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The two most revered Democrats of the last 100 years - millionaires FDR and JFK

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ruggerson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 01:21 PM
Original message
The two most revered Democrats of the last 100 years - millionaires FDR and JFK
Neither of whom were either remotely "working class" or "middle class."

We shouldn't be looking for the best candidate who is from the working class.

We should be looking for the candidate who best UNDERSTANDS the economic system in America and where it has succeeded and failed.

"I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil."
Robert Kennedy


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TwilightGardener Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 01:24 PM
Response to Original message
1. I have never believed that you have to be poor, or have "peasant" roots, to
do what's best for the lower classes. Maybe the fact that those men DIDN'T have to pull themselves up by bootstraps made them more sympathetic to the underpriveleged. Sometimes it seems the scrappers from the working class who become rich later are the worst--lots of Republicans like that.
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incapsulated Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 02:19 PM
Response to Reply #1
13. Yup
I judge someone by their actions, not their background.

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saracat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 01:25 PM
Response to Original message
2. But we can have both with one who was from the working class and
became the upper class by earning his own wealth.That is the perfect combination.That is Edwards!
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noamnety Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Why is that the perfect combination?
Edited on Sat Nov-17-07 01:29 PM by lwfern
Are people who chose to accumulate excess wealth for themselves in some way better than those who opt not to?

These are not my values.

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saracat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 01:33 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. OP implies it is not necessary to be from a working class family that the wealthy can
understand the sucess and failures of the economic system as well.I say that experience from both sides of the spectrum is useful.And it is important to have economic knowledge when attempting to govern one of the worlds largest economies. Just saying.I want someone who can make good judgements for the entire nation not any one side.
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noamnety Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 02:12 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. I think there's a danger
in putting too much value on one's ability to accumulate wealth, since it always comes at the expense of others. It's a big pyramid scheme, at the end of the day, and if I accumulate wealth, it's good to remember it's being accumulated from other people, by charging them more for my services than I am willing to pay others to serve me. I'm not claiming to be sinless here, I haven't taken a vow of extreme poverty or anything, and most of us struggle with that dilemma, but I'm saying losing that dilemma to an extreme degree is not something that should be held up as a virtue.

One can have economic knowledge. One can demonstrate that knowledge in ways other than personal accumulation.

I guess it comes down to how you define "good judgments." Does that mean moral judgments? Or does it mean something closer related to personal greed? It's possible for us to have a president who makes sound economic decisions for "the entire nation" while making decisions that harm the rest of the world. Trade decisions that exploit other countries would be a good example of that.

Let us examine what Edwards said. In an interview with the Associated Press, Edwards, who has made eradicating poverty and the disparity of wealth in what he calls "the two Americas" the centerpiece of his presidential campaigns in 2004 and now, was asked why he went to work for an international hedge fund in 2005. The former senator earned as yet undisclosed fees to consult with Fortress Investment Group, which manages approximately $35.1 billion in assets. Edwards answered that he took the job to make money---Edwards is already a multi-millionaire from his work as a personal injury lawyer---but primarily to learn about financial markets and their relationship to poverty.

Edwards was counting on the fact that very few American have a good idea what hedge funds are, so the absurdity of this statement would go right over their heads. http://nymag.com/news/features/hedgefunds />

(snip)

"Hedge funds are investment pools that are relatively unconstrained in what they do. They are relatively unregulated (for now), charge very high fees, will not necessarily give you your money back when you want it, and will generally not tell you what they do. They are supposed to make money all the time, and when they fail at this, their investors redeem and go to someone else who has recently been making money."

So how is consulting to a hedge fund going to be helpful in understanding poverty?

Well, you know! The same way working on an asparagus farm will help you understand high fashion. The same way working for the Metropolitan Opera will help you understand termite control. The same way working for Paris Hilton will help you understand string theory.


http://www.ethicsscoreboard.com/liars/0705_edwards.html
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bluestateguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 01:26 PM
Response to Original message
3. In any event, that was 75 and 45 years ago
and I have had enough of spoiled rich kids as president for awhile.
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ruggerson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. Bush is not a bad President because he came from a rich family
he's a bad President because he came from a family with bad values.
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dmosh42 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 01:44 PM
Response to Original message
7. I would agree on FDR, but JFK is a different category...
Having been a voter from that era, Kennedy had a difficult time getting any legislation enacted, other than the Peace Corps. However, LBJ did carry out what he wanted done. I would say JFK was the first president who was so popular with the video media. To prove this point, there was some writers who carried out a poll in which they asked people who watched JFK and Nixon debate, and JFK was the clear winner. Then they polled in many parts of the US where television wasn't used by many, and the results were opposite.
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ruggerson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 01:52 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. I agree to an extent
I was going to include LBJ, who was yet another wealthy President who did far more to help impoverished Americans than any other President since FDR. Unfortunately, Vietnam will always tarnish that legacy.

But, the larger point is that we shouldn't fall into the Republican trap when they accuse us of fostering class war. The qualifications of our nominee should not be tied to class - they should be tied to insight and empathy.
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Caution Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 01:56 PM
Response to Original message
9. And the working class has had no better friend than Ted Kennedy in the past 30
So what's your point? Being rich doesn't mean not having empathy towards those less fortunate and a desire to help in the political arena.

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ruggerson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 02:17 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. That's exactly my point
class or wealth should play no role in our selection process whatsoever. We have wonderfully qualified candidates who grew up wealthy and wonderfully qualified candidates who grew up poor. Family wealth, or the lack thereof, does not predict Presidential success.
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happyslug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 02:17 PM
Response to Original message
12. Most working class stiff do NOT have the time to run for office.
The KEY is who does the working class support (and that depends on who response the the needs of the Working Class). FDR was NOT pro-working class when he was elected, in many ways he was more conservative then Clinton, but the times requires a push to the left and FDR went with that Push. I like to point out his "Pittsburgh" Speed of 1932. In that speech he made several promises. In 1936 the GOP brought up those promises and said FDR had NOT fulfilled them. FDR asked his speech writer to get the speech and prepare a speech how FDR had fulfilled his promises made in the 1932 Pittsburgh Speech. The writer re-read the Speech, and returned to FDR and said the best response was to claim He never made the speech. FDR HAD broken every promise in that Speech, and this breach was punished by the American People by him only winning 46 out of 48 states.

The reason for the Speech, is the Democratic Congress FORCED through reforms, that FDR dare not oppose and occasionally overruled FDR (For example FDR vetoed Congresses granting of the Bonus promised WWI in 1936, even through it was NOT to be paid till 1948, Congress over-ruled that Veto, one of the few FDR vetoes over ridden). Congress passed laws that had been proposed since the 1890s on financial fraud (Forming the Security and Exchange Commission for example), strengthen other agencies (Including the Federal Reserve) to better regulate business. Strengthening offsetting groups to business (For example the Federal Labor Relations Board was formed, so that Labor will no longer be subject to Court issuing injections, Courts could still issue injunctions but business first had to go through the Labor Relations Board and show they were negotiating in good faith).

My point is it was CONGRESS as while as FDR that did the Reforms, FDR tended to lead Congress, but when FDR did not go far enough, Congress would over rule FDR. By the time of WWII, FDR had changed, do to the changes he and Congress had made, he found himself much more to the left then he was in 1932. Thus during WWII he asked for and received from Congress very high top marginal tax rates (94%, through long term investment was subject to a 50% Capital Gains Valuation).

JFK was much less liberal than FDR was in FDR's later term. During the Civil Rights Movement, JFK did call into Federal Service several States National Guard during times when it was feared the Governor's of those states whose Guard was called up would call them up to suppress Civil Rights marches. On the other hand, JFK did the same thing FDR did on Civil Rights, said the Right things (Both JFK and FDR opposed segregation) but did NOTHING to end it. JFK did come up with the Peace Corp (Which had originally been formed, under a different and less effective name, by Truman, but that earlier effort had been killed by the GOP when Eisenhower was elected). When in the Senate, the person in the Senate considered to have the nearest political outlook of JFK was Nixon. JFK's VP was way to the left the JFK on most items, including Civil Rights. There is a memo from Robert Kennedy to the Government of Sweden (I believe, I am doing this from memory) that told the Swedish Government that LBJ did NOT speak for the US Government, when LBJ went to Sweden on a State Visit. LBJ's only real duty under JFK was to head JFK's Civil Rights Board. A board LBJ used to point out problems with Civil Rights in the US, something JFK did not want LBJ to do (and JFK appointed LBJ to the Civil Rights Board given that LBJ was from Texas and had previously opposed various Civil Rights acts when LBJ had been the Senator from Texas).

LBJ, was also from a well to do family, not the 1% of the people who control more of the wealth of this country than any other group (As did JFK and FDR) but the upper middle Class just below that Super rich group. As a group this Upper Middle Class has more power than any other group, it is roughly 20-30 % of the population and controls almost as much wealth as the top 1% The Working Class is about 50% of the population but has a lot less money, 10% of the country is truly poor, they lack of wealth and low population tend to make them politically irrelevant except as a base both the Working Class and Upper Middle Class fear i.e. Laws are often pass to protect the poor, but such laws tend to be enforced and supported if the laws tend to protect the other groups also).

It was LBJ, after he became President that forced through Congress the Civil Rights Act of 1964, The Voting Rights act of 1965, and his Great Society programs. Some of these reforms were not passed till Nixon was President, but the push started with LBJ, this includes the Occupations and Safety administration, passed over Nixon's Veto, Supplemental Security Income, more commonly called SSI, The passing of the First Federal aid to public Schools (Which included a restricts that no money could go to Segregated Schools, this really killed segregation more than any other law) and strengthening of the EPA to help the Environment. All do what CONGRESS wanted, under the leadership of LBJ in the late 1960s, and under Nixon from the remains of his administration which tended to survive till Nixon's Second term.

While JFK made liberal Speeches, FDR followed the Country to the left, the most liberal President was LBJ and he was stuck with Vietnam (Which he did not want to go into, but could not afford to leave fall to the Communists for the GOP would have used that "defeat" as grounds to get back in power and kill LBJ's Reforms). Vietnam cost the US a lot, a cost incurred do to the GOP willingness to use it as a Political weapon to get back in power. People forget, the first troop withdraw was done by LBJ after General Westmoreland told LBJ Westmoreland needed more men after the Tet offensive of 1968 (The growing opposition to the war, permitted the withdraw even through LBJ technically stayed in favor of the war). The final withdraw was done by Congress in 1973 when Congress passed a law forbidding any US troops in Southeast Asia. The GOP used the Subsequent fall of South Vietnam as part of their Campaign to "Strengthen" America, which ended up with Reagan in 1980. LBJ saw this coming and tried to prevent it, it cost him the Presidency and his health (He died in 1973). LBj's programs have been under attack ever since by the GOP, for the GOP hates those liberal programs LBJ and Congress passed between 1964 and 1980 then anything else.

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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 02:50 PM
Response to Original message
14. That was from another era....where both felt they had 'responsibilities.'
Haven't seen many of those types around recently... They were the exception of the very wealthy...not the norm..
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Cameron27 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 02:56 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. That's exactly right,
For everything wrong that Joe Kennedy (elder)did, he at least taught his kids about civic responsibility. John and Bobby learned about emphathy on their own, and I think Ted picked it up from them.
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