Sunday, May 9, 2010

The ‘Tea Party’ of the 1930s

The past year’s tea party movement is not the first popular uprising against an overtaxing, encroaching, economy-stifling government. Though its past version seems not to have involved much in the way of street demonstrations, it may have been even stronger than the modern phenomenon, at least so far. As noted later, it will be difficult to exceed its electoral performance. No less a luminary that Michael Barone rediscovered this largely forgotten history while creating his latest book, Our Country: The Shaping of America from Roosevelt to Reagan. Barone, correctly described as “one of the most learned political observers of our time,” was the first person to characterize the Obama administration’s modus operandi as “Gangster Government” when he wrote in May of last year about how it bullied and shortchanged disfavored secured creditors during Chrysler’s bankruptcy proceedings. Visits to various items published during 1937 and 1938 reveal that the anti-New Deal sentiment Barone learned of had legs — and impact. President Obama’s stimulus bill passed in February of last year is what ignited an initial storm of protest that has been followed by a growing wave of political activism. In 1937, the equivalent spark was newly reelected President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s February 1937 proposal, buttressed by a March fireside chat, to pack the Supreme Court with six additional justices friendly to the New Deal’s statism and hostile to the original intent of the Constitution. The fighting words from his address were these: “We have, therefore, reached the point as a nation where we must take action to save the Constitution from the Court and the Court from itself.” He didn’t lack nerve, did he? It wasn’t long before it became obvious that FDR had vastly overplayed his hand, as Obama would do 72 years later...more

No comments:

Post a Comment