Parallels between FDR and Barack Obama

12/18/08 Robert Lorei
Radioactivity: Live Call-In (Thursday) | Listen to this entire show:

Welcome to WMNF ’s Radioactivity program. I’m Rob Lorei. Coming up: what lessons can Barack Obama learn from the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt? We’ll talk about that in a moment. But first some listener comments about yesterday’s program on health care reform.

The first comment is from one of our guests, Jocelyn Elliott, who along with her husband Jim is facing a financial crisis because of medical bills incurred when Jim was in an auto accident. Jocelyn and Jim were criticized by an e-mailer who wondered how they afforded, in the midst of their financial problems, to send their son to the University of Florida.

With rising unemployment, people losing their homes, falling incomes and a loss of manufacturing jobs, many people see parallels between the challenges facing Barack Obama in 2008 and the election of Franklin Roosevelt as president in 1932. In fact, Obama is reportedly reading two books on Roosevelt: Jonathan Alter’s The Defining Moment: FDR’s First Hundred Days and The Triumph Of Hope and Jean Edward Smith’s FDR.

Here to talk about the parallels and what Obama might learn from FDR is Ira Chernus, professor of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Chernus is the author of Monster’s to Destroy: The Neoconservative War on Terror and Sin. He’s writing a new book on FDR.

For more information, visit TomDispatch.com.

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