"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance"

--James Madison--

"The real division is not between conservatives and revolutionaries, but between authoritarians and libertarians"

--George Orwell--

TR, FDR, And You Can't Ever Get All You Want

First posted at The Smirking Chimp, September 24, 2009

President Obama is getting a shitstorm of criticism from both the right and the left. To the right, he's a socialist. To the left, he's practically the reincarnation of Benito Mussolini.
Someone here recently remarked that people are disappointed because they thought that he would be the reincarnation of FDR. I like TR better, but what the heck?
What about those Roosevelts, though? How did they get so much accomplished? Did they get any of it done at all in the first year of their first terms?

The Roosevelt cousins had plenty of problems of their own. Especially in their first terms. Especially in the first year of their first terms. While both scored some impressive legislative and executive victories, both had plenty of trouble with both parties in Congress, and even with public perception of themselves.
To the right, both were considered to be socialists (which was a dirty word in American politics even in the 19th century). To the left, both were perceived to be too wealthy to understand the plight of the average American.
Both were well liked at first by the public at large, but both had rough first terms on the popularity front as well. Both saw public opinion turn against them numerous times. Both had to face much resistance to their agendas from both the opposition party and their own, as well.
Any of this sound familiar?
Yet, even through all of this adversity, they both pushed through admirable programs and reforms that continue to reap rewards to this day. The National Park system. Antitrust laws. Social Security. Unemployment insurance. Securities laws. That and much more. Quite a few accomplishments for two Presidencies, in spite of much bipartisan obstruction.
Both of them also made serious attempts to start universal health care systems. Both were stopped by bipartisan coalitions of selfish assholes in Congress who were just as influenced by big business then as they are now.
It keeps sounding so familiar.
Nobody is going to get everything they want. Ever. No matter who the President is. No matter who is in Congress. There are 300 million of us, and each of us has his or her own agenda. None of our agendas will ever match completely on every item.
About the best we can ever hope for is for everybody to get at least something that they want. I got at least one thing I wanted--Obama rescinded Bush's executive order that stymied embryonic stem cell research for 8 years.
His Attorney General also called the dogs off of the medical cannabis providers in medical cannabis states.

Who knows? That may be about it. It's unlikely that we'll see the rest of my agenda come to fruition. Single payer health care. The end of prohibition of drugs and other vices. Changes in taxation law that would force all corporations to pay out all profits as taxable dividends to their shareholders. Ending preferred tax rates for unearned income, and extending the payroll tax to all taxable income. Ending the wars, closing all foreign military bases, and slashing the defense budget by at least half (at least Clinton was getting us there).
I know this, though. With McCain in office, not only would I not see any of the above happen, but I wouldn't have even seen the stem cell ban lifted, let alone the appointment of someone like Ken Salazar to Interior, or the tolerance of medical cannabis. God knows who he might have picked for that open SC seat. Remember, this is the man who picked Sarah Palin for a running mate. It wouldn't have surprised me at all if he had appointed Judge Judy to the Supreme Court and made Ted Nugent Secretary of the Interior.
The perfect world will never exist, because we can't all agree on what it would be like. But it's very likely that, in a few years, we will at least be able to look back on some positive changes.
You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometime, you just might find that you get something you like every now and then.