Tuesday, April 3, 2012

"They are unanimous in their hatred of me, and I welcome their hatred"


  1. Talk about an over-inflated ego.

    These days these sorts of self-aggrandizing statements by politicos are way more avoidable because of the diversity of media.

  2. Daniel, I presumed FDR wouldn't be your kind of guy.

    You seem to be pro-republic and pro-constitutional-governance, so here is one disconnect.

    In a standard constitutional republic, the prime leader has no power outside what his legislature allows him to have, and he strictly follows the mandate that the legislature gives to him. If he has an agenda of his own, he sends it for review to the legislature, who send it back to him with their preferences.

    FDR, however, tried to fight against his legislature. When he encountered resistance, he built a cult of personality around himself and used radio chat shows and the general media against his legislative opponents until public pressure caused them to crumble. He spoke directly to the general public over the heads of the elected representatives when his proposals failed to get immediate approval. In other words, he acted like he was an absolute term limit monarch, and not a constitutionally limited office with a strictly defined purpose. He saw himself a self-appointed executor of the will of the people rather than an official who follows and interprets the demands of Congress and Senate. His actions against the Supreme Court also undermined rule of law.

    So yeah, for a liberal republican such as yourself, FDR seems the anti-thesis of what you presumably want in a President.

    After all, did Keynes not say politicians are interpreters and not masters of people's fate?

  3. Prateek: It is really hard to square FDR's efforts to centralize as much power as possible in the Presidency with the exalted notions many people have of him; of course that was a time when centralizing power in bureaucracies was considered "modern" and in vogue throughout much of the planet. Indeed, the fact that he became de facto President for Life by breaking Washington's rule of not seeking more than two terms in office ought to really give one pause - term limiting the President is a very good thing.


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