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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gingrich, TR, and FDR

Newt Gingrich's admiration for Theodore Roosevelt (who did not like the name "Teddy") and Franklin Roosevelt has been the subject of recent commentary.  Passages from works not available on the open Internet confirm this admiration.  

From his 1984 book Window of Opportunity (pp. 21-22):
If the bright future pictured through our window of opportunity is to become a reality, our grandchildren must develop a continuing self-education system which combines the image of compassion for which Franklin D. Roosevelt is known with the emphasis on productivity that we associate with his older cousin Teddy. In many ways, Teddy Roosevelt might prefer our grandchildren's America to ours -- an America comfortable with the assumption that people must try new things all their lives because any particular occupation may become obsolete in a single decade.
Thus, while requiring a strenuous commitment from every citizen which Teddy Roosevelt would have approved, our grandchildren may create structures and incentives for organized learning and adaptation that FDR would have applauded.
From Nicholas Lemann's May 1985 Atlantic article, "Conservative Opportunity Society": 
He said, "We're post-New Deal conservatives, not anti-New Deal conservatives. Most of the old order worked. But the fringes of the old order failed."