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Comparing FDR and the Tangerine Toddler is...well, hell. I don't have a simile ridiculous enough. It's like Socrates and a gibbering ape.

This goes back to my previous comment on your Churchill-as-mutable-politician post, but I think that Churchill didn't "get" a lot about the United States. His mother was American, and I think he thought that gave him insight into the Colonies, but fundamentally he had the massive blind spot towards republicanism that his upbringing gave him and his imperial mindset locked into him.

He didn't get that Roosevelt really, REALLY didn't like the Empire. I think he saw the guy as the product of American nobility, the old Dutch patroons, and missed the labor Democrat that saw the British Empire as a massive plutocratic sweatshop for natives. FDR was no radical, but one of his pet peeves was Britain's imperial system...and FDR know that a LOT of other Americans felt the same way. There wasn't a huge rush to go to the defense of plucky little England in 1940 because way too many Americans saw that as just two European brutes slugging it out.

Fortunately for Churchill and Britain, FDR didn't think that way. He saw the danger of Nazism for what it was, and acted to deal with it in a statesmanlike way.

Heaven forfend there would have been a Trump in the Oval Office in 1941. He probably would have been talking about the "very good people" in those German or Italian vessels of war...


The black armband for FDR's mother reminds me of how the smallest things can make big, unpredictable differences. If FDR's father's will hadn't left Sara Roosevelt holding the purse strings, FDR probably would have divorced Eleanor when his affairs came to light. That would have destroyed his political career, but if FDR had money of his own, he probably would have done it anyway. But Sara yanked the purse strings, FDR and Eleanor came to an accommodation, and when the world went to s**t, FDR was President rather than -- well, who?

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