[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book and be respectful of dissenting opinions. Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]
Host, Toby Wollin:
A president elected in reaction to the economic and political environment. A president hated on the left for lack of bold action and accused by the right of being a socialist. A president who appears to struggle with any sort of confrontation within his own Administration and who appears to have continuing issues with quality of staffers. A president accused of promoting class warfare and ‘uncertainty’. A president with a justice on the Supreme Court who opposes him named Roberts. A president with a wife who is, to many, as controversial as he is. A president and an Administration during a time when bold decisive action is required, but who seem to suffer from chronic timidity.
Obama or Roosevelt? Both?
For those of us of (ahem) a certain age, unless we took modern American History in college, our high school exposure to American history slogged through the colonial period up through the Civil War and perhaps the First World War, at which point the teacher realized there was only a month left before finals. The next 40 year period, covering the Great Depression, The New Deal, World War II, Korea, McCarthyism, Dwight Eisenhower, Kennedy and Vietnam was performed through something approaching the Evelyn Wood Speed-Reading™ method, and for most of us, The New Deal stands out for two issues: the WPA and ‘packing the Court’.
For all of us whose background in the period between 1930 and 1941 is not filled with rigorous study, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Mike Hiltzik’s book The New Deal is an accessible, detailed and moving account of people literally throwing anything they could think of at the economic wall to see if it would stick. And for those of us who have been watching with increasing dismay at the rocket-fueled efforts from groups and families such as the Koch brothers and the GOP/Tea Party to not only roll back programs, such as Medicare, but also New Deal efforts themselves, like Social Security and financial reforms; it is a very good idea indeed to dive into Hiltzik’s deep and wide-ranging book. In this way, we can grasp the process of how the programs which Americans hold very dearly actually came about, understand the forces at work on both sides of the issues, and attain a long almost parade-like view of the philosophies of the people and of the economic interests which threatened Roosevelt’s efforts 75 years ago, which re-emerged later, and which have now grown to monstrous size over the past 20 plus years.
I’d like to remind participants that Mike is our guest; please keep your questions on topic and your comments in support of the discussion. For those attending for the first time, if you would like to respond to another participant’s comment or question, please use the ‘reply’ button on the right hand side of the comment box.
Please join me in welcoming Los Angeles Times Business Columnist, Mike Hiltzik.