Is GOP becoming all-or-nothing absolutists?

In today’s radicalized Republican circles, it seems anyone to the left of the John Birch Society is a “liberal.”

Here’s how crazy our politics have become: Legendary Republican President Theodore Roosevelt is being called a socialist by conservatives like Glenn Beck. The man on Mount Rushmore, the Rough Rider president.  Beck bases his opinion on the fact the Roosevelt was a Trust-Busting, Department of Commerce, Panama Canal, FDA, meat inspections, champion for women’s rights, first president to invite an African-American to dinner at the White House.  Beck’s departure point for his now-frequent attacks on our 26th president was a post-2008 election snide swipe at John McCain, who he characterized as “this weird progressive like Teddy Roosevelt.” In his subsequent book, Glenn Beck’s Common Sense, Beck devoted a chapter to “The Cancer of Progressivism” and lays the blame at TR’s feet.

If conservatives want to kick TR out, Obama seems ready to welcome him in. As if on cue, the president’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs, announced yesterday that the president is now reading the classic The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris, a book that inspired Reagan’s senior staff to tap Morris as their in-house historian during the 1980s.

As TR said, “constructive change offers the best method of avoiding destructive change, reform is the antidote to revolution… social reform is not the precursor but the preventive of socialism.”


Filed under Liberal Government, Media, Progressive Ideals, Radical Rightwing groups

15 responses to “Is GOP becoming all-or-nothing absolutists?

  1. indypendent

    Nothing surprises me about Beck anymore. I’ve already talked how Glenn Beck is now telling people to leave their churches if certain phrases are being used. (I posted this on the anti-gay funeral protest topic).

    I don’t know, but if Glenn Beck is now presuming to take God’s place and tells everyone where to worship and Sarah Palin has put herself on the same level as God because He wrote on his palm too, then I am thinking there is one big ball of karma coming the GOP Wingnuttia’s way and I do not want to be anywhere near any of them!

    It’s that arrogance again – it will bring these wingnuts down each and every time!

  2. tosmarttobegop

    Some times I do a no-no, not quite stating it in full and broad words but the hint is hard to miss.
    “Often what you hear is what you would suspect you would hear in a 1930’s Munich beer hall.”

    The tone and often the words are quite troubling to me, the mind-less and simple minded thought process.
    The maturity level I equate to that of a 12 years old School Yard bully, Rove believes Politics is actual War.
    To be fought with the Cheney mindset, amoral and everything goes.

    It should not be a surprise when anyone is thrown under the bus, in a sense that is a way to keep people in line. The slightest deviation wins you the Liberal label and ever after anything you say is dismissed and not thought about.

    Beck throwing TR under the bus is the separation of the Conservatives from the heroes of the Republican party. Yes Reagan is not even safe from this separations, though for now many still point to him as a Conservative hero. Abe Lincoln is never spoken of by the Republicans and the Conservatives freeing the Slaves is not at all Conservative!

  3. fnord

    Although, in the days before twitter and blogs and cameras in every pocket it must have been easier to be a politician, I’m going to learn more about Theodore Roosevelt. He sounds like a man I would have voted for.

    Anyone have a favorite fact or insight about this 26th president?

    Although Beck in his stupidity called TR a Socialist, maybe TR was liberal — in the truest sense of the word, not in the nasty dirty way it is oft used by Republicans today. Liberal is another word they make up their own meanings for.

  4. fnord

    This goes along with the absolutist attitude. Suddenly the right-leaning SCOTUS is off limits for criticism? Does Roberts sound a bit defensive? It’s OK for him to criticize the president, OK for him to ignore the actions of Alito, but anything aimed at him and his beliefs is off limits?

    “Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts can tell when he’s unwelcome: Roberts criticized the atmosphere of the president’s annual State of the Union address to Congress, calling it a “political pep rally.” Speaking to University of Alabama law students, Roberts said Obama’s speech in January was “very troubling” because the president knocked the court for its overturning of limits on corporate spending on campaign ads. “To the extent the State of the Union has degenerated into a political pep rally, I’m not sure why we’re there,” Roberts said. Though anyone is free to criticize the Court, “there is the issue of the setting, the circumstances and the decorum. The image of having the members of one branch of government standing up, literally surrounding the Supreme Court, cheering and hollering while the court—according the requirements of protocol—has to sit there expressionless, I think is very troubling.” He also said senators ask inappropriately political questions, which they know nominees can’t answer, at confirmation hearings. Obama’s press secretary defended the speech by further criticizing the decision in question.”

    Roberts: Scene at State of Union ‘very troubling’

  5. tosmarttobegop

    Some on Teddy, in a sense he was an oxymoron, the reality is that he was quite sickly far too much to have been as active as he was. It was his sheer will that carried him through much like his cousin FDR.
    He truly live the old Chinese curse of “ May you live an interesting life!”.

    Teddy in a sense might have inspire Reagan in his stance on foreign affairs, with
    “Speak softly and carry a big stick”.

    To the problem of pirates of Africa he sent in the Marines, which is what the Marine anthem refers to with
    “to the shores of Tripoli”. Teddy negotiated from a position of power. “Don’t mess with the U.S.”

    Cuba and the Spanish/American war which got us the Philippines.

    He was a total naturist, seeing the land as a keep shake for future generations.

    A side note is that he is also a part of the Bigfoot legacy. In his book, wilderness hunter.

    He told the story of an attack on two fur trappers.

  6. Zippy

    Edmund Morris, from fnord’s link:
    Reading My Book?

    by Edmund Morris

    I’m flattered that Obama is reading The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, instead of those fascinating 15,000-page bills Congress keeps sending him. But I’d respectfully suggest that he will learn more about the Rooseveltian executive style in the book’s sequel, Theodore Rex. Perhaps just the opening chapters, Mr. President, describing TR’s first year (1901-1902) in office? They show how, in swift but carefully timed succession, TR—a consummate manipulator of the press—dramatized and identified himself with the major issues of his day: racial prejudice, antitrust power, reclamation policy, Supreme Court reactionism, labor/management strife, and so on. Some of the details are dated now, but what is dateless and of particular relevance to Obama is TR’s karate-chop style. He chose the issue, chose the moment, then struck with all his might. Having struck, he went on to other things, leaving the legislative and the judiciary and a wildly excited press to debate, and maybe push through, the reforms he sought.

    Sometimes TR had to settle for less, or even abandon a cause he passionately espoused. But blow after blow established him in the public mind as a man of decisive courage, and the moral superior of those who liked to talk rather than act.

    He was rewarded with a huge popular mandate in 1904, and if he hadn’t voluntarily stepped down in 1908, at the early age of 50, he might have stayed president until the Jazz Age. In which case, national health insurance would now be one of the most venerable pillars of the progressive state.

    Theodore Roosevelt definitely had his downsides, but governing over this unruly mess will require, perhaps, a little more analytical attention to histor, particularly if one examines the nascent progressive movement of the early 1900s. They lived an cruel, profit-driven state that lacked many things we take for granted now (damn those commie food inspectors!). Those are the times–at least in theory, since they don’t dare consider reality–that the conservative blatherers would like to return us to.

    Most would not advocated child labor of course–unless it’s offshored, outsourced, and out of sight, which of course is. . . . now.

    Ideology–where theory trumps practicality–is one thing.

    But principles are important.

  7. fnord

    Brief biography from the official White House site.

  8. fnord

    Do we have any facts pointing us to believe those making accusations of “Socialism, socialist…” actually know the meaning of the word, the philosophy or theories of socialism?

    It seems none of them do.

    If they do, they must also realize those who believe them are ignorant and so it works to use the word wrongly and elicit the fear they desire. Fear is their tactic, and it seems they are able to achieve their goals because people are so ignorant.

  9. tosmarttobegop

    I get a chuckle when ever I hear someone saying that Obama is a Socialist.
    He actually seem reluctant to do much to the big insurance he could do.

    In fact he seems rather Conservative in what he does do.

  10. Thunderchild

    ” I’m going to learn more about Theodore Roosevelt. He sounds like a man I would have voted for.

    Anyone have a favorite fact or insight about this 26th president?”

    DO learn about this truly great man and probably the last good Republican.

    (Eisenhower doesn’t count. He would have been anything to anybody to get elected.)

    Teddy Roosevelt was the first President to advocate for national health care.

    TR was the first President to propose an estate tax.

    TR, while he WAS a trophy hunter, was the source of the ‘Teddy bear” (GREAT story) and a staunch advocate of the National parks.

    TR was active in busting the trusts in business in his time. Were he alive now? He would be all OVER Walmart.

    But my favorite?

    TR negotiating between company and labor in the coal miner’s strike.

    You must remember, in HIS time, coal was even more important than gasoline is in our time.

    The miner’s strike threatened to shut down the COUNTRY.

    TR went to negotiate between the miner’s union and the coal conglomerates.

    The big coal rep told him, ” I will not sit in the same room with that union trash!”

    (or words to that effect)

    TR reports that he strongly considered tossing the man through the window.

    TR went on to found the Bull Moose party to fight the abuses and corporate ownership of the Republican party.

    He’s on Mt. Rushmore for a reason.

  11. Thunderchild

    sorry my link is not better.

    Here is a start.

    Theodore Roosevelt became President of the United States at the beginning of the twentieth century. It was a time of great technological progress in the United States. Yet many people felt there was too little social progress. They demanded reforms in politics, industry, and the use of natural resources.

    Theodore Roosevelt supported the call for reforms. His first target was big business.

    I’m Harry Monroe. Today, Kay Gallant and I continue the story of Roosevelt’s administration.


    In the early nineteen-hundreds, a group of wealthy American businessmen agreed to join their railroads. They formed a company, or trust, to control the joint railroad. The new company would have complete control of rail transportation in the American west. There would be no competition.

    President Roosevelt believed the new company violated the Sherman Anti-Trust Law. The law said it was illegal for businesses to interfere with trade among the states. Roosevelt said he would make no compromises in enforcing the law. He asked the Supreme Court to break up the railroad trust.

    “We are not,” roosevelt said, “attacking these big companies. We are only trying to do away with any evil in them. We are not hostile to them. But we believe they must be controlled to serve the public good.”


    The Supreme Court ruled against the railroad trust. In the next few years, other trusts would be broken up in the same way. The American people called this trust-busting. And they called Theodore Roosevelt the trust-buster.

    Roosevelt made several speeches explaining his position on big business. Everywhere he went, he found wide public support. Later, he told a friend why people liked him so well. He said: “I put into words what is in their hearts and minds. . . But not in their mouths.”


    President Roosevelt won even more public support for his actions during a labor crisis in the coal industry. The incident was one of many in American history in which a president had to decide if he should interfere in private industry.

    Coal miners went on strike in the spring of nineteen-oh-two. They demanded more pay and safer working conditions. Mine owners refused to negotiate. One even insulted the miners. He said: “The rights and interests of the laboring man will be protected and cared for. It will not be the labor activists who take care of him. It will be the Christian men to whom God in his great wisdom has given the control of the property interests of this country.”

    This self-serving use of religion made many Americans support the striking workers.


    After several months, President Roosevelt invited coal mine owners and union leaders to a meeting in Washington. He asked them to keep in mind that a third group was involved in their dispute: the public. He warned that the nation faced the possibility of a winter without heating fuel.

    Roosevelt said: “I did not call this meeting to discuss your claims and positions. I called it to appeal to your love of country.”

    The union leaders said they were willing to have the president appoint an independent committee to settle the strike. They said they would accept the committee’s decision as final. The mine owners rejected the idea. One warned the president not even to talk about it. Such talk, he said, was illegal interference in private industry.


    That made Theodore Roosevelt angry. Later, he said: “If it were not for the high office I held, I would have taken him by the seat of the pants and the nape of the neck and thrown him out the window.”

    Finally, Roosevelt got both sides to agree to a compromise. Mine owners agreed to have an independent committee study the miners’ demands. And the miners’ agreed to return to work until the study was completed.

    Several months later, the report was ready. The committee proposed that miners accept a smaller pay increase in exchange for improved working conditions. Both sides accepted the proposal. The coal strike ended.

  12. indypendent

    ‘It will be the Christian men to whom God in his great wisdom has given the control of the property interests of this country.”’

    Doesn’t this sound familiar? Think C-Street Family in Washington, DC. Then think about the many Republican men who belong to this group (of course, Kansas is proudly represented). These are the ones in power that believe they are the ‘chosen ones’ to be in power.

  13. indypendent

    ‘This self-serving use of religion made many Americans support the striking workers’

    We are seeing so much of this self-serving use of religion today – aren’t we?

    Self-serving in the form of mega churches with mega bucks (all tax free) and they are permeating their self-serving ideas throughout our politics.

    Our enemies are from within.