Monday, May 08, 2006

An Recent FDR Moment that Got Caught in my Eye

Last Friday, May 5th 2006... my eye caught this delightful moment while watching Lou Dobbs on CNN,

DOBBS: A new opinion poll shows 73 percent of us believe the country is heading in the wrong direction. In 1933, America was definitely going in the wrong direction, then in the grip of the Great Depression. Yet a new president, Franklin Roosevelt, turned the nation's mood around, and indeed led the nation in a new direction.

Jonathan Alter examines the man and his time in his new book, "The Defining Moment: FDR's 100 Days and the Triumph of Hope." Jonathan Alter joins us now.

I love, first of all, you being here, but I love the word "hope" in a title. That's a wonderful thing we don't hear many people talk about these days.

JONATHAN ALTER, AUTHOR: Well, that's the kind of thing, Lou, that FDR was just a master at: Taking people who had given up all hope -- the country was curled up in the fetal position; 80 percent unemployment in some areas; the banks were all closed; we were on a barter economy; people literally think it's the end of capitalism -- not just a few people, but leaders -- and the end of democracy.

And Roosevelt is told by a visitor in his first week, you will either be one of our greatest presidents if you succeed, or one of our worst presidents if you fail. He said, if I fail, I'll be our last president. That's how grim things were in 1933.

And yet through leadership -- and that's what it is about today, that's what it was about then -- he turned it around.

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