Karl Marx

Theodore Roosevelt’s 154th Birthday: He Would Mourn What His Republican Party Has Become!

Today is the 154th Anniversary of President Theodore Roosevelt’s birth.

TR is one of the most acclaimed Presidents, often listed as high as 4th all time, just below Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and George Washington.

TR is certainly regarded as the second greatest Republican President of all time, behind only Lincoln, unless one chooses to believe the lunacy of conservative propagandist Glenn Beck, who constantly denounces TR, and would put Ronald Reagan higher than TR, and who also has reservations about Lincoln, because correspondence between Lincoln and Karl Marx has been uncovered, which makes some right wing nuts think Lincoln “might” have been a “Socialist”, or a “Communist”, or even the word “Progressive”, which is considered the same thing by Beck, Florida Congressman Allen West, and other right wing lunatics!

TR was a “Progressive” who promoted conservation and the environment; promoted the advance of labor rights; believed in regulation of big business; created the Food and Drug Administration to monitor safety of what Americans consume; and believed later in his life, when he ran as the Progressive Party nominee for President in 1912 that there was a need for health care and labor laws and other aspects of a social safety net. This made TR the forerunner of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama in advocating more government, more regulation, more social safety net, and concern about the environment.

None of the above is now believed by the Republican Party of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, who wish to repeal everything TR and his successors of both parties believed in!

So it is clear that TR, certainly not perfect but still exceptional in so many ways, would NOT be a Republican today!

But then Abraham Lincoln would not be a Republican today.

Neither would Dwight D. Eisenhower or even Richard Nixon or Gerald Ford, who were condemning the religious extremism of their party in their later years.

And right now, former Florida Governor Charlie Crist, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chafee, and former South Dakota Senator Larry Pressler have endorsed President Barack Obama.

And under the surface, not willing to speak up, but clearly uncomfortable with the GOP of 2012, are many other former Republican Governors, Senators, and Congressmen who feel that their party has been “hijacked” by an evil, selfish, greedy, nasty group of weirdos who wish to take away rights from women, labor, minorities, the disabled, the poor, and the middle class, and are refusing to come out openly and endorse Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.

The party of Theodore Roosevelt and his “progressivism” and reform is long gone, and sadly, may never return!

The New Conservative Attack On Abraham Lincoln And Theodore Roosevelt

If one looks at American history, it is clear to anyone who is knowledgeable and objective that the two greatest Republican Presidents are Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.

Lincoln usually ranks as our greatest President, and TR is often ranked as high as 4th on the list, depending on the specific poll of experts and scholars.

Both Presidents, of course, have faults and shortcomings, as all Presidents and all people do, but to deny their greatness is promoting ignorance and falsehoods.

Both have been analyzed and interpreted by massive numbers of scholars and writers of non fiction, and they have been depicted in all kinds of ways.

But recently, it has become fashionable for right wing propagandists to push a view not generally promoted in the past–that Lincoln and TR are in many ways “Marxists”.

It is pointed out that there is some correspondence and contact between Abraham Lincoln and Karl Marx, the author of “The Communist Manifesto” and “Das Kapital”, and the argument is made that Lincoln was a “Marxist” who promoted his ideals, a way to criticize Lincoln’s promotion of racial advancements and labor progress.

Theodore Roosevelt is said to have “Marxist” tendencies in his promotion of the “New Nationalism” platform in his third party movement, the Progressive Party, in the Presidential Election of 1912, including government intervention in the economy for workers and farmers, and the regulation of capitalism through government lawsuits against monopolies, plus the acceptance of the basic concept of “social justice”!

IF what Lincoln and TR advocated is “Marxist”, then we need to be “Marxist”, as just because Karl Marx advocated for workers and the overthrow of capitalism, does not mean that everything he believed in and promoted is automatically evil and vile.

It is evil and vile to be against racial equality, labor rights, social justice, and regulation of capitalism in the public interest.

These views of Lincoln and TR are what make them great Americans, as well as great Presidents of the United States!

Conservative and right wing attacks on Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Barack Obama, among other Presidents, is par for the course, because they are Democrats, but attacking the best Republican Presidents is a new tack that must be fought with vigor!