Thursday, April 14, 2011

Broun: FDR Was A Commie

The commie-baiting wars are starting again. Jillian Rayfield of TPM points to a floor speech by Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA):

Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) thinks President Franklin Delano Roosevelt loved Joseph Stalin so much that he sent advisers to Russia to see "what Stalin was doing there so that FDR could replicate it here in the United States."

Broun was speaking Tuesday on the House floor about how the "original intent" of the Constitution was to promote the "general welfare of the nation, not welfare of individuals." The concept of promoting the "welfare of individuals" started with Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, he said: "Both progressives. Both had socialist beliefs."

"In fact," Broun continued, "Franklin Delano Roosevelt sent his advisers, his close friends, his Cabinet people to go visit with Stalin in communist Russia to study what he was doing, what Stalin was doing there, so that FDR could replicate it here in the United States. And he did everything that he possibly could to do so."


Video available at the link above.

Republans have a tendency to rewrite history when they don't like its implications [added: or to perpetrate a personal smear]. Broun is no exception. But I can't help noticing that the ghost of Joe McCarthy has become faintly visible in the Capitol Building lately...

AFTERTHOUGHT:  the coin Rep. Broun is playing with has two sides. There are old political smear tactics other than commie-baiting available for revival from the same era. How would Rep. Broun feel, for example, about a resurgence of race-baiting, something seen in Tea Party events prior to the 2008 presidential election, and in mainstream Mississippi politics (*cough* Haley Barbour *cough*) more recently? I'm just asking if this is a political trend Broun really wants to see revived...


  1. Don't know about FDR and Stalin, but Kevin Phillips has documented the Bush family role in financing Stalin's war machine; laundering Nazi confiscated Jewish assets through 'dummy' banks and corps, in addition to financing Hitler's rise.

  2. mandt, I don't know the particulars of the individual relationship of FDR and Stalin or Stalin with FDR's staff and cabinet, either. There is no denying that FDR misjudged Stalin, particularly in the early years of the war.

    But by 1945, near the end of his life, FDR understood as well as anyone that Stalin was a ruthless and opportunistic dictator who refused to live up to his promises to the countries surrounding the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe, the ones the Soviets seized. Here's Wikipedia; use 'FDR' as your search term:

    By the beginning of 1945, however, with the Allied armies advancing into Germany and the Soviets in control of Poland, the issues had to come out into the open. In February, Roosevelt, despite his steadily deteriorating health, traveled to Yalta, in the Soviet Crimea, to meet again with Stalin and Churchill. While Roosevelt maintained his confidence that Stalin would keep his Yalta promises regarding free elections in eastern Europe, one month after Yalta ended, Roosevelt's Ambassador to the USSR Averill Harriman cabled Roosevelt that "we must come clearly to realize that the Soviet program is the establishment of totalitarianism, ending personal liberty and democracy as we know it."[110] Two days later, Roosevelt began to admit that his view of Stalin had been excessively optimistic and that "Averell is right."[110] Americans of Eastern European descent criticized the Yalta Conference for failing to curtail the Soviets' formation of the Eastern Bloc.

    Broun's attempt to depict FDR as a Soviet-style, capital-C Communist is just plain nuts, or more likely, dishonest on his and other right-wingers' part. FDR worked with Stalin because he had to. Someone needs to make Rep. Broun repeat high school American history; he seems to have forgotten what he may have learned there.

  3. Steve, I seriously doubt many Americans have the slightest understanding of what Marx actually wrote, his critique of Capitalism before the Manifesto, the differences between Stalin, Lenin and Trotsky. ----Not the least to mention the philosophical underpinning of Hegel which informs most Utopian thinking of the 19th and 20th centuries.

  4. mandt, the primary objection to Stalin was not to his theoretically Marxist philosophy, but to his overwhelmingly murderous and dictatorial behavior. It's true he was antidemocratic (small-d), but he had far worse characteristics than that.

    The theoretical underpinnings of the "-isms" have always left me cold, because none of them... capitalism, communism, etc ... works in reality anywhere nearly the way their famous proponents theorized. Capitalism propounds a pathologically wealth-based class-driven society not economically all that different from plutocracy; communism appears (you're right; I don't know in any detail) to assume a lot of things about human behavior that simply don't correspond with reality in any attempt to implement it. Grand theories aside, the implementations of all the "-isms" are utter crap.

    Forgive me if I leave off. I am cranky as hell and fatigued beyond belief tonight, and I'm just not up to a good debate. Sorry!



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