Obama and FDR Power Grabs: Déjà Vu All Over Again

Today's progressives would like us to believe that they are the forward-looking, advanced thinkers of our day.  Taken in the context of history, to quote the famous baseball player Yogi Berra, "this is like déjà vu all over again."

Franklin Delano Roosevelt had certain progressive individuals from academia surrounding him that acted as the driving force of his New Deal.  These advisors became known as the Brain Trust.  Likewise, our current president is considered by many, and certainly by himself, as an advanced academic.  Mr. Obama has surrounded himself with like-minded progressives from academia, as did FDR.

While there is certainly benefit to well educated leaders, to a striking level of consistency the president and most surrounding the president come from the same cloistered pool of academia.  President Obama's administration represents a clique of progressive thought that is theoretical and lacks a level of practicality and real world experience, and certainly holds the unique value of Americanism in great disdain.  Academic, progressive control of the administrative branch of our federal government gives the same appearance of "déjà vu all over again."  

We have become familiar with measuring the first 100 days of a presidency.  This phrase was coined based on FDR's slew of "fundamental changes" at the beginning of his first term in office.  FDR's fundamental change represented a virtual overthrow of our republican form of government and capitalist economic system, in response to the Great Depression.  FDR's first 100 days saw the powers of the administrative branch of the federal government expanded comprehensively.  This expansion virtually consumed the powers of the states and of the people, specifically targeting America's capitalist economic system.  Reflecting on Mr. Obama's first two years of his presidency, we are once again at that "déjà vu all over again" moment.      

Louis Howe, secretary to FDR, expressed the philosophy of the New Deal during a radio interview that was cited in the Saturday Evening Post, in an article by Garet Garrett ("The Hundred Days," August 12, 1933).  Mr. Howe was quoted as saying that the laws being enacted "were leading where no one knew," that they were the "most amazing legislation this country or any other country has ever seen," and that the FDR administration had the courage to go on not knowing where the agenda may lead because it "wasn't afraid of the dark."

The New Deal laws were enacted to achieve an agenda.  The Brain Trust progressive thinkers were so smitten with their cognitive prowess that they had no concern over unintended consequences or consideration of "what then?"  Those issues would simply be worked out as they arose -- no fear of leaping into the darkness, after all.  Our current president and his administration have met the "déjà vu all over again" standard.  

America's progressivism appears to stem from the belief that our founding paradigm of America was incorrect or inferior to progressivism.  Justice William O. Douglas stated, "As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged.  And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air -- however slight -- lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness."

We are now the victims of the darkness.  A majority of our fellow citizens unwittingly led us into the abyss, clutching the ephemeral campaign trope of hope and fundamental change during the normal course of a presidential election.

The notion of a superior ideology, in conjunction with government control by those who hold themselves as superior naturally or through academic credentials, is reflected in our current government.  The current regime clearly intends to make the most of its power.  The chaos, the disruption, and the economy be damned -- ideology takes precedence over the country's interests.  As reflected in the quote from FDR's secretary, Mr. Howe, our current administration is not afraid of the darkness that lies ahead.

The Obama administration is smart enough to run the entire economy, the banking system, automobile companies, and health care.  Obama's appointees are qualified to regulate even the breath we exhale (CO2).  The Obama administration appears to believe that any issue that arises as a consequence of achieving the progressive agenda can simply be handled by the same advanced thinking that spawned the idea. 

For many Americans, there is great concern over the future of our country.  Economic and monetary issues fester and grow against a backdrop of insurmountable debt and high unemployment.  Not only have we ignored the existing debt, but most recently, we have put our debt on steroids prescribed by our health care practitioners out of a progressive regime. 

The health care bill is a déjà vu moment for extra-constitutional laws passed by the progressives.  One of the primary figures of FDR's Brain Trust, Rexford Guy Tugwell, was quoted later in his life as admitting that the New Deal's policies and laws "were tortured interpretations of a document [the Constitution], intended to prevent them."  The fact that there are lawsuits filed by certain states and others of standing regarding the constitutionality of our recent health care bill is eerily reminiscent of laws from FDR's New Deal that were ultimately struck down as unconstitutional.  We should hope that our current legal efforts result in a similar outcome for the health care bill.

America's economic issues reverberate around the world and add to the worldwide economic dysfunction.  The European Union's problems and the failure of Greece's economy are additional examples of economic turmoil.  History tells us of further bad times ahead if, as so eloquently stated by baseball's philosopher, we are experiencing "déjà vu all over again."