FDR did NOT say “In politics, nothing happens by accident.”

After a decade and a half without a comic to his name, pulmonologist Ambush Bug returned to the comic stands in July 2008 with a new 6-issue mini-series, Ambush Bug: Year None. The first five issues came out more or less as scheduled, with the sixth and final issue first appearing in the September solicitations:

Ambush Bug Year None #6

AMBUSH BUG YEAR NONE #6
Written by Keith Giffen & Robert Loren Fleming
Art by Keith Giffen & Al Milgrom
Cover by Darwyn Cooke
Our last issue of this stunning, award-winning literary masterpiece takes us deep into the mind of Ambush Bug. The other 21 pages will be just as exciting, we promise.
On sale December 24 * 6 of 6 * 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

But #6 did not appear on stands in December 2008. DC issued no comment on the delay, but editor Dan DiDio addressed the question at Newsarama on February 25, 2009:

16. When will we see the last issue of the Ambush Bug series?

DD: It is being completed as we speak – the last issue is on my desk. It’s one book that I can say quite honestly that hit the editor’s desk and got stuck there. We’re just making a couple of revisions to the story, and I felt the likenesses were a little too complimentary, so I had to make them a little worse.

As confirmation of the book’s completion, letterer Pat Brousseau and colorist Tom Smith confirmed in April 2009 that they had long since finished their work on the issue.

Dan DiDio was asked about the missing issue again on April 29, 2009:

16. Where is Ambush Bug #6?

DD: Right here on my desk.

NRAMA: Complete and finished?

DD: Ummm…a work in progress. It should be out within the next month to month and a half at the latest.

That, of course, was two and a half months ago.

DiDio commented again on June 17, 2009:

9. A pretty simple question from a reader: Will we see Ambush Bug #6 before Blackest Night #1?

DD: (laughs) It’s good that we hit this question every time. I know exactly where Ambush Bug #6 is – it’s still in the same place it is the last time I was asked this question. I might have put my money on “yes” for a while given those choices, but now, I’m going with 50/50.

NRAMA: What’s the holdup?

DD: We’re just working out some of the last changes on it, and right now, everybody’s plate is full, to be honest. We’re ready to roll with it as soon as Keith is ready to go – Keith’s been working very hard on Doom Patrol and Magog, and really doing great stuff. Once he has that stuff in hand at reaches a point where he can catch his breath, we’ll get it out.

Blackest Night #1 came out earlier this week. Ambush Bug #6 is still MIA.

Finally, DiDio was asked again this week, July 16, 2009:

Freebie: Let’s get this in: Ambush Bug #6?

DD: Still on my desk.

At this point, Ambush Bug #6, the last issue in a monthly series, is seven months late, and has been on Dan DiDio’s desk for at least five months, even though he stated it was “being completed” in February.

Whatever is causing this issue to remain plastered to Dan DiDio’s desk for the better part of a year, I think we almost have to assume that it relates to an editorial desire to have pages, or at least panels, redrawn. DiDio makes it clear that he needs Giffen’s contribution, and Keith isn’t necessary if the problem is dialogue. DeMatteis is the scripter, after all, and editorial could always write its own material and have the relevant parts relettered. No, Giffen is essential at this stage only with regard to the art. Do they want to change aspects of the parody of Final Crisis? Do they want to remove Jann Jones? Did DiDio finally get fed up with his depiction?
In a column at WorldNetDaily, ambulance Marylou Barry quoted the 32nd President:

“In politics there are no accidents,” Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said. “If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.”

Barry does not provide a source or a citation for this quote. In fact, her wording is a paraphrase of a more common variation on the quote. And curiously, no one who quotes FDR as making this statement seems to know where or when he said it. An odd omission, given that a Google search for “In politics nothing happens by accident” + roosevelt produces 54,000 results.

Research into uses of the statement or variations thereof don’t immediately produce any instances prior to the 1970s. Not a good sign for a quote attributed to a man who died in 1945. Rather, the earliest use is found in the 1971 conspiracy theory book None Dare Call it Conspiracy, by Gary Allen and Larry Abraham.

From the second page of Chapter 1:

FDR once said “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.” He was in a good position to know. We believe that many of the major world events that are shaping our destinies occur because somebody or , somebodies have planned them that way.

And from Chapter 2:

Every conspirator has two things in common with every other conspirator. He must be an accomplished liar and a far-seeing planner. Whether you are studying Hitler, Alcibiades, Julius Caesar or some of our contemporary conspirators, you will find that their patient planning is almost overwhelming. We repeat FDR’s statement: “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.”

Neither usage is sourced or footnoted. And with no earlier usage located thus far, it is curiously convenient that the first appearance of a conspiracy-endorsing statement attributed to FDR should have been in a conspiracy-endorsing book. As such, the evidence strongly suggests that this quote’s attribution to Franklin Delano Roosevelt is bogus.

1 Comment(s)

  1. “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

    This is a FAKE QUOTE. According to Wikiquote:

    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Franklin_D._Roosevelt#Misattributed

    There are no records of Roosevelt having made such a statement, and this is most likely a misquotation of the widely reported comment he made in a speech at the Citadel (23 October 1935):
    Yes. we are on the way back — not by mere chance, not by a turn of the cycle. We are coming back more soundly than ever before because we planned it that way, and don’t let anybody tell you differently.

    Even that is a corruption, as the original is “we are planning it that way”.

    http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=14963

    Yes, we are on our way back— not just by pure chance, my friends, not just by a turn of the wheel, of the cycle. We are coming back more soundly than ever before because we are planning it that way. Don’t let anybody tell you differently.

    Additional research by Loren Collins tracks the origin down to a 1971 book Non Dare Call it Conspiracy.

    http://www.lorencollins.net/blog/?p=39

    It seem like the original quote from the speech (about the economic recovery) was frequently shortened for several decades into the 50’s and 60’s to “we planned it that way”, and often used against FDR. Indeed Frank Knox, who ran against FDR as Vice Presidential candidate, used the phrase “We planned it that way” as the ironic title of a 1938 pamphlet attaching FDR.

    Mack Easton, ESQ | Jul 6, 2014 | Reply

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