For it or again' it, the New Deal's the rage





If you want to catch something of the fears and hopes of Americans right now, go to News.Google.com and try searching for a few words. For instance, put in"FDR" -- the well-known initials of the man who was president four times and took America through the Great Depression and all but the last months of World War II -- and endless screens of references pop up.

The Nationandthe National Review have both devoted space to him. Paul KrugmanandGeorge Will both thought this was the moment to focus on him. Checking out the headlines you might think that the intervening sixty-four years since his death had simply vanished: ("Will FDR Inspire Obama?""Obama's jobs plan could echo FDR's,""Clinton's potential pitfalls seen in FDR's secretary of State," Channeling FDR,""FDR saved capitalism -- now it's Obama's turn," and so on); headlines galore, not to speak of that Time Magazine"Obama as FDR?" cover.

Or, if you have another moment, try"the New Deal," or even the 2008 Obama version of the same,"the new New Deal"; or, if you really want to get a sense of the moment, try"since the Great Depression," which now seems to be embedded in any article about the present economic situation -- as in the"worst crisis since the Great Depression," or"the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression," or even"the most severe credit crunch since the Great Depression." It's a phrase that hovers between horror and euphemism, between the urge to invoke the word"depression" for our moment and an almost superstitious fear of doing so.



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