Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Greatest President Who Never Was


I can't prove it, folks, and I probably shouldn't assert it, either. But, in my opinion, if Al Smith (a pro-business, non-Keynesian, free-trading, anti-prohibition Democrat) had been elected President in 1928, and reelected in 1932, we probably wouldn't have had a Great Depression. Yes, perhaps we still would have had a downturn and a significant correction in the stock market, but NOTHING like we ended up with during the Hoover and Roosevelt years.......I'm telling you here, people, this man was just too smart to have made the same mistakes that those two fellows did; idiotic levels of deficit spending, monstrously high tax increases, one experiment upon another into the private sector.......Gee willikers, I wonder if there's any of his DNA left.

35 comments:

Rational Nation USA said...

Will, likely not. And if there were any of his DNA what the modern day progressives didn't destroy the modern conservatives would.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

I suspect that you're right on both accounts, Les, most unfortunately.

w-dervish said...

I think the depression would have been even worse.

w-dervish said...

In my opinion one of the greatest presidents that never was... was Al Gore. If the FL votes had been re-counted and it was confirmed that Al Gore actually won...

9-11 would have been prevented, we would never have went to war in Afghanistan or Iraq, and finally the housing bubble and recession wouldn't have occurred.

IMO this Al Smith guy, if he had been elected, may be remembered today as the worst US president ever... if the US still existed. We may very well be a part of the Fatherland.

Rational Nation USA said...

Really, why am I not surprised?

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

I'm not a humongous fan of Al Gore, wd (I find to be a hypocrite and a horse's ass). But EVEN I will admit that he probably would have been a better President than Bush. I mean, I don't know if he would have been able to prevent 9/11 (hindsight is ALWAYS 20/20) but he probably would have been far more willing to focus on annihilating al Qaeda (and, yes, thoroughly rejecting that despicable offer from the Taliban) and not on messing around in Iraq.......As far as the housing-bubble goes, if Mr. Gore had reappointed Alan Greenspan, then, yes, we still would have had a housing-bubble. If, however, he went in another direction and appointed a different person, any damn thing is possible, I'm supposing.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

I'm not surprised at anything that wd says, Les. I try to keep telling him that the unemployment rate was actually going DOWN (and significantly) in 1930. It wasn't until Hoover got all panicky and started deficit spending, raising taxes, restricting trade, etc. that the economy truly started tail-spinning.......He also needs to realize that it was in the Republican Party that the progressive movement actually started (Teddy Roosevelt, Bob LaFollette, Herbert Hoover, Wendell Wilkie, etc.). I mean, the guy has been so conditioned to think that the Republicans are the enemy that he hasn't leaned the basic history that they were actually on HIS SIDE for a lengthy period of time.

w-dervish said...

More ad hominem from Will. I don't know my history means I'm stupid. Actually, Will, I *DO* know my history. I am well aware that the Republican Party was originally progressive and were progressive until they were bought off by the railroads in the late 1800's/early 1900s.

Teddy Roosevelt and Bob LaFollette were some of the last Republicans of the Progressive era, and they BOTH ended up leaving the Republican Party. Hoover was not a progressive. And it was not his last ditch/desperate efforts to do something about the downturn that caused us to slip into the Great Depression. It was the massive tax cuts under Harding and Coolidge.

Will just can't comprehend that ANYONE would disagree with him. If they do they it must be because they just aren't as smart as him. Except for "reasonable" Republicans and Libertarians, of course. When those on the Conservative side of the aisle disagree with him (people like "Rational" Nation, Rusty, and dmarks) then it's just reasonable and intelligent people disagreeing.

Rational Nation USA said...

wd - must you always make it personal?

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

I don't think that you do know your history, wd. Hoover absolutely was a progressive. He ran the biggest non wartime deficits in U.S. history, raised taxes 152% (from a top rate of 25% to a top rate of 62%), and pushed through exceedingly major trade restrictions.......And, again, the unemployment rate in 1930 was going DOWN and going down markedly (down from 9% earlier in the year to 6.3% by mid 1930). The economy was recovering, just like it did in 1921 after that downturn.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

And this under-consumption/wealth differential theory of yours has been thoroughly debunked. In 1921, the top 5% of wage-earners earned 25.47%. By 1929, they were earning 26.09%, yes an increase but hardly a substantial one. Add to that the fact that corporate profits remained at a steady 8.2% throughout the the 1920s and that consumption as a % of GDP actually ROSE from 68% in 1920 to 75% by 1927, 1928, and 1929 and you really are fishing up the wrong river here, wd. Face it, Hoover screwed up and FDR continues with the screwing.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

AND, did you know, wd, that, up until the early 1980s, there was actually a substantial liberal segment to the Republican party; Ed Brooke, Lowell Weicker, Jacob Javits, Nelson Rockefeller, Chuck Percy, Stew McKinney, Margaret Chase Smith, Dick Schweicker, etc.? It wasn't until the moral majority and supply-siders hijacked the grand old party that it started resembling what it's unfortunately become today. See, see how fun and liberating it is to throw off the blinders and explore the vicissitudes?

w-dervish said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
w-dervish said...

Will: See, see how fun and liberating it is to throw off the blinders and explore the vicissitudes?

No. I already told you I knew the Republican Party began as a progressive party. I have no blinders on.

I still think you're wrong about what caused the Great Depression (or caused us to slip back into a depression, given we were "recovering"... according to you). I don't buy it at all. It was the too low taxes and the speculation that encouraged.

If you really believe that, why not vote for Romney? He'll probably move away from his more extreme positions for the general. Isn't the "etch a sketch" comment a clear indication he's going to?

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

I think that speculation more than likely caused the stock market crash in '29. That I completely agree with you on. But, wd, the entire country was actually doing quite well throughout the 1920s. There's this classic book called "Coolidge and the Historians" (I forgot the fellow who wrote it) and it points out that wages as a percentage of corporate income actually went up in the 1920s (from 55% to 60%). I'm telling you, I really think that President Hoover panicked (in a way that Truman, JFK, and Ike wouldn't have) and made the situation mucho worse than it needed to be.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

Another interesting point (at least I think that it's interesting) is that Canada had very few bank failures and we, the United States, had a bevy of them. While obviously not knowing the absolute reason for this, I think that one could easily make the case that it was because of the unit banking laws (which prevented banks from diversifying through branches) that Mr.s Hoover and Roosevelt both apparently supported.......Romney? I don't think that I could vote for him, wd. The dude's a phony and I just don't like phonies.

dmarks said...

Will said: "I don't know if he would have been able to prevent 9/11 "

Correct. 9/11 and the oversights and missed opportunities that led to it were because of George W. Bush Bush continuing the Clinton policies, including not taking Bin Laden very seriously. Bush kept the Clinton-Gore policies in place until this point. It is reasonable to assume that a President Gore (formerly of Clinton-Gore fame) would have kept the Clinton-Gore policies too, for sure.

9/11 would have probably occured. but would Pres. Gore had offered to see Bin Laden turned over to a tribunal run by Islamic terrorists as WD would have liked to have seen? Who knows. That seems doubtful too.

dmarks said...

Will said: "Romney? I don't think that I could vote for him, wd. The dude's a phony and I just don't like phonies."

But ... but.. maybe he won't be a phony after he shakes the etch-a-sketch the next time.

Also consider that Mitt Romney is just one slick campaign advisor away from being a genuine non-phone candidate. He just has the find the right one, and the right marketing angle.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

dmarks, I saw him on Jay Leno the other night and he was actually quite reasonable. I mean, I was literally asking myself, "Where, pray tell, has this fellow been?"

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

"but would Pres. Gore had offered to see Bin Laden turned over to a tribunal run by Islamic terrorists as WD would have liked to have seen? Who knows. That seems doubtful too"......I concur, very doubtful indeed. In fact, I doubt if even Bernie Sanders or Dennis Kucinich would have taken that crazy-assed deal.

w-dervish said...

dmarks: ...but would Pres. Gore had offered to see Bin Laden turned over to a tribunal run by Islamic terrorists.

The answer to your question is "no", but it is because no such tribunal exists or ever existed. The Organization of the Islamic Conference is a moderate Islamic organization, and NOT a "terrorist tribunal".

Also, if Gore had been president he would have continued with the Clinton Administration's plan to take the fight to Al Qaeda, and 9-11 would have never occurred. They also would have continued negotiating with the Taliban to have bin Laden extradited. So, it wouldn't have been under the same circumstances, but YES, I believe President Gore would have signed off on turning bin Laden over to the OIC.

w-dervish said...

dmarks: 9/11 [occurred] because of George W. Bush continuing the Clinton policies, including not taking Bin Laden very seriously.

Sorry dmarks, but this is the exact opposite of the truth. Richard Clarke (chief counter-terrorism adviser on the U.S. National Security Council) told GWb that, since the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole (10/12/2000), he had been working on an "aggressive plan to take the fight to al Qaeda".

Clinton took al Qaeda seriously and bush did not. bush chucked the Clinton plan to take al Qaeda seriously.

Read the story I linked to above. It's called "They Had a Plan" [in reference to the Clinton Administration]. bush's plan was "Operation Ignore".

dmarks said...

The answer to your question is "no", but it is because no such tribunal exists or ever existed. The Organization of the Islamic Conference is a moderate Islamic organization, and NOT a "terrorist tribunal".

It's a terrorist tribunal. Iran, Libya, Iraq (then run by a major terror kingpin who strongly supported 9-11) Syria, and other major terrorists states? Most of which favor exterminating the Israelis? That's the OIC, a terrorist tribunal. No way is or was it "moderate", as then and now it has some of the worst terrorist leaders as members.

Besides, it would establish a very ugly precedent. After we did this, we could turn over white supremacists who commit hate crimes to KKK tribunals. Or Eric Rudulph-type anti-abortion killers get turned over to extreme conservative Christian "courts"

"but YES, I believe President Gore would have signed off on turning bin Laden over to the OIC."

At which point President Gore would have been quickly impeached and tossed out. A vast majority of Republicans and Democrats would have strongly objected to the idea of turning Bin Laden over to his fellow terrorists for "justice".

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

We apparently have a lot more confidence in Al Gore than wd does, dmarks. There is no way IN HELL that Gore would have allowed bin Laden to be turned over to an organization that included Hafez al Assad, Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, the Saudi Royal family, the Iranian mullahs, Yasser Arafat, etc........And what about the rest of the vast al Qaeda network? Does he suspect that Mr. Gore would have turned them over to this 3-ring circus, too? The entirety of the idea is absurd.

w-dervish said...

Al Gore would not have been impeached. He would have been lauded for bringing bin Laden to justice.

Will's confidence in Al Gore is confidence that he would have done the wrong thing. I have confidence that he would have done the right thing.

dmarks said...

Will said: "....Hafez al Assad, Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, the Saudi Royal family, the Iranian mullahs, Yasser Arafat..."

Thanks for naming the names on the terrorist tribunal.

"Al Gore would not have been impeached. He would have been lauded for bringing bin Laden to justice."

Sorry, the only ones who would have applauded the "justice" of your favored terrorist tribunal would have been the terrorist themselves.

I refuse to accept a definition of 'the right thing' which is exactly the same as that of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

Gore would have done the right thing, wd/dmarks. He would have blown to smithereens those terrorist training camps (just like Clinton blew to smithereens Milosevic's infrastructure in Serbia) and hunted bin Laden and company down like pooches. And I would have been cheering him on.

dmarks said...

Will: You are right. If we had a radical Muslim in the White House, he'd no doubt turn Bin Laden over to the terrorist tribunal WD loves so much.

But Gore is no extremist. He never was.

If Gore had done what WD would have liked, he'd have been impeached and convicted within a few days of this decision.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

I'm on record as saying that he would have been impeached, too. Mr. Gore (I believe that HE was a DLC Democrat at one point, too), while seemingly a dweeb at times, would have never negotiated with the Taliban. Hey, I wonder if there's any way that we could ask him.

w-dervish said...

Will: Mr. Gore... would have never negotiated with the Taliban.

Of course he would have. The Clinton Administration did, the bush administration did, why wouldn't a hypothetical Gore administration have done the same?

I guess both Clinton and bush were looking to get impeached.

Gore would have averted 9-11, finished the negotiations with the Taliban begun by Clinton, signed off on bin Laden's trial by the OIC, and then been lauded for his success when Osama was convicted and executed.

No ten plus years of war AND trillions of dollars saved. Not bad for a DLC Democrat.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

wd, we're talking about high-level direct negotiations with a rogue nation right after 9/11 (a different sort of animal, in other words), a negotiation that would have necessitated us handing over sensitive evidence TO this this rogue/virulent nation AND Mr. bin Laden (I guess that the hundreds of other al Qaeda operatives and their terrorist training camps aren't all that much of a concern to you) over to an organization spearheaded by the litany of those barbarians that I previously listed. Gore wouldn't have done it. Bernie Sanders wouldn't have done it. Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul wouldn't have done it. In fact, other than you and (inexplicably) Jerry, I haven't heard anybody even suggest such a thing.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

Not that I've necessarily scoured the internet looking for it, mind you.

w-dervish said...

Will: ...other than you and (inexplicably) Jerry, I haven't heard anybody even suggest such a thing.

Gareth Porter (an investigative journalist and historian specializing in US national security policy) suggested it on the 5/2/2011 airing of the Thom Hartmann Radio program.

Jerry is, I believe, a Thom Hartmann fan like me.

I guess that the hundreds of millions of dollars spent and thousands of American lives (soldiers killed and maimed) aren't all that much of a concern to you.

w-dervish said...

In any case, Al Gore can suck it. He was, apparently, on board with the firing of Keith Olbermann.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

That was an excessively unfair rebuttal. AS YOU KNOW, wd, I was AGAINST a) the counterinsurgency, b) the occupation, and c) the nation-building (all 3 of which the Democrats in both Houses seeming didn't have an issue with). My ENTIRE goal would have been to annihilate al Qaeda, smack the Taliban around a little bit (to put the fear of Allah in them, essentially) AND LEAVE (the remaining money I would put into airport, subway, and port security - stuff like that).............And it was al Qaeda that declared war on us! I mean, what, you don't think that FDR should have responded militarily against the Japanese? And don't give me this baloney about al Qaeda not being a country. The Barbary Pirates and Zapatistas weren't countries, either, and that didn't stop us from going after them............And why are you hammering me on this in the first place? I'm a hell of a lot closer to you on foreign policy than frigging Obama is (surge in Afghanistan, more deaths in Afghanistan under Obama than Bush, the sextupling of drone attacks in Pakistan, etc.). Why don't you go after him with some vigor once in a while (instead of mitigating for him so much)? 'Cuz he's a Dem?