Obama, Be Like FDR and Talk to Us

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 14, 2009 1:22 PM CDT
President Franklin Roosevelt holding his black Scottie Fala while talking to Ruthie Bie, granddaughter of the caretakers of the Hill Top Cottage at his Hyde Park, NY, home in 1941.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – President Obama should man up and talk straight to the American people about health care reform—just like FDR did when trying to pass Social Security, Nancy J. Altman writes in the Los Angeles Times. Roosevelt succeeded with that program against similar odds—opponents cried “socialism” and said it would bring the American “people to the level of the average European”—but he “prevented them from controlling the debate.”

“The political rhetoric never gained traction in 1935.” And while “it may be too late for President Obama to frame and control the debate over health care reform,” Altman writes, “if he is to have a successful administration, he should learn from FDR.” Perhaps health care is lost, but “by emulating FDR, Obama will find the bipartisanship he seeks, not inside the halls of Congress but among a broad cross section of Americans.”