Robert S. McElvaine: Obama vs. Hoover
Robert S. McElvaine is a historian at Millsaps College. His most recent book is a 25th anniversary edition of “The Great Depression: America, 1929-1941.” He is currently completing a book manuscript, “Oh, Freedom! – The Young Sixties.”
The question Americans should be asking ourselves isn’t whether we’re better off than we were four years ago. It’s whether we’re better off than we were 80 years ago.
...[T]he most appropriate presidential term to use as a benchmark is Herbert Hoover’s. He was the last president to face an economic crisis on a scale similar to the one that confronted Obama when he took office.
I have been studying the Great Depression for the better part of four decades. A comparison of these two presidencies is both clarifying and highly favorable to Barack Obama. Mitt Romney himself has drawn attention to the implicit parallel between the crises faced by Hoover and Obama. “This is the slowest job recovery since Hoover,” Romney declared in June 2011. He did not, of course, intend the association to be a positive one for the current president. Obama has returned the favor. In the final debate, he told Romney that “when it comes to our foreign policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s, just like the social policies of the 1950s and the economic policies of the 1920s.”...
comments powered by Disqus
- 150 years later, schools are still a battlefield for interpreting Civil War
- Where are America's memorials to pain of slavery, black resistance?
- Richmond split over Confederate history
- The World's Jewish Population Is Nearing Pre-Holocaust Levels
- Bernie Sanders’s Revolutionary Roots Were Nurtured in ’60s Vermont
- Did a historian who said he’s a victim of McCarthyism get the story wrong?
- Stephanie Coontz’s work on the history of marriage cited by the Supreme Court.
- NYT History Book Reviews: Who Got Noticed this Week?
- David Hackett Fischer wins $100,000 prize for lifetime achievement in military writing