Daniel Henninger: It's 1936 All Over Again ... The Obama Campaign is Channeling the Ghost of FDR in the Depression

Roundup: Media's Take

Daniel Henninger is deputy editor of The Wall Street Journal's editorial page.

With a small group of credulous millionaires joining him at a White House séance the other day to support the Buffett Rule, the Conjurer-in-Chief called forth the spirit of Ronald Reagan, who the president averred would have supported his magic tax on "millionaires." There have been 43 other presidents of the United States. The last one you would associate with Barack Obama is Ronald Reagan.

But faced with the rather unhappy challenge of mounting a re-election campaign coincident with three years of rampant unemployment and next-to-no growth, little wonder Mr. Obama is looking for help from afar. And so it is that the ghost of a president past is indeed haunting the Obama White House—the ghost of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

FDR ran his first re-election campaign in 1936 when the United States was mired in the Great Depression. Barack Obama is running for the last time amid what he himself immortalized as the Great Recession. No surprise that Mr. Obama in his campaign speeches is channeling the master of Depression-era politics.

It worked back then. FDR walloped a somnambulant Republican candidate, Alf Landon, of whom the columnist Westbrook Pegler wrote: "Considerable mystery surrounds the disappearance of Alfred M. Landon of Topeka, Kansas." But will Roosevelt's politics work against Mitt Romney, who we presume will report for duty?..

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