November 16, 2015

CHRIS MATTHEWS: FDR Didn’t Blame Catholics for Mussolini, So Don’t Blame Islam:

Just a little difference: Italian fascism had no ideological affinity with Catholicism. To the contrary, it was rooted in notions of the revival of the Roman Empire of the Caesars. In contrast, you can’t spell ISIS without “Islamic.” To say that we are at war with radical Islam is simply to acknowledge the manifest truth. For Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to deny it is dangerous.

And at the dawn of the New Deal, the Roosevelt administration and il Duce had something of a socialist mutual admiration society:

Mussolini, who did not allow his work as dictator to interrupt his prolific journalism, wrote a glowing review of Roosevelt’s Looking Forward. He found “reminiscent of fascism … the principle that the state no longer leaves the economy to its own devices”; and, in another review, this time of Henry Wallace’s New Frontiers, Il Duce found the Secretary of Agriculture’s program similar to his own corporativism (pp. 23-24).

Roosevelt never had much use for Hitler, but Mussolini was another matter. “‘I don’t mind telling you in confidence,’ FDR remarked to a White House correspondent, ‘that I am keeping in fairly close touch with that admirable Italian gentleman'” (p. 31). Rexford Tugwell, a leading adviser to the president, had difficulty containing his enthusiasm for Mussolini’s program to modernize Italy: “It’s the cleanest … most efficiently operating piece of social machinery I’ve ever seen. It makes me envious” (p. 32, quoting Tugwell).

But other than that, totally nailed it once again, Chris.

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