Not FDR’s Democrats

By Jacqueline Klingebiel

Sep 3, 2009 11:00am

One of FDR's best biographer's, Jean Edward Smith, argues in today's NYT that following FDR's partisan example is the right prescription for an Obama White House that "has forgotten how to lead."

Citing FDR's burst of New Deal legislating, he advises the WH to forget about the GOP and push through a public health insurance option with Democratic votes.

That may have worked for FDR, but Smith fails to point out how many Democrats FDR had to spare. When Social Security passed in 1935, there were more than 70 Democrats and Progressives in the Senate, only 25 Republicans.  Today, the Senate has 57 Democrats and 40 Republicans with 2 Independents who caucus with the Democrats…FDR's House margin was 129 more Democrats. Today, the House breaks with 78 more Democrats.

If Obama had those kind of margins, he could afford to ignore Republicans and conservatives in his own party too. But he doesn’t.

- George Stephanopoulos

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