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Roosevelt fancied himself, as does Obama, as a friend of the oppressed. But, unlike Obama, he saw small business owners as his “natural allies,” writes George Mowry in his history “Era of Theodore Roosevelt.”
William Howard Taft said he never met a man “more strongly in favor of strong government.” (Mowry, “Era of Theodore Roosevelt.”) A quality Obama must admire.
The notion that “businesses were different from individual behavior, or need to be penalized for success beyond what was reasonable was a progressive principle that soon emerged in many regulations,” Schweikart and Allen write in their history. For the first time during Roosevelt’s Administration, the federal government acted against industry only as “a potential threat, not genuine behavior.” A precedent the Environmental Protection Agency these days considers standard practice.
Teddy sided with labor, as does Barack. Teddy is quoted as saying, “We do not wish to destroy corporations” he generously noted, “but we do wish to make them subserve the public good” (wrote Paul Boyer in “The Enduring Vision”). “Implied in Roosevelt’s astonishing comment was that corporations do not serve the public good on their own.” A point of view Obama undoubtedly shares.
Historians have also written that Teddy “never appreciated what it took to meet a payroll or balance a firm’s books,” a lack of experience Teddy and Barack share.
Roosevelt, the conservationist, set aside 16 million acres of public lands. As recently as this October, Obama set aside 285,000 acres in the west for “solar zones.” More land for more Solyndras.
One important area where Teddy and Barack differ is in national defense. Roosevelt doubled the size of the Navy during his time in office. In Obamaland, on the other hand, military officials are girding for a possible $800 billion cut over the next 12 years. Obama is not a distinguished Commander-in-Chief.
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