Obama tries to take high road

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Mr. (John T.) Nightingale in his letter of Nov. 2 says flatly, “You never heard a previous leader complain about his predecessor.” Wrong! Franklin Delano Roosevelt did, endlessly, and he tried fruitlessly to find corruption and scandal in the administration of Mr. (Herbert) Hoover. Only now are cracks beginning to appear in the generalized demonization of Mr. Hoover that has over time been accepted as fact. It was effective politics to get people’s minds off genuine and continuing miseries by producing a scapegoat. Mr. Obama, no doubt knowing of this history and having been taught as a child to avoid the demonizing of people, has, it seems to me, been admirably restrained in his complaints about what he inherited. This comment coming from the right, compared with pressure from the left to take FDR’s low road, shows me that Obama is trying hard to take the high road despite provocations. Try reading a “friendly” biography of Mr. Hoover, Mr. Nightingale. Be aware that very friendly and very hostile biographies need to be viewed very carefully because they exaggerate to strengthen their viewpoint. Nevertheless, given your viewpoint, and the point of this letter, such a look should broaden your awareness of the record. When we’re too young to remember hearing it, we read history, and truly, there’s nothing new under heaven. Jennifer Owens, Auburn