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McCain-Roosevelt connection: All bull, no bully

By       Message Matt Jocks     Permalink
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Teddy Roosevelt is not on tour, has no deal with a major label and no Hollywood lawyers.

If he did, he likely would join Jackson Browne, Eddie Van Halen and members of Heart in seeking a cease-and-desist order against John McCain:

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"Stop playing my song."

McCain loves to cite Roosevelt as his political hero and role model. His supporters also draw the comparisons, pointing out that, like McCain, Roosevelt was a man with a fiery temper who often made enemies within his own Republican party.

This might have withstood at least a few minutes scrutiny when McCain first ran for the presidency. Eight years, and a systematic scrubbing of all things maverick from his position paper, McCain appears to be running as the anti-Teddy.

In recent weeks, the McCain campaign has undertaken an effort to pin the Socialist label on Barack Obama. Guess which president was the first to deal with that accusation on a regular basis?

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Presumably, if McCain considers Roosevelt his hero, he might have glanced through the man's autobiography.

In it, he would find quotes that would qualify as opposition research had they come from the mouth of Obama.

"Wealth, left uncontrolled, threatens dire evil to the Republic,"- wrote Roosevelt, who went on to add, "We seek to control law-defying wealth."-

Roosevelt also lists as one of his core principles: "It is better for the government to help a poor man to make a living for his family than to help a rich man make more profit for his company."-

Coming from Obama, these quotes would be put on a loop at Fox News and would get the full four-wink treatment from Sarah Palin on the stump. Had they come from Teddy Jones instead of Teddy Roosevelt, an army of researchers would be sent to find out if this Jones character had donated to Obama or, better yet, been caught on video with him.

It's worth keeping in mind that, at the time Roosevelt wrote his autobiography, Socialism was a significant minority element in American politics. A few years earlier, the Socialist candidate had received 6 percent of the vote for president, more than twice what Ralph Nader received in 2000 and far more than a Libertarian candidate has ever received.

Roosevelt was labeled a Socialist by some for his efforts to regulate business, use lands for the public good rather than private profit and promote such radical concepts as progressive income tax and the minimum wage.

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Indeed, McCain, the so-called Roosevelt disciple and persistent opponent of raising the minimum wage, might ruminate over this quote:

"I have always maintained that our worst revolutionaries today are the reactionaries who do not see and will not admit there is any need for change."-

Roosevelt then cites many examples, including opponents of the minimum wage.

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I am a freelance writer living in Riverside, California. I spent 25 years in the sports department at a daily newspaper, where I learned to appreciate tight writing and to hate television timeouts. When I run the world, Mario Cuomo's 1984 Democratic (more...)
 

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