Ignoring the Big Donkey in the Room
A couple weeks ago, Mitch Jesserich, the host of Letters & Politics, a Pacifica radio show, had author Paul Dickson as a guest. Dickson is an historical non-fiction author and was discussing the 1932 presidential election between incumbent Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt (FRR).
On the show, the author mentioned that during the election FDR espoused more conservative policy regarding the Great Depression. He was opposed to the government going into debt in order to employ people or provide relief and he discussed a system with much more limited power to the federal government than he ultimately practiced. Hoover on the other hand had made his money as a brilliant mine engineer and was well known as a philanthropist and doer of good works administering famine relief in post-war Europe and Russia. Dickson did not venture into why FDR became more popular than Hoover even though he was espousing a more conservative policy. Jesserich missed the chance to ask him that really intriguing question.
Luckily for you I have studied this. At the Democratic Convention held in Jun of ’32 a coalition of anti-Prohibitionists (alcohol) comprised of cruise ship lines, resorts, distilleries, unions and social activists forced legalization of alcohol onto the party platform. FDR, the party’s candidate was opposed to this action. However, as soon as the platform was adopted the Democratic party, which had been trailing behind the Republicans, immediately surged and FDR began to campaign on the issue. Hoover was an adamant Prohibitionist. Shortly after FDR won the election the 18th Amendment (which created Prohibition) was nullified by the 21st Amendment.
Of course people are expecting my analogy to the Obama Administration which won on the perception of pro-marijuana policy– just like in 1932 Obama would not have won without either the money or votes without the support of marijuana proponents. Just like Gore who lost because of Florida and Obama who was threatened in Ohio in ’08, Obama once again is facing the swing vote conundrum in these key battlegrounds.
You have all heard different aspects of my Obama argument before so I am not going to cover that. Instead I am interested in Jesserich and Dickson’s collective amnesia about why Hoover lost. What it came down to were these two options: compassion for the unfortunate (Hoover policies) or the liberation of alcohol (FDR’s platform). THEY CHOSE THE LATTER. Mitch, weren’t you interested in what carried FDR into the white house? Dickson don’t you think it was important to report why the Democratic party won in 1932?
We know that in almost every state where a medical marijuana initiative has passed, it has passed with a greater percentage than the president the state’s delegates went to. (Montana: 2004, Michigan: 2008). Marijuana will always be more popular than any politician and that is what makes them so mad. You know, Mirror Mirror on the Wall? There are more pot smokers than there are Jews, Mormons, Catholics and Atheists and more people smoked pot last week than went to church. Although less would admit they smoked pot and more would claim to have gone to church. Progressive politicians like Obama ignore this sentiment at their own peril.