Best Democrat in US History (Poll)
by Max Friedman, Sun Nov 13, 2005 at 06:45:17 AM EST
Tags: (all tags)
by Max Friedman, Sun Nov 13, 2005 at 06:45:17 AM EST
Tags: (all tags)
My understanding is no, but I could be wrong.
Small quibble, I know.
I love MLK.
The man was really articulate. They sound as fresh today as they did then. Thats why the right still hates him.
They are doing everything to cover this fact up, but its obvious to me that his taking the New Deal to the people in 1934 saved this country from the chaos of a bloody revolution.
Thats why I always say that the Democratic Party represents the voice of balance and moderation, the center, not the left at all.
Democracy makes both social justice and capitalism palatable. Its intrinsically based on balancing needs, on compromise, not giving either side everything that might be expected under their respective extreme examples..
And thats what gives democratic government legitimacy.
If we ditch the social contract, we jettison our legitimacy as well.
You can't have your cake and eat it too.
lets not forget the EXTREME BRUTALITY of the Japanese troops in Nanjing in 1937, killing by some accounts 300,000 civilans in just a few days in an orgy of killing that even shocked.. no, even terrified their allies the Nazis who were there..
I'm serious. If you don't follow, do a search on the phrase "Unit 731".
The amnesty we agreed to for Japanese war criminals we agreed to in the wake of the Japanese surrender was a huge mistake.. Now the tortured cries of the 'comfort women' for compensation are referred coldly.. to us..
WHY DO WE CODDLE FASCISM?
I also think that Wilson's WWI was the beginning of the warfare state. It was a very bad show indeed.
I would go with F.D.R., Ted Kennedy, and Al Gore.
In 2006 we are going to have a replay of 1940. In this corner is Prescott Bush, in that corner is Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I am betting for the guy in the wheechair.
Unleash your inner FDR. Teddy wasn't the only Roosevelt who came with a Big Stick. And if you want to be very afraid, remember that Eleanor's maiden name was Roosevelt as well. I love the Kennedy's but I still spell 'Democrat' with a capital 'R'.
Well, because those 'kids' are here on his account, and he inspires and empowers people.
The question asked here is whom the reader would pick as her/his favorite, GIVEN what he/she knows at the moment.
I guess the diarist wasn't expecting his/her wording to be examined this closely :)
But in large part the Democratic Party has been bent over since Reagan unleashed "Government is not the solution, government is the problem". And the ascendancy of the DLC is a result of that "please sir can I have another" mentality that turned its back on the legacy of the man who made this Party.
We are right on the verge of opening a whole big can of FDR whoop-ass on the Rethugs just as they don't expect it. Enquiring minds can check my diaries here or at dKos or check my website. The seventy year dream of burying FDR's legacy is just about to blow up in their faces. And I for one can't wait.
Using his skills of persuasion and calling on the legislators' respect for the slain president, in 1964 Johnson succeeded in gaining passage of the Civil Rights Bill. Introduced by Kennedy, it was the most far-reaching piece of civil rights legislation enacted since Reconstruction.
Soon Johnson addressed other issues as well. By the spring of 1964, he had begun to use the name "Great Society" to describe his reform program, and that term received even more play after his landslide victory over conservative Republican Barry Goldwater in the presidential election of that year.
On the economic front, Johnson pushed successfully for a tax cut, then pressed for a poverty program Kennedy had initiated. "This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America," he announced. The Office of Economic Opportunity provided training for the poor and established various community-action programs to give the poor themselves a voice in housing, health and education programs.
Medical care came next. Truman had proposed a centralized scheme more than 20 years earlier, but had failed to gain congressional passage. Under Johnson's leadership, Congress enacted Medicare, a health insurance program for the elderly, and Medicaid, a program providing health-care assistance for the poor.
*Similarly, Johnson succeeded in the effort to provide aid for elementary and secondary schooling where Kennedy had failed.
*Similarly, Johnson succeeded in the effort to provide aid for elementary and secondary schooling where Kennedy had failed.The measure that was enacted gave money to the states based on the number of their children from low-income families. Funds could be used to assist public- and private-school children alike.
The Great Society reached even further. A new housing act provided rent supplements for the poor and established a Department of Housing and Urban Development. An immigration measure finally replaced the discriminatory quotas set in 1924. Federal assistance went to artists and scholars to encourage their work.
The Johnson administration also addressed transportation safety
issues, in part because of the efforts of a young lawyer, lobbyist and consultant named Ralph Nader. In his 1965 book, Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile, Nader argued that many cars could cause death or damage in even low-speed accidents. Nader said that automobile manufacturers were sacrificing safety features for style, and he named specific models in which faulty engineering contributed to highway fatalities.
In September 1966, Johnson signed into law two transportation bills. The first provided funds to state and local governments for developing safety programs, while the other set up federal safety standards for cars and tires.
In all, the Great Society was the greatest burst of legislative activity since the New Deal.
I wish democrats could enact more programs to expand, fix, and create new programs to help out people. We'll just have to wait until 2009 for that, though.
That is the legacy, and it affects all of us.
And LBJ wasn't always a nice guy on a personal level. This is no secret.
But that doesn't diminish his legacy.
A bunch of segreationist Democrats we really didn't like anyway became Republicans.
We failed to change down here in the South.
And we paid the price.
Franklin D. Roosevelt: Great visionary, courage under fire, consummate leader
John F. Kennedy: Charm, strength, Marilyn Monroe
Lyndon Johnson: Civil rights, How did JFK die?
Jimmy Carter: Gandhian, noble soul
Bill Clinton: Great policy wonk, brilliant mind, blue dress
Howard Dean: Pure, Courage, conviction, practical idealism
Robert F. Kennedy: Courage, conviction, bleeding heart idealism
Edward Kennedy: liberal stalwart, champion of education, booze
Al Gore: Great visionary, professor, honorable person (+ hopefully a great future president!)
Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson, Harry Truman: History used to be my least favorite subject.
Andrew Jackson: During his term, the Supreme Court decided to recognize the Cherokee, who by that time had a written constitution and a Jeffersonian democracy, as a soverign nation. Jackon disagreed. He marched a division of the Army to the steps of the Supreme Court, and said to the cheif justice, basically, "when you get your own army, you can tell me what to do." He then kick the Cherokees off their land, sent them on the brutal Trail of Tears - a forced march from Georgia to Oklahoma during which countless people died. The history books tend to gloss this incident over and merely say he "expanded the power of the Presidency."
Woodrow Wilson: Got us into WWI (eventually), which tipped the balance in the Allies' favor. On the negative side, was a white supremecist who purged all African American federal employees and basically undid any racial progress made during Reconstruction, and cemented the Democrats as the party of institutional racism for the first half of the 20th century.
Harry Truman: On the plus side, finished the job FDR started and won WWII. More controversially, used two atom bombs when one would have done the job; started the Cold War by re-militarizing Germany over the other Allies' wishes (Stalin's direct response was to build the Berlin Wall); essentially built the Military-Industrial Complex that Ike later warned about by creating an unaccountable National Security State (primariliy the CIA). I actually think Truman, despite his good points, represents as much as anyone Where We Went Wrong as a country (ie the shift from Republic to Empire), but I'm probably in the minority there.
in defense of truman:
there is little evidence that the first bomb would necessarily have been sufficient to bring about japanese surrender. hiroshima was august 6, 1945. vj-day was 9 days later, 6 days after nagasaki. many on the japanese general staff argued for continued, suicidal defiance, until hirohito finally intervened.
as for truman's remilitarization of germany -- it was the least he could have done in response to stalin's refusal to allow free elections in poland, breaking the yalta agreement. don't go blaming the cold war on truman -- blame the autocrat who killed millions.
and on the military industrial complex... i mean, is it so bad to have built up the army in the face of a possible expansionist communist dictatorship? our disengagement from european affairs in 1919 was one of the direct causes of the rise of nazi power. let's not forget that the development of the cia put intelligence gathering firmly under civilian control, where it is less prone to military meddling (part of the problem with bush2). and truman INTEGRATED the defense department! and he created the state of Israel (and a Muslim state of Palestine). the GI bill. he stood up to the Red-baiters. he campaigned so well, he forestalled the election of tom dewey and allowed the democrats to solidify the New Deal. and he rebuilt modern Europe -- he may well have been the greatest american president.
Basically, I think if we had meddled less internationally, we'd have fewer problems. Remember Iran was a democracy before we stuck our noses in.
You can debate MLK if you want, but TJ and FDR are to American politics what Newton and Einstein are to physics. One invented it, the other did it better than anyone. The fact that anyone reading this has a living wage, safe working conditions, an 8-hour work day, and the chance to retire comfortably, we owe to FDR. (To be fair, he enacted into law what thousands had fought and died for for generations under the banner of the labor movement). Throw in that big assist to the USSR and UK in winning WWII, and it's hard to argue that anyone post-Jefferson is even in the same league, save Lincoln.
But I didn't want to vote for someone of whom I knew nothing about except for his accomplishments (i.e. nothing personal about the man himself). Disqualified JFK for same reason.
I was 3 when he died.
This quickly steered me to two Dems I honestly like, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton with Bill getting the nod for being a great asset to this country in so many different ways. I love to hear of his exhilirating receptions by the masses when he travels to other countries. Fills me with a ton of pride - as opposed to embarrassment and shame when our current nutjob goes abroad.
Bill, while nowhere's near a saint, showed the American public just what a great pres can be and do.
Of course, when the word "great" is used in reference to a person, MLK instantly pops in my head as well.