For all the tears that get shed over the beginning of the middle of the end for Mr. Luce's mag and newsweeklies in general, one obvious explanation generally gets glossed over: They are mostly written by conventional-wisdom mongerers who can barely finish shipping an issue of "Why Dinosaurs Believed in God" and "The Mother Mary Holy Water Diet" before rushing out something like this time-waster by esteemed historian David M. Kennedy.
It's old news that F.D.R.'s New Deal did not end the Depression….F.D.R. appreciated the irony that it was the Depression that made it possible for him to realize those larger objectives. It would be too much to say that he deliberately prolonged the crisis to preserve the possibilities for reform. But he candidly acknowledged the relationship between peril and progress in his second Inaugural Address, on Jan. 20, 1937….
President Obama knows this. Asked by PBS news anchor Jim Lehrer in February if he did not feel burdened by the several crises now besetting the country, Obama noted that the moment "is full of peril but full of possibility" and that such times are "when the political system starts to move effectively."
Roosevelt could not have said it better. F.D.R. championed a long-deferred reform agenda that put security at its core. Obama wants to advance another set of reforms that have long been stalled.
Given that it's such old news that the New Deal was an economic flopperoo and that President Obama is pushing a New Dealish-like economic stimulus package, you'd think that maybe Time would be interested in engaging the whys and wherefores of such things. Or in anything like a critical analysis of FDR and BHO. It needn't be negative or libertarian, but something other than idle idol worship might actually pull some eyeballs.
Check out Radley Balko and Jeff Winkler's great social-panic stories from the past four decades of Time here. But don't try satanism at home, kids!
In any case, what can Obama learn from FDR? Plenty. Especially what not to do during an economic downturn. Just watch below.