From The Years of Lyndon Johnson: Vol.1: The Path to Power by Robert A. Caro, describing Herbert Hoover’s response to the Great Depression (beginning October 29, 1929):

In December, 1929, he had said, “Conditions are fundamentally sound.” In March, 1930, he said the worst would be over in sixty days; in May, he predicted that the economy would be back to normal in the Autumn; in June, in the midst of still another market plunge, he told a delegation which called at the White House to plead for a public works project, “Gentlemen, you have come sixty days too late. The Depression is over.” i-c48f70ad049b09fa953a82ad8bcc7640-missionaccomplished.jpg In his December 2, 1930 message to Congress, he said that “the fundamental strength of the economy is unimpaired.” Asked why, then, so many unemployed men were selling apples on street corners, he said: “Many people have left their jobs for the more profitable one selling apples.” His secretary noted that the President was beginning to regard such criticism as “unpatriotic.” In 1932, his tune had not changed; in April of that year, a visitor was authorized to report that “Conditions are getting better. The President was in high spirits over the economic improvement.” When delegations came to the White House begging him to endorse direct federal aid for relief, or increased spending on public works, he refused; “As long as I sit at this desk, they won’t get by,” he said. He couldn’t bear to watch suffering, so he never visited a breadline or a relief station; as his limousine swept past men selling apples on street corners, he never turned his head to look at them. Even Time magazine, after more than two years of maintaining a façade almost as cheery as Hoover’s, noted in 1932 that “the nation’s needy have gone through three hard winters without a dollar’s worth of direct aid from the Federal Treasury.” Said Hoover: “Nobody is actually starving. The hoboes, for example, are better fed than they have ever been. One hobo in New York got ten meals in one day.”

Meanwhile, Stars and Stripes explains that:

President Bush has met hundreds of families of fallen soldiers, but he has yet to attend a servicemember?s funeral, he said Tuesday [July 1, 2006].

?Because which funeral do you go to? In my judgment, I think if I go to one I should go to all. How do you honor one person but not another?? he said.

So, like Hoover ignoring the breadlines, he honors none.

Like Hoover, always sixty days from good news, this administration and its supporters are always six months ? one “Friedman Unit” ? from victory in Iraq.

And in Iraq, of course, “many people have left their jobs for the more profitable one selling apples building bombs.”



  1. #1 Andy
    May 22, 2007

    NOOOO! I’m Truman! Truman I tell you! Or maybe Roosevelt.

  2. #2 sashley
    May 22, 2007

    How many serviceman funerals did Clinton, Carter, Johnson, Kennedy, Truman and Roosevelt attend?

    I’ll bet the President Bush has met with a far greater percentage of serviceman families than any of the above. In fact I bet it higher than any in American History.

    I might remind you that their were still more serviceman killed on DDay than has been killed in the entire “Iraq War”.

  3. #3 Josh Rosenau
    May 23, 2007

    The wonders of Google. Yes, past presidents did attend funerals, and many have attended special memorial services.

    President Clinton went to the military mortuary at Dover Air Force Base in 1996 for the return of 33 Americans, including Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, killed in a Croatia air crash and to Andrews Air Force Base in 1998 for Americans killed in a Nairobi terrorist bombing.

    President Carter attended funerals at Arlington National Cemetery, including a service for eight military fatalities from the hostage rescue attempt.

    I’ll gladly take your wager regarding visits with dead servicemember families, though I don’t know where either of us will get the data to test the claim. Roosevelt was in office a long time, the President was much more accessible during Lincoln’s era, and Johnson presided over plenty of deaths and attended a couple of funerals. How many grieving widows were at Gettysburg?

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