I picked up a new book, Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover’s Secret History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath. It’s actually an old book, completed in 1963, but was not published until this year for reasons that one can only speculate. It was written by Herbert Hoover, his version of the history of World War II, and his family is tight-lipped about why he labored intensely over it for the last two decades of his life and then declined to have it published. At 1,000+ pages, it’s quite a large tome and requires quite a commitment to get through it. I have finished only the introduction and the first chapter.
From the introduction, we get a glimpse of the former President who came to office as a Bull Moose, Progressive Republican to later watch in horror as his successor attempted a major transformation of the American free market economy with varying degrees of success. During the decade of the 1930’s, Hoover wrote two bestselling books that were critical of actions taken by the Roosevelt Administration in areas covering economic and foreign policy. In addition, he tried unsuccessfully for renomination for the office of the Presidency.
This post, however, isn’t about Herbert Hoover. It’s about men with larger than life ideas who come to power and look back on their time in office with much to regret. It’s about the present set of regrets that will leave a huge footprint on the world, for better or worse. While Hoover was, in my opinion, wrong about many things even after his new found appreciation of economic freedom over progress, the historical significance of this book in understanding the world in which we now live, what might have been alternatively, and why men with power do the things they do cannot be overestimated.
In previous posts, I’ve written about my reservations regarding Mitt Romney, and lately those reservations have turned into deep concern. I have chosen to support the Republican ticket this year out of weighing it against the alternatives, but I do not have a positive outlook for the future regarding having to choose between variations of bad choices. Romney is the least bad choice because he will, without quite knowing why, do some of the right things that I think matter, but he has a serious problem with liking himself too much and it’s already getting in the way of what his job is right now, winning. If all things remain the same and he does manage to win the election, I don’t have a warm fuzzy that he will check his ego at the door of the White House. To him, this election is all about him, not about us, and everything else will be also.
In some ways the Obama Campaign is correct about Romney when it says that his success has left him insular to the severity of the economic problems we face. This does not make Obama the correct man for the job, however. We have already gotten a taste of what Obama is capable of and he has been found lacking (it’s very strange that the situation with the Board of Governors on the Federal Reserve has not changed considering that all are Obama appointees). Our problems are not numbers on a graph, but the graph shows all of the individual struggles and worries that boil up to form the aggregates – neither Obama nor Romney have a clue, and I am not certain they are interested. It bothers me that there isn’t more humility involved in this campaign as if the only point to the entire affair is the debate over the kind of bone that gets tossed to the little people. It can’t end well, regardless of the outcome, and there will be no do-overs.