Chris Matthews: Roosevelt 'Saved Capitalism in the 1930s'

August 4th, 2011 7:01 PM

Chris Matthews on Thursday claimed Franklin Delano Roosevelt saved capitalism in the 1930s.

This deliciously came during a "Hardball" segment wherein he mocked the intelligence of Tea Party members saying they "need to read history, and especially Michele Bachmann" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: By the way, who saved capitalism in the 1930s?

CLARENCE PAGE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Oh yeah, socialism comes in…


PAGE: …and saves capitalism.

MATTHEWS: FDR. FDR. Hoover wasn’t doing a very good saving capitalism. It was Roosevelt that I thought did it, and the war.

PAGE: Oh yeah.

MATTHEWS: But Roosevelt really kept it on its feet till the war came.

PAGE: It doesn’t hurt to put more money into the economy when you got a recession. It’s very simple.

MATTHEWS: Yeah, I think the Tea Party people need to read history, and especially Michele Bachmann take a look into…

PAGE: I’ll read it to them.

MATTHEWS: …the founding of our country first.

The idiocy and/or dishonesty on display here was staggering, for FDR's New Deal marked the beginning of socialism in this country and the deterioration of capitalism.

Highlights were the Wagner Act which promoted labor unions, the Works Progress Administration which used tax dollars to hire employees for public works programs, and of course Social Security.

Roosevelt was also responsible for numerous pieces of legislation that regulated industry which irrespective of their success or failure were by no means pro-capitalism.

As for FDR keeping capitalism "on its feet till the war came," despite all the billions of dollars he threw at the problem, unemployment was still at 17.2 percent at the end of 1939.

That's hardly capitalism "on its feet."

Yet this guy has the nerve to criticize Michele Bachmann and the Tea Party for their understanding of history.