Ed Driscoll

Building a Bridge to 1933

(Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)

“The Terrifying Line in Obama’s Speech That Everyone* Missed,” as spotted in Friday’s Investor’s Business Daily op-ed. After first quoting AP calling out Obama on his imaginary “peace dividend,” and other examples of the president making stuff up, IBD goes on to note:

But while everyone was picking apart these and other flaws in Obama’s speech, they overlooked the most frightening line of all. That was when Obama promised that he’d pursue “the kind of bold, persistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursued during the only crisis worse than this one.”

That promise might have made liberal hearts swoon. But as Amity Shlaes explained in her outstanding history of the era — “The Forgotten Man” — it was precisely FDR’s “bold, persistent experimentation” that was largely to blame for the length, depth and severity of the Great Depression.

Convinced that the government had to do something, FDR tinkered and experimented, she said, figuring that if he didn’t “get it right the first time … maybe he’d get it right the second time.” But the very arbitrariness of FDR’s actions, she found, made it impossible for businesses to make plans. And so, as FDR’s bold experiments increased, business activity decreased and markets froze.

“From the point of view of a business,” Shlaes said in a 2009 interview, “it is annihilating to hear Washington uncertain, and that itself retards recovery because you really don’t know what to expect.”

If Obama wants to conduct experiments, he should get a job as a high school science teacher, and not use the entire nation as guinea pigs, particularly when we already know how his tests will turn out.

Or as Moe Lane quips, “Under Obama’s policies, the young (who want jobs) can’t find ‘em; and the old (who shouldn’t need jobs) have to go looking for ‘em.”

Based on the initial polls from immediately after the convention, the American people want plenty more of Obama’s policies — and they want ’em good and hard, as Mencken would say.

* Not everyone missed it