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FDR’s Wingnut Opposition


As I’ve done nothing the past two weeks but look at logging union documents and documents associated with logging, I have had no choice but find diversions within the documents. And that leads me to C.C. Crow. An extremely conservative man, this is what this very prominent timber executive and publisher of Crow’s Pacific Coast Lumber Digest had to say after FDR died:

“The administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt will go down in history as one of the darkest pages of human progress. His utter disregard for the truth and the unprincipled methods he employed in remaining in office saw him stoop to practices of arch hypocrisy, since exposed by his intimate associates, that passed far beyond honesty, even after making allowance for the latitude ordinarily granted in politics. He clasped to his bosom all the riff-raff of the nation and installed in important public offices both men and women whom he could not help but know were unalterably opposed to our form of government and were surreptitiously planted at vantage points to help bring about its ruination. While carping about race and creed inequality, as a theme song to bring the unthinking masses to his support, he and his wife actually did more to promote creed and race strife than was ever done before in the history of our country or will ever be in the future. The evils of this one specific heritage from Roosevelt’s administration alone will remain to curse and bedevil generations to come. The seeds of such philosophy were purposely planted in foreign lands where they will grow and some terrible day come back to menace our children and our children’s children. The Roosevelt administration is directly responsible for our government being hopelessly involved in a debt so great that if it is ever repaid, which is doubt, virtual enslavement to taxes sufficient to kill all initiative will be necessary for the next two hundred years.

At some prominent place in Washington, D.C., there should be erected a monument to the Roosevelt administration. It should be constructed of soured green hemlock because that emits an offensive odor. There could be one tall center pole topped with a likeness of the great white father surrounded by various members of brain-trusters, with an inscription at its base reading, “We will spend and spend and spend and tax and tax and tax.” At each corner there could be a space for the lesser lights, those who prostituted the advantage of marital or parental relationship. It could be continuously watered in a manner similar to the treatment accorded our gold standard, so that the decaying wood out of which it was built would never cease to smell like the record of those whose sorry doings it was designed to commemorate.”

C.C. Crow, “Suggestion for a Monument to the Roosevelt administration.” Crow’s Pacific Coast Lumber Digest, August 7, 1947

Now, Crow was a full nutter. He called Wayne Morse a communist. He thought Harry Bridges should be kicked out the country. He attacked the Marshall Plan from the right, talking about how worthless the French were and how the English had become lazy and socialist and saying they should get off their lazy rear ends and mine their own coal rather than rely on American coal. When Truman fired MacArthur, Crow said it was a victory for the Reds and the English. Crow wrote in glee when the Henry Kaiser company town of Vanport was washed away in a flood in 1948. A race-baiter, he was glad this cesspool of racial mixing was no more. Crow had a special hatred for Kaiser for reasons not entirely clear to me. I think Crow thought Kaiser took advantage of the New Deal to gain a monopoly that violated his fundamentalist ideas of free trade. He was a hard-core Republican but could live with the right kind of Democrat, specifically a segregationist like Harry Byrd.

So Crow was insane. But he was also by no means atypical of the venom spewing Republicans of the 1940s. We think of Obama facing some uniquely crazy Republican opposition but it’s not so original. This kind of hackery goes back a long ways. Of course, the Republican Party of the 1940s had more than just crazies, and that’s why Crow hated Morse so much. But add a little geographical realignment to the mix and it’s not hard to see how complete wingnuttery would come to take over the entire Republican Party.

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