Chapter 12 of Burton Fulsom's excellent book, New Deal or Raw Deal? contains some very scary material for anyone concerned about Obama's reelection chances.
The book is chock full of useful information about the horrendous effects of Roosevelt's polices — the AAA, the WPA, the NRA, and similar debacles. Those provide concrete evidence from which it's easy to see in principle why Federal interference in the free market is harmful.
But in Chapter 12 the author veers off course and raises some other interesting questions, ones relevant to our current situation in more concrete form. Why, Fulsom wonders, in the face of continuing high unemployment and an intractable economic depression, did Roosevelt get reelected so handily in 1936? (Roosevelt won almost 99% of the total electoral votes that year.)
Some historians have claimed he simply won people over with his charm. Perhaps, but (as we can see first hand today), that only goes so far when there's no money coming in the door. Others claim it was his ideas, but Progressivism put into practice has never been popular with the majority of voters.
Chapter 12 provides an alternative explanation: Roosevelt and his cronies deliberately directed Federal funds to certain districts to rig his reelection. Now, if there's anything Obama knows well, it's FDR's policies and actions. Playing copycat to win in 2012 is extremely likely.
Looking at some of Veronique de Rugy's recent work on how 'stimulus' funds have been distributed, you don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to think it might already be happening. (After all, it's hardly tinfoil hat analysis to peek behind the curtain at the lever wrenching of the Wizards in Washington.)
De Rugy provides strong evidence to suggest that funds are being preferentially directed to help Democrats, rather than where the money is needed. (That need should not be the standard, and that the entire 'stimulus' idea is impractical and immoral, we can leave aside for now.)
For those who might be a little overconfident that Obama's plummeting popularity spells his doom in 2012, all this is essential reading. Remember, despite his recent drop in the polls, Obama still coasts on an air of moral sanctity in the popular imagination. They may think he's naïve, inept, or any number of things. Most don't yet believe he's corrupt.
But — just as FDR used the IRS to go after his enemies and patronage to shore up support — it's easy to imagine Obama doing the same behind the scenes. After all, ACORN may be reeling but OFA is still alive and active. Obama's machinery has already proven it's perfectly willing to intimidate radio talk show guests, smear Tea Party protesters with unsupported accusations of racism, etc., all the while claiming it's the Right who are the Brownshirts-in-waiting.
I predict that in the years to come the full array of ugly, Chicago-style thuggery will come to light. Let's hope it happens this time inside two years, not 75.
Thanks to the Internet and the blogosphere, that's actually possible. Maybe if Larry Summers does finally leave the administration, as has been rumored, we'll see the first crack in the facade.