The First Hundred Days

Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter authored the recent book, “The Defining Moment,” which I read earlier this year and has stuck in my mind throughout the collapse of Wall Street investment houses and the credit crisis.

His book details Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first 100 days in office in 1933, a period of unprecedented governmental activism that started to move the country forward in the depths of the Depression.

It is a great read, especially as Barack Obama takes office with the worst economic crisis since then. Alter compares the two eras on “Meet the Bloggers,” below, a weekly Internet show that comes from Robert Greenwald’s Brave New Films.

“The barrier will come not if he moves too quickly, but if he moves too slowly,” Alter says. He notes that Roosevelt unleashed 15 separate pieces of far-reaching legislation to address the Depression in those first 100 days, and although not all of them worked, they at least conveyed the impression that changes were underway, helping to restore a sense of optimism.

“Basically, our financial system is a big confidence game,” Alter tells host Cenk Uygur.

“Meet the Bloggers,” produced on a production campus made from a former motel in Culver City, has featured such guests as Nancy Pelosi and Michael Moore. Progressive bloggers have dominated the  Internet, particularly since the 2006 election, so perhaps BraveNewFilms’ addition of talk via video and IChat is the next step for political Websites overall.

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