Monday, October 31, 2011

"I Welcome Their Hatred"

Just before the 1936 election, on October 31 of that year, President Franklin Roosevelt made a major campaign speech at Madison Square Garden in New York. FDR was not one to shy away from strident rhetoric.

"For 12 years this nation was afflicted with hear-nothing, see-nothing, do-nothing government. The nation looked to government but the government looked away. Nine mocking years with the golden calf and three long years of the scourge! Nine crazy years at the ticker and three long years in the breadlines! Nine mad years of mirage and three long years of despair! Powerful influences strive today to restore that kind of government with its doctrine that that government is best which is most indifferent to mankind.

"For nearly four years you have had an administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. We will keep our sleeves rolled up.

"We had to struggle with the old enemies.... business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

"They had begun to consider the government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob.

Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me -- and I welcome their hatred."

Four days later, the election proved to be one of the most lopsided in U.S. history. FDR received 27.4 million in the popular vote and 523 electoral votes, while Alf Landon received 16.6 million in the popular vote and 8 electoral votes.

The full text of the speech is here.

No comments: