FDR, Obama, and Oh, Yes, Opine Needles Got It Right on the Oil Spill!
Our rate of blogs has dropped since the November, 2010 elections. Opine Needles could chalk that up to many things; the holidays, work, family, etc. But the reality is the fact that the incandescent rage that fueled Opine Needles for the past year was lulled into a state mirroring a simmering sense of mere skepticism. The high flame of outrage has been turned back to low.
This, of course, is the very danger about which we wrote in our blog entitled “Stay the Course”. If the activists who got us to this point take their feet off the gas pedal, we run the risk of losing all the November elections positioned us to win. Perhaps it would be best to look at the challenge over the next two years in terms of there being an opportunity to claw back that which should be ours. The mission isn’t about winning, per se; it’s about restoring individual rights that should be revered as uniquely and intrinsically American.
The Obama Administration is not the first administration to fuel the fires of American constitutionalists. For at the heart of our ongoing national debate lie the quintessential questions revolving around the powers vested in the federal government versus those inherent in our fifty separate states. As opined nearly a year ago, this philosophical divide goes all the way back to Jefferson and Washington. For 220 years our elected officials have navigated and negotiated this slippery slope. The Supreme Court has often had to steer the discussion.
The presidential model for President Obama must surely be Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He remains the only President for whom a specific amendment to the Constitution was passed. (The 22nd amendment limited the President’s time in office to two terms.) Roosevelt’s New Deal created an unprecedented amount of new federal oversight. Agencies sprung from the earth like bluebonnets in a Texas spring. Massive deficits were incurred in a desperate attempt to stimulate economic growth. With the benefit of 80 years of hindsight, only the most liberal and ideological of economists still maintain that the New Deal was effective. The vast majority of economic historians now acknowledge it was an abysmal failure.
We can give FDR credit on one domestic front. At least his New Deal projects were shovel- ready! We’re still waiting to see something (anything) concrete (so to speak) to result from the Obama stimulus porkage-(pork plus package, for those readers who like to stick to details)
In a conversation over the Christmas break, a left-leaning friend suggested that we need to acknowledge the accomplishments of FDR. That prompted quite the discussion! Never the less, while we put FDR down as one of our worst Presidents in history, we cannot ignore his steadfast (albeit wholly deceitful and Machiavellian) management during WWII. So, for the record, let this be known! We were an insular nation in the 1930’s. Our mission (however poorly executed) was to extract ourselves from a prolonged depression. More than 90% of America wanted nothing to do with ANY problems around the world. Neither the rise (and external ambitions) of the Nazis in Germany nor the imperial conquests of the Japanese were of any concern.
The Roosevelt administration pursued a bipolar strategy. It lulled the American people to sleep with talk of American neutrality, while simultaneously setting the table for war on both sides of the world. Our lend-lease deal with Churchill and economic sanctions against Japan were not actions of a disinterested third party. FDR positioned us for engagement and only needed the catalyst he could use to incite the American people. The Japanese obliged by attacking Pearl Harbor. And we were off to the races.
Was FDR a good wartime leader? Arguably, the answer to that question is “yes”. But let us not forget that his legacy lived on in the form of a cartel of the “best and brightest” from his administration who dominated American foreign policy for the next two decades. And the 1950’s and 1960’s were not the United States’ greatest moments on the world stage.
In short, we can be thankful that FDR knew the US could ill afford to be a sideline spectator, watching disasters unfold in Europe and Asia. But historians who overlook the impact of his excessive and activist domestic agenda do so at their own peril. He was the first true limousine liberal in his class. He used his distant cousin’s (TR) bully pulpit model to redefine the role of the federal government. Henceforth, it would be seen by progressives as the tool for social reform and redistribution of wealth.
Now, to put this in perspective-In his first two years, President Obama has already created more new federal agencies than FDR did in nearly 13 years!
With the House controlled by the Republicans, we will see more and more covert activism. The President will use his control of his agencies (old and new) to pursue his domestic agenda. He will issue one executive order after another in an attempt to avoid Congressional battles. The progressive left has just begun to fight, and capitulation is not in its vernacular.
It will take a sustained effort and focus to build on the successes of our recent elections. One can only pray our elected officials have the vision and commitment to Stay the Course. In American Revolutionary terms, the November elections were our Lexington. Yorktown is still years away.
Lastly, readers may recall our blog about the oil industry “…in the Deep Fryer.” The gist was the dangers implicit in an Administration dominated by environmental activists, and the inherent threats to American national security through the attacks on our native oil industry. One point expressed therein was the extreme overreaction of our government with regard to the lasting environmental impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. It gives Opine Needles no small amount of satisfaction to see the government have to own up to its alarmist mistakes in this past week’s announcement. Check out this Wall Street Journal article.