Wish I’d Said That

This week, I heard a learned observer – I’m sure enough it was George Will to attribute it to him, but am not entirely positive it was Mr. Will – state to the effect, “From the beginning of the New Deal through the end of the Obama Administration, American domestic politics have essentially amounted to a conversation between Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan,” indicating that President Trump has significantly departed from the tenets espoused by each.

An arresting image.  Wish I’d said that. In a post a while back, I noted that I consider President Reagan the most accomplished president of my lifetime, but the only reason President Roosevelt didn’t best him in my ranking is … because I haven’t been around quite long enough for Mr. Roosevelt to have qualified for the competition. 😉

I can’t recall whether Mr. Will also observed that notwithstanding their domestic “conversation,” Messrs. Roosevelt and Reagan were, decades apart, almost perfectly aligned on their views of America’s place and responsibility in the world – that which, in my view, is perhaps the most important component of what actually makes America great — or that in this area, Mr. Trump has also disrupted and is seeking to further disrupt if not destroy much of what these two American giants stood for. If Mr. Will didn’t add that … I’m reasonably confident he wouldn’t mind if I do.

2 thoughts on “Wish I’d Said That

  1. Jim,
    A conversation between FDR and Reagan would be of benefit, if only they could talk about what we are witnessing.

    Your comment prompts me to think that we might also benefit, for the sake of humor and our eroding sanity, by a conversation between two of our most colorful pundits – George Will and Garrison Keillor.

    Echoing trump’s supporters, Keillor speculated that God did it. “Maybe God did choose this bloated narcissist and compulsive liar and con man to be president, and maybe He will send a couple of Corinthians to light his pathway.”

    Resigned to fate, Keillor said:
    “We have a vulgar, unstable yoyo with a toxic ego and an attention deficit problem in the White House and now we can see that government by Twitter is like trying to steer a ship by firing a pistol at the waves …”

    I recall an image of trump Keillor depicted as the crude interloper at the party who knocked over vases and spat in the punch bowl.

    I wish I’d said that. And more …

    Yet, ever the optimist, Keillor concluded, “We will survive this. He will do what damage he can, like a man burning books out of anger that he can’t read, but there will still be plenty of books left.”

    I wish I could see trump’s reign resolving in any positive way. And I wonder what George Will would say about where all of this ends.

    It would an even better conversation, Jim, if you were the moderator.



    1. Very kind conclusion, Dan — and I do believe that at this point, Mr. Trump’s antics are best ignored … as long as he doesn’t bungle us into nuclear war. I’ve also heard the President referred to as “A horse in a hospital,” not an inapt metaphor. Have a couple of Mr. Trump’s impulses provided some value? I’d suggest that they have — probably making the Europeans and the Japanese realize that they need to focus on their own self-defense more than they traditionally have, which, given the dwindling dollars we have to defend them, perhaps not a bad thing, putting a spotlight on the manner in which globalization has hurt American workers, taking the Chinese to task in a couple of trade areas where China undoubtedly deserves it. That said, the erratic, divisive — indeed, hateful and bigoted — nature of his presidency and message make those “benefits” the slimmest of silver linings … and I can’t help but believe (as I think I indicated in a long-ago post) that no nation will ever again take any assurance we give without a grain of salt. Even if the nation with which we’re dealing believes in the good faith of the President with whom they’re dealing, the rest of the world is now aware that the American people are capable of electing a crazy that will undo whatever representations have previously been made. That’s a loss of credibility that will not be recaptured, if at all, during your and my lifetimes. That said: we can only move forward, and not look back. Hope you are well!


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