Thursday, August 21, 2003

Clinton and FDR

Reading this review of The Clinton Wars and Living History, i surprised to see this quote by Sidney Blumenthal:

Just as the presidents of the late 20th century operated in the shadow of F.D.R., those of the first part of the 21st century will stand in the shadow of Clinton.

I think that he really believes that. Which is further evidence that SB is so blinded by loyalty and ideology that he can't be bothered with the facts.

Item. FDR won reelection in 1936 with 61% of the popular vote. In 1996 Clinton got a shade less than 50%.

Item. After FDR's second mid-term election (1938), the Democrats held 22 more Senate seats and 51 more House seats than they had in the summer of 1932. Under Clinton the Dems LOST 11 in the Senate and 56 in the House.

Item. FDR retained his popularity and won a third term with 55% of the popular vote. While Clinton couldn't run in 2000, his vice-president did (think of it as a third-term by proxy). Gore won 48%. This better than LBJ's VP did in 1968 (43%) and the same as Ike's veep in 1960. However, Reagan's VP won 54% in 1988. So Clinton is at best average by this measure.

All in all, Clinton does not come close to measuring up to FDR. His electoral success was personal and did not translate to his party's benefit It was neither as broad or as deep as FDR's. But he really did have a way of collecting acolytes.

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