Vespasiano

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The July 13 edition of the International Herald Tribune reports on a July 11 interview with Senator McCain in which the candidate made the following remark:

I count myself as a conservative Republican, yet I view it to a large degree in the Theodore Roosevelt mold.

The entire article can be found here.

With Barack Obama following in Woodrow Wilson's footsteps, and Senator McCain in TR's, we have a throwback to the election of 1912 which can I think be characterized quite accurately as the Battle of the Progressives. As such it is also turning out to be a fine demonstration of the central thesis of Jonah Goldberg's recent book, Liberal Fascism. History repeats itself. While Teddy Roosevelt and his overtly aggressive presidency are somewhat known today (only just somewhat), one wonders just how many Americans have even the slightest clue as to who and what Woodrow Wilson really was behind his . . . shall we say . . . more gentlemanly facade (Mr. Goldberg's mustachioed smiley face).

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The July 13 edition of the International Herald Tribune reports on a July 11 interview with Senator McCain in which the candidate made the following remark:
I count myself as a conservative Republican, yet I view it to a large degree in the Theodore Roosevelt mold.

The entire article can be found here.

With Barack Obama following in Woodrow Wilson's footsteps, and Senator McCain in TR's, we have a throwback to the election of 1912 which can I think be characterized quite accurately as the Battle of the Progressives. As such it is also turning out to be a fine demonstration of the central thesis of Jonah Goldberg's recent book, Liberal Fascism. History repeats itself. While Teddy Roosevelt and his overtly aggressive presidency are somewhat known today (only just somewhat), one wonders just how many Americans have even the slightest clue as to who and what Woodrow Wilson really was behind his . . . shall we say . . . more gentlemanly facade (Mr. Goldberg's mustachioed smiley face).

Correction: I should have written 'Teddy Roosevelt and his overtly aggressive presidency and manner".

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I was onced asked by one of my clients to read the book Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris which I disliked. The client's husband had read the book and stated that he just loved the book and had a new love of Theodore Roosevelt because of it. Both husband and wife are self proclaimed "Conservative Republicans" that also claim they hate big government. They also think it wonderful that Mr. Roosevelt "crushed the trust and stopped those Robber Barrons." Sad, how most people have no real understanding of government nor history.

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I wonder if McCain even knew what he was saying in that Wisconsin interview. He was spinning himself as a "moderate", in the usual attempt to pander to all sides, promoting himself as a "reformer", "environmentalist", etc. while cashing in on the vague popular image of Theodore Roosevelt mythology. He claimed to be both a modern conservative and a follower of Theodore Roosevelt (in the same sentence) -- there are Republicans like that, but that is not the conservative 'base' he needs at the same time he goes after the "middle". I suppose the latest polls and focus group research tell him that "Theodore Roosevelt" is an emotionally useful name to toss around for imagery.

The last thing he wants is to identify what he stands for before an election. Yet he revealed himself more than he knows, and ironically associated himself with the ideology of Theodore Roosevelt without perhaps knowing what it is himself. If he knew and thought that his listeners knew, he would have avoided it like the plague in the usual attempts to evade being pinned down to anything with a definite philosophical stand that might be seen as controversial.

Here is Arthur Ekirch's summary at the beginning of his section on the progressives in The Decline of American Liberalism:

Under the leadership of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, the trend toward big government and big business was destined to continue... [T]he progressives were essentially nationalists, moving to state socialism along European lines and owing relatively little to the American tradition of liberal individualism...

The progressive movement, which dominated the American scene in the years from the turn of the century to United States entrance into World War I, was not primarily a liberal movement... n contrast to former American efforts at reform, progressivism was based on a new philosophy, partly borrowed from Europe, which emphasized collective action through the instrumentality of the government. In the progressive state of Wisconsin, for example, German influences were powerful, and many of the reformers ... had a great admiration for the social legislation of the German states. In the Federal government, and especially in the progressive philosophy of Theodore Roosevelt and his backers, this element of German nationalism and statism was equally strong...

Progressivism, as it flourished in Washington at the turn of the century, was an outgrowth of post-Civil War trends in the direction of greater concentration and centralization of political and economic power in the Federal government. Though the drive toward nationalism had been gathering momentum in the latter half fo the nineteenth century, no satisfactory synthesis was achieved until after the War with Spain and Theodore Roosevelt's assumption of the presidency following McKinley's assassination.

Whether McCain knows it or not, the description -- which he would not dare to use explicitly -- sure fits him.

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Whether McCain knows it or not, the description -- which he would not dare to use explicitly -- sure fits him.

I sure would like it very much if the rest of America could decipher McCain's statements in the same manner.

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John McCain knows all about Teddy Roosevelt. He also knows that Teddy Roosevelt was heavily influenced by Alfred Thayer Mahan.

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John McCain knows all about Teddy Roosevelt. He also knows that Teddy Roosevelt was heavily influenced by Alfred Thayer Mahan.

Has McCain explicitly advocated for his foreign imperialism? What has McCain written in more detail about Theodore Roosevelt? Anything serious, or just imagery?

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John McCain knows all about Teddy Roosevelt. He also knows that Teddy Roosevelt was heavily influenced by Alfred Thayer Mahan.

Has McCain explicitly advocated for his foreign imperialism? What has McCain written in more detail about Theodore Roosevelt? Anything serious, or just imagery?

John McCain has written that Teddy Roosevelt is his great political hero and that presidents don't get much better than Teddy Roosevelt.

Worth The Fighting For

Teddy Roosevelt References

Type in Teddy Roosevelt in the search engine and all of McCains references will be provided.

Enjoy !

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John McCain knows all about Teddy Roosevelt. He also knows that Teddy Roosevelt was heavily influenced by Alfred Thayer Mahan.

Has McCain explicitly advocated for his foreign imperialism? What has McCain written in more detail about Theodore Roosevelt? Anything serious, or just imagery?

John McCain has written that Teddy Roosevelt is his great political hero and that presidents don't get much better than Teddy Roosevelt.

Worth The Fighting For

Teddy Roosevelt References

Type in Teddy Roosevelt in the search engine and all of McCains references will be provided.

Enjoy !

I don't see anything substantive in that search. Have you read the book to see if there is anything in it endorsing specific controversial actions or political philosophy by Roosevelt?

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John McCain knows all about Teddy Roosevelt. He also knows that Teddy Roosevelt was heavily influenced by Alfred Thayer Mahan.

Has McCain explicitly advocated for his foreign imperialism? What has McCain written in more detail about Theodore Roosevelt? Anything serious, or just imagery?

John McCain has written that Teddy Roosevelt is his great political hero and that presidents don't get much better than Teddy Roosevelt.

Worth The Fighting For

Teddy Roosevelt References

Type in Teddy Roosevelt in the search engine and all of McCains references will be provided.

Enjoy !

I don't see anything substantive in that search. Have you read the book to see if there is anything in it endorsing specific controversial actions or political philosophy by Roosevelt?

Try typing Theodore Roosevelt into the search engine. Let me know if that does not provide enough evidence to refute your unsupported claims about McCain having no knowledge of Roosevelt. I've read enough on McCain to know that Roosevelt is one of McCain's hero's. I also know that Mahan's "Influence on Sea Power" not only directly influenced Roosevelt but also the McCain's. I also know that your analysis on McCain in a previous post is completely false. So please, either retract your statements or take a closer look at the book, I have provided you. I have done my homework, you haven't.

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I also know that your analysis on McCain in a previous post is completely false. So please, either retract your statements or take a closer look at the book, I have provided you. I have done my homework, you haven't.

That's unnecessarily harsh. I didn't read ewv asserting that McCain had only a superficial understanding of T.R., but only suggesting the possibility and asking you for further information, then a clarification when he didn't find the information he expected.

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I also know that your analysis on McCain in a previous post is completely false. So please, either retract your statements or take a closer look at the book, I have provided you. I have done my homework, you haven't.

That's unnecessarily harsh. I didn't read ewv asserting that McCain had only a superficial understanding of T.R., but only suggesting the possibility and asking you for further information, then a clarification when he didn't find the information he expected.

Here are the two paragraphs, I have focussed on. Anyone who has any knowledge of McCain and his history knows this is false. Harsh? I'm being kind. I'll be specific. "cashing in on the vague popular image of Theodore Roosevelt mythology" Who the hell are you trying to fool?

I wonder if McCain even knew what he was saying in that Wisconsin interview. He was spinning himself as a "moderate", in the usual attempt to pander to all sides, promoting himself as a "reformer", "environmentalist", etc. while cashing in on the vague popular image of Theodore Roosevelt mythology. He claimed to be both a modern conservative and a follower of Theodore Roosevelt (in the same sentence) -- there are Republicans like that, but that is not the conservative 'base' he needs at the same time he goes after the "middle". I suppose the latest polls and focus group research tell him that "Theodore Roosevelt" is an emotionally useful name to toss around for imagery.

The last thing he wants is to identify what he stands for before an election. Yet he revealed himself more than he knows, and ironically associated himself with the ideology of Theodore Roosevelt without perhaps knowing what it is himself. If he knew and thought that his listeners knew, he would have avoided it like the plague in the usual attempts to evade being pinned down to anything with a definite philosophical stand that might be seen as controversial.

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I also know that your analysis on McCain in a previous post is completely false. So please, either retract your statements or take a closer look at the book, I have provided you. I have done my homework, you haven't.

That's unnecessarily harsh. I didn't read ewv asserting that McCain had only a superficial understanding of T.R., but only suggesting the possibility and asking you for further information, then a clarification when he didn't find the information he expected.

That is exactly correct. The search function for the book on amazon returns fragments of sentences with the name Roosevelt, which by themselves reveal nothing but a lot of mentions of the name. The book contents are not online and there is no way to determine if any of the statements referring to Roosevelt are any more substantive than the loose spin in his interview. I would not expect either a poltically self-serving campaign book or an interview to reveal anything else, but it would be nice to know if anyone had found otherwise.

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Here are the two paragraphs, I have focussed on. Anyone who has any knowledge of McCain and his history knows this is false. [...]
I wonder if McCain even knew what he was saying in that Wisconsin interview. He was spinning himself as a "moderate", in the usual attempt to pander to all sides, promoting himself as a "reformer", "environmentalist", etc. while cashing in on the vague popular image of Theodore Roosevelt mythology. He claimed to be both a modern conservative and a follower of Theodore Roosevelt (in the same sentence) -- there are Republicans like that, but that is not the conservative 'base' he needs at the same time he goes after the "middle". I suppose the latest polls and focus group research tell him that "Theodore Roosevelt" is an emotionally useful name to toss around for imagery.

The last thing he wants is to identify what he stands for before an election. Yet he revealed himself more than he knows, and ironically associated himself with the ideology of Theodore Roosevelt without perhaps knowing what it is himself. If he knew and thought that his listeners knew, he would have avoided it like the plague in the usual attempts to evade being pinned down to anything with a definite philosophical stand that might be seen as controversial.

While you can agree or not with ewv's conclusions (I don't agree that McCain would necessarily consciously avoid discussing T.R. in detail), my point is that he was speaking hypothetically as I bolded above, not with certainty, and was asking *you* for additional details as a result of your claims to knowledge of those details.

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While you can agree or not with ewv's conclusions (I don't agree that McCain would necessarily consciously avoid discussing T.R. in detail), my point is that he was speaking hypothetically as I bolded above, not with certainty, and was asking *you* for additional details as a result of your claims to knowledge of those details.

No major candidate will endorse potentially controversial political principles right before a close election. They are going out of their way to appear non-controversial and to appeal to 'moderate' swing voters. McCain does not strike me as much of an intellectual at all, but if he has at some point in time articulated the progressive philosophy and endorsed it, it would be very enlightening to know it.

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McCain does not strike me as much of an intellectual at all, but if he has at some point in time articulated the progressive philosophy and endorsed it, it would be very enlightening to know it.

This is an understatement coming from someone who has been advocating voting for McCain. I provided the book and the references to perhaps spark your interest and motivate you to learn more. Since I have been unsucessful, I will provide the following.

The "strenuous life" was Roosevelt's definition of Americanism, a profession of faith in America's pioneer ethos, the virtues that had won the West and inspired our messianic belief in ourselves as the New Jerusalem, bound by sacred duty to suffer hardship and risk danger to protect the values of our civilization and impart them to humanity. "We cannot sit huddled within our own borders," he warned, "and avow ourselves merely an assemblage of well-to-do hucksters who care nothing for what happens beyond."

His Americanism was not a celebration of tribal identity. Nor was it limited to a sentimental attachment to our "amber waves of grain" or "purple mountains majesty." Roosevelt's Americanism exalted the political values of a nation where the people were sovereign, recognizing not only the inherent justice of self-determination, not only that freedom empowered individuals to decide their destiny for themselves, but that it empowered them to choose a common destiny. And for Roosevelt, that common destiny surpassed material gain and self-interest. Our freedom and our industry must aspire to more than acquisition and luxury. We must live out the true meaning of freedom and accept "that we have duties to others and duties to ourselves; and we can shirk neither." (Worth The Fighting For: The Education of An American Maverick, and the Heroes Who Inspired Him, p. 313)

(Bold is mine.)

I have nothing else to say on this issue. If you want to learn more about McCain's position on Roosevelt, read the book. He dedicated a whole chapter to Roosevelt.

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McCain does not strike me as much of an intellectual at all, but if he has at some point in time articulated the progressive philosophy and endorsed it, it would be very enlightening to know it.

This is an understatement coming from someone who has been advocating voting for McCain.

As Wilmes knows very well the issue is one of voting between McCain and Obama.

I provided the book and the references to perhaps spark your interest and motivate you to learn more. Since I have been unsucessful, I will provide the following.
The "strenuous life" was Roosevelt's definition of Americanism, a profession of faith in America's pioneer ethos, the virtues that had won the West and inspired our messianic belief in ourselves as the New Jerusalem, bound by sacred duty to suffer hardship and risk danger to protect the values of our civilization and impart them to humanity. "We cannot sit huddled within our own borders," he warned, "and avow ourselves merely an assemblage of well-to-do hucksters who care nothing for what happens beyond."

His Americanism was not a celebration of tribal identity. Nor was it limited to a sentimental attachment to our "amber waves of grain" or "purple mountains majesty." Roosevelt's Americanism exalted the political values of a nation where the people were sovereign, recognizing not only the inherent justice of self-determination, not only that freedom empowered individuals to decide their destiny for themselves, but that it empowered them to choose a common destiny. And for Roosevelt, that common destiny surpassed material gain and self-interest. Our freedom and our industry must aspire to more than acquisition and luxury. We must live out the true meaning of freedom and accept "that we have duties to others and duties to ourselves; and we can shirk neither." (Worth The Fighting For: The Education of An American Maverick, and the Heroes Who Inspired Him, p. 313)

(Bold is mine.)

I have nothing else to say on this issue. If you want to learn more about McCain's position on Roosevelt, read the book. He dedicated a whole chapter to Roosevelt.

There is nothing in that quote that tells us anything we didn't already know about McCain and nothing at all about progressivism. No one should let the bolded portions detract from the rest, which all taken together doesn't distinguish McCain from many politicians. Wilmes was asked if there were statements by McCain endorsing specific controversial actions or political philosophy by Theodore Roosevelt. His huffy, virtiolic, sarcastic defensiveness, whether he knows the answer or not, is no substitute for the answer he did not give.

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There is nothing in that quote that tells us anything we didn't already know about McCain and nothing at all about progressivism. No one should let the bolded portions detract from the rest, which all taken together doesn't distinguish McCain from many politicians. Wilmes was asked if there were statements by McCain endorsing specific controversial actions or political philosophy by Theodore Roosevelt. His huffy, virtiolic, sarcastic defensiveness, whether he knows the answer or not, is no substitute for the answer he did not give.

The fact of the matter is that McCain views Teddy Roosevelt as a hero and is deeply influenced by Alfred Thayer Mahan. Because you have asked for specifics concerning controversial actions or the political philosophy of Theodore Roosevelt does not mean I have to answer those questions. I have pointed you in the direction that either you or other interested readers can go to learn more. There is plenty of time to discuss John McCain's Progressivism, however, I see no point in discussing the issue until I know that I am not wasting my time with individuals who are clearly ignorant of the subject at hand. It is well known that John McCain has claimed Teddy Roosevelt as being one of his heroes, and not for this election, but for years if not decades. The book I cited was published in 2002.

Finally, in case anyone is confused about my stance on the election. Yes, I know either McCain or Obama will be President. I have already stated that I will not vote for Obama. At this time, I will not vote for McCain because of his foreign policy stance which centers around "energy independence." If my non-vote, along with many others, means that Obama becomes President than so be it.

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There is nothing in that quote that tells us anything we didn't already know about McCain and nothing at all about progressivism. No one should let the bolded portions detract from the rest, which all taken together doesn't distinguish McCain from many politicians. Wilmes was asked if there were statements by McCain endorsing specific controversial actions or political philosophy by Theodore Roosevelt. His huffy, virtiolic, sarcastic defensiveness, whether he knows the answer or not, is no substitute for the answer he did not give.

The fact of the matter is that McCain views Teddy Roosevelt as a hero and is deeply influenced by Alfred Thayer Mahan.

Which says nothing about what that means to McCain or why or what "deeply" is supposed to mean. A lot of people have a vague image of Teddy Roosevelt as some kind of individualist hero (the "rough rider" image) and have no idea of what he stood for ideologically or did. So far we have seen nothing from McCain regarding Roosevelt beyond such imagery, platitudes and the kind of statism that most politicians advocate, not any kind of ideological commitment to progressivism.

Because you have asked for specifics concerning controversial actions or the political philosophy of Theodore Roosevelt does not mean I have to answer those questions.

Wilmes claimed to have answered but did not. He pointed to a search mechanism for a campaign book that turns up nothing but mentions of Roosevelt's name. When more was requested he became virtiolic and insulting, now smugly insisting he doesn't have to answer. He does if he expects his claims to be taken seriously.

I have pointed you in the direction that either you or other interested readers can go to learn more. There is plenty of time to discuss John McCain's Progressivism, however, I see no point in discussing the issue until I know that I am not wasting my time with individuals who are clearly ignorant of the subject at hand. It is well known that John McCain has claimed Teddy Roosevelt as being one of his heroes, and not for this election, but for years if not decades. The book I cited was published in 2002.

There is no evidence at all that Wilmes's "pointing" is towards anything other than campaign rhetoric and imagery. Most contemporary books by politicians (or by ghost writers on their behalf) are useless, anti-intellectual promotional spin. Wilmes was seriously asked to provide evidence of committment by McCain to progressive ideology of the T. Roosevelt era. He has not done so, and instead haughtily smears as a "waste of time" and "ignorant" intelligent and knowledgeable people who have every right to doubt his "expertise" after he became defensive, vitriolic, and repeatedly fails to provide the slightest explanation or documentation for his pronouncements. Whatever he may know is useless here if he refuses to reveal it, instead seeking refuge in stating only that he "doesn't have to answer" and insulting as "ignorant" and a "waste of time" those who question him. He turned what could have been a useful and interesting discussion into smug, vitriolic personal accusations and hostile, contentless intellectual authoritarianism.

Finally, in case anyone is confused about my stance on the election. Yes, I know either McCain or Obama will be President.

No one is confused about his stance. The logical objection was to Wilmes's sarcastic non-sequitur against those who criticize McCain but still vote for him as the only choice available to keep Obama out.

I have already stated that I will not vote for Obama. At this time, I will not vote for McCain because of his foreign policy stance which centers around "energy independence." If my non-vote, along with many others, means that Obama becomes President than so be it.

Others look at what energy independence actually means in the context of thugs controlling world energy supplies, what Obama's Anti-Industrial Revolution positions are in comparison to McCain on energy use and production, and the many other domestic and foreign policy issues relevant to the election and which we will have to live under.

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