Democratic Underground

Why FDR Would Spit in Bush's Eye

May 5, 2005
By Slappy Jackson

Talk of reforming Social Security is all the rage right now. George Bush has dared to touch the great political third rail, because if we don't do something right-now-at-this-gosh-darned-moment-y'all, the whole plan might fail in about, um, 41 years.

I'm not going to debate that particular issue because I'm a writer and an amateur historian, not an economist. The topic I wish to embrace like the neck of a Republican senator is how unbelievably pissed I become each time Bush invokes the name of Franklin D. Roosevelt in any context.

FDR the politician did his level-best to get along with both sides of the aisle - but the historian in me has little doubt that Roosevelt the man would spit a big loogie right in Bush's eye if he had a chance.

At the very least we know FDR championed the "little people"; he didn't yoke them like oxen to the interests of the affluent. And what's more, FDR came from money. The upper-crust despised FDR for being a class-traitor, and he lapped it up like his five o'clock martinis.

And since I broached Social Security, let's get that out of the way. In 1935 FDR provided a detailed plan that was instituted by the Democratic Congress later in the year. George W. Bush can only sputter vague generalities, although he damn well knows people should be able to invest some of their holdings in a rich man's dream of staying rich.

The Republican party has the majority in the Senate and the Congress, but a detailed reform plan this year is as likely as me becoming Miss America. FDR would laugh heartily at Bush's lack of progress in "reforming" Social Security - and then expectorate at will.

FDR's words illustrate the difference between a statesman and a neo-con yes-man. Roosevelt gave us "nothing to fear but fear itself." Bush said he knew how hard it was to put food on our families, and he offered us wood. FDR wouldn't have let such a vapid knucklehead sort mail in his White House.

Let's consider some of FDR's other thoughts, and how they contrast those of our current Chief Executive:

"I have no expectation of making a hit every time I come to bat."

Has George W. Bush ever admitted a misstep? When asked to do so in the 2004 presidential debates, he said he'd need a few minutes to think of one. Can such arrogance be indicative of anything other than insincerity? I myself have made at least six or seven mistakes today, and so have you. FDR was man enough to admit the same thing.

"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have little."

Where do I even start with this one? As Watergate's Deep Throat advised, "Follow the money." Bush forced us into a war solely to enrich the coffers of Halliburton and friends. He holds hands with the Saudis - literally - and lets oil-company profits sky-rocket. He wants to save Social Security by letting you give money to Richie Rich to play with.

"No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country."

If it was up to Bush's handlers and their cronies, the minimum wage would be zero-point-nothing. Hell, it would be less than that; the third-world workers would get the shaft we so richly deserve in this country. The last thing I need to hear is another zillionaire corporate-magnate crying poor-mouth.

"If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships - the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace."

FDR understood that all countries didn't need to be like the United States to co-exist peacefully. Unprovoked military action against a divergent culture does not make you the Earth's sweetheart. Actually, it pretty much pisses everyone off. The generally loquacious Roosevelt would be struck dumb by this administration's foreign policy.

"Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth."

The weapons-of-mass-destruction line was a despicable lie. So was repeating that John Kerry was anything less than a war-hero. To say that FDR always spoke the plain truth would be an exaggeration. He did not, however, shovel the same horseshit until the people he served kind-of/sort-of bought it. Roosevelt left that tactic to Adolf Hitler.

Please, Gee-Dubya, spare me references to FDR's "wonderful" Social Security program that you wish to defile. In fact, spare me from any references to Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, or any other Democratic president who wasn't in it to benefit the already-rich.

If FDR was around, he'd lock his braces upright and hocker right in one of your beady eyes. You don't even want to know what Truman would do.

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