It Seems to Me I’ve Heard That Song Before

Andrew E. Busch

April 1, 2004

December 21, 1944

The Lawrence Monarch Show

Guest: Sen. Edward Rafferty, R-Mass.

Carried live on the CBS radio network

Monarch: Good evening. This is Lawrence Monarch and we are speaking tonight with the distinguished senior Senator from Massachusetts, Edward Rafferty. Senator Rafferty, welcome to the show.

Rafferty: Thank you, Lawrence. I’m always pleased to be here.

Monarch: Senator Rafferty, all Americans are now riveted to the scene in the Ardennes Forest, where German forces have launched an unexpectedly fierce counteroffensive against the allies. The 101st Airborne division is trapped in Bastogne, our forces are spread too thin, there is bloody fighting everywhere. What is the significance of this turn of events?

Rafferty: It is now clear that this war in Europe is going to be Franklin Roosevelt’s World War I, another quagmire that will result in massive casualties, cynicism at home, and instability abroad. It was a horrendous mistake in judgment to ever get involved in that part of the world, where they have been fighting each other for centuries. Hitler was already contained. Why the rush to war? History will record that Roosevelt concocted this Nazi war scare in Warm Springs just so he could get a third term.

Monarch: And a fourth term.

Rafferty: And a fourth term.

Monarch: So war against Germany was unnecessary?

Rafferty: And Italy. There is no proof that either one of them had anything to do with Pearl Harbor. All we’ve done is take resources from the Pacific and sent American boys to die in the frozen forests of Europe for nothing.

Monarch: Didn’t they have an alliance?

Rafferty: Who?

Monarch: Japan, Italy, and Germany?

Rafferty: You don’t really believe that one, do you?

Monarch: So what are you suggesting?

Rafferty: We need to get out of Europe now and internationalize. Roosevelt should have handed this over to the League of Nations from day one. His go-it-alone, cowboy foreign policy is a disaster. All we have with us are the British, the Australians, some Poles. What kind of coalition is that? Where are the Spanish? Where are the Germans?

Monarch: I see your point.

Rafferty: And, of course, just imagine what this conflict is doing for SS recruiting. What we really need to do is attack the root cause of fascism.

Monarch: Fanatical ideology? Original sin?

Rafferty: Roosevelt.

Monarch: Roosevelt?

Rafferty: If Roosevelt had only followed Herbert Hoover’s vigorous approach in Manchuria, this would never have happened. He was clearly negligent at Pearl Harbor, and has spent the last three years covering it up. Then he went off the deep end, going after Italy and Germany before Japan was beaten. And all of this rhetoric about “evil”—it is just so simplistic. We need a more nuanced approach.

Monarch: So Roosevelt is bad because he didn’t do enough to prevent Pearl Harbor…

Rafferty: The truth is finally coming out…

Monarch: …and he is bad because he did too much to keep Germany from doing the same thing?

Rafferty: The threat was grossly exaggerated. There was no imminent threat from Hitler. And the deception! We’re still trying to figure out what really happened to the U.S.S. Greer, and I’m beginning to hear reports that Hitler has already dropped his heavy water experiments. Franklin Roosevelt should be ashamed. It is time to admit failure, hold the President accountable, and move on.

Monarch: And this war is an expensive adventure, too, isn’t it?

Rafferty: Do you know how many WPA jobs could be funded with the money it takes to build one Sherman tank? And just look at how the deficit has ballooned. Our children will still be paying for this miscalculation decades from now.

Monarch: So this “Battle of the Bulge” is the beginning of the end for Roosevelt’s policy in Europe?

Rafferty: No question about it. It is time to throw in the towel. We can’t win. Unfortunately, this feckless administration does not seem to have an exit strategy.

Monarch: Didn’t this President work hard to cultivate your goodwill when he first took office?

Rafferty: That’s water under the bridge, Lawrence. Er, uh, never mind.

Monarch: So is it ever hard on you to be so critical of the President?

Rafferty: I can hardly stand it.

Monarch: How do you answer people who say that you are overly pessimistic and lack resolve?

Rafferty: Resolve is just another word for blind stubbornness. Besides, I am highly optimistic. We’re hoping that if Bastogne falls, we might pick up a few more seats in ’46.

Monarch: Senator, let’s talk civil liberties for awhile.

Rafferty: Lawrence, I am outraged over the administration’s handling of internal security. The Japanese internments are a terrible injustice. I would like to think that the next time we have such a crisis, we would take more moderate action, like deportation of a few dangerous sorts, some easier rules of evidence, maybe more communication between J. Edgar Hoover and Wild Bill Donovan. Something sensible.

Monarch: Senator Rafferty, thank you for your time. Your comments are, as always, illuminating.

[The Lawrence Monarch Show fades into the Harry James Hour, as Helen Forrest sings her 1942 hit “It seems to me I’ve heard that song before; it’s from an old familiar score; I know it well, that melody… I know each word because I’ve heard that song before.”]

Andrew E. Busch is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Denver and an Adjunct Fellow of the Ashbrook Center.