It appears supporters of President Donald Trump are going to do their best to compare him to one of the biggest Republican Party politicians…and one of the biggest progressives in U.S. history. Via The Washington Examiner:
“In President Donald Trump, I think the United States once again has a president whose vision, energy, and can-do spirit is reminiscent of President Teddy Roosevelt,” Pence said during remarks at the expanded Panama Canal on Thursday. “Just as President Roosevelt exhorted his fellow Americans to ‘dare to be great,’ President Donald Trump has dared our nation to ‘make America great again,’ and we’ll do it with all of our friends in the world.”
“Then, as now, we have a builder of boundless optimism, who seeks to usher in a new era of shared prosperity all across this new world. Then, as now, we have a leader who sees things not just as they are, but for what they could be. And then, as now, we have a president who understands, in his words, ‘A nation is only living as long as it is striving,'” Pence added.
Teddy Roosevelt obviously is an American success story as someone who fought asthma, was highly intelligent, served in the military with honor, and one of the toughest men to ever live. Yet, he was also a supporter of strong, expansive government, and an enemy to the free market. Roosevelt was a big backer of busting up large corporations, increasing regulations on businesses, and signed the law which created the Food and Drug Administration. He was also an extreme supporter of interventionism through his Roosevelt corollary to the Monroe Doctrine.
Chronic wrongdoing or an impotence which results in a general loosening of the ties of civilized society, may in America, as elsewhere, ultimately require intervention by some civilized nation, and in the Western Hemisphere, the adherence of the United States to the Monroe doctrine may force the United States, however reluctantly, in flagrant cases of such wrongdoing or impotence, to the exercise of an international police power.
It’s not surprising to see Pence compare TR and Trump because their policies are quite similar. One of the more hilarious responses to the comparison is from Harriet Sinclair in Newsweek.
Roosevelt was known for calling white Americans “the forward race” and minorities “the backward race.” He said of Native Americans, “I don’t go so far as to think that the only good Indians are dead Indians, but I believe nine out of ten are, and I shouldn’t like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth.”
Trump gave a press conference about the violence in Charlottesville in which he claimed not all people marching in the white supremacist rally were white supremacists, drawing criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike.
The humor is found in the fact former president Barack Obama was favorably compared to Roosevelt in 2011 multiple times, including by John Cassidy in The New Yorker.
This is Obama seeking to define the themes he intends to run on next year, to energize his disillusioned base, and to capitalize on a big change in the political climate. Teddy Roosevelt, whose famous “New Nationalism” speech in 1910 called upon the three branches of the federal government to put the public welfare before the interests of money and property, merely provided a convenient framing device…
Like many people who voted for Obama in 2008, I have been critical of some of his actions and inactions. What has bothered me most has not been any one thing in particular, but his overall failure to articulate and defend the vision of an activist government tackling market failures and protecting the public interest, which Teddy Roosevelt helped to create. Yes, the President has done some positive things and made some good speeches, and, yes too, he has faced enormous difficulties, but all too often his heart hasn’t seemed to be in the fight.
Today, at last, he found his voice, or Teddy Roosevelt’s voice—or, as some are suggesting, Elizabeth Warren’s voice. Anyway, it was a big improvement.
Politico also compared Obama and Roosevelt in their attempts to conserve land, something Obama himself did last year. It’s rather “amazing” the left now has issues with TR now that the GOP is trying to regain his mantra and aura for their own purposes. There’s a teeny bit of sarcasm in the “amazing” comment.
Let’s be honest, both Obama and Trump are doing their best imitation of Roosevelt, just like other presidents have attempted to do. All three are interventionists, see the government as the “best way” to pick winners and losers, and seek to use populism to their own benefit (even though Trump is much more of a populist than Obama). It would be wise for the GOP to stop trying to compare their policies and political candidates to Roosevelt, since all they stand for are big, intrusive, strong government.