Racism and the Left


Historian Jonathan Bean has a great post at Liberty & Power chastising Rush Limbaugh for playing defense against false charges of racism instead of going on the offense against liberal fairy tales:

Here is the offense: those "angels of history" on the Left—labor unions, Woodrow Wilson, FDR, and LBJ—committed some of the worst racist actions in our history. The Left ignores (or "contextualizes") Wilson's segregation of the federal government, LBJ's declaration that an anti-lynching bill was worse than lynching itself, or FDR's defense of quotas to keep Jews from overwhelming Harvard (where he sat on the Board of Trustees). FDR also wrote that interracial "mingling" (marriage) produced "horrific results." As president, FDR blocked Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany and interned Japanese Americans during World War II. Not surprising.

It is time for so-called liberals to give up the race hustle and learn their history. In so doing, they may discover some heroes of the classic liberal sort—neither Left nor Right—but committed to racial freedom and equality.

Read the whole thing here. I discuss Bean's superb book Race & Liberty in America here and the left's history of racist violence here.

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  1. “It is time for so-called liberals to give up the race hustle and learn their history.”

    Liberals learning history that doesn’t confirm their pre-existing ignorance and bigotry. Yeah, that will happen real soon.

    Remember, it is not the facts that count. It is the narrative.

    1. Yet again, Reason comes through with a wonderful idea! Of course, there are a few problems, such as the fact that yesterday’s Dems/libs might be a bit different from those today so tarring the latter with the sins of the former, well, it just won’t work all that well.

      The smarter thing to do (and thus something you won’t read from Reason) would be to point to contemporary examples. For instance, our latest SupCourt justice used to belong to a group that gave an award to someone who’d proposed genocide years before. I tried to get others to discuss that before she was confirmed, and at least Tanc did. However, no one else did, not the “Army of Davids”, not the hacks at Reason, and not elected officials.

      There are more than enough contemporary examples and the current thoughts of the Dems/libs are abhorrent enough that they wouldn’t withstand a smart analysis (or questioning). The problem is that I can’t do everything and the people I’m relying on to help, well…

      P.S. In case anyone replies to this, their responses will almost assuredly be ad homs, thereby conceding my points and showing the childish, anti-intellectual nature of libertarians. Dozens of comments here have shown that the phrase “fascist libertarian” isn’t an oxymoron.

      1. Contemporary examples are important, but history shouldn’t be neglected. The roots of the modern liberal lie in the progressives of the past. Allowing them to ignore or alter history to suit their beliefs suggests that facts are meaningless, or at least subjective, and therefore all that matters is “now”. It is true that a political party, like a person, is not necessarily beholden to its past, but the past will certainly act as an influence, and possibly as a predictor, of its future.

        Besides, if you hear someone compare Obama to FDR or JFK, isn’t it nice to be able to point out the former’s dislike of interracial marriage and how JFK cared not “for the affairs of Negroes”? It’s not a slight against Obama, but rather people who idolize without knowledge.

        I can understand why you would find frustration with Reason, or more accurately Damon Root, if you feel that history is not significant, but, at the least, knowledge of factual history is useful when confronted with those who use it incorrectly or insidiously.

        1. I’m only suggesting prioritization, with things that are happening now being far more important.

          However, if you want to wallow in the past, then here’s a challenge: get Reason or another site to discuss this 11/2007 Center for American Progress video attempting to tie yesterday’s progressives to those of today. Help them follow through by mentioning all the things they aren’t.

  2. It was also FDR who interned the Japanese in “concentration camps” – to use the Left’s own phrasing.

    1. How many conservatives objected?

      1. Surprisingly enough, J. Edgar Hoover objected. He went ahead and complied with the order, but he did raise the issue that it’s illegal to lock people up for no crime at all.


      2. I was just reading about Korematsu last night, in fact. In the 1980s, I believe it was, a legal scholar doing research (can’t remember the guy’s name at the moment) dug up a legal memo that FDR’s legal team had prepare, which concluded that it was unconstitutional to move the Japanese into so-called “relocation facilities”. FDR did it anyway.

        1. An MSNBC bobble-head recently introduced race-baiter Jesse Jackson as Al Sharpton. At that most progressive news network, the two men are evidently interchangeable.

      3. And how many liberals don’t think that the internment was a hideous policy?

        1. Now or then? After Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, probably not many.

        2. In 50 years from now we will hear about how the republicans hated the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. act.

    2. Isn’t it a modern conservative that published a book defending internment? And Lefties that flipped out on Malkin?

  3. Tsk, tsk, tsk…..
    Poor, simple Mr. Root. Don’t you realize that because Liberals intentions are pure, they CAN’T be racists? After all, it’s only those EVIL Republicans and Lib-tards than can.

    Oh – and John, you hit the nail on the head. Expecting Liberals to actually learn history….

    1. Zombies are often immune to learning.

  4. Sure, sure, true all that.

    But then, Abraham Lincoln made racist statements and Christopher Columbus was a genocidal nightmare.

    Should the racism of historical figures be “contextualized” or not?

    1. No. Lincoln was a racist and a tyrant, and that’s how he should be remembered.

      1. Okay, one valid, if limited, POV.

        And how about Columbus?

        1. I like Lincoln. Interesting, if flawed, fellow. He also could kick my ass.

          Columbus is a fucktard. I refuse to celebrate the anniversary of the Old World’s colonization/conquest of the New.

    2. Oh but of course, which is why we are told that there were no racist Democrats during Jim Crow. Those were Dixiecrats and everyone of them morphed into Republicans thanks to “The Southern Strategy”.

      1. Well Dems and Repubs have largely switched places since Reconstruction….

        Uh, what’s your point again? I missed it….

        1. “Uh, what’s your point again? I missed it….”

          That’s nothing to brag about. Nevertheless, I have some experience working with children with learning disabilities so I’ll help you out. The point is that the racism of historical figures should not be contextualized. Context is far to fluid.

          Oh, the short bus just arrived, fyodor. Time to put on your boots and hat. And remember – boots on the feet, hat on the head.

          1. The racism of historical figures has to be contextualized. The context does not excuse the racism, but unless you look at people from the past in their own contexts, then just about every historical figure from long enough ago is a horrible inexcusable racist.

            1. “unless you look at people from the past in their own contexts, then just about every historical figure from long enough ago is a horrible inexcusable racist.”

              Because they were.

              1. OK, fair enough.

                1. “Text, without context, is pretext.”

                  Jesse Jackson.

          2. How can you not contextualize history? Unless you’re claiming some sort of immutable and universal code of human behavior and morals by which all action can be judged I don’t think you have much of an argument here.

            1. Andrew Jackson, a forceful proponent of Indian removal meant well. Really he did.

              1. If you were a white unpropertied male at the time you might think so.

                If you were a libertarian at the time and opposed the rechartering of the Second Bank of the United States you might think so too.

                It all depends on perspective.

                We can hardly figure out what “right” and “wrong” means in our own time, let’s not assume it’s any easier to label the past.

            2. I would have to say whether you see a difference between “right and wrong” and “good and bad”. Contextualization is necessary to fully understand the past and it is possible to say that a particular action was “right” even if it wasn’t “good”. What that means is that in those circumstances, with those people, at that time, slavery was what they would have considered the “right” choice. That doesn’t mean it was a morally “good” choice, then or now. You could feel that a choice was “right” by their standards in that point in time, but “wrong” by yours regardless (or maybe you would have felt it was “right” if you were in their shoes). As far as I’m concerned, what doesn’t change is whether something is “good” or “bad”, regardless of the time period.

              So you could say that slavery is innately bad, or evil, but that during colonial times it was “right” in the sense that without it the nation may have been too weak to grow. That’s a question I can’t answer, nor do I propose it as a subject of debate in this thread, but rather as an illustration that contextualization is necessary, but should not be thoroughly subjective.

            3. How can you not contextualize history?

              That’s easy! We’re so much more enlightened now we’re entirely justified in supposing our particular morals and values are the acme of all history!

              Our values are the right values! Our values have always been the right values!

          3. Man, you’re an asshole.

            But no matter.

            Anyway, so do you equally condemn the genocidal enslavement of the locals by that monster, Christopher Columbus?

            Interesting that no one’s taken that one up yet (as I write this).

            Personally I think it’s ridiculous not to contexualize at all. If 95% of the white populace at a certain point in history thought other races were inferior or should be kept separate, it doesn’t tell you a whole helluva lot about any one person or politician (get it?) that he takes that position as well.

            And I assume this applies to plenty of darlings of the Right as well as to darlings of the Left.

            Oh yeah, I recall George Washington called American Indians barbarians or some such. But no, no contextualization.

            1. “Anyway, so do you equally condemn the genocidal enslavement of the locals by that monster, Christopher Columbus?”

              Why yes, I do. My Andrew Jackson should have hinted at that.

              You know, people talk about the US becoming more socialist. This country was founded on sociallism. It took land from it’s rightful owners and then redistributed it to the peasant class via homesteading. Really no different from Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe.

              1. Well at least you’re consistent. Good for you! And George Washington and Andrew Jackson and virtually every public figure in history before the 1950’s.

                Not a very discerning or nuanced POV, but consistent!

              2. Oh, Please. And in old England, Normans killed Saxons, who killed Angles. The Vikings were real nice to people in the countries that they raided and took over, too. Same kinds of things went on in France, and Germany, and Italy, and all of the countries of the middle east, and all of the countries in Asia – and frankly it’s still going on today in parts of Africa. So yeah some bad things happened to the Indians in America in the 18th and 19th Centuries – and we had slavery in this country as well – but it was no worse than what happened in other countries that were at a similar stage in their national development. We are just a much younger country than most, so it happened more recently in America. And by the way, since none of us were alive during the days of things like slavery in this country, NOBODY in America today is guilty of that practice, nor are they responsible for what their ancestors did.

            2. “Oh yeah, I recall George Washington called American Indians barbarians or some such. But no, no contextualization.”

              So you admit that Bull Connor was not a racist, but rather, a victim of his times?

              1. *shrug* It wouldn’t do much good to address what he did without considering the history of his times.

                And actually you make a good point. Technically, all these folks were indeed racist. But it’s just not a very interesting or illuminating point to single them out as such considering their times.

        2. I think that Kleagle Robert Byrd is still a Democrat, isn’t he?

  5. “FDR also wrote that interracial “mingling” (marriage) produced “horrific results.””

    That’s a no-brainer.

    1. I belong to a social group that will back you up on that sentiment.

      1. Bobby, you comin’ to the “bonfire” tonight?

    2. Eleanor was pretty horrific herself.

  6. Say what you want about Hitler, but he did kill a lot of Jews.

  7. Liberals learning history that doesn’t confirm their pre-existing ignorance and bigotry. Yeah, that will happen real soon.

    I gave up ages ago.

  8. I think this just proves the inherent racism of establishment politics in those time periods, rather than anything about political ideology. I mean I guess it’s a valid talking point if you’re a partisan conservative, otherwise you’re just talking out of your ass like a partisan liberal.

    1. No. It just means that liberals are talking out of their ass when they assume that progressives were always a force for good and conservatives a force for evil.

      1. Trying to describe the past through the lens of today’s political spectrum is assbackwards.

        1. Maybe so. But if so, tell progressives to stop doing it. And further, if you are going to hold up someone as a historical role model, be honest about their record. In short, stop pretending that the people you liked were perfect and everything bad about the past was the result of the people you don’t like.

          1. I agree John.

          2. And maybe that works both ways.

            1. Sure it does. Anyone who holds up Jefferson as some kind of paragon has to reconcile his statements about human rights with his refusal to give up his rich lifesyle by freeing his slaves.

              I am a big defender of Lincoln. But I am not going to deny he didn’t have faults. I just think the good of winning the civil war and ending slavery (even if that wasn’t his real goal) outweighs the bad.

              Why do people have such a hard time telling the truth about historical figures?

            2. I don’t think anyone on this forum is pretending that our historical figures were universally one way or the other, with regards to various human rights issues. But there’s a really vile tendency among people on the mainstream Left and Right to pretend that “Our guys were forces of good and justice, but your guys were racists and oppressors.”

              So the problem is that you say “it works both ways” but when it comes time for people on your side to either 1) drop the criticisms of historically racist right-wingers, or 2) admit to the bigotries of historical progressives, you punt.

              You’re not willing to concede that the historical comparisons are valid when they make your ideological forerunners look bad, but you’re also not willing to concede that historical comparisons are invalid if they make your opponents’ ideological forerunners look bad.

              If you would just say, “Well, let’s contextualize all of it” or “Let’s universally acknowledge that it’s a bad thing,” no one would have a problem with that. It’s the inconsistency of being partisan about it. Historically bigoted progressives were the product of a bigoted society but historically bigoted conservatives were proof positive of the inherent bigotry of the Right Wing.

              You can’t have it both ways.

              1. Indeed. The thing I find interesting is this. The whole argument/point of this is premised on the idea that you can think of people as collectives. That you can predict the character of the individual based on the category you place them in. So, for example, John, above, lumps people into LEFT and RIGHT and then assigns certain characteristics of his category universally to those in the LEFT column. The article, likewise, seems to think that because these people are part of one camp, the current members of that camp will accept/ignore their racism. However, most people now are not racist and would condemn those racists attitudes/actions no matter who was committing them. Someone who thinks FDR’s policies were, on the whole, positive, can still condemn his racist policies. Comfortably.

  9. But who were the people on the Right screaming about FDR and LBJ being racist at the time? Perhaps Taft, but someone of Taft’s integrity wouldn’t last two seconds in todays GOP. The whole country has moved at least two standard deviations to the left on race issues in the last 30 years. Pointing out “liberal hypocrisy” on race is meaningless. Most liberals were also homophobes in the 1930s. So what? Most Republicans supported protectionist import tarrifs in 1930 – should we attack all modern Republicans as hypocrites for being pro-free market? Only in an intellectual’s addled mind could “going on the offensive” against long dead liberals help Limbaugh. As if Limbaugh cares, every charge of racism only endears him to his core audience and does him no real harm. Are liberals going to flock to Rush because you’ve proven he’s not racist?

    1. The hypocrisy is not that your party had a sorded history, the hypocrisy is that you sweep that sorded history under the rug. Most Republicans will admit the bad things done in the past in their party’s name. Most will freely admit their party’s mistake in supporting protectionism.

      Not so the Democrats! They refuse to recognize any errors made by Democrats, liberals or progressives in the past. When they do talk about those errors, they invariably blame them on conservatives.

      1. Most collectivists talk like this.

    2. someone of Taft’s integrity wouldn’t last two seconds in todays GOP.

      I beg to differ. Ron Paul has lasted in today’s GOP for several decades.


      1. You didn’t watch the primaries last year, did you? Ron Paul was marginalized by every Republican candidate and major media outlet.

  10. This is a stupid rebuttal. Limbaugh should defend himself, not by charging his attackers with a similar crime but, by charging people who have been dead for decades with a similar crime?

  11. Oh come on! The issue at hand is Rush’s racism right now. No one on the Left today is responsible for the racism of the past. Are you for real?

    Historical purity of action is not required to prove that Rush Limbaugh is a racist. Pure ad hominem. Ho hum. More irrationality from “Reason” lol

    1. “Oh come on! The issue at hand is Rush’s racism right now. No one on the Left today is responsible for the racism of the past.”

      Really? You sure you don’t want to rethink that? Because if that is true, then conservatives today are not responsible for anyone who voted against the civil rights act. And there is no reason to punish white people via affirmative action. Are you sure you want to say that?

      Again though you miss the point. If the fact that Rush is racist makes him untouchable, then liberals need to exile racists on their own side. So, no more talking about how wonderful FDR was. He was a racist afterall.

      1. “Because if that is true, then conservatives today are not responsible for anyone who voted against the civil rights act. And there is no reason to punish white people via affirmative action. Are you sure you want to say that?”

        I’ll say that, while wholeheartedly agreeing with Ray Butlers (about this issue).

        1. I agree with that statement to. But, somehow I doubt Ray Butlers will.

        2. “Because if that is true, then conservatives today are not responsible for anyone who voted against the civil rights act.”

          Pssst… it was the Democrats that were against it.

          1. I know. But a few republicans were to. Didn’t Goldwater vote against it?

            1. I believe so, but I seem to recall it was for some tangental, technical reason. Imma gonna go look it up…

              1. Although majorities in both parties voted for the bill, there were notable exceptions. Republican senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona voted against the bill, remarking, “You can’t legislate morality.” Goldwater had supported previous attempts to pass Civil Rights legislation in 1957 and 1960. The reason for his opposition to the 1964 bill was Title II, which he viewed as a violation of individual liberty. Most Democrats from the Southern states opposed the bill, including Senators Albert Gore Sr. (D-TN), J. William Fulbright (D-AR), and Robert Byrd (D-WV).


                1. I stand by my 4:02PM statement.

      2. “Really? You sure you don’t want to rethink that? Because if that is true, then conservatives today are not responsible for anyone who voted against the civil rights act. And there is no reason to punish white people via affirmative action. Are you sure you want to say that?”

        Yes, I’m sure I want to say that. WTF? Aren’t you a little off topic? Aren’t you making a few assumptions?

        “Again though you miss the point. If the fact that Rush is racist makes him untouchable, then liberals need to exile racists on their own side. So, no more talking about how wonderful FDR was. He was a racist afterall.”

        I see that you are the one who missed the point. The point is that the racism issue surrounding Rush is NOT about FDR. It’s about Rush. Jesus Fucking Christ are you thick?

    2. “No one on the Left today is responsible for the racism of the past.”

      That’s right.

      1. thank you

  12. Why do we have to go to ancient history to show that the Left is racist? By definition racism means the belief that some races are superior than others. Affirmative action has two rationales: compensating groups that were previously disadvantaged and promoting diversity. Affirmative action discriminates against Asian-Americans; a recent study showed that “African-Americans who achieved 1150 scores on the two original SAT tests had the same chances of getting accepted to top private colleges in 1997 as whites who scored 1460s and Asians who scored perfect 1600s.” Asian-Americans include many Chinese- and Japanese-Americans who were explicitly discriminated against in the US for many years. They would be a prime candidate for affirmative action, however, they only suffer from it. Thus, what we have left is diversity, which essentially means promoting groups that cannot succeed on their own. And this is pretty much a definition of racism. Yes, it’s a nice, soft, patronizing kind of racism but racism nonetheless. It is really, really hard to be a supporter of affirmative action and not be a little bit of racist.

    1. Yup. One need look no further than Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson in order to find racists on the left.

      1. LOL – you beat me to that one. Nobody on the right is as racist as Sharpton and Jackson. Those two are nothing but dirt bags, who seek to hold back their own people in order to keep their “gigs”. Pretty sick individuals.

    2. Why does the left hate Asian people?

      1. Because they work.

  13. Imagine if Rush Limbaugh ever said that inner city black youths cling to their gangs, rap music and weapons. Or if he described someone as a “typical black person”. Or if he went to a church that esposed white liberation theology.

    I heard John Feinstein, a total nitwit leftist, on sports radio the other day saying that Rush was a racist because he belongs to a golf club that didn’t admit white people until forced to. Okay, but going to a racist church for 20 years is just fine.

    1. saying that Rush was a racist because he belongs to a golf club that didn’t admit white people until forced to

      Would that be the Idi Amin Palms in lovely Kampala, Uganda?

      1. That would be black people. LOL. Good catch.

        1. I find Feinstein to be full of himself.

          Do you believe his statement given the propensity of Rush’s racist detractors to publish falsehoods?

          1. Feinstein is complete arrogant name dropping ass. He comes on the radio every Wednesday here. I am surprised Tiger Woods hasn’t gotten a restraining order against him. And no it wouldn’t surprise me if he was wrong.

            1. I really find him to be an insufferable know-it-all. On that count, much like Lupica. I do not find Bob Ryan, though very opinionated, or Mitch Albom, or Jayson Whitlock, to be that way.

              1. Unlike Feinstein, Ryan actually knows a lot. Ryan has been covering sports for 40 years and knows about as much as anybody. He actually has something to be arrogant about, but isn’t.

              2. Probably because Jason Whitlock is a no-nothing who should’ve lost his job at the Kansas City Star a long time ago

        2. I live for H&R flubs.

          1. You must be livin’ large.

  14. “You know, people talk about the US becoming more socialist. This country was founded on sociallism. It took land from it’s rightful owners and then redistributed it to the peasant class via homesteading”

    Who says the particular indians who happened to control any particular piece of land at the time the Europeans showed up were the “rightfull owners” of it?

    The various indian tribes acquired their territories the same way every other group in history did – they took it by force from some other group that was there before them.

    1. Also, they didn’t always take the land. They bought it a lot of times. Further, lots of Indian’s kept their land. It is not that simple.

      1. “They bought it a lot of times”

        Yeah right. They bought it fair and square, always meeting their contractual agreements.

        “Further, lots of Indian’s kept their land. It is not that simple.”

        That’s just stupid.

        1. You clearly don’t know anything about history. There are tons of indian trust lands to this day. Indians were paid out and given entire sections of land that was except from local property taxes. Indian land is all over Oklahoma.

          A lot of Indians got totally fucked. But a lot of others didn’t. It is a long complex story and not the cartoon you are taught in school.

          1. “are tons of indian trust lands to this day”

            Go look at a map and tell me what pecentage of the country belongs to the native population. There isn’t a single reservation in the state of Illinois, a state that was named after the Illini. Here’s a link to a map showing where they used to live in that state:


            1. Not all Indian land is on reservations.

              1. Right because you can’t pitch a dead cat without it hitting Indian land.

                Anyone who hold the position that the Native Americans got a square real estate deal is truly ignorant of the past or else an ideology.

      2. I agree, it’s not that simple.

        Indians didn’t understand the concept land ownership, which often resulted in their failure to pack up and leave after we paid them for it.

        1. A lot of them didn’t. That is why they kept it in trust with the BIA, which created its own set of problems. But a lot of Indians just joined white society and did really well. It is a horrible and fascinating story.

    2. So you were okay when the Soviets sent their tanks into Prague in 1968 because, hey, everybody does it.

    3. The left, and of course Indian groups, want to paint these folks as peace-loving people living in harmony. In reality they fought agaisnt each other just as much as the people of Europe did in the middle ages, took slaves, raped and killed populations that they defeated in war, used hunting practices that were only slightly destructive because of their small numbers, but would have been terrible had they grown to much larger populations….I could go on. I don’t have anything against Indians – but they weren’t always playing nice with their fellow indians, or the white man. It was definitely a mixed bag. Oh, and yes, many white people were real assholes back then too. We are all humans, and behaved like animals at times. LOL – oh, and a note to the environmental nuts out there – humans are part of the natural world. So quit saying that what humans do is usually bad, and what animals do is just fine…..

  15. I owned slaves. And I had some fun with ’em, too, if you know what I mean. (Or maybe my brother was the one having all the fun. I forget.)

  16. Liberals learning history that doesn’t confirm their pre-existing ignorance and bigotry.

    You realize, I hope, that this statement is, itself, bigoted.

    1. Is is bigotry if it is true?

      1. It’s bigotry to describe the behavior of “liberals” based on the behavior of some liberals. When liberals describe “conservatives” as racist, they’re being bigoted.

        1. Generalizing isn’t necessarily bigoted. It’s just verbal shorthand most of the time. Bigoted would be if he insisted that all liberal always do it, or if he refused to give food to a liberal in a soup kitchen or something.

  17. Damon Root … zzzzz … FDR evil … zzzzz

    1. Alan Venneman … zzz…conservatives are icky…zzz

      You are the most boring an uninteresting commenter on here.

  18. FDR was soooo bad he was elected 4 times.

    1. Andrew Jackson was elected twice. Woodrow Wilson twice as well. So what is your point?

      1. They weren’t elected 4 times. FDR went to 11.

        My point being is FDR/Truman had something for both sides.

        They fought and won two campaigns in WWII, in short order. That’s the kind of thing that would give guy’s like Dick Cheney a hard on.

        Also did the new deal, which is the kind of thing that would give guy’s like Obama a hard on.

        While we can sit back and judge, the reality is FDR was like enough to be elected 4 times.

        1. He was liked enough to be elected four times. There were a lot of people who liked him. A lot of people wanted to do a lot more to Japanese Americans than just lock them up. You could almost argue that FDR locked them up for their own protection. Our leaders are always an expression of our society in some way. They are not just aliens who come down and do bad things to an innocent populace.

          I would make two points. FDR won in 1940 because people knew the war was coming and they wanted someone they could trust to win it. The New Deal was pretty discredited by that point. Had the war not started in 1939, FDR would have left office in 1940 and been remembered completely differently.

          Also, the Democrats tried to keep central planning and rationing and all of the wonderful powers they had during the war after the war ended. The people would have none of it and kicked them out of Congress in 1946. The Republican theme was “had enough?”. And indeed the people had and the Dems lost big. Truman won in 1948, but he won by running a nasty personal campaign against a weak candidate.

          People held FDR up as a hero because he won the war and died in office. The New Deal, at least by the late 30s was not popular at all. It was only later Dems re-wrote history and claimed everyone loved the New Deal.

          1. No John, the New Deal was still popular.

            It was the depression that was not popular, but most people still thought that the New Deal was going to save them.

          2. I’m a little curious as to why FDR was allowed to run again in 1940. We weren’t actually AT WAR. It was just something that appeared to be coming.

            You can bet that today it wouldn’t happen. And not just because of term limits.

            1. Hazel, there was nothing to stop him running.

              The 22nd Amendment (the two term limiy for prez) didn’t come into effect until 1951.

        2. Ah, but we know that there is not a dimes worth of difference between men like Cheyney and Obama.

          1. You might. I would disagree.

            1. Well, both men share the following:

              1. An intense craving for power.
              2. A willingness to do almost anything to achieve the power they so crave.
              3. A willingness to do almost anything to maintain the power the so crave.
              4. A love of the state.
              5. A love of the assertion and projection of state power.
              6. Spending almost the entirety of their adult lives in the public sector.
              7. Support of the income tax.
              8. Support for a trillion dollar military budget.
              9. Support of the progressive income tax.

              Those are just a few.

              1. Well, since you put it that way.

                1. Let me add that they both chose to marry gals with some gonads.

        3. and you talk about winning world war II and wiping out the fascists like it was a bad thing. As much as I loath FDR, I can’t say he was all bad. We won the war.

          1. Am I? I’ve never implied that. Your making shit up.

            1. My apologies. I misread your intent.

              1. My intent was simple, to show FDR had something for both sides.

                Didn’t FDR do the new deal his first term? If it was hated so much, why did he get a second?

                1. Because people didn’t sour on the New Deal until the late 1930s and he was re-elected in 1936. Roosevelt himself admits that he wasn’t re-elected in 1940 to continue the New Deal. I didn’t say the New Deal was never popular. I said it became unpopular.

                  1. John, the New Deal was popular. Lots of bad policies were popular.

                    Hell, the New Deal was still popular in the 1960s and 70s. How the hell do you think we got the Great Society and the New Frontier (not to mention all the welfare legislation Nixon signed)?

                    The New Deal is still popular. Why do you think that absolutely no popular politician will actually renounce it.

                    The one constant you can count on in American politics is that every politician who wants to get and stay elected will praise FDR in a speech about once a year.

                    1. The American public turns to the feds in times of great hardship, and they are thankful for the help.

              2. Of course you did, you keep trying to think I’m on team blue.

    2. In a way, FDR’s numerous reelections in violation of term limits is kinda scary-creepy.

      I don’t know if they had formalized term limits in the constitution by that point, but it was definitely well established by then.

      Really, and this was at the same time as Stalin, too. If FDR hadn’t keeled over we might have ended up with a President for Life.

      1. It is something to consider what would have happened had FDR assumed the presidency as a younger and healthier man. His megalomania ran deep that he always considered himself the indeispensable man.

      2. There were no term limits then. That amendment was passed after his presidency.

  19. Not a fan of the Dems/Left – But I will stand up for logic!!!

    Ah the tu quoque fallacy or “YOU TOO” or As I call it the “Bono” fallacy (b/c he was in U2 – get it LOL).

    The way to rebut the charges is to do just that address the charges. Not a parlor trick of look over there a witch!!!

  20. Thank you, james.

    1. Get the fuck out of here.

  21. I’ve often seen left-leaning acquaintances of mine get seriously pissed off when I mentioned that FDR illegally imprisoned tens of thousands of people for no crime at all, while George W. Bush only screwed over a couple of hundred.


    1. Other than get pissed off, what do they say? I am curious.

      1. Oh, they try to beg off with “but there was a war on!” or “but he saved us from the depression”. It would be funny it it wasn’t so pathetic.


        1. They actually say “but there was a war on”? Wow. I guess they just delete 9-11 from their minds and pretend that Bush opened up GUITMO for entertainment value.

          1. Two Johns, one cup.

            1. For the win!

        2. Funny, most of the left-leaning acquaintaces I know will loudly condemn the WWII “concentration camps” of the “Americans”. It appears to have skipped their minds entirely that it was FDR who was running the country at the time. I’ve never really had the opportunity to bring it up yet.

    2. Oh you really want to get them spitting mad? Point out that the Stalinist stooges at the time initially painted FDR as a war-monger until the the Nazi-Soviet pact dissolved and their marching orders from Moscow suddenly changed. Pete Seeger I talking to you.

  22. I would take you guys seriously if you had pointed this out during the past 8 years.

    1. Ummm…we did jackass.

    2. Ummm…we did jackass.

  23. “Political tags?such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal conservative, and so forth?are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.”

  24. My Negro Project was not, repeat, NOT racist.

  25. Saying one moral actor is superior to another is irrelevant to the question of whether that actor is moral.

  26. I looked casually at this site and some of the erroneous conclusions that were articulated and repeated. First of all, with regards to the immigration of Jews into this country, it certainly was not opposed by FDR or liberals. In fact, any effort to change the restrictive laws were opposed by conservative southern congressman, yes Dixiecrats, who stifled all legislation to expand the quotas for immigration. The laws were authored by a Republican reactionary Congress after WWI. The Asst Secretary State Breckenridge Long was a conservative southern Democrat, who behind the Roosevelt administration’s back, did everything to resist and restrict immigration. As for the Japanese internment, it was recommended by the Republican California establishment led by the business establishment and Republican State Attorney General Earl Warren and there was deep seated racial antagonism long established in southern California, not a hot bed of liberalism. It was a controversial decision, but we were in total war, the Supreme Court upheld the decision. Many believed and thought that if the Japanese remained on the West Coast race riots and violence would have erupted. As to the south, It certainly was not the liberals who lynched 1000’s of African-Americans in the period from Reconstruction through the 1950’s. Every time northern liberals attempted to pass anti-lynching laws, southern conservative bigots blocked legislation. As to Lincoln, he was great man, who has been rewarded handsomely by history. He still was a creature of his times, and in his time racial toleration and understanding was quite different and primitive. He certainly changed, knew the limits of what he could say or do about freeing Black slaves, and was far ahead of his time. Liberals were always at the forefront of expanding rights, toleration and leveling the playing field. Lincoln was able to fight a war successfully that enabled the slaves to become free.

    As to Wilson, he was a southerner born in Staunton, Virginia, and he never really lost his racial proclivities. But he was a progressive, and in many other areas he supported the expansion of woman’s rights and toleration of all religions. He appointed the great liberal lawyer, Louis Brandeis to the High Court. He also was a creature of a bygone age. As to the conservatives, of both parties, they were rarely tolerant or in the forefront of the expansion of rights. As to FDR being a member of the Board of Trustees of Harvard, the decision to limit Jews in the Ivy League came from Nicholas Murray Butler of Columbia and Lawrence Lowell of Harvard in 1905 and it had nothing to do with respective later Boards, especially since FDR had just graduated college. Prejudice in America had little to do with being of one political party or another. But FDR brought Blacks into government in record numbers along with Catholics and Jews. Never before had the ruling Protestant leadership been so tolerant. There were a mixture of liberals and conservatives in both parties up and through the 1960’s. But for sure it was Northern Liberals that pushed Civil Rights, and Lyndon Johnson signed the landmark legislation, knowing that the South would always resist integration and eventually switch parties. That is the record. No one is without blemishes, but for sure the right wing in this country supported the Know-Nothings, the Liberty Lobby, American First, Father Coughlin, Henry Ford, the German American Bund, and many survivalist groups that exist marginally in some of our western states. One can castigate many things liberals have supported, but you cannot white wash the record of the KKK and other hate groups that have been dividing America for generations and their support from the right.

    Richard J. Garfunkel
    Host of The Advocates
    WVOX Radio, NY

  27. another chock full’o Reason post- fight those libruls with double-reverse anti-negative racist mojo from the old times.

  28. The panic and collapse of the economy, brought on by the crash resulted in a massive deflation that President Herbert Hoover called the “Depression.” The New Deal, authored by Franklin D. Roosevelt, stopped the bleeding, but because of the severity of the collapse it could never resurrect the artificially inflated, halcyon days of the 1920’s. Of course present day business -oriented “talking heads” like to say that the New Deal prolonged the slump. Of course they have conveniently forgotten that the 1920’s made the “Techie Bubble” of 2000 look like a walk in the park.

    Many seem to have forgotten or have totally ignored the disaster that we faced in 1933. After three and one-half long years of inaction from the Hoover Administration that left us an enduring and unending legacy of breadlines, shanty towns (Hooverville’s), hobos riding the rails, abandoned farms, beggars, apple selling retailers on the streets, unemployment in the tens of millions, social unrest, starvation, and a net loss of population, as more left America then immigrated, we were mired in an economic situation unlike any in history. What we learned quickly from that era was that state’s rights solved few problems, and that the south, which was almost completely in ruins, embraced the New Deal with the most open of arms. State’s rights sustained “Jim Crow” laws which kept African-Americans, and white tenant farmers uneducated, impoverished, and certainly regarding Blacks, unable to vote. State’s Rights enabled a dictator like Huey Long to run Louisiana like his own private fiefdom. State’s right’s allowed workers, women and children to be abused by unscrupulous employers as wage slaves. Even with the great centralized power FDR and the New Deal would bring to Washington, it would take legislation like the Wagner Act of 1935, and the rise of unionization, decades to reverse much of the state’s rights abuses of both its minority citizens and its workers. Therefore without the enhanced federalism of the New Deal, the country may have faced a greater threat to its unity than even the Civil War posed.

    FDR understood the problem of regionalism, the power and the abuse of the “solid south,” and the feelings of conservative wing of the Democratic Party. He had made an effort to bring the southern and northern wings of the Democratic Party together with his efforts to rehabilitate the image of Thomas Jefferson. He had Jefferson placed on the nickel coin replacing the Indian head, had the magnificent Jefferson Memorial built and sought to re-cast him as one of the founding fathers of the Democratic Party with Andrew Jackson. But when it came to his policies, many of these same southern committee chairmen thwarted his efforts in the latter period of the New Deal. Because of their negativity, FDR attempted to purge many of them in the primaries of 1938. This effort failed miserably, and FDR learned his lesson. Later on FDR would need them to support Lend-Lease, and he traded their support for issues he needed against those he could not win, immigration quota reform, and anti-lynching legislation.

    The size of the economic cataclysm is almost hard to perceive. Even though the Department of Commerce listed unemployment at 25% many estimates believe it ranged as high as 36% and the most likely number is probably a bit above 30%. The amount of new capital financing had declined 95% since 1929. The amount of new building contracts had declined by at least 75% in those same years. The Dow Jones Average was off 90% since its high in late 1929, and there were 5000 bank closings since the crash, which eliminated nine million, pre FDIC uninsured accounts. US Steel, which had almost a quarter of a million full-time employees in 1929, now employed no one but executives. Schools in major cities and some states virtually shut down for lack of money. In the first half of 1933, 250,000 homes were taken over by the banks, and over 1000 families per day were cast homeless into the streets. This is what Franklin Roosevelt inherited on March 4, 1933.

    By 1933, business failures had risen almost 50% from the end of 1928 (109 to 154 per hundred thousand). From 1933 to 1935, only two years they dropped to almost 40% from the 1928 levels (62 to 109 per thousand). Unemployment rose from 3% in 1929 to 25% in 1933. From 1933 through 1937 unemployment dropped 44% to 14%. This figure did not include over 2 million workers employed by the WPA. As to the Gross National Product, by 1933 it had dropped from $103.6 billion in 1929 to $56.4 billion in 1933. This represented a loss of 44% of the total goods and services of the country in 3 years. In FDR’s first administration it rose approximately 64% to $92 billion. By 1940, with defense spending still only 22 % of the federal budget (from 1928 through 1932, defense spending represented an average of 38% of the US Budget), and 2% of the GNP, the GNP had risen to $101.4 billion or 4% higher than 1928! Because of the New Deal, hourly wages which had dropped from 58 cents per hour in 1928 to 49 cents for hour in 1933 (a drop of approximately 25%) rose 74 cents per hour in 1940. This represented a strong recovery of 28% from 1928. These figures are undeniable.

    FDR took bold decisive action in the Hundred Days, and fifteen pieces of major legislation passed. The hemorrhaging of the banking crisis ceased, stability was brought back to the market places, and the NRA which came out of the National Recovery Act was the first of many regulatory efforts which would eventually include, the SEC, the AAA, the CCC, the PWA and the WPA.

    The panic and collapse of the economy, brought on by the crash resulted in a massive deflation that President Herbert Hoover called the “Depression.” The New Deal, authored by Franklin D. Roosevelt, stopped the bleeding, but because of the severity of the collapse it could never resurrect the artificially inflated, halcyon days of the 1920’s. Of course present day business -oriented “talking heads” like to say that the New Deal prolonged the slump.

    As to the New Deal it has remained popular because it basically worked and brought stability to an unstable environment. That Depression era destroyed democracy all over the world. Countries that had elected parliaments or at least had nominally representative government failed in wake of the economic cataclysm of WWI. In the United States our democratic ideas of representative government endured. By the late 1930’s, even with the set back of the recession of late 1937, world wide events were catching the attention of the public. The emergence of a powerful and dangerous Germany, the Spanish Civil War, Italian invasion of Ethiopia, Japan’s aggression first in Manchuria and then in China started to change perceptions in the American populace. FDR was seen as a stable world level leader. But the country was overwhelmingly isolationist and becoming more and xenophobic and race conscious. That is why it opposed immigration, especially of Jews or Eastern Europeans. Its attitude towards Japan and Japanese-Americans or Japanese resident aliens was fraught with racial fears and hatred. American sympathies toward China exacerbated that hatred towards the aggressive Japanese warlords. This attitude would foreshadow the Japanese internment.

    Therefore the regulation of the New Deal, and the concerns over foreign problems and military defense started to take over the thinking of the public. In fact, the WPA and the CCC employment strengthened the physicality of many Americans who had been malnourished during years of the depression. The building up of public works, though both the PWA and the WPA all over America, which included airports, the railroads, the roads and the airline and the automobile industries allowed America to eventually become “The Arsenal of Democracy.” In fact, without the New Deal we would have never been prepared for the build-up needed to equip a modern army, build a vast naval fleet and prepare to win the greatest war in history. That is one reason why the New Deal is remembered with a high level of positive nostalgia.

    As to FDR, his leadership of America, the United Nations, and the free world was unprecedented. His military appointments were considered, by all historians, as second to none. He put excellent and sometimes controversial people, like King, Marshall, Leahy and Arnold as his top leadership corps and staff, and his support for successful theater commanders deserves and gets high marks from history. The next level of commanders, Nimitz, MacArthur, Eisenhower, Clark, and Stillwell were not all loved, but respected and that success translated down to Halsey, Spruance, Hodges, Patton, Bradley, Eaker, Doolittle, and many others.

    FDR was re-elected overwhelmingly in 1936, and faced a greater electoral challenge in 1940. It is true, if there had not been the threat of war, most feel that FDR would have retired. There was no legal inhibition against anyone running for a third term. It was just tradition. Most American presidents were elected in their late 50’s and the toll on their health was always an issue. But remember, no president had served out two consecutive terms other than Wilson, who became quite ill and disabled in his last two years in office since, since Andrew Jackson 100 years earlier.

    As to FDR’s popularity, on a personal level it was always quite high. On a political level the conservatives and Wall Street did not like him. But as to respect, he engendered high levels in every poll with almost every demographic group. He still remains to the seminal figure of modern history. James MacGregor Burns, the well-respected and renowned historian called him in his two great biographical books, “The Lion and the Fox,” and “The Soldier of Freedom,” and little has changed regarding that view. He was called the “Indispensible Man” by his idolaters, and later said in a well-known speech that there was no “indispensible man.” But to many of us that was just sheer modesty, and in fact, he may have been just that “man.” The world has never seen his type of leadership since. His premature death at 63 was as great a loss to the world as Lincoln’s. I am sure, as a student of FDR, that had he been healthy he would have served out his term, seen to the nurturing of the UN and would have retired to work on the issue of world peace and reconciliation.

    Richard J. Garfunkel
    Host of the Advocates
    WVOX 1460 Radio
    Live-steaming at

    1. Wow, you are a long-winded douchebag. Get a fucking blog or something.

      1. Pardon me! If you don’t like it, too bad! It is easy to be a moron when you don’t identify yourself. But so what! Every one in America has a right to be stupid

        RJ Garfunkel

    2. Wooah, we’ve been threadjacked by a “Host of the Advocates”, who apparently has a metric assload of time on his hands.

  29. If I had a nickel for everytime the left defefended Wilson’s racism…..well, I wouldn’t have any nickels.

    Stupid, stupid post by L&P.

  30. Why defend an obvious racist like Limbaugh? What does it gain you? Oh….bigot-leaning republican refugees. I get it….carry on.

    1. Historian Jonathan Bean has a great post at Liberty & Power chastising Rush Limbaugh…

      Chastising, defending, same thing.

  31. The comments of these Republicans speak volumes to the hate in their collective hearts.

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