Howard Wolfson, a very savvy Democrat political operative, was recently quoted as frustrated that the ability to blame all of our current economic troubles on George W. Bush is not working for President Obama. He noted that his party was able to run against Republican Herbert Hoover’s Depression-era presidency for 30 years.
“That doesn’t seem to be the case here,” he said.
What does Wolfson’s concern and the legacy of Ronald Reagan have to do with the big picture of transforming the United States today as FDR and the New Deal did in the 1930s? A brief history refresher may be in order.
The Republican Party in the Civil War era really up to Theodore Roosevelt used Union soldiers, their wives and descendants to maintain a strong hold on the legislative and especially the executive branch of government for more than a generation. Waving the “bloody shirt” was effectively employed (along with the true first genuine welfare state expenditures of widows and children pensions long after the Civil War) for decades. This was replicated to perfection by the Democrats in the 1930-1934 “New Deal Civil War” all of the way into the 1960’s.
Blaming Herbert Hoover and having it stick electorally until 1966 and in the political class even to this day is a testament to the cohesive nature of the New Deal historians. However, it could never have had such lasting power without a hammerlock on the flow of information,. This is the real legacy of what is derisively called the mainstream media. The old media barons could repeat the false narrative that market capitalism led to the Great Depression, Hoover fiddled and then FDR rode in with a cavalry of white horses and saved this great nation.
Today, the remnants of the New Deal coalition, morphed into secular university elites, coastal states, and large urban areas are completely indifferent to what institutions have made the US great, exceptional and a beacon of hope around the world. These forces are trying to bring back the Bloody Shirt and Hooverism for the 21st Century to push more statism on the American people. This narrative can be summed up as “we inherited this economic mess from George W. Bush, don’t blame us.” One of Ronald Reagan’s many great legacies is blowing up the mainstream monopoly on news information. The left simply cannot get majorities of Americans to believe firmly and over time that George W. Bush is solely to blame for our current economic troubles. It is the plethora of new media outlets in print, online and even television that are not allowing the Hooverism charge to stick this time around.
Whether this is enough to block the current health care monstrosity currently pending in the Congress is uncertain. What is crystal clear is the days of a handful of elite media bosses deciding what news what relevant to report and which narrative would be pushed over and over are gone. For this and so many other changes, we can thank yet again the late, great Ronald Reagan. From ending the “Fariness Doctrine” to deregulation, the climate-altering policies of the Reagan Administration in the early 1980s have borne the fruit that is the best chance of maintaining the American Republic for future generations.