Friday, January 09, 2009

FDR is Under Attack

This morning on the Stephanie Miller Show during her "Rightwing World" I heard Brit Hume of Fox News become the latest in a series of conservative wing nuts to demonstrate their ignorance and confusion about the Great Depression. Hume was following the lead of George Will who seems to have taken it as a personal crusade to destroy FDR. In the clip Hume insisted this morning that "the New Deal -- everybody agrees, I think, on both sides of the spectrum now, that the New Deal failed." Really? Everybody agrees? I don't agree. I'm pretty sure a fair amount of economists would not agree.

Hume went on to say that, "President [Franklin] Roosevelt waged what could only be called a jihad against private enterprise." Personally I like the use of "Jihad" here. Nothing like putting such a scary word.

The nutters on the right have been repeating similar nonsense for years, but over the last couple of months they have ratcheted up the rhetoric. It's demonstrably false, and quite preposterous, but then that's never stopped them in the past. David Sirota has jumped into the breach and written a couple of excellent items lately, responding to the ridiculous Republican talking points related to FDR and the Great Depression.

David Sirota appeared on Fox News to discuss the upcoming economic recovery package, and during the discussion was be told that FDR's New Deal "prolonged the Great Depression". You can watch the clip here.

Sirota devoted his first newspaper column in the New Year to looking at this claim, and whether conservatives have any shred of evidence to support their claim that the New Deal prolonged the Great Depression.

Paul Krugman also wrote a column in November, where he noted the "intellectual industry, mainly operating out of right-wing think tanks, devoted to propagating the idea that F.D.R. actually made the Depression worse."

MSNBC's David Shuster did an entire segment on the patently false conservative argument.

We don't often see this kind of fact-checking segment on national television.

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