"People in power with privilege don't want to be challenged at all," Hillary told me recently as we discussed the repetitive rhythms of history. "FDR's policies rescued capitalism, thereby saving the fortunes and restoring the incomes of so many of the same people who would curse his name over the dinner table. They somehow still felt threatened because they don't like to be questioned."
Robert Kennedy Jr has an important piece up at the Huffington Post,
Hillary Haters and the Roosevelts
The power elite had been in charge and had things their way for decades. The result was the Great Depression and US capitolism itself was threatened. FDR saved capitalism in the US and the fortunes of the power elite - perhaps avoiding a Bolshevik type revolution in the US - but he was still hated by that same power elite.
"No other word than hatred will do," observed a May 1936, Harper's Magazine feature "They Hate Roosevelt" by Marquis W. Childs. "The phenomenon to which I refer goes beyond objection to policies or programs. It is a consuming personal hatred of President Roosevelt and, to an almost equal degree, of Mrs. Roosevelt."It should be noted that many members of this power elite supported and were doing business with the fascist regimes of Hitler and Mussolini. The hatred of Roosevelt kicked into full gear when he made them end their relationships with those regimes. That was especially true of Prescott Bush. Some openly suggested that the US needed a fascist government.
Childs deemed this "fanatical hatred" so intense and irrational that it could only be explained as the product of "abnormal psychology." Historian William Manchester described how Roosevelt haters "abandoned themselves in orgies of presidential vilification." William Bird, curator of political history at the Smithsonian Institution said that "by 1936, the 'Roosevelt haters' had developed into a well-defined cult among the nation's business elite," their lackeys in the press and on the editorial boards and among right wing Christian theocrats led by fascist radio host Father Charles Coughlin.
"In history, this hatred may well go down as the major irony of our time," wrote Childs. "The majority of those who rail against the [Roosevelts] have to a large extent had their incomes restored and their bank balances replenished since the low point of 1933," before FDR came to power. "That is what makes the phenomenon so incredible. It is difficult to find a rational cause for this hatred."
The intense hatred of the Roosevelts was a dominant feature in the American political landscape during the decade of the 1930s and prompted efforts to impeach him and even a plot to depose him by a military coup planned by high ranking officers of Wall Street's richest corporations, including Goodyear, Bethlehem Steel, JP Morgan, and DuPont. The "vast right wing conspiracy" had its own Richard Mellon Scaife. Robert Clark, one of Wall Street's richest bankers and stock brokers pledged half of his $60 million fortune to help finance the coup. His deputy, former Commander Gerald Macguire of the American Legion, a Wall Street bond broker, equated Roosevelt's reforms to Communism and explained the purpose of the coup to a co-conspirator, "We need a fascist government in this country to save the nation from the Communists who want to tear it down and wreck everything we have built in America." The 1933 coup attempt was only averted by the courage of General Smedley Butler, the popular World War I warrior who had been tapped by Wall Street to lead the plot and who instead exposed and denounced it.With the election of Ronald Reagan the power elite thought they were once again on the path to their fascist government, although Hitler gave the word fascist a bad name is not one they dare use anymore. Bill Clinton ruined their plans. Now the Clintons are not Roosevelts but the election of Clinton in 1992 did generate the same level of hatred which remains today.
Hillary's supporters should be heartened by the fact that intense hatred is often accompanied by equally strong support. Roosevelt won four landslide victories against his opponents and crafted the architecture for the most humane, successful, generous features of modern American government.
They can also take comfort in Hillary's proven ability to transform intense hatred into loyal support. I recently toured upstate New York's traditionally Republican counties which she has transformed through leadership and political acumen, into rock solid Hillary Clinton strongholds.
With a playful wink she told me, "One of my favorite pins in my political pin collection is "I Don't Like Eleanor Either." It reminds her that it's not just the president who is targeted by the haters. But "about anybody who cares about and stands up and fights for the changes that our country needs to have."