Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman — Rockefeller served both in significant offices — urged him to become a Democrat. A longtime aide said, “He wasn’t a liberal. He was a problem solver.” But Rockefeller insisted, “There is no problem that cannot be solved.” So he was a liberal, with a progressive’s reverence for “experts.” He gave the impression, his sympathetic but clear-eyed biographer says, of having “more ideas than convictions.”How many "equivalents of war" will it take until voters learn to reject the crisis - legislate paradigm of governing?
Like Lyndon Johnson, who also was born in 1908, Rockefeller as a young man experienced wartime Washington mobilizing the nation’s productivity. Like Johnson, Rockefeller may have embraced the misconception that a free society could and should perform in peacetime the sort of prodigies that America accomplished in 1941–45 as a garrison state. During the 1964 presidential campaign, Johnson exclaimed: “We’re in favor of a lot of things and we’re against mighty few.” As one of Rockefeller’s top assistants said of him, “He’d have solutions going around looking for problems.” Rockefeller was, Smith says, “Too busy doing to entertain doubts.” And he was “a serial alarmist,” trumpeting crises in order to justify spending.
AN EPITAPH FOR THE FATAL CONCEIT.
George Will, on Nelson Rockefeller.