Friday, January 26, 2007

FDR, redux

PZ sends along this quote from Paul Krugman's column today, which I reproduce here for those who aren't on TimesSelect (let 'em sue me):
For the fact is that F.D.R. faced fierce opposition as he created the institutions — Social Security, unemployment insurance, more progressive taxation and beyond — that helped alleviate inequality. And he didn’t shy away from confrontation.

“We had to struggle,” he declared in 1936, “with the old enemies of peace — business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering. ... Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me — and I welcome their hatred.”

Krugman's point is that, despite Obama's insistence, partisanship is not necessarily an impediment to getting things done. The nasty divide in the U.S., Krugman says, is due to
economic polarization. Only when that is reversed will bipartisanship be possible. And those who attempt big things in the face of partisanship should welcome the hatred of the opposition.

As always, I think Krugman's right on the money. We had a meeting of the Tompkins County Democratic Committee last night that was ostensibly to create a diversity plan in response to alleged racism on the part of the membership, but some of us in the towns believe that diversity where we live has more to do with class than with race. It's another of those "problems" whose name we dare not speak.

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