Although I'm not a big fan of FDR, the man knew that part of leadership was preventing panic. In 1933, during one of his "fireside chats," FDR said the following:Obama's not interested in leading, he's interested in ramming crappy spending legislation down our collective throats.
After all there is an element in the readjustment of our financial system more important than currency, more important than gold, and that is the confidence of the people. Confidence and courage are the essentials of success in carrying out our plan. You people must have faith; you must not be stampeded by rumors or guesses. Let us unite in banishing fear. We have provided the machinery to restore our financial system; it is up to you to support and make it work.
It is your problem no less than it is mine. Together we cannot fail.
Roosevelt knew panic would only make the problem worse, so while he was honest about the state of the economy, he deliberately tempered his rhetoric. Compare that to Obama's words from last night:
They can't pay their bills. They've stopped spending money. And because they've stopped spending money, more businesses have been forced to lay off more workers. In fact, local TV stations have started running public service announcements to tell people where to find food banks, even as the food banks don't have enough to meet the demand.
As we speak, similar scenes are playing out in cities and towns across America. Last Monday, more than 1,000 men and women stood in line for 35 firefighter jobs in Miami [Florida]. Last month, our economy lost 598,000 jobs, which is nearly the equivalent of losing every single job in the state of Maine.
And if there's anyone out there who still doesn't believe this constitutes a full-blown crisis, I suggest speaking to one of the millions of Americans whose lives have been turned upside-down because they don't know where their next paycheck is coming from.
Let's see...Law student, law professor, community organizer, state legislator, half a term in the US Senate...what? You mean a president with no leadership experience is a leadership failure? Shut! Up!