Thursday, May 08, 2008

Hillary & Roosevelt

So I am reading this fabulous book about Roosevelt's Second Bill of Rights (see weirdly formatted post by phone below) and the similarities between Hillary and Roosevelt are pretty striking.

Roosevelt was not a theorist. He was an experimental pragmatist. To pull our country out of the Great Depression he threw every kind of social program at it he could think of. The ones that worked, he kept. The ones that didn't, he scrapped.

But he also understood that a program working was more than just how much of a tangible improvement it made to the economy. He was very aware of how much fear and insecurity played a part in the worsening of the economy and in the creation of war. He was working to make everyone free from fear and free from want. That he was doing anything at all to help the millions that were ignored by Hoover went far in improving prospects.

So we know that for 16 years Hillary has been championing one of the rights that Roosevelt laid out in his second bill- universal health care. She's always pushed for more access to education and to for greater economic opportunities for everyone. But it is with her little gas tax holiday that we truly see her Roosevelt side.

It's not a huge, long lasting program to make to gas prices cheaper. It is a short term fix meant to whip the oil companies in line with a windfall profit tax (something Roosevelt did with war profiteers) and to give the American people hope that someone is trying to help them out. It is a sample taste at Costco of the better things to come if we buy the whole package.

And speaking of war profiteers, I was struck by Roosevelt's absolute disgust over them. He could not tolerate people turning war into profitable business and selling out their fellow citizens for easy money. This is such a marked contrast to the five years of war brought to us by Haliburton and KBR and other military contractors that think milking the American public for all they're worth is a right and proper response to wartime and the friendly executive branch that is so willing to overlook millions (billions?)in over payments and shady invoicing.

And I have to wonder, will Obama, with all his talk of unity, be willing to go after the war profiteers who are so firmly entwined with the Republican party he wants to placate with appeasement?

I don't think he will. He has proven that he is not a fighter for the American people. He is no Roosevelt. And he is certainly no Hillary Clinton either.

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