Saturday, November 8, 2008

How soon should Obama start trying to emulate FDR?

Some commentators wish that President-elect Obama in his first press conference Friday had been more Roosevelt-like. Joe Nocera, who writes a thoughtful, and diligently researched, business column for the New York Times, asked, "Where Is FDR When We Need Him?" But Roosevelt didn't become President for more than three and a half years after the Great Depression began. Americans were truly despairing when Roosevelt, in his 1933 inaugural address, said "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." So here's Obama, less than two months after the financial meltdown, followed by the diagnosis of a recession of indeterminate force, making his first media appearance -- more than two months before he takes office. For him at this time to pull out the rhetorical stops would be...erratic. On Nov. 4, American voters demonstrated what they thought of impulsive responses to the financial crisis that occurred during the presidential campaign. Obama wisely chose not to offer up a post-election reprise to what his opponent did.

At his press conference, Obama said, emphatically, about the pace of his economic recovery program: "I want to emphasize 'deliberate' as well as 'haste.'"

Since he won't be President for more than two months -- during which time the financial/economic situation may go through continuing volatile changes -- doesn't this make sense?

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