Glenn Beck's show yesterday was about the correlations between the Wilson. FDR and Obama administrations. Wilson was a scary character who basically balled up the Constitution and tossed it in the trashbin with nary a thought to subtlety. FDR was cut from the same cloth, but was more finely tailored. He was more subtle, but also had the added economic crisis to play off of for social engineering purposes. Beck then goes on to show the far more subtle and finely tuned machinations of the current administration, from the flag.gov snitch website to his chummy relationship with the press.
The comparisons were compelling. Beck argued that Wilson, after America's entry into WWI, clamped down on American citizen's rights, from banning books to reading private telegrams to civilian spy rings such as the Boy Spies of America, the Liberty League, American Defense Society, Anti-Yellow Dog League and the Sedition Slammers. He imprisoned thousands of people for speaking out against the administration or the war. He partnered with the press to further his agenda; the press were considered "associates" not adversaries:
"The public man who fights the daily press won't be a public man very long."
Wilson was the first president to use the press to further a political campaign amd then his agenda while in office. He was the father of the current media/political relationship.
FDR, too, used war as his reasoning for the many programs he instituted, but he also used the Depression to vastly expand the government via social entitlements. He, like Wilson, also had a 'partnership' with the press and Hollywood, who were happy to supply the required propaganda to help with the war effort or depression-era agenda support. FDR was a master at building up patriotic fervor and channeling it to suit his plans and he used evey method possible to do so.
This brings us to the current administration and their attempts at yet again expanding the State. They are having a real problem with selling their agenda and instituting the same types of programs as Wilson and Roosevelt, even though they are smoother in their pitch and more subtle in their delivery. Considering their attempts at coordinating the NEA and the overwhelming support of the media, they should be far more successful in gaining support for their agenda than they have been so far.
It's puzzling, really, because is seems they have been planning for just this event - the domination of the left in the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives - for the past forty years. This was their golden opportunity to impliment their long-planned utopian agenda, but it all seems to be falling apart.. Why?
I believe it all goes back to the hippie culture of the 1960's, and people like Bill Ayers, Jane Fonda and the anti-war movement in general. Their attitude of anti-americanism and individual identity as opposed to national identity sowed the seeds for the pushback the party is experiencing today. Even after 9/11 there were those who found the excessive patriotism and resurgence of national identity to be off-putting. For the past few decades, we have been told that this is a fatally flawed country, and that even if you love it, you must still acknowledge it's faults and thus temper your enthusiasm.
FDR and Wilson, on the other hand, used the country's deep sense of national pride as a clarion call for the citizens to support the war efforts and social reforms they proposed as a united front. We were all in it together against a common enemy. They tapped into American patriotism. It is easier to gain a vast consensus if everyone has a common mindset and is focused on a common goal.
For the current administration, the spirit of individuality and anti-americanism that their party and supporters has encouraged over the past few decades is why they are having so much difficulty selling their agenda now. Our country has become so fractured by the hyper-partisan politics of the past 40 years that achieving consensus is next to impossible, let alone getting the support of a vast majority of the country a la Roosevelt.
We are more attuned to the loss of our rights and freedoms than ever before, and much of the credit for that change in mindset has to go to the liberals. Their liberalization of our society - the constant reminders of encroachments to our freedoms and the loose morality of the 'it's my body, it's my choice' mentality, in combination with their attacks against American exceptionalism and the push towards globalization has inadvertently created the biggest roadblock they currently face in implementing their agenda. Oh, the irony.
They are attempting to rally people with their calls for social justice, but it just isn't as compelling. Be it the times or human nature, appeals to help a nameless, faceless 'poor' may trigger a sympathetic reaction, but just doesn't stir the soul the way calls to patriotism and country does. And what this administration needs is a stirring of the electorate in support, or at least an understanding that this is all for the common good. They tried to do that with the healthcare bill, but their incessant class warfare tainted that debate and broke the country down along economic lines. They simply do not inspire a feeling of "we're in it together" which is so essential to garnering support for such sweeping change.
Over the past few decades, the liberal/progressives have turned a united country into snarling factions unable to relate to or empathize with each other. We briefly came together as a country after 9/11, united in our passion and love for our country, but they managed to tear us apart again shortly thereafter. Wilson and Roosevelt unified the country in their times of crisis, which is why they were so successful. The modern liberal/progressive party is stuck in divisive identity politics, and until they shun that mindset, they will always come up against a wall of opposition.
They are caught in a catch-22 and they don't even realize it. They have built up for this moment for decades only to have sabotaged themselves unknowingly from the start. Any hopes they had for putting through their agenda with the goodwill of an overwhelming majority of the American people is gone, at least for the forseeable future.
The big question now is, since they are not making much progress by 'finessing' the situation, will they eventually resort to forcing it? The rapid erosion of support has turned their political juggernaut into a limp to the finish, so, facing defeat in the fall, are they going to resort to sneaking in their agenda in the dark of night, behind closed doors in bills that no one is allowed to read? Or will they back off and bide their time and wait for a new resurgence so they can try again?
Considering the wealth of information literally at our fingertips, I personally think their wait will be a long one. By long, I mean possibly generational. The level of disillusionment with this administration is growing exponentially, and it is even hitting the younger generation, who once supported him wholeheartedly. This administration, like no other in recent history, is teaching them oh so vividly why the nine most terrifying words in the english language are "I'm from the government and I'm here to help".
Let's hope this time the lesson sticks.