Daniel Oliver: The New History of the New Deal

Roundup: Talking About History

[Daniel Oliver is a Senior Director of White House Writers Group in Washington, D.C. He served as Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission under President Ronald Reagan.]

At just the moment when Barack Obama, firmly at the controls of Dodo Bird One, is plummeting towards earth, some conservatives are making a separate peace with the New Deal.

The country seems to be on the cusp of a new beginning. Anti-incumbent fever is running high. Tea Party activists are talking the language of the founding fathers. The incompetence of the president is noted by everyone, including his friends. There's a sense that Americans may, after all, be able to take back their government -- and their destiny -- from the progressive, liberal, big-government, anti-freedom statists.

After more than sixty years of veneration of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal by left-wing academics, books have finally been written that challenge their version of history. In 1948, John T. Flynn wrote The Roosevelt Myth, but it couldn't be a best-seller in those days. So it fell more recently to Amity Shlaes, Burton Folsom Jr., and others to tell the truth about the myth of the Roosevelt years.

How perverse of History, then, to deliver the country at just this moment to a new set of Rooseveltian progressive politicians.

Maybe not. Maybe this time the progressive statists can be defeated for good. Well, never for good, but maybe for a generation.

But to do that, conservatives (the regular militia) and the Tea Party activists (the reserves) need to go back to the conservative movement's roots.

Or perhaps back to its root: William F. Buckley Jr....

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