Should the GOP be John Galt or Winston Churchill?

Jason Blair is a contributor for The Brenner Brief. His columns post on Tuesdays.

Jason Blair is a contributor for The Brenner Brief. His columns post on Tuesdays.

There are growing rumblings from people on the right making the case for Republicans to “give Obama everything in he wants” with respect to the fiscal cliff negotiations. The theory being the economy will collapse, and when it does, the public will have nobody to blame but Democrats and liberal ideology. Taking this theory to the next logical step, with everyone seeing the folly of liberalism, conservatism will ride in on its white horse and save the day.

While it may be tempting to play John Galt in all of this, history proves that this would be a terrible mistake for the Republican Party and would do devastating, possibly irreparable damage for decades to come.

Perhaps the biggest evidence of this theory not working is with how FDR and the New Deal are perceived by the public today. His policies actually slowed economic progress and recovery, but you’d never know it talking to the average American.  All we hear about is how wonderful the New Deal was, and how FDR put the nation back to work. In actuality, Hitler and Hirohito did more to create American jobs than any liberal policy could have ever hoped to – starting WWII.

When FDR took office, the Great Depression had been going on for over three years. Much like Obama, his solution was to expand the government to levels never seen before. Since the Republican Party was in the minority, FDR pretty much got everything he wanted (after threatening to pack the Supreme Court of course).

Perverting history even further, schools teach that, prior to the arrival of FDR, the evil Republican Herbert Hoover sat idly by letting the country suffer for three years. In fact, Hoover doubled the government spending on public works projects. Economist Thomas Sowell points out that, with Hoover, the unemployment rate went from 5 to 9% in the month following the market crash, but got better and by June was at 6.3%. Hoover then passed the Smoot-Hawley tariffs sending unemployment to double digits for the first time (nine months after the initial collapse). This is proof that no party has a monopoly on using the government to make things worse.

Adding to the absurdity that big government involvement will help the economy is the fact that FDR attacked Hoover during his presidential campaign for his increased spending and policies. Sound a little familiar?

Even worse than a decade of depression is the fecundity these policies had to produce a massive dependent class, paving the way for Kennedy’s New Frontier and LBJ’s Great Society to bring our country even further to the left. After FDR left office, it took Ronald Reagan to bring conservatism back from the dead. Even still, it was Clinton’s overreaching that got the country to finally put Republicans back as the majority power in Congress after 45 years.

History hasn’t been told honestly about FDR and the New Deal, and Republicans have paid the price. With the mainstream media parroting the talking points of the Obama administration and teachers unions advancing liberalism in the classroom, there is little evidence to suggest Republican appeasement resulting in liberalism failing would be told more honestly this time around.

Republicans would be wise to remember what Winston Churchill had to say about appeasement: “An appeaser is one who feeds the alligator – hoping it will eat you last.”




  1. FDR’s new deal was the starting point for government entitlements. It’s become generational. Those who receive entitlements don’t want to vote for a President who they fear might take them away. Team Obama and the MSM did a good job scaring voters this election.

  2. I agree. Amanda Melson wrote a column on this site a few days ago that shows that many parallels between Obama and FDR.


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