President Obama invoked Teddy Roosevelt and the “New Nationalism” program of the Progressive Party of 1912 in a speech today at Osawatomie, Kansas, the site of a speech by the former President in 1910, setting the standard for his later third party run for President in 1912.
Called a socialist, a radical, and even a Communist by many conservatives a century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt promoted a very advanced series of ideas out of office, more than when he was in, including the end of child labor, equal pay for women, a minimum wage, a social insurance program including social security and health care, a progressive federal income tax, and reforming the political system.
His program, known as the “New Nationalism” became the forerunner of much of the “New Freedom” of Woodrow Wilson, the “New Deal” of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the “Fair Deal” of Harry Truman, the “New Frontier” of John F. Kennedy, and the “Great Society” of Lyndon B. Johnson.
Obama talked of the need for a strong middle class and a raised standard of living, and the need to regulate corporations and to raise taxes as other Presidents have done, in order to promote a “fair shake” for everyone, giving everyone “equal opportunity” to succeed.
Obama emphasized that major tax cuts for the rich had led to greater inequality, lower creation of jobs, growing deficits, and the collapse of the American economy in the past ten years. He declared that “trickle down economics” had never worked in the past successfully, and that assertive actions by government were necessary to promote a bright future for all Americans.
He called for more investment in education, research, technology, infrastructure, and manufacturing, rather than in banking and finance which leads to phony manipulation of financial figures and causes financial “bubbles”!
His speech, as usual, was well delivered, and was designed to inspire the American people to take on the struggle that was fought during the Progressive Era by Theodore Roosevelt to promote a bright future for America!
And remember that Theodore Roosevelt was a Republican who believed in the role of government to make a better society, something regrettably not the viewpoint of the transformed Republican Party of today, which speaks only for the wealthy and the corporations, and spends time dividing people and gaining support based on social conservatism issues, including gay rights, abortion rights, gun rights, illegal immigration and affirmative action. Meanwhile, the lives of the masses of Americans who vote on their emotions, rather than their reason, for the GOP, does not lead to better lives for those people!