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View Diary: Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 1/8 (342 comments)

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  •  Hold it (0+ / 0-)

    I feel like you're giving short shrift to TR. He implemented some of the most important progressive reforms, right?

    Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

    by MichaelNY on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 12:24:28 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Compared to McKinley anyone was progressive (4+ / 0-)

      And while yes, TR's administration does deserve some credit, particularly with things like the Pure Food and Drug Act, the Wilson era economic reforms were much stronger (setting aside civil rights which was a huge step backwards).  Things like the Clayton Antitrust Act, the Federal Reserve Act, the direct election of senators, etc. etc. were all much more effective and progressive than the previous reforms.

      NC-06/NC-04; -9.12, -8.62; Yellow Dog Democrat

      by sawolf on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 12:29:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not all of TR's suggested reforms (1+ / 0-)
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        were put into effect. He was the first to campaign for universal health care, but that was during his third, unsuccessful presidential campaign that led to the election of Wilson. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe Wilson tried to get any universal health coverage.

        Here, from Wikipedia, are some of the progressive reforms TR effectuated:

        Once President, Roosevelt worked to increase the regulatory power of the federal government. Regulation of railroads was strengthened by the Elkins Act (1903) and especially the Hepburn Act of 1906, which had the effectively favored merchants over the railroads. Under the president's leadership, the Attorney General brought forty-four suits against monopolies. Notably, J.P. Morgan's Northern Securities Company a huge railroad combination, was broken up. To raise the visibility of labor and management issues onto the federal stage, he established the new Department of Commerce and Labor.[12]
        In response to public clamor, Roosevelt pushed Congress to pass the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, as well as the Meat Inspection Act of 1906. These laws provided for labeling of foods and drugs, inspection of livestock and mandated sanitary conditions at meatpacking plants. Congress replaced Roosevelt's proposals with a version supported by the major meatpackers who worried about the overseas markets, and did not want small unsanitary plants undercutting their domestic market.[13]
        Roosevelt was a prominent conservationist, putting the issue high on the national agenda. He worked with all the major figures of the movement, especially his chief advisor on the matter, Gifford Pinchot. Roosevelt was deeply committed to conserving natural resources, and is considered to be the nation's first conservation President. He encouraged the Newlands Reclamation Act of 1902 to promote federal construction of dams to irrigate small farms and placed 230 million acres (360,000 mi² or 930,000 km²) under federal protection. Roosevelt set aside more Federal land, national parks, and nature preserves than all of his predecessors combined.[16]

        Roosevelt established the United States Forest Service, signed into law the creation of five National Parks, and signed the 1906 Antiquities Act, under which he proclaimed 18 new U.S. National Monuments. He also established the first 51 Bird Reserves, four Game Preserves, and 150 National Forests, including Shoshone National Forest, the nation's first. The area of the United States that he placed under public protection totals approximately 230,000,000 acres (930,000 km2).

        Gifford Pinchot had been appointed by McKinley as chief of Division of Forestry in the Department of Agriculture. In 1905, his department gained control of the national forest reserves. Pinchot promoted private use (for a fee) under federal supervision. In 1907, Roosevelt designated 16 million acres (65,000 km²) of new national forests just minutes before a deadline.

        And there were more reforms that he pressed for but wasn't able to get passed:
        By 1907–08, his last two years in office, Roosevelt was increasingly distrustful of big business, despite its close ties to the Republican party in every large state. Public opinion had been shifting to the left after a series of scandals, and big business was in bad odor. Abandoning his earlier cautious approach toward big business, Roosevelt freely lambasted his conservative critics and called on Congress to enact a series of radical new laws — the Square Deal — that would regulate the economy.[23] He wanted a national incorporation law (all corporations had state charters, which varied greatly state by state), a federal income tax and inheritance tax (both targeted on the rich), limits on the use of court injunctions against labor unions during strikes (injunctions were a powerful weapon that mostly helped business), an employee liability law for industrial injuries (preempting state laws), an eight-hour law for federal employees, a postal savings system (to provide competition for local banks), and, finally, campaign reform laws.
        It looks to me like TR's agenda was a lot more radical than what Wilson got passed. How much more domestic reforms did Wilson want that he wasn't able to get passed?

        Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

        by MichaelNY on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 12:50:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wilson passed most of what that second passage... (3+ / 0-)
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          sawolf, MichaelNY, bumiputera

          ... described, save for, as you point out, the national incorporation law. Under Wilson, the 16th Amendment passed, for example, reestablishing the income tax. As sawolf points out, with the very significant exception of civil rights, Wilson had a very progressive domestic policy record. Though it's common to cite TR as more progressive, there isn't much evidence that's actually true. TR's platform in 1912 was somewhat more radical, but much of what he proposed was enacted during the Wilson Administration (a point that Democrats made during the 1916 campaign to appeal to progressives).

          TR's accomplishments during his actual presidency were significantly fewer, and in fact Taft pursued more antitrust cases than TR had.

          Also, while it's common to criticize Wilson's race and civil liberties records (genuine black marks), TR wasn't that much better. He was more progressive on African-American civil rights, though he did little to advance them during his presidency. But he was an arch-imperialist and swung way to the right post-1912. Had he been president during that period, the US would have entered WW1 earlier and his civil liberties restrictions would likely have outdone Wilson's.

    •  His record might be overstated (2+ / 0-)
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      MichaelNY, lordpet8

      Taft (Taft!) ended up busting more trusts than Teddy did (though that's not all of progressivism).

      28, Male, MA-07 (hometown MI-06)

      by bumiputera on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 12:32:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Roosevelt was progressive (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sawolf, MichaelNY, bumiputera

      But he still governed a Republican Party that was dominated by archconservatives like Henry Cabot Lodge and Nelson Aldrich. He got some things through, but he struck a bit of a middle course.

      TR was the most liberal, radical candidate on the ballot in 1912, and sometimes people let that bleed retrospectively into appraisals of his performance as president. It wasn't bad considering the times, but he was no Wilson.

      •  Exactly, and this is what I meant by (1+ / 0-)
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        Roosevelt administration and Wilson era.  These people weren't divorced from their parties even if they did have leeway on some issues.  It would have been interesting to see what Roosevelt would have done with a Democratic Congress (Wilson with a Republican Congress would have just seen regressive civil rights policies, but not much in the way of progress other than the courts).

        However, Personal values really don't mean that much in the grand scope of things if they bear no relation to the actual policy actions of the party.  This is why I hope that in the future, Bill Clinton's stock plummets among the left, as his most lasting impact is going to be Welfare Reform and helping Republicans blow up our trade deficit (which was the prime cause of the housing bubble, though not the sole cause obviously).  Not that he wasn't worlds better than what a Dole administration would have been, but Clinton is certainly no Kennedy.  Obama is our Kennedy.

        NC-06/NC-04; -9.12, -8.62; Yellow Dog Democrat

        by sawolf on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 01:11:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Well, save for Eugene Debs (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sawolf, MichaelNY, jncca, bumiputera

        Who got 6% of the vote that year.

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