On Tuesday, 6 December, 2011, a 1910 speech given by Ex-President Theodore Roosevelt raised its head and begged for further scrutiny. It became known as his "New Nationalism" speech and was lauded by progressives everywhere. It began as a speech to open the John Brown memorial Park outside Osawatomie, Kansas (it did, at least, mention John Brown's name twice), but ultimately revealed Teddy Roosevelt's vision of where he wanted to take the country.
As the speech reaches the meat of the subject, it reads:
"In every wise struggle for human betterment one of the main objects, and often the only object, has been to achieve in large measure equality of opportunity."
Sounds a bit like the leveling the playing field routine we've all heard recently, but he speech goes on to say,
"The citizens of the United States must effectively control the mighty commercial forces which they themselves called into being....It has become entirely clear that we must have government supervision of the capitalization, not only of public-service corporations, including, particularly, railways, but of all corporations doing an interstate business."
This statement reflects Teddy Roosevelt's goals, bigger, unlimited government. He goes on to explain that corporate profits, as well as those by individuals, are fine, as long as they are gainedaccording to government standards, and the dispersed toward a social justice, as dictated by the government. "We grudge no man a fortune in civil life if it is honorably obtained and well used.....This, I know, implies a policy of far more active governmental interference with social and economic conditions in this country than we have yet had, but I think we have got to face the fact that such an increase in governmental control is now necessary."
Roosevelt's speech states the requirements of government regulation of how profits are made and how they are used. It doesn't smack of Socialism, as much as screams for it. In fact, at one point in the speech, he jokes about a Kansas newspaper that "frantically repudiates the statement that I am a Socialist on the ground that is an unwarranted slander of Socialists".
I think that Barack Obama's reminder of Roosevelt's speech when he took the podium in the same city, Osawatomie, Kansas, on 6 December, 2011 speaks volumes. In 1910, Teddy Roosevelt took the reins of Progressivism and now Barack Obama wants to finish the trip. One difference in the views of the two men is that, while Roosevelt did require the the recipients of the social justice work as hard as possible, Obama makes no such requirement of work at all, taking a further step to socialism!
Roosevelt's speech of 1910 was not well received by most. He was denounced by many as a communist agitator in the east. His entry into the 1912 election, at the head of the Bull Moose Party, was soundly defeated, leading to the Presidency of Woodrow Wilson. The vast majority of the electorate rejected Progressivism and Socialism as, I believe, they would today. With Barack Obama,s embrace of Teddy Roosevelt's vision, he uncovers his objective, his vision of where he wants to take the country. Hopefully, he will lose his race as Roosevelt did in 1912.