Amity Shlaes recalls that Wendell Wilkie was “the man who talked back” to Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. Barack Obama is replaying some New Deal themes and expanding government power in a Rooseveltian style. Obama’s strong-arming of Chrysler’s secured creditors on behalf of the United Auto Workers union seems to me to go beyond the New Deal in its lawlessness and corruption. But where is our Wilkie?
I missed the emegence last week of Hedge Fund Man (Cliff Asness). Michelle Malkin and Diana West saluted Asness in their weekly columns; West touted him for president. Even New York magazine’s Daily Intel took note. Asness’s manifesto opposing the Obama administration’s dirty dealing is “Unafraid in Greenwhich Connecticut.”
Shlaes concludes her column on Wilkie with a point that seems applicable to Asness:
When Willkie finally ran for President in 1940, he did not win, but he did aggregate enough support to deal a blow to Democratic radicalism. Roosevelt was not over, but the New Deal was. The point is not that those who talk back are perfect. The canny Dimon probably isn’t. Willkie sure wasn’t. The takeaway is that daring to talk back is worthwhile–especially when you do it early.
The time is now.
JOHN adds: I wrote about Asness last week, here.