Letter to the editor | More hatred or more haters?

June 12, 2014 

A letter in the CDT, charging that the current president commits an impeachable offense every day, has me wondering again which president since Abraham Lincoln conservatives hate most: Franklin D. Roosevelt or Barack Obama?

When I was a boy, conservatives all over America hated FDR because they were sure things like Social Security, unemployment insurance, wage and hour rules, policing Wall Street and giving collective bargaining rights to workers were not only unconstitutional but would bankrupt the nation and were Socialism! Worse, FDR said he welcomed their hatred.

But the geography of politics changed in the 1960s. In the Depression 1930s, Solid South meant Democratic, and FDR needed the Southern chairmen of congressional committees to get his agenda enacted. He was far from hated by hungry Southern whites, and the chairmen went along. About as far as FDR could even hint at challenging Jim Crow, however, was to mandate that relief aid got to both blacks and whites. It was a gesture blacks appreciated, and they slowly began to abandon their allegiance to the party of Lincoln.

Culminating a determined post-war civil rights movement, a Democrat, President Lyndon B. Johnson, pushed two historic civil rights laws through Congress. That made it a certainty Southern white conservatives would turn the region in to what is nearly a Solid Republican South. Depression poverty could no longer deter Southern whites from joining other conservatives in hatred of a president.

So, is this more hatred, or just more haters?

John N. Rippey


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