Defamation. A whopper of a defamation suit. If political figures and their lingering estates weren't exempt from the collected body of common law which labors to protect the innocent from willful assaults on personal integrity and family honor, then FDR & Family would possess one helluva defamation suit against the NY Times' Ross Douthat.
In finding for the plaintiff and emphatically awarding damages, the presiding judge would, I'd like to think, order that Douthat be lashed to a Hyde Park lamppost so that Roosevelt's descendants might splatter a real cream pie in his face. The latter's column, from today, would then be ritualistically torched, the ashes buried, the aforethought officially laid to rest; its insipidity, however, would forever remain imperishable.
Let's cut to the quick, the core indictment:
One can hear in this rhetoric [Mitt Romney's promise to 'solve the problems that others say can’t be solved' and 'fix what others say is beyond repair'] a kind of right-of-center rhyme to Roosevelt’s campaign promise of "bold, persistent experimentation," his exhortation to "above all, try something," without necessarily specifying what that something might be.
That has to be the most inept, inapt comparison it has ever been my horror to read. No two politicos could ever have been more philosophically divergent. While Roosevelt was a profoundly non-ideological pragmatist on behalf of the greatest good--a personable pragmatist who abhorred his own party's extremists from an elegant distance--Romney is an utterly charmless opportunist from the economic-royalty class who is willing to sleep with the devil and lie with the rankest of self-serving ideologues.
Romney is being vague because he knows precisely what he wants do as president--which is whatever the far right wants him to do--and he knows "that something" is scarcely anything most voters would want. Roosevelt was vague when running in '32 precisely because by "bold, persistent experimentation," he meant it. Roosevelt stood on two powerful legs of principled leadership and genuine concern for the strong middle class he was about to build; Romney is a crippled kowtower to whoever might do him some good.
Next time, Mr. Douthat, you'll find more suitable Romneyesque examples in the presidencies of, say, James Buchanan or Franklin Pierce.