There's been a lot of discussion lately about FDR and whether or not his policies prolonged the depression.
But whether or not his policies helped or hurt, my opinion is that his response was very, very competent. There is no doubt that his policies achieved the following:
1. He made himself far more powerful;
2. He made his party far more powerful (they controlled the country for generations); and
3. He made government far more powerful.
These are signs of a very, very competent politician.
Prolonging the economic misery of tens of millions of Americans, laying part of the groundwork that precipitated a world war that killed tens of millions and laid two continents to waste, and stifling the economic development of the United States for generations seems a small price to pay for the political accomplishments listed above.
To those who are wishing that the next Administration responds "competently" to the economic situation, I say, "Be very careful what you wish for!"