A Man of the People
by Charles Lemos, Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 03:19:12 PM EST
When on April 12, 1945, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt died in Warm Springs, Georgia, the nation's grief was overwhelming. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt would receive thousands if not millions of condolences but few more poignant than this one:
I didn't know FDR but FDR knew me.
That note, I think, encapsulates why FDR was a transformative President and why he was ultimately a successful one who is fondly remembered. FDR, who despite being crippled and largely unable to travel the length and breadth of this great land, still was able to intimately judge the mood of the country, to realize and reflect upon the hopes, dreams and aspirations of the nation he governed.
The White House, they say, can be a bubble. Harry Truman called the White House a "glamorous prison." Bill Clinton said the White House was the "crown jewel of the federal penitentiary system." William Howard Taft thought it was "the loneliest place in the world." It's certainly a tough job but if Obama is to succeed, I suggest, that he look at FDR and how he approached the Presidency. To quote FDR:
"The Democratic Party is the party of the people. I'm a man of the people." - FDR
It doesn't have to be more complicated than that.