What lessons can President Obama learn from FDR? Should he try to be more like Roosevelt?

Expert Answers
geosc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

What can President Obama learn from F.D.R.?

Obama can learn from FDR how to prolong a depression years longer than any previous one in the history of the country, and can learn how to use that crisis to create government programs for acrueing more power into his own hands and into the hands of wealthy corporations.  (Most regulatory agencies are taken over by the sector that they were created to regulate, and politicians know this.)

I agree with the two above posts that blogs and Internet communication, make people more savy about such sheenanigans today than they were in FDR's time, but I am concerned that so many people who aren't concerned to inform themselves, nevertheless vote.

Too much government regulation (malum prohibitum)can stifle the economy so that depression results.  Too little enforcement against wealthy businesses, of laws against crimes such as monopoly and fraud cannot have a good effect on the economy.  It makes one part of the economy (the part that is being allowed to break laws), the master of the remainder (the part against whom laws are being enforced).  This cannot be good for that remainder.  And I suppose this is what a previous respondent to the question, meant by saying that too little regulation could cause depressions--too little enforcement of justice, of malum en se.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The previous poster is dead on accurate in making the argument that the circumstances in which both men lead are two different times.  The press and media in Roosevelt's time were much more forgiving and willing to ensure that his message was heard and adopted by as many people as possible than the modern representation.  Part of this is the very idea that the notion of "press" and "media" is vastly different now than it was during the time of FDR.  With this being said, I would suggest that the notion of how to govern during a crisis or a time when the voting public is insecure and unsure might be a fairly good model for President Obama to follow.  FDR's use of Fireside Chats were moments when he was able to convey his message in his own words to the people.  We now see the President doing the same hitting the road to talk about Health Care initiatives and other policies.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a total opinion question, of course.

I do not think that Obama can learn anything from FDR.  I think that the circumstances the two men face are too different for Obama to be able to get anything meaningful from FDR's experience.

FDR had a much easier situation, politically, in my opinion.  There ws not the kind of partisan hatred that exists today.  There was also a much greater sense of urgency in the country since the Great Depression was so much worse than the current recession.

I cannot imagine FDR-style programs passing Congress today in this atmosphere of partisan hatred in Congress and in all of the blogs and such.  The current-day atmosphere makes any kind of compromise much harder than it was in FDR's day.