Jeffrey Rosen: Obama Behaving Like Woodrow WilsonRoundup: Media's Take
tags: Barack Obama, The New Republic, Woodrow Wilson, Jeffrey Rosen
...Obama’s rediscovery of the 1917 Espionage Act is grimly appropriate, since the president whose behavior on civil liberties he is most directly channeling isn’t, in fact, Richard Nixon or George W. Bush. It’s Woodrow Wilson. An enthusiastic supporter of Espionage Act prosecutions, the progressive, detached, technocratic Wilson was so convinced of his own virtue that he was willing to jail the Socialist candidate for president, Eugene V. Debs, for his mild criticism of the war, even as he championed progressive reforms such as the Federal Reserve and the Federal Trade Commission, both of them designed with the help of his economic advisor, Louis Brandeis.
Wilson had a sorry record on civil liberties, and once Brandeis was on the Supreme Court, he eloquently criticized the Wilson administration for its betrayal of progressive values such as free speech and transparency, declaring that “sunlight is the best disinfectant,” and unforgettably extolling the necessity of protecting political dissent.
Let’s hope today’s progressives teach the Wilsonian Obama a similar lesson.
comments powered by Disqus
- State lawmaker files bill to remove Virginia's Robert E. Lee statue from U.S. Capitol
- Massive Data Project Will Help People Identify Enslaved Ancestors
- U.S. Democracy Experienced Biggest Drop In 40 Years
- New Fox Series: Bill Clinton's Scandals
- Thailand drops royal insult charges against elderly historian
- Robert Caro says he’s reached 1966 in his next book on LBJ
- AHA asks members to "Help Protect the Census"
- Sports Historian Explains Why She Wrote that the NCAA is the Modern Jim Crow
- Ibram X. Kendi says "The Heartbeat of Racism Is Denial”
- Historians Call Trump’s ‘Sh*thole’ Comment "The Most Openly Racist by a President in Decades"