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Historyismypassion
Posts: 34
Registered: ‎06-28-2008
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Questions about Nothing to Fear

In the book, Perkins and Wallace miss FDR's swearing in and didn't hear much of the inaugural address.  Do you think this chance meeting began an alliance or competition between the two in regards to the attention of FDR?

 

How do you feel about Moley sacrificing his happiness in academia to pursue public service in the FDR administration?  Do you think he made the right decision?

 

How do you think a "bank holiday" would go over in America today if President Obama ordered one?

 

Historyismypassion

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L_Monty
Posts: 900
Registered: ‎12-30-2008
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Re: Questions about Nothing to Fear


Historyismypassion wrote:
How do you feel about Moley sacrificing his happiness in academia to pursue public service in the FDR administration?  Do you think he made the right decision?

Forgive me for taking this in another direction, but I think the thing that strikes me most about that ambition — and Perkins' ambition to see her husband regularly back in New York — is the kind of selective naivete it suggests. I mean, Moley's response to the severe dislocations of the Depression was to draft FDR's fundamental position paper saying that the Federal government had to take a more active position in the economic life of the nation, yet at the same time he still hopes that there'll be enough time off to be a commuter professor (or Perkins a commuter wife). It's really an interesting perspective on these people, that they felt they had an obligation for swift response and sometimes intervention on small/immediate scale, yet at the same time harbored a hope that they could live effectively two different lives.

I wonder, and here's a question for you: do you think they had this attitude going in because of the lack of pre-Inauguration cooperation with the Hoover administration? Had FDR or Hoover been less intractable, might they have been able to hit the ground running even more effectively and with a better sense of what lay ahead? Moley's example shows that cooperation with the old Hooverites could be possible and also successful, while Perkins seems to have wasted weeks dealing with a "Hired Goons" phenomenon in her department that no one really made her aware of.



How do you think a "bank holiday" would go over in America today if President Obama ordered one?

That's a good question. I think it would probably be pretty easy to accomplish. I think the existence of the FDIC would preclude the necessity of one, but I think the prevalence of internet news, terrestrial and satellite radio, old media, Facebook statuses and Twitter tweets and cell phones would get the message out more comprehensively than FDR's chats. The only critical point would be for the Obama Admin to be certain that they were controlling that news cycle, that they were getting the story out on their terms and comprehensively enough that it didn't afford much opportunity for a panic to be spread via all that instant Web2.0 stuff.