At TomDispatch, Steve Fraser writes:
On March 4, 1933, the day he took office, Franklin Roosevelt excoriated the “money changers” who “have fled from their high seats in the temples of our civilization [because…] they know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers. They have no vision and where there is no vision, the people perish.”
Rhetoric, however, is only rhetoric. According to one skeptical congressional observer of FDR’s first inaugural address, “The President drove the money-changers out of the Capitol on March 4th — and they were all back on the 9th.”
That was essentially true. It was what happened after that, in the midst of the Great Depression, which set the New Deal on a course that is the mirror image of the direction in which the Obama administration seems headed.
Buoyed by great expectations when he assumed office, Barack Obama has so far revealed himself to be an unfolding disappointment. On arrival, expectations were far lower for FDR, who was not considered extraordinary at all — until he actually did something extraordinary.