Biden on FDR’s management of the 1929 crash; Update: Biden video added
Joe Biden continued his one-man Gaffemaster routine last night while being interviewed by Katie Couric at CBS. He attempted to discuss real leadership in the face of financial catastrophe, and reached back to the brilliant example of FDR and his televised speeches during the 1929 stock-market crash. Biden demonstrated the same expert grasp on history as he has on Barack Obama’s policies in this election:
Joe Biden’s denunciation of his own campaign’s ad to Katie Couric got so much attention last night that another odd note in the interview slipped by.
He was speaking about the role of the White House in a financial crisis.
“When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the princes of greed,” Biden told Couric. “He said, ‘Look, here’s what happened.'”
How ignorant is this statement? Let me count the ways:
FDR started off his long stretch as President with a series of thirty speeches on the radio called “fireside chats” that lasted from 1933-44. He used that to connect on a personal level with ordinary Americans in a manner never before attempted (or even possible). These informal addresses helped float his immense popularity through very troubled times. But it is also incorrect to say that FDR was totally averse to using populism for his purposes, as he did in his conclusion of Fireside Chat #6, when he warned against “that definition of Liberty under which for many years a free people were being gradually regimented into the service of the privileged few.” Not coincidentally, that speech came on the eve of his first midterm elections in 1934, and it’s generally considered an attack on the business sector for not supporting his reforms.
At any rate, it looks like Biden learned his history from Faber College: