FDR: Dems fail when they fall “into the control of interests … which think in terms of dollars”

This is via MichaelMoore.com. Apparently, FDR decided before his historic third term nomination, with Nazis in Paris and war at the gate, to decline the Democratic nomination. The reason — conservative (including Southern) Dems at the convention had opposed FDR for jettisoning John Nance Garner, his conservative VP, in favor of the great progressive Henry Wallace.

The convention opposed his VP pick before Roosevelt arrived, and Roosevelt was moved to write the following letter to his fellow Democrats. In it he declared his intention to decline the nomination if Wallace was not selected as well. Here’s the letter. Note the language and his apt analysis (my emphasis):

Franklin D. Roosevelt Letter to the Democratic Convention

July 18, 1940

Members of the Convention:

In the century in which we live, the Democratic Party has received the support of the electorate only when the party, with absolute clarity, has been the champion of progressive and liberal policies and principles of government.

The party has failed consistently when through political trading and chicanery it has fallen into the control of those interests, personal and financial, which think in terms of dollars instead of in terms of human values.

The Republican Party has made its nominations this year at the dictation of those who, we all know, always place money ahead of human progress.

The Democratic Convention, as appears clear from the events of today, is divided on this fundamental issue. Until the Democratic Party through this convention makes overwhelmingly clear its stand in favor of social progress and liberalism, and shakes off all the shackles of control fastened upon it by the forces of conservatism, reaction, and appeasement, it will not continue its march of victory.

It is without question that certain political influences pledged to reaction in domestic affairs and to appeasement in foreign affairs have been busily engaged behind the scenes in the promotion of discord since this Convention convened.

Under these circumstances, I cannot, in all honor, and will not, merely for political expediency, go along with the cheap bargaining and political maneuvering which have brought about party dissension in this convention.

It is best not to straddle ideals.

In these days of danger when democracy must be more than vigilant, there can be no connivance with the kind of politics which has internally weakened nations abroad before the enemy has struck from without.

It is best for America to have the fight out here and now.

I wish to give the Democratic Party the opportunity to make its historic decision clearly and without equivocation. The party must go wholly one way or wholly the other. It cannot face in both directions at the same time.

By declining the honor of the nomination for the presidency, I can restore that opportunity to the convention. I so do.

Moore adds that the letter was never delivered:

In the end the letter was never sent, as a speech by Eleanor Roosevelt turned the tide for Wallace at the convention. … Roosevelt’s letter, with its powerful critique of the Democratic Party, was published almost nowhere and was essentially unknown before it appeared in Oliver Stone’s new Showtime documentary series Untold History of the United States.

Word to the wise, and to those less so. Obama is on the verge of killing the Democratic Party brand. He will never face another election and plans to float, after the next four years have passed, on legacy-wings to million-dollar thank-you events.

You Democrats who will face the people again, will you trade his bright future for yours? That’s the choice before you.

GP

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Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States. Click here for more. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius and Facebook.

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  • Ford Prefect

    Part of the problem with the way little people see the Party is this ongoing assumption that elections are about “winning,” in the sense the Democrats want to control the whole enchilada by having majorities in both houses of congress and the white house. This simply isn’t the case.

    Why, after all, did the Dems forfeit the House in 2010 and then keep on all of the top leadership? If “winning” was the point, there would have been a change in leadership. And even after this lackluster House performance, the leadership is still staying in place as is. This tells us they are perfectly happy being in the minority. Having a GOP majority in either house allows the Dems to avoid any responsibility, since their electoral base is largely out of its mind and will accept any old excuse for bad behavior.

    In January 2009, the Senate Democrats gave the GOP a virtual veto with the 60-vote rule. In 2009-2010, the House Democrats behaved badly and lost majority status. They knew that would happen early on, as polls showed how disappointed people were with Democrats. And Barack Obama bent over backwards to show fealty to the GOP, while attacking the “left” with real enthusiasm.

    The US is slowly transitioning into a One-Party State. Today, it’s a Duopoly. Perhaps it will stay that way. But both parties are committed to the same dystopian agenda. All of the incentives point in the direction of politicians lying to voters, screwing them over and then losing elections sooner rather than later. Once out of office, they become highly paid lobbyists free to enjoy all the perks of a hopelessly decadent lifestyle. That’s where all the incentives are.

    That is also why today’s Democrats have no connection to Democratic voters and it’s why they don’t care about “winning” in the sense that “little people” think of the term. The problem for us, of course, is that these assholes are destabilizing our society and economy in the process.

  • ezpz

    It’s not a matter of ‘realizing’ or not. They simply don’t care. Worse yet, they are probably laughing their asses off at those who got fooled again.

    Chris Hedges:

    “….They [liberals] didn’t hold him accountable during his first term. They won’t during his second. They have played their appointed roles in the bankrupt political theater that passes for electoral politics. They have wrung their hands, sung like a Greek chorus about the evils of the perfidious opponent, assured us that there is no other viable option, and now they will exit the stage. They will carp and whine in the wings until they are trotted out again to assume their role in the next political propaganda campaign of disempowerment and fear. They will, in the meantime, become the butt of ridicule and derision by the very politicians they supported.”

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/once_again_–_death_of_the_liberal_class_20121112//

  • FunMe

    It’s always the CONservatives, isn’t it?

  • HolyMoly

    Your French is pardoned. You’re quite fluent in the language though! But really, what is profanity? What’s profane to me is civilians slaughtered by unmanned drones, erosion of our civil rights, and putting Medicare, Medicaid, and/or Social Security on the chopping block (on which issue Obama and Biden offered only vague statements, leaving them quite a bit of wiggle room to do so). Those are just a few things that I find to be truly profane. A four-letter word is just colorful “French.”

  • hollywoodstein

    Obama could have been a transformative President. Historians would rank him with Washington, Lincoln, and FDR. Instead, we got Obama, because he identified with Reagan.
    Thhis thread is dead so here’s some red meat. Obama’s behavior is rooted in race. I had an African American roommate at one of the many prestigious schools I’ve been kicked out of who acted the same way. During an alcohol and marijuana fueled fugue he asked me what I really thought of him. I had the temerity to break it down. He took it under advisement at the time, but years later thanked me for the perspective, he hadn’t realized how much America’s pressure cooker of race had affected his personality, it changed his life.
    Obama is now Obama unleashed from electoral considerations. We can only hope his vanity has made him realize he is more popular as a populist. We are lucky that doing the popular thing is also doing the right thing. The money will be there for him regardless.

  • Clevelandchick

    We got some good new progressives in the Senate, hopefully they’ll stand strong. If they don’t and they turn for electoral expediency, I have my passport ready. Judging from the GOP’s reaction to Obama’s reelection and the fact they know their pressure works on him and we know this because they’re doubling down on the stupid we’ve seen seen from the last 4 years, we’re fucked is what my intuition tells me. Pardon my liberal use of ‘french’ in this comment but even though I’m glad Romney isn’t POTUS, I knew Obama would just be a hair less worse.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Are Obama and the Dems going to realize they were not elected to govern as conservative Republicans? I think we’re already hearing that the answer is no.

  • hollywoodstein

    Same as it ever was…

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