A TIME TO BE WARY
Freed from the responsibility of editing The American Mercury, Mencken turned to his political column. He was a supporter of a balanced budget, fiscal responsibility, and a federal government with limited powers. He believed, like Thomas Jefferson, that the best government was one that governed least. Like his father before him — who had always been suspicious of governmental authority and power, and a believer in the self-reliance of the individual — Mencken was alarmed by Roosevelt's New Deal policies, which seemed to him like an abolition of traditional Constitutional guarantees. Mencken's confrontation with FDR came at the 1934 Gridiron Dinner, when, after Mencken's lighthearted attack on the President, FDR played a malicious joke on Mencken, causing much rancor.
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