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Need a reminder of our era's political deficit? Here is a glimpse (dating to 1936)

24/09/2011

While we are lamenting our leaders’ lack of political will, nous and courage, it is both helpful and a little sad to compare and contrast the politicians in charge during this Crisis of ours with the generation of political leaders whose spirit was steeled during the previous Crisis, that of 1929. With no further ado, I quote from a speech that President Roosevelt delivered when running for re-election in 1936. Read and weep while contemplating the infinitesimal probability that Mr Obama might say anything remotely like it:

“For nearly four years you have had an Administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. We will keep our sleeves rolled up.

We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace—business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering [Nb. referring to the Great War period

They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred.

I should like to have it said of my first Administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match. I should like to have it said of my second Administration that in it these forces met their master.”

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