“Somebody Must be Blamed”
"Father Charles Coughlin occupied both a strange and a familiar place in American politics in the 1930s. Politically radical, a passionate democrat, he nevertheless was a bigot who freely vented angry, irrational charges and assertions. A Catholic priest, he broadcast weekly radio sermons that by 1930 drew as many as forty-five million listeners. Strongly egalitarian, deeply suspicious of elites, a champion of what he saw as the ordinary person’s rights, Coughlin frequently and vigorously attacked capitalism, communism, socialism, and dictatorship By the mid-1930s, his talks took on a nasty edge as he combined harsh attacks on Roosevelt as the tool of international Jewish bankers with praise for the fascist leaders Benito Mussolini and Adolph Hitler. The “Radio Priest’s” relentless anti-elitism pushed Roosevelt to sharpen his own critiques of elites, and in that sense Coughlin had a powerful impact on American politics beyond his immediate radio audience. This 1937 sermon, “Twenty Years Ago,” reflected much of what made Coughlin popular."