It's impossible to have much perspective when living through events. Many people once called Ronald Reagan the worst president ever (and now call Bush the same) while 30 years after he left office Reagan is hailed as one of the top 5 Presidents.
That is why Amity Shlaes new book - "The Forgotten Man - A New History of the Great Depression" is quite fascinating. Many people are aware of how Hoover really set the economy in a tailspin by signing trying to isolate the US from world trade with the Smoot-Hawley Act. But few are aware of the bumbling that FDR did, which extended the Great Depression for nearly a decade.
Shlaes account of how FDR decided to set the price of gold is amusing (a lucky number). His constant need to create sub-groups of people that became dependant on the Federal Government had immediate and long lasting results (and defines the Democratic Party to this day).
Wendle Wilke - presidential candidate in 1940, called on Roosevelt to give up this philosophy of "distributed scarcity". Since 1930 this is what the Democratic Party has offered the country. The theory that there is only so much pie (whether this pie is money, food, or the environment) and we need to re-distribute it.
My own beliefs have to do with prosperity consciousness, which I've written about many times.