Jonathan Tobin rejects the connection between Obama and T.R.:
By contrast, Obama’s political agenda consists of precisely the sort of class war rhetoric TR despised.
Yes, thank goodness that Teddy Roosevelt “despised” class war rhetoric! Just imagine if he had said this:
No man should receive a dollar unless that dollar has been fairly earned. Every dollar received should represent a dollar’s worth of service rendered – not gambling in stocks, but service rendered. The really big fortune, the swollen fortune, by the mere fact of its size acquires qualities which differentiate it in kind as well as in degree from what is possessed by men of relatively small means. Therefore, I believe in a graduated income tax on big fortunes, and in another tax which is far more easily collected and far more effective – a graduated inheritance tax on big fortunes, properly safeguarded against evasion and increasing rapidly in amount with the size of the estate [bold mine-DL].
Oh, wait, that’s Roosevelt in his “New Nationalism” speech arguing that wealth earned from “gambling in stocks” is wealth that is not “fairly earned,” and he’s insisting on progressive taxation of the wealthy and the death tax. I promise that this would be defined as class warfare if any contemporary politician said something similar. Just imagine how Obama would be pilloried if he had dared to say this:
But we must be ready to face temporary disaster, whether or not brought on by those who will war against us to the knife. Those who oppose all reform will do well to remember that ruin in its worst form is inevitable if our national life brings us nothing better than swollen fortunes for the few and the triumph in both politics and business of a sordid and selfish materialism.
One of the reasons that traditional conservatives have always looked askance at T.R. is precisely because his vision of the role of the government at home and abroad was antithetical to ours. It’s absurd to say that T.R. would not have shared many of Obama’s political assumptions. It is more likely that T.R. would have disdained Obama for being too accommodating to corporate interests.