In these waning hours as the Senate approaches a test vote for something they know is so popular that the vote will take place in the middle of the night just days before Christmas, the names of two Teddys keep coming up: Teddy Kennedy and Teddy Roosevelt.
President Obama loves to invoke historic Republicans in an effort to find common ground with the right. Obama has tried to equate himself with Abraham Lincoln, and now Democrats are continually talking about “the struggle for health reform Theodore Roosevelt started almost 100 years ago” in their quest for Obamacare. Joe Biden did the same in an op-ed in the New York Times today.
While it’s true that Theodore Roosevelt supported a version of national health insurance as part of his platform as a Progressive Party candidate (he wasn’t a Republican when this became part of his platform), the Democrats are managing to cherry-pick Roosevelt’s beliefs. Roosevelt was a “moderate” by most standards of the day, but glance at Teddy’s core beliefs and you’ll find much more to frighten liberals with than to attract them.
It’s also important to note that, with government health insurance as part of his platform, Roosevelt lost the election, getting only 27% of the vote. Clearly the notion of government-run health care was about as popular back then as it is now.
But if Democrats really want to talk about Teddy Roosevelt, let’s do it.
Here are some quotes from Teddy Roosevelt, along with the accompanying personality traits that may give Democrats the runs. Maybe Republicans should also remind Dems of these things if they’re so eager to talk about Theodore Roosevelt:
Vicious streak of nationalism — a nut-case tea partier if I ever saw one: “Every immigrant who comes here should be required within five years to learn English or leave the country.”
On the same “transparency” that brings about 1 a.m. votes on bills nobody has had time to read: “Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.”
Anti-NEA Bible-thumping Jesus freak: “A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.”
“Courtesy is as much a mark of a gentleman as courage.” (Paging Senator Al Franken)
Your problems are your fault: “If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.”
Anti nanny-state: “The first requisite of a good citizen in this republic of ours is that he shall be able and willing to pull his own weight.”
On legislation for the sake of legislating: “It is difficult to make our material condition better by the best law, but it is easy enough to ruin it by bad laws.”
Godlessness (and ergo a secular government) and business don’t mix: “The thought of modern industry in the hands of Christian charity is a dream worth dreaming. The thought of industry in the hands of paganism is a nightmare beyond imagining. The choice between the two is upon us.”
Not a friend of Congress: “When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer ‘Present’ or ‘Not guilty.’”
Gun nut, possible ACORN slander: “A vote is like a rifle: its usefulness depends upon the character of the user.”
Gun nut II: “I want to see you shoot the way you shout.”
And finally, a chilling reminder from Theodore Roosevelt for those who peddle “social values” in this country, including health care, while appeasing those who desire to bring down our very nation: “There are such ‘social values’ today in Europe, America and Australia only because during those thousand years, the Christians of Europe possessed the warlike power to do what the Christians of Asia and Africa had failed to do — that is, to beat back the Moslem invader.”
Ack! Still want to talk about Teddy Roosevelt, Obamacare pushers?