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.