulation that is known as The Fairness Doctrine which basically tells radio stations that if they are going to air "controversial" material, they have to provide both sides of the issue equal time. This seems innocent and, well, reasonable right? The problem that it poses is that program directors at radio stations will simply stop airing "controversial" issues. Long story short, instead of programming that has garnered enormous ratings and raked in tremendous revenue for radio stations on the AM side of the dial, the listeners will get the best recipe for patato salad.

Now, why should this shock those of you out there who do not listen to, let alone care about, AM talk radio? The answer is quite simple, if not a little to simple to believe. Your politcal voice will be threatened. Now I am not saying that all of you reading this are Conservatives who listen to talk radio. What I am saying is that if a political party sees fit to attack one forum because of criticism, what is going to stop it from attacking all forums that level criticism? The Left in this country want power, and they won it in 2006 and they stand poised to win even more in 2008. After being out of power in Congress for twelve years and the White House for eight, there is no naivety about them playing by the rules when it comes to opposition. They are not going to let go of this newly found power willingly. They celebrate the silencing of the opposition's views.

When Venezuela's dictator Hugo Chavez closed down an opposition TV station, many Leftists here in the US silently cheered. In fact LA Times columnist Bart Jones explained the tyranical actions of Chavez as being a reaction to the station's support of the 2002 attempt to oust him out of power. (,0,1061242.story?coll=la-opinion-center) Mr. Jones's account of the closing of the station is replete with reasons why this station had to go, chief among them being a privately owned station that made it its goal to oust a "democratically" elected president. But take a look around the landscape inwhich Liberals find their heros: The Soviet Union, Cuba, to some extent Iran, and now, Venezuela. All of these governments either did (in the case of the USSR) or do oppress their sources of journalism. Any outburst against the regime will lead to the outlet being shut down and possibly worse for the individual journalist.

Nowadays, a Liberal front group posing as non-partisan, The Center for American Progess, which is ran by Mr. John Podesta, President Clinton's former chief of staff, is putting forth "research" detailing the bias of talk radio and how to deal with it. There are numerous flaws in this study however, beginning with the opening paragraph of their summary. They begin by stating that radio is the number one forum for entertainment for people ages 12 and older. This may well be true, but they can't seriously be listening to talk radio. The number one talk radio host, Rush Limbaugh, gets a weekly total of 20 million people and the number two host, Sean Hannity, gets most of his audience from Limbaugh. The total of the 12 and older crowd listening to radio are not listening to talk radio. They are listening to FM radio which plays music and by the way airs many Leftist views. There is a reason why Limbaugh jokingly calls Liberals "dope smoking, maggot infested, FM types." Next up they mention that talk radio reaches 50 million people through the course of a week. Well, we know that 20 million of those are more than likely listening to Rush Limbaugh. The other 30 million people could be listening to any other host on the air. NPR gets a little bit of that 30 million, sports radio gets some and hispanic talk radio, I'm sure, rounds out the rest of the crowd. (

The reason for the efforts by Liberals to silence talk radio can be summed up in two words: Rush Limbaugh. He has been the thorn in the side of Liberals since he came on the air in 1988-89. At first, he was looked at as a novelty, something that will eventually go away. But he didn't. Then the Left decided to compete with Jim Hightower, Mario Cuomo and Air America. All of these competitors were retired to the ash heap of history. The only sure fire way the Left has in beating Limbaugh is through government and using laws and regulations to shut him down. Conservatives have to ask themselves if they are going sit idly by and let this happen. Liberals, who would actually cheer the demise of Rush Limbaugh, have to ask themselves when will it be their turn. True, the Democrat Party is the house of Liberalism, but stepping out of line within that house can get you thrown out. If you think that your Liberalism will save you from the wrath of the Democrat Party, go ask Ralph Nader how he is treated in the cocktail-party circuit. Since 2000, his daring attempt to be president and as such the demise of Al Gore, he hasn't been looked at in a glowing light by the Democrat Pary apparatus. By the way, if you are wondering how Rush got on the air, think about this: The Fairness Doctrin was repealed by President Reagan in 1987. If you don't like Conservative talk radio, then turn the dial. It's just that simple.