I am a great admirer of Franklin D. Roosevelt and a keen student
of the New Deal. Naturally when New
Deal 2.0, a project of the
Institute, invited me to be a “Braintruster” at its launching two years
eagerly accepted and have submitted posts frequently since. Several
days ago, a post
of mine on the relationship between the Fiscal Deficit and the
Product was rejected by the editor.
The reason for the rejection was it is too long and too
difficult for the general public, and that I failed to obey the
that I add explanatory paragraphs while cutting the length of the whole
My sin was that I made an observation that “You can have brevity or
to lay readers. But you cannot have both.”
Frustrated, I sent an email to five personal friends who also
regularly post on New Deal 2.0 to announce the following:
“Apparently my post was not up to the editorial standard of
Amazing that two women who haven't a clue about macroeconomics sit as
judge on what passes.
Frankly, what they post under their own names have been at the level of
The general public visits my website in great numbers with no
The recovery will arrive long before I will submit another post to
I further added:
“It’s more than the length, because I offered to cut the
post in two parts with the first part every short. Their objection was
general public cannot follow my thoughts.
I have tried to follow their previous demands by referring
easing” colloquially as “printing money” and was criticized (rightly)
for it by
a reader. Their claim to their “qualification” to judge is that they
little of macroeconomics and so if they cannot follow a post, the
public cannot either and therefore the post does not belong at New Deal
Well, if we communicate with the general public with thoughts they are
familiar, we will have little of significance to say.
The general public needs to have their minds stretched and not for us
down to them.
Any rate, reasonable people can disagree and editors have absolute
power. But I am not prepared to change merely to get posted.
If a post of mine is not up to standards, let the readers say so, not
I write to speak for myself, not to mouth New Deal 2.0 positions.
Luckily, I have a web site for the general public to judge
without an editorial filter.
You are copied on this not because I am looking for support, just to
know my absence is not caused by my mind gone dry.”
I further added: “I am aware that one of my vices is writing
articles that are too long. But it is the nature of my mind that
amount of information and ideas even on seemingly simple events. To
this is why they read me: for my view of complexity, not brevity which
get from media headlines. Others who look for simplified summaries do
me, which from my perspective is no great loss.”
Somehow the editor got wind of the email not addressed to her
and reacted hysterically:
“I have never claimed expertise in macroeconomics, but as an
English Ph.D and published author who has taught essay writing and
communications at a major university, served as a media consultant in a
senate campaign, and started and run several successful content
websites, I do
have expertise in language and communicating, particularly online.”
The editor further exploded:
“I am always eager to work with well-informed people who are
professional and supportive of the blog, the Roosevelt Institution, and
legacy. Which brings me to your recent email: sending around vicious
my colleagues that are contemptuous of not only myself but my assistant
conducts herself in a gracious and professional manner is entirely
inappropriate. That kind of behavior is undermining to our mission, the
goodwill between colleagues, and accomplishes nothing. Your
communication referred to my posts as appropriate for cocktail parties
well, that party would include XXX, XXX, XXX and XXX, who all follow my
I responded: “I apologize for wasting everybody's time and
for sending a below standard post. It will not happen again.”
To which the editor went ballistic:
“You owe no apology for the post - that is ridiculous.
Your apology for wasting the time of our colleagues is appreciated, I'm
You have yet to offer an apology to [my assistant- name withheld] and
to whom you most clearly owe it. Which perhaps means that you stand by
slanderous remarks. In which case we have nothing further to discuss.”
I was truly puzzled by the verbal firework in poor English,
since all I wrote was: “Amazing that two women who haven't a clue about
macroeconomics sit as jury and judge on what passes.
Frankly, what they post under their own names have been the level of
So I wrote back: “I don't see why you demand an apology in
I accepted your editorial decision after my rewrite failed to meet your
We both agree that you [and your assistant] are not experts in
and you seem to agree with me that your posts are like conversation in
So where is the problem?”
For that I was excommunicated from the New Deal 2.0 blog by
the editor’s pronouncement: “Your recent inappropriate behavior has
unwelcome in our community at New Deal 2.0. Please take your comments,
The funny thing was that a response I since wrote to a third
person’s post was immediately erased by the editor who proclaim herself
defender the Roosevelt legacy. The post
following on FDR:
In the time of
Hamilton, the young nation was primarily a country of small farm
an abundance of open land where equality and democracy could best be
by restricting the power of government to allow free play of individual
initiative. The establishment of a rich upper class, on the other hand,
required positive government intervention. Early liberals generally
suspicious of big government and opposed the extension of its powers,
exponents of upper class leadership favored strong centralized
the national economy developed and industrialized, these positions on
governments shifted. With the growth of big corporations that employed
number of wage-earning workers, the declining wealth of farmers, common
individuals began to find it difficult to achieve economic independence
security by his own means without government protection, while big
wanted free markets to exploit its privileged positions gained from
But in the
Democratic Party was still dominated by Southern
conservatives and political machines of the Northern industrial cities,
opposing a strong Federal government for separate reasons. Support for
D. Roosevelt was strong among organized labor, small farmers and middle
reformers and the idealistic intelligentsia. There was constant
between the conservative and progressive wings of the Democratic Party
of the bitterest opponents of the New Deal were conservative Democrats.
the strongest supporters were liberal Republicans.
natural air of
confidence and optimism did
much to reassure a dishearten nation. His inauguration on March 4, 1933
literally in the middle of
a terrifying bank panic, a challenging backdrop for his famous words:
thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Such inspiring words were a
contrast five decades later to Carter’s disconcerting “malaise” speech
“crisis of the soul and confidence” to a restless nation facing rising
prices at $1.25 a gallon, with gold rising to $300 an ounce but with
enjoying a trade surplus with emerging China for another 14 years.
now, with gas at $4 a gallon and gold over $1,000 and Trade deficit
running to over $200 billion a year, would thank God for the good
of 1979. Carter desperately imposed wholesale resignation on his entire
in 1979, the third year of his first and only four-year term. In doing
deprived himself of valuable support and assistance in dealing with the
hostage crisis that cost him a second term.
The New Deal
The New Deal
Political Coalition was an alignment of interest groups
blocs that supported the New Deal and voted for Democratic presidential
candidates from 1932 until approximately 1968, which made the
the majority party during that period, losing only to Dwight D.
1952 and 1956.
FDR created a
political coalition of the rank and file of the
the big city political machines, labor unions, racial, ethnic and
minorities, populist farm groups, liberal intellectuals, and the
White South. This coalition dissolved in 1968 as the Vietnam War split
anti-war and pro-war factions , but it remains the model that party
seek to replicate. In similar manner, the Afghan War led to the
the Soviet Communist Party.
brought about major shifts in voting behavior, and
permanent realignment, though some scholars point to the off-year 1934
as even more decisive in stabilizing the coalition. Roosevelt
set up his New Deal and forged a coalition of BigCity
machines, labor unions,
liberals, ethnic and racial minorities (especially Catholics, Jews and
Americans) and Southern whites. These disparate voting blocs together
large majority of voters and handed the Democratic Party seven
victories out of
nine presidential elections (1932-48, 1960, 1964), as well as control
houses of Congress during all but 4 years between the years 1932-1980
(Republicans won majorities in 1946 and 1952). Starting in the 1930s,
“liberal” was used in U.S.
politics to indicate supporters of the coalition, while
"conservative" denoted its opponents. The coalition was never
formally organized, and the constituent members often disagreed.
scientists call the
resulting new coalition the "Fifth Party System" in contrast to the
Fourth Party System of the 1896-1932 era that it replaced.
had a magnetic
appeal to city dwellers,
especially the poorer minorities who got recognition, unions, and
Taxpayers, small business and the middle class voted for Roosevelt
in 1936, but turned sharply against him after the recession of 1937-38
to belie his promises of recovery.
entirely new use for city
machines in his reelection campaigns. Traditionally, local bosses
turnout so as to guarantee reliable control of their wards and
districts. To carry the electoral college, however, Roosevelt
needed massive majorities in the largest cities to overcome the
suburbs and towns. With Postmaster General James A. Farley and WPA
administrator Harry Hopkins cutting deals with state and local
officials, Roosevelt used federal discretionary spending, especially
Progress Administration (1935-1942) as a national political machine.
relief could get WPA jobs regardless of their politics, but hundreds of
thousands of supervisory jobs were given to local Democratic machines.
million voters on relief payrolls during the 1936 election cast 82%
their ballots for Roosevelt. The vibrant labor
heavily based in the cities, likewise did their utmost for their
voting 80% for him, as did Irish, Italian and Jewish voters. In all,
nation's 106 cities over 100,000 population voted 70% for FDR in 1936,
to 59% elsewhere. Roosevelt won reelection in
thanks to the cities. In the North, the cities over 100,000 gave Roosevelt
60% of their votes, while the rest of the North favored Willkie by 52%.
just enough to provide the critical electoral college margin.
With the start
full-scale war mobilization in the summer of 1940,
revived. The war economy pumped massive investments into new factories
round-the-clock munitions production, guaranteeing a job to anyone who
up at the factory gate.
End of New Deal
apart in many ways. The first cause was lack of a
the stature of Roosevelt. The closest was
Johnson, who deliberately tried to reinvigorate the old coalition, but
drove its constituents apart. During the 1960s, new issues such as
rights, the Vietnam War, affirmative action, and large-scale urban
to split the coalition and drive many members away. Meanwhile,
major gains by promising lower taxes and control of crime.
As the record shows, to accuse my sending an email to five
personal friends to explain why I will cease posting on NewDeal 2.0 as
around vicious emails to [the editor’s] colleagues” to undermine the
FDR is a bit Baroque even for a self aggrandizing “English Ph.D and
The whole episode is a Baroque farce and a tempest in a tiny teacup,
an amusing and perhaps pathetic one.