Sunday, October 30, 2011

On making the right enemies

Robert Lenzner at, oddly, Forbes magazine:
Former President Teddy Roosevelt returned to Harvard for his 30th reunion and graduation in 1910– and  as he entered the proceedings all his classmates including fellow Porcellian Club members turned their backs on him in unison. TR’s latest biographer Edmund Morris believes this shocking snub in public of a former President was due to TR’s strong belief in regulating Wall Street, breaking up monopolies and not allowing a few wealthy men to run the nation.

Think of that extraordinary event;  some 22 years before TR’s 5th cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt was called “a traitor to his class”   Teddy was getting the same treatment. Barack Obama should take heart from those historical experiences.  The Gilded Age was followed by the Progressive Era of tough laws and court actions against Robber Barons who controlled state legislatures and Congress with their anti-trust legislation.

Then came the Roaring Twenties and the Crash, followed by the Great Depression– and then the New Deal– which created the blessed Glass-Steagall Act– which separated investment banking from commercial banking,  plus the WPA and other make work programs that gave the unemployed a reason for living and put food in their mouths. Some 20 years later the stock market reached its old pre-crash peak and the economy powered by pent up consumer purchases, roared ahead...

So, the best thing that could happen to Obama is to be snubbed  by much of Wall Street, toughen up, and knowing the score, stick to his guns at a fairer deal for everyone. Act, behave and speak in the tradition of the two Roosevelts.