Bachmann’s teabaggers boo FDR


A Politico story filed on December 16 about the latest teabagger event, and at the end you can see where these guys are coming from.

Michele addressed the rally in the company of other teabagger-courting politicians:

…The crowd’s message and energy was only intensified by the encouragement of some of the nation’s best known conservatives, including Sens. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., Tom Coburn, R-Okla., Richard Burr, R-N.C., Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., former House Majority Leader Dick Armey – a Texas Republican – and radio personality Laura Ingraham.

With the health care reform bill endangered by threats from both the right and left these days, Bachmann’s tone was almost celebratory:

“You came before, you came again, I guess they must be deaf. They can’t hear you!” Bachmann screamed over the cheers. “We’re not leaving until you understand that no means no. What part of no don’t you people understand?”

The congresswoman, who has emerged as a conservative icon, led the crowd in chants of “Kill the Bill,” before suggesting President Barack Obama, Senate Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., study up on the U.S. Constitution.

As we’ve noted here, Bachmann’s own view of how the Constitution works is kind of weird. (She has a history of trying to influence public policy by introducing mobs of protesters into the halls of elected officials, as opposed to working with fellow elected officials to influence the policy outcomes.)

But the most revealing moment in this gathering was probably this:

“To paraphrase Franklin Delano Roosevelt,” (Republican Senator Richard) Burr said over boos evoked by FDR’s name, “The only thing we have to fear is… Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.”

Yeah, that’s right — the teabaggers were booing FDR. Ha ha, what did he ever do, except save the Western democracies from the Nazi and Japanese empires?

Well, FDR’s cardinal sin, in the world of conservatives, was saving American families from the worst effects of the Great Depression, intervening to help them keep their homes and farms, using the federal government to create jobs when the private sector failed to do so — and laying the foundation for the creation of the post-war American middle class.

In the brains of conservatives, all of that was huge mistake — “a conspiracy against freedom,” even if it led to a triumph of freedom and America’s emergence as the most powerful and secure democracy in history. Generations later, American conservatives will still boo the name of FDR — in part because he was the chosen leader of what has become known as “the greatest generation.”

That generation chose FDR, reformer par excellance four times. An unprecedented and never-to-be-repeated four terms as president, because he helped their families survive the Depression and because he had the vision to realize that the US had to intervene on the world stage to stop totalitarianism from swallowing up Europe.

Even the young Ronald Reagan was an adoring FDR fan, but the conservatives have never forgiven him for the reforms of more than fifty years ago — including the creation of Social Security. (It was socialism!)

And that reaction to his name tells us what would happen if the conservatives ever returned to power — no matter how nicely they try to disguise it or package the message, the conservative dream has always been to turn the clock back, back to the days of Hoover and Coolidge. Back to the days long before that, if you go by conservative columnist George Will: pressed to name a time when things were “right,” Will once stated that a return to the political and economic conditions of about 1900 was the objective of conservatism — before Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson began “really screwing things up” with their calls for reform.


That really is the goal of conservatives, the return of the plutocracy of 1900 and the abolition of rights and advances won by American working people ever since. If you understand that, you understand why they booed FDR, arguably the greatest president of the twentieth century.

And the boos for FDR are worth noting, during weeks of progressive angst about the health care reform.

There are still only two viable brands in American electoral politics — Republican or Democrat. If the Democrats lose power, the voters go to the Republican brand — and these days the Republican brand is dominated by lobbies who want the most radical reforms of the US.

Those radical reforms would be reactionary, incredibly reactionary — seeking to turn America into something that Americans turned their back on seventy years ago. And worse: the conservative policy alternative would include even more radical reforms sought by an evangelical right now organized as a national political movement. Over the past forty years, the evangelical right has managed to conflate core conservative beliefs with what they consider core Christian beliefs — in the minds of tens of millions of voters. And this political movement would use their vast influence over the Republican Party to make sectarian religious beliefs into public policy for all of us.

It’s important to remember all that as Barack Obama’s left wing threatens to desert him in the wake of a watered-down health care reform effort and a troop surge in Afghanistan. Obama and his Democrats can’t stay in power if they alienate the left, and Bachmann and the teabaggers and the conservatives know that. They’re waiting to take over, and their ultimate objectives have never really changed. They are the true radicals.…