When Harry Reid was a child, his family had a picture of Franklin D. Roosevelt on the wall of their home. He spoke very fondly of FDR and how--to this day--he agrees with FDR's policies.
What I didn't realize is just how big of a phenomenon FDR was in his time (although it was in my family--see below). Understanding this issue helps us to understand not only how FDR can still be revered today, but how he could be so successful with his implementation of plans that so clearly spat upon the Constitution of the United States.
(Incidentally, to understand the fervor of socialist hero worship in the early part of the 20th century, one need only look at my family tree. My grandfather was named Woodrow Wilson Staheli, and my father was named Franklin H Staheli--after Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was born in 1935.)
Shortly after FDR came to power, the British Ambassador notified the British government about a hysteria that was spreading among Americans. As chronicled in Jonah Goldberg's book, Liberal Fascism, the leader expressed that
The "starved loyalties and repressed hero worship of the country have found in [Roosevelt] an outlet and a symbol." Liberal Fascism, p. 121Additionally,
Visiting the rural hinterlands, an aide reported back on the brewing cult of personality: "Every house I visited--mill worker or unemployed--had a picture of the President...He is at once God and their intimate friend; he knows them all by name, he knows their little town and mill, their little lives and problems. And though everything else fails, he is there, and will not let them down."In retrospect, I remember hearing and feeling a similar devotion from Harry Reid when he spoke last October at BYU. He spent somewhat of a disproportionate amount of his time paying obeisance to FDR as a springboard to explaining how his own brand of politics are Christlike. Harry Reid would have been a progressive had he been alive 100 years ago.
It makes me wonder if Harry Reid has really ever been his own person? Reid's first political memory is that of FDR, and obviously that memory is of particular poignancy. If Reid, to this day, expresses such a reverence for his "God and intimate friend", is it likely that he would ever give his own politics a good, honest questioning? What are the chances that Reid would turn against his God and intimate friend?
Moreover, has Reid really ever stopped to see not only how devastating still are the effects of FDR's legacy, but how he himself now contributes to the American malaise that is tending toward total government control over society?
I don't think so.