It was a different era and a different style of leadership, occasioned by a Great Depression paradigm shift.
This was when FDR came to power with a mandate for change. We had a strong grassroots union movement that helped forge the way and the progressive coalition was gradually strengthened under Roosevelt's New Deal leadership.
This was before the grand emphasis of focus groups and those polite panel discussions on places like CNN that the mainstream media fobs off as representative democracy in action.
Very importantly, this was before the lobbyists held a choke hold on the democratic system that it was never compelled to release through remedial campaign reform legislation.
Instead we go the other way, with a regular Rush Limbaugh listener like Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas voting to give corporations as a "person" the unrestricted right to spend as much money as they desire in the political system for fear that their constitutional liberty of expression will be otherwise foredoomed.
Think of it. Thomas' wife was so energized by this process that she has just announced the formation of her own Tea Bagger group designed to counteract the perceived dangerous left wing influence of the Obama Administration spearheaded by that arch radical Rahm Emanuel who pocketed a Wall Street fortune almost within the mere batting of an eye.
FDR would never have entertained for a single instant the pathetic kowtowing to Republican reaction, courting the likes of Senator Charles Grassley, only to have him make up the idea of non-existent death panels to "kill off granny" and push this falsehood to the propaganda maximum.
Neither would FDR have bothered for an instant with the likes of Senator Olympia Snowe. She spread a grand falsehood of her own that even the faintest scent of a public option in health care embodies the giant and oppressive boot of government socialism.
Forget the fact that the public according to national polling is behind the public option. Forget the fact that the public according to those same polls would like to see a single payer system initiated here in America comparable to that of Canada.
FDR would have handled the Tea Bag oppositionists represented by the Mitch McConnells and John Boehners of Washington the same way he tackled the American Liberty League, which argued that the New Deal represented a threat to the American way of life.
Roosevelt would have forced the issue. Soon the Republican opposition would have melted under the white heat of public opinion. If they continued to oppose comprehensive health care legislation then Roosevelt would have cited this as proof positive that they were in the hip pockets of the medical insurance lobby.
The same Republicans who are happy to have the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity represent them cry "foul" the moment that the Democrats strike hard. So many times this means that Democrats then back off, which is strategic foolishness.
National polls reveal that the Democrats rather than the Republicans are on the correct side of this issue. The problem is that when the people see the amount of vacillating on the part of Democrats when they represent the wishes of the main body of the citizenry, the so-called vital center, instead of pressing their advantage and attacking the Republicans hard they are instead prepared to listen to them.
Currently the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is running an absurd national television commercial contending that the Democratic majority is seeking to ram home comprehensive health care legislation that will prove costly to the public.
FDR would seize such an opportunity and turn the bogus contention against the Republicans and their corporate donors. Democrats have been too willing to listen to nothing more than obfuscation and obstructionism coming from the Republican minority. The debate has been too long, not too short.
The strategy that is needed on this and other major issues facing America is to seize the issue and confront the McConnells and Boehners with the facts.
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