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September 11th, 2010 2:20 pm
Obama More Hoover Than Carter?

National Review’s Jonah Goldberg makes a good case that the real analogue to President Barack Obama’s increasingly inept tenure in office is Herbert Hoover.  As political scientist Gordon Lloyd makes clear in his anthology, The Two Faces of Liberalism, Hoover was not the ‘market fundamentalist’ FDR and other liberals like to claim.  He, like Obama, meddled relentlessly in the market causing it to stagnate.  When FDR’s frenetic policymaking was mistaken for good economics, Hoover got the blame while his successor got the credit.

Goldberg sees a similarity in the offing:

For reasons fair and unfair, the Great Depression discredited laissez-faire economics for a generation or more. Hoover, who was hardly the “market fundamentalist” FDR made him out to be, suffered largely from the (bad) luck of the draw, giving Democrats a chance to argue for a new deal of the cards. For reasons fair and unfair, Obama, who inherited a bad recession and made it worse, every day looks more like a modern-day Hoover, whining about his problems, rather than an FDR cheerily getting things done. Inadequate to the task, Obama is discrediting the statism he was elected to restore.

The punch line? When the economy finally rebounds, it might be just in time for Obama’s replacement to get all the credit.

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