Saturday, November 26, 2016

Roosevelt and Taft: The Fathers of Modern Day Liberalism (Part I)

Democrats continually make the claim time and time again that the Republican Party is the “Do Nothing” Party. They argue conservatives have no real ideas or concepts. In fact, a look at history would explain that Democrats are the Party of no ideas or concepts. Lincoln emancipated African-Americans and it took a plurality of Republicans to pass the civil rights under LBJ. It took a plurality of Republicans to pass women’s suffrage. Even Reagan provided amnesty to illegal immigrant Hispanics. And Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to clean up the environment. Today, Democrats use African-Americans and women as pawns in their crusade to conquer and divide Americans. And they use the EPA as a means to regulate companies in their pursuit to combat what they call “manmade” climate change. Democrats use Republican ideas and concepts on steroids.

In fact, a look back at history shows the first real progressives in the White House were Teddy Roosevelt and William Taft and they were Republicans. Taft and Roosevelt were two very different people both physically and in persona. Roosevelt was fit and Taft struggled with his weight at times ballooning over 325 pounds. Roosevelt was a talker while Taft was a listener. Roosevelt was brash while Taft was congenial. Roosevelt had a massive super ego while Taft was laid back and did not let any personal agenda take over his motives. Roosevelt was a warmonger while Taft was a peaceful man. Roosevelt governed by trying to find ways to circumvent the law, Taft was a lawyer and judge by trade and hence he always tried to do things by the book (legally). Despite these differences, both Taft and Roosevelt where the best of friends and when it came to domestic and foreign policy they saw things pretty much eye to eye.

Roosevelt got his claim to fame by being New York City police chief and mayor as well as assistant secretary of the navy. He is most famous for being the leader of the Rough Riders during the Spanish American War winning the battle at San Juan Hill. However, it was his preparedness of the Navy that helped the U.S. win decisive battles at Manila and Santiago to win the war. Taft was a lawyer who became an Ohio state judge at an early age. He was President Benjamin Harrison’s solicitor general before being nominated by President McKinley to be the first governor of the Philippines after Spain succeeded that territory to the U.S. after the war.

Roosevelt was a brash individual more concerned with popular public opinion. He was the first president to use the press to his advantage. Once Roosevelt confirmed investigative reports were factual – he acted. Most thought he was a leader, but he was actually a follower. He followed public opinion to be popular. He acted by using the Sherman Anti-Trust Act to break up unpopular monopolies in the railroad industry. He acted through Congress and through executive order to conserve more western lands than any other president in history – combined. Roosevelt supported unions and their quest for better working conditions, child labor laws, and an eight hour workday. Reports of terrible conditions in the meatpacking industry also forced Congress to pass the Food and Drug Act making it imperative for products to list its ingredients. Roosevelt was the first president to pass regulations to keep corporations in check. Without a doubt, Roosevelt increased the power of the executive branch and the media to push his agenda through public opinion. Roosevelt even pushed for renewable energy – hydro power and the irrigation of desert lands. The Roosevelt administration was a like our present day Obama administration. They both pushed regulations on corporations, both pushed for renewable energies and policies to protect our environment, and they both expanded the role of the presidency mostly through executive actions.

A few of Roosevelt’s biggest accomplishments were not his gaudy domestic policies, but in foreign affairs. He won the Nobel Peace Prize for bringing about the peace treaty between Russia and Japan ending the Russo-Japanese War (Obama also won the Nobel Peace Prize, but he did nothing to earn it). He started work on the Panama Canal and progress was made in American colonization in Cuba and the Philippines. However, the man that should take credit for Roosevelt’s successes in foreign policy were William Taft.

Taft was assigned to be the first governor of the Philippines following the victory over the Spanish is the Spanish American War. Taft made remarkable progress towards moving the country towards independence. The goal was always to stabilize the country until they could enjoy their own independence. Once Roosevelt became President he moved his friend Taft to take over his Secretary of War position in his cabinet. As Secretary of War Taft set up the peace talks between the Russians and Japanese; Taft managed the construction of the Panama Canal; and he even helped thwart a revolt in Cuba to restore order and create a new Democracy with free elections.

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