In 1928 Republicans advanced millionaire businessman Herbert Hoover as their nominee. Shortly after Hoover’s election as President, Americans confronted the Great Depression. In 2012 Republicans will nominate the multi-millionaire Mitt Romney as their presidential candidate.


Mitt and Herbert are two peas in a pod.

Both multi-millionaires

Both businessmen

Both pledged lower taxes

Both oppose governmental involvement in business

Both anti-union

Both favor bank bailouts with public money

Both opposed using public money to house or feed the poor and the homeless.


Herbert was a Quaker and Mitt is a Mormon, neither of which is a “mainstream” religion, a fact which is irrelevant, at least to the voters who elected Hoover. Hoover’s religion is said to have provided him an ethical foundation and to have fostered his interest in charities and famine relief. Mitt has so far not embraced philanthropy.  Both men were married. Hoover’s wife worked at a job and was a successful businesswoman and author in her own right. Mitt’s wife rides expensive horses that cost more than a Ferrari.


I fear that in drawing the comparison between Mitt and Hoover that I have insulted Herbert Hoover.


First, Hoover was a mining engineer and a true entrepreneur who built businesses throughout the world. The mines he developed were not exercises in financial restructuring but were true businesses that created 175,000 real jobs. Hoover and his wife worked together in the mining fields, and Hoover and his wife authored and translated technical books in their areas of expertise. Mitt and his Bain employees (nearly 100% men) bought struggling companies, closed some, liquidated too many others and restructured a few. In the process Mitt siphoned off funds that were needed to keep his businesses afloat, and outsourced American jobs “overseas.” His financial engineering made Mitt wealthy, but he did not create a single business from scratch.


Hoover’s experiences in the mining fields gave him insight into the plight of labor, and he founded multiple successful companies from the ground up.


Second, Hoover thought independently and creatively, while Romney is hampered by cow-towing to far right money and evangelical religious interests, and sucking up to billionaires. As part of Mitt’s vast billionaire appeasement program he proposes that billionaires pay less in taxes. By comparison, while Hoover favored lower taxes he also closed tax loopholes for the wealthy. Hoover increased the top tax bracket from 25% to 63%. Romney favors lower taxes for the ultra wealthy and will defend to the death the loopholes that benefit his wealthy hedge fund friends who are in hiding in gated mansions on the back roads of Greenwich, protected by private security forces.


Third, farm subsidies to wealthy corporate farms continue to burden all attempts at a balanced budget. Hoover rejected farm subsidies, while Obama and Romney seek corporate donations from the fat pigs (political donors) that own the corporate farms. Hoover’s relationship to farmers and price controls is rather complex, but it is worth noting that he encouraged farming in order to feed starving families both in the United States and overseas.


As far as the Supreme Court goes, Hoover believed that the political make-up of the Justices should to some extent be balanced between Republicans and Democrats, and Hoover appointed jurists purely on merit. Romney has not been asked to comment on the role the Court should play, but prior Republican appointments (or rejected Republican nominees to the Court) suggest that Romney will follow the Republican party line and make further attempts to pack the Court with activist right wing hacks, who have abandoned any pretense at independent judicial/judicious thinking.


Hoover was blind to the mistreatment of blacks and used the Southern Strategy to get block votes from the South, a strategy later adopted by Democrats and now adopted by Romney and his Rovish advisors. While Hoover ignored blacks, Romney and  his Republican surrogates are aggressively trying to strip minorities (and the elderly) in the South of their right to vote. Sadly, there is no modern day Martin Luther King to expose Romney’s racism. There is no suggestion in Romney’s life that he has any interest in social justice for minorities or the poor.


Throughout his career as a sterling, money grubbing businessman, Romney has avoided philanthropy. In contrast, Hoover was widely acclaimed for his humanitarian leadership, efforts that he often undertook in opposition to Republican party leadership.


Sadly, Romney is channeling the worst aspects of Herbert Hoover, with none of  the intelligence, judgment and compassion that Hoover practiced in his public and private life. If I have insulted Herbert Hoover acolytes, then I apologize. If I have insulted Romney, then he can set the record straight and provide some facts and policies that demonstrate that he is compassionate and respects all Americans.


Howling Patriot