Miss McConnell: The New Deal Did Not Work
Mitch McConnell to American voters: "Up yours!"
One of the guys in the neighborhood is the first member of his family to have graduated from college. Now he wants to go to law school and he asked me to help him figure out which one to go to. One that he was considering is Northwestern. It was easy to show him why to cross them off his list. The chair of the Law School is Fred McChesney, an ideological extremist who teaches Republican Party dogma and right wing drivel as though it were fact. In McChesney's dark little CATO Institute world, the U.S. government is a criminal conspiracy whose primary function is stealing from those paragons of virtue, the banksters and businessmen. McChesney is stark raving mad and the fact that Northwestern presents him as though he were a normal dispassionate teacher makes the entire school extremely suspect. A lecture hall of right wing propagandists spewing nonsense isn't my idea of a college eduction. You don't need an expensive school like Northwestern to hear that when you can get it for free all day and all night on cable TV. No one but brainwashed rubes expect to hear anything resembling truth from the likes of paid clowns like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity. Lots of right-wing talking points; but nothing related to Truth.
And their latest assault on reality, echoed by Limbaugh's cadres in Congress: The New Deal Was A Failure. Franklin D Roosevelt won his first term against a pillar of Republicanism, incumbent ractionary Republican Herbert Hoover. Hoover managed to garner 59 electoral votes against FDR's 472. At that point Roosevelt embarked upon the most successful economic recovery plan in the history of the United States, the New Deal, meant to lift the country out of the Depression that decades of unregulated right-wing economic policies had caused. When Roosevelt ran for re-election in 1936, his opponent, Kansas Governor Alf Landon, a tax cuttin' anti labor union fanatic, only managed to win two states, Maine and Vermont (8 electoral votes). He even lost Kansas. FDR's 523 electoral votes also saw the Republican Senate caucus drop down 16 members. In the House the GOP managed to hold onto 88 seats (20%). Although Republicans were screaming the same tired anti-working family nonsense then that they're screaming now, the voters, cognizant of their unblemished record of dismal failure, were ignoring them. In 1940 the GOP candidate, Wendell Wilkie, campaigning on a platform calling the New Deal inefficient and corrupt and not subservient enough to Big Business, led the GOP to another well-earned electoral catastrophe. The only states he won were Maine, Vermont, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Colorado, for a total of 82 electoral votes (to Roosevelt's 449). Roosevelt's last run, in 1944, was against Thomas Dewey, who wound up with 99 electoral votes (to FDR's 432) after he added "communism" to the charges Wilkie had run on against the New Deal.
As Karl Frisch pointed out in his OpEd in the San Jose Mercury News on Saturday, the Republicans and their media allies are busy trying to rewrite history so they can use it against President Obama's Stimulus package. They fought the election just 3 short months ago based largely on their failed economic policies and they lost the presidency, two dozen House seats, and 7 Senate seats. Obama beat McCain soundly-- 365-173 electoral votes, taking former GOP bastions like Virginia, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Nevada and Indiana. And five entrenched Republican senators, Ted Stevens (R-AK), Norm Coleman (R-MN), Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), Gordon Smith (R-OR), and John Sununu (R-NH) lost their seats, as did 15 House incumbents including far right extremists Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO), Tim Walberg (R-MI), Virgil Goode (R-VA), Bill Sali (R-ID), Tom Feeney (R-FL), Robin Hayes (R-NC), Thelma Drake (R-VA), Steve Chabot (R-OH), Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) and Ric Keller (R-FL). More than two dozen others retired rather than face dim re-election prospects.
Lucky for the Republicans Rahm Emanuel recruited one of them to run as a Democrat in 2006-- he actually recruited two but Tom Mahoney was sounded defeated after two extremely ugly years in Congress. Emanuel's other shill still in the House is reactionary North Carolinian Heath Shuler, a xenophobic fanatic and Blue Dog who was busy today doing what he loves most: attacking the Democratic leadership. Good little Republican that he is, he voted with the GOP caucus against President Obama's stimulus bill and is well on the way to proving that Emanuel made an even worse draft pick in 2006 than the NFL did in 1994.
But the Republican are going to need more than a mental midget like Shuler to persuade anyone short of a Rush Limbaugh diitohead that the New Deal was a bust.
Fox News' Brit Hume recently claimed that "everybody agrees, I think, on both sides of the spectrum now, that the New Deal failed." He's correct, if by "both sides of the spectrum" Hume is referring to the right and far-right over at Fox News. He then called Roosevelt's policies "a jihad against private enterprise."
Hume's own jihad against the facts represents only a portion of the historical misrepresentations passed off as reasoned debate of late.
Witness the machinations of those on MSNBC's Morning Joe. During a recent broadcast, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski kicked off a string of attacks against the recovery plan, using the New Deal as their dubious weapon du jour. Brzezinski said of Obama's plan, "I think we're going to have the same unemployment in three or four years, just like the New Deal." That just isn't true. Unemployment fell from 1933 to 1937.
Her buddy Joe didn't fare much better, cherry-picking data in telling viewers that unemployment was at "20 percent" in 1938, ignoring the downward trend in unemployment that occurred under the New Deal.
Joe isn't alone. Conservative columnists George Will and Mona Charen have played the same numbers game to falsely claim the New Deal failed to reduce unemployment.
Don't take my word for it. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the unemployment rate in 1933 at 24.9 percent and falling each year thereafter, to 14.3 percent in 1937. In 1938 it rose to 19 percent. Why the increase? As Nobel laureate Paul Krugman has noted, it was a reversal of the New Deal policies, which had reduced unemployment, that actually led to another recession and drove the numbers back up.
t's worth noting, by the way, that these numbers do not even include those in federal work-relief programs. At the time, the bureau counted those employed by the New Deal's emergency work programs as unemployed. So the unemployment numbers were actually lower than reported in these years.
The strengthening of the social safety net during the 1930s stimulated the economy while also providing assistance to those waiting to feel the economic recovery for themselves. Fox News' Bill O'Reilly lambasted portions of the president's plan aimed at assisting those most in need during these difficult times, claiming that increased funding for programs like food stamps has "nothing to do with stimulating the economy." Though his ego will never let him admit it, O'Reilly is dead wrong.
Mark Zandi, former McCain campaign economic adviser and chief economist of Moody's Economy.com, has said that extending food stamps does, in fact, stimulate the economy, noting last year that "extending food stamps (is) the most effective (way) to prime the economy's pump."
It now seems clear that conservatives are engaged in a misinformation campaign to mislead the public. So, when Rush Limbaugh, whom House Republicans once named an honorary member of Congress, recently said of Obama, "I hope he fails," it makes one wonder if he might not be speaking for all of his pals on the right.
Rewriting the history of the New Deal may be the first salvo in a long war to defeat Obama's agenda.
Because they would rather see America fail than Obama succeed,
AND MISS McCONNELL HAS A SPECIAL (NEEDS) FRIEND-- MEET GOP LOON STEVE AUSTRIA OF OHIO
When David Hobson retired last year state Senator Steve Austria was the choice of the local loons in south central Ohio for the congressional seat that represents the suburbs south of Columbus and east of Dayton, plus Springfield. After running a filthy campaign against Democrat Sharen Neuhardt last November, outspending her nearly two to one, Austria was elected. Today he showed the whole world why Republicans think he and candidates just like him, represent all the GOP has to offer: pure unadulterated ignorance. He told the Columbus Post Dispatch that when FDR launched his Stimulus Package (the New Deal), "he put our country into a Great Depression. He tried to borrow and spend, he tried to use the Keynesian approach, and our country ended up in a Great Depression. That’s just history.”
The Great Depression, caused by the same right-wing economic policies Austria supports, began in 1929 and FDR was elected, for the first of his four terms, in 1932. Republicans were blamed for the Depression and the incumbent wingnut, Herbert Hoover-- whose policies are exactly what Austria espouses-- lost all but 6 states (and 59 electoral votes). At the same time, the Democrats won control of the U.S. Senate by defeating 9 right-wing Republicans, including the Majority Leader, James Watson (R-IN) and winning 3 open seats. More to the point of the confused Rep. Austria, Republicans also lost over 100 seats in the House that year, leaving the Democrats with a 72% majority-- and 17 of Ohio's 24 seats. By 1936 even voters in what is now Austria's congressional district were sick and tired of right-wing nonsense and defeated a Republican incumbent very similar to Austria, Leroy Marshall, electing Democrat Arthur Aleshire.