Inauguration Day 2009
& The Obama Inauguration... Is This
A Newer & Greener New Deal?
in our progress toward a resumption of work we require two safeguards against
a return of the evils of the old order; there must be a strict supervision of
all banking and credits and investments; there must be an end to speculation with
other people's money, and there must be provision for an adequate but sound currency."
(FDR's Inaugural Speech on March 4th, 1933)
Does that phrase
seem especially relevant to the conditions that face America as Obama begins his
term as the 44th President?
are definite parallels between the Obama inauguration and the inauguration of
Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933, says David Cingranelli, professor of
political science at Binghamton University, State University of New York.
a Great Depression
all the angst we feel during these unstable times, Americas current economic
woes dont compare to the ones FDR faced.
the Great Depression, the national unemployment rate was 25 percent, Dr.
Kris McCusker, associate professor of history at Middle Tennessee State University
in Murfreesboro notes, compared to the 6.7 percent rate posted for November 2008.
In heavy industrial centers like Chicago, Cincinnati, Detroit, it was 50
percent. In some industrial centers in Ohio, it was 80 percent.
& 2009 Crisis Factors Similar
the current deep recession is not as bad as the Great Depression, In both
cases, the new president faced factors such as rising unemployment and poverty,
and championed the cause of the underclass. The two new presidents inherited
an economic crisis caused by unregulated capitalism.
to Cingranelli, both Obama and FDR inherited domestic and foreign policy challenges:
FDR took office with the domestic and international economy in chaos and faced
rising global tensions that eventually led to World War II;
2009, Obama took office with the domestic and international economy in crisis
on the brink of chaos and faced rising global tensions the Israel-Palestine
conflict, the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the rise of Russia and China as challengers,
rampant anti-Americanism abroad, and loss of faith in America's ability to lead
by many of our international allies. The added factor of global warming and worldwide
pollution was not recognized as a problem in the 1930s.
both FDR and Obama, The new president attained office after a period of
substantial demographic change in the country and with the support of recent immigrants,
both cases, the previous president (Hoover and Bush) had very low approval ratings,
and his party was in disarray, Cingranelli says. In addition, the
new president proposed major new social welfare programs to help ease the domestic
to Cingranelli, political scientists refer to the election of 1932 as a realigning
election, partly because the election of FDR began a long period of Democratic
Party control of the presidency, which lasted from 1933-1969, except for the 8-year
presidency of Eisenhower.
may turn out that we will look back on the election of 2008 as another realigning
election in American politics, Cingranelli says. Magazine covers and op-ed
pieces focus on the new New Deal President drawing striking parallels between
Obama and FDR...
Obama & FDR
McCusker, says a one-for-one comparison is very tempting because of how scary
the recession is for us. Stylistically, its even somewhat warranted.
in some ways, is a new FDR in that hes got that eloquent way of speaking,
McCusker says. Hes able to use new media in really profound ways.
In Obamas case, its electronic media, particularly e-mail. In FDRs
case, its the use of radio and his ability to speak directly to his constituents.
The Same Says Obama
are others who disagree with the comparisons. Chief among them? Obama.
An article in The Economist states, "On November 16th Mr. Obama told
an interviewer to be careful about pushing the FDR comparison too far (no
period is exactly the same). He argued that government has a role in kick-starting
a stalled economy, but he also noted that America is a free-market system that
is characterized by innovation and risk-taking. He said that he would be happy
to adopt ideas that work, whether they come from FDR or Reagan."
sounds like a healthy attitude... one that would definitely gain the approval
of FDR. Obama will need to be open to ideas that work, regardless of the source,
to steer the USA back to solid ground.
article is based on a Florida State University press release provided by Newswise.
see -> Inauguration
Luncheon - A Feast Fit for a President
Person of the Year
FDR, AND DEPRESSION
between Barack Obama and FDR are misguided
merges Nixon efficiency, FDR, JFK intellectual confidence