Searching for biographies of U. S. presidents in the juvenile literature section can be very annoying. It's not bad, per se, that there are 272 copies of 22 different juvenile biographies of the current president in the library system (although since all of them will be outdated shortly, I question the financial wisdom of such a large purchase). It seems that all the other presidents have been crowded off the shelf, at least at my local branch. But the others are there, it's just that many are in the stacks at the central library. There are almost as many copies about FDR (29 titles, 220 or so copies). Whom I went searching for yesterday.
I took home three titles. And was immediately annoyed. According to all three of them, FDR was basically flawless. As were pretty much all the policies mentioned in the books. No reasonable opposition to, say, the Social Security program is described in any detail whatsoever, unless it was to say the law didn't go far enough -- not even in books written well into the era when the flaws in funding Social Security are obvious to everyone. And then there's the scanty coverage of bad moves like Roosevelt's attempt to pack the Supreme Court. The author of a book for teens writes about this one as if some mysterious illness had taken over the normally perfect Roosevelt's brain.
Roosevelt's remarkable political gifts... deserted him during the court-packing battle. The decision to "pack" the Supreme Court was made differently from almost every other important decision of his presidency... Then, as the battle raged, Roosevelt never showed his characteristic flexibility...
Roosevelt was perfect, so it's a mystery why he supported such a crazy idea!
I don't think it's a matter of partisanship (although I will let you know when I go looking for Reagan biographies shortly). I suspect it's more this idea that we can't let kids think that the big stars of American history are anything other than visionaries, the policies that passed being the ones that were predestined from the beginning by history's inevitable march. A generation from now, some future homeschooler will probably be annoyed about the library books portraying the saintliness of President George W. Bush.
Well, I have other sources -- the TIME magazine archive, for instance, and the American Presidency Project's Audio/Video Archive. Some opposition commentary will surely turn up. It's really important, I think, to point out that the presidential administrations of the past ran up against serious opposition as well as support, usually for good reasons on both sides. Otherwise, you get this idea that partisan rancor is worse now than it has ever been, and that's simply not supported by the evidence.