Market Insight | Dysfunctional Thanksgiving Dinners at the Roosevelts’
By Scott Grant
The 1924 Democratic National Convention in New York is known as the “Klanbake.” Twenty thousand Klansmen marched on Madison Square Garden to protest the potential nomination of Al Smith. They opposed Smith because he was a Catholic. Despite having his name placed into nomination by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, “The Happy Warrior” eventually lost on the 103rd ballot. (Four years later, Smith would win the nomination and lose to Calvin Coolidge in the general election.) The balloting went on for days and the Klansman passed one off day by hosting a clam bake and cross burning across the river in New Jersey.
Having lost his bid for the presidency, Smith ran for governor of New York. His opponent in that election was Teddy Roosevelt, Jr. Like most candidates in that day, the son of the famous President, barnstormed the state giving speeches. His cousin Eleanor followed him around in a station wagon with a papier-mache tea-pot on the hood. The tea pot was to remind voters that Teddy Jr. had been marginally implicated in the Teapot Dome scandal. Eleanor reminded the voters on her own that Teddy was “immature.” Eleanor did it because she was a Democrat and Teddy Jr. was a Republican. The fact that they were first cousins and that her father, Kermit, was the famous President’s brother made no difference.
Teddy Jr. lost the election to Al Smith and never forgave his cousin. When FDR ran for president, Teddy and his half-sister Alice were amongst his harshest critics. What fascinates me is that political party mattered more to both sides than the common bond they shared as Roosevelts. Teddy Roosevelt, Jr. won the medal of honor. He was the first general on the beaches on D-Day. But when it came to the governor’s race, his cousin Eleanor Roosevelt saw him as just another Republican.
Throughout our history as a nation, there have been times that our political differences have become so pronounced that it is amazing we survived. But we do survive and even thrive. We may let politics interfere with Thanksgiving dinner, but we rarely let it interfere with progress.
One can measure our economic progress from the increase in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The Dow stood under 100 the day FDR was sworn into office. Today, it has recently crossed over 19,000. Earlier this year I said I thought we would see 20,000 before the year is out. I still do. People periodically ask me if we will see 25,000, 50,000 or even 100,000 on the Dow and the answer is “Yes, we will.” It is not a question of if, but rather when. If you are not invested, you should be. If you do not know how, ask.
Scott A. Grant is President of Standfast Asset Management in Ponte Vedra Beach. He welcomes your comments or questions at email@example.com.