The Critical Press and the New Deal: The Press Versus Presidential Power, 1933-1938

By Gary Dean Best | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4
Increasing Doubts

REFORM VERSUS RECOVERY

With the surrealism of the Hundred Days behind them, newspapermen now tried to assess the probable results of the legislative deluge that had engulfed the country. Having watched the jigsaw puzzle become a popular craze of 1932- 1933, they now confronted the challenge of understanding the greatest jigsaw puzzle of them all: the New Deal. Surveying it all, Walter Lippmann observed that there was much about the legislation of the Hundred Days that was "foolish," and powers had been granted to the executive that, if used, could cause "great damage." But Congress had done so "with the overwhelming approval of the nation," and in the conviction that the president could be trusted. "There are," Lippmann wrote, "no signs that [ Roosevelt] is afflicted with delusions of grandeur, that he is plotting against the Constitution, that he is not clearly aware that the successful use of his powers will, the moment Congress adjourns, depend solely upon the wisdom and technical competence with which he administers them."1

Lippmann, however, insisted that with so much at stake on the successful administration of the New Deal programs, Roosevelt should not and could not rely on "ordinary partisanship" in appointing the administrators. He was disturbed at the evidence that Roosevelt was, however, making political appointments where competence should be the first test. He wrote: "It might as well be said frankly and in the open what close observers at the capital are saying privately, namely, that in choosing men the test as to whether they supported Mr. Roosevelt for the nomination is being applied altogether too rigidly."2

-49-

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The Critical Press and the New Deal: The Press Versus Presidential Power, 1933-1938
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction ix
  • The Critical Press and the New Deal xvii
  • Chapter 1 the Use and Misuse of the Press I 1
  • Chapter 2 the Use and Misuse of the Press II 19
  • Chapter 3 the Honeymoon of the Hundred Days 35
  • Chapter 4 Increasing Doubts 49
  • Chapter 5 a Marriage on the Rocks 61
  • Chapter 6 a Bitter Divorce 79
  • Chapter 7 Name Calling 93
  • Chapter 8 Assault and Defense 113
  • Chapter 9 a Shoulder to Lean On 131
  • Conclusion 147
  • Epilogue: the Psychology of Disability 153
  • Notes 167
  • Bibliography 189
  • Index 193
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