“Roosevelt’s Purge”: A Time to Play Hardball.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010, OPINION, Wall Street Journal:  Bookshelf, by Jonathan Karl

When President Franklin Roosevelt’s second-term agenda “hit a brick wall” of Democratic (his own party) opposition…”It was time to play hardball. As Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau put it: There has got to be a fight and there has got to be a purge…He had reason to believe he could call the shots.” Roosevelt endorsed liberal primary challengers against incumbent Democratic senators.   The incumbents won: “The voters may have liked their president, but they didn’t want him picking their senator.”

Professional baseball is hardball. As an idiom, hardball is what one does after trying easier methods. A person calling the shots says what is going to happen and then tries to do it, for instance when Babe Ruth, a famous baseball player, said he would hit a home run to centerfield, he did it.

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