Theodore Roosevelt grew up in wealth, however, his father relentlessly reminded his son that those with wealth owed a public duty to assist those in need, especially the poor. So much so, that his parents routinely invited people off of the streets in NY to get a meal and shelter during particularly rough winter days. T.R. himself was a prolific writer about geography, birds, animals, science and conservation. When T.R. entered political life, he dedicated himself to protect the interests of the "common man" against large corporations who made their money as predators on the public. When serving as Under-Secretary of the Navy, T.R. could not wait to engage the United States in a show of military power, only to be rebuked by President McKinley as making too many "premature moves." America goes to war when America is ready, not when one or two politicians demand it do so. And T.R. learned a great lesson while fighting in Cuba - both political and military in nature. And when his son was killed in action in WWI, T.R. also lost his "glory" for war.
When approached to run for national office, T.R. initially balked. Only being president would satisfy the goals and objectives of the man. He detested any notions of him running as McKinley's running mate, fearing that being Vice-President would mean his permanent exile from the GOP - which was exactly what the GOP had in mind - bury Roosevelt so they would never have to hear from him again. At the Republican nominating convention, every delegate voted for T.R. for VP - all except Roosevelt. Only upon the shocking reality that McKinley had been assassinated did T.R. roar head-first into the White House. And such reality scared the hell out of the GOP. If the GOP didn't want Theodore Roosevelt when he was alive (he'd punch anyone in the face for addressing him as "Teddy"), why would it appear to be outrageous if someone opined the modern GOP would reject him today?
And what made him so unpopular to his own party? He supported workers' rights (Coal Strike of 1902), he supported child labor laws, food and drug purity and safety, and in defiance of a Republican Congress, pushed for environmental regulations for forests, watersheds, and river ways, along with the creation of national monuments and parks to ensure they never be exploited by big business for preservation purposes. Most know him for his wrangling as a "trust buster" going against titans like Rockefeller and J.P.Morgan (T.R. typically won those conflicts). T.R. won those many fights - because he was right.
Just this week, the GOP led Congress made moves that would certainly cause T.R. to side with that "socialist-leftist" Obama. In the House, the GOP passed a bill to force the Administration to move quicker in the granting of permits for additional natural gas pipeline construction (H.R. 161). In doing so, they also defeated measures to limit the exposure of American taxpayers for oil and gas disasters that would severely damage the environment. Seriously, the GOP refuses to make the pipeline owners and operators responsible for any environmental damages that may arise due to pipeline construction and/or operation - even if caused by their willful negligence. T.R. would have nothing of this! The GOP-led Senate also voted to allow the Canadian owners of the proposed Keystone Pipeline to have the right to use eminent domain to seize private American property for their pipeline needs. Huh? Allowing a foreign company eminent domain rights over American land? You can guess a helluva a lot more presidents other than T.R. would be outraged by this move! Are Americans paying attention to these moves? T.R. would - he might even challenge the current GOP Leadership to a boxing match so he could "pin their ears" for such un-American actions!
The GOP-led Senate also voted to allow the pipeline owner/operator to be exempt from paying into the national insurance funds to protect against future clean-up for potential spills. Does anyone really think T.R. would approve of big petroleum threatening the environment while escaping any liability in the process? The GOP -led Congress also authorizes the use of construction materials from other countries along with the sale of the refined fuel strictly for export (see S. 1.). Huh? Not only does the GOP want the pipeline built, they are unconcerned about the environmental impact AND expect the American taxpayers to ensure the industry's profits. Isn't it still an American right to control our own lands, to ensure the public's safety and to protect against our political leaders selling out to special interests? (See Teapot Dome).
T.R. always sided with the interests of the public when faced with a direct conflict with Big Business. Today's GOP has sold out to Big Business (as have most politicians that pray to the religion of money).
As T.R. once wrote, "We have become great because of the lavish use of our resources. But the time has come to inquire seriously what will happen when our forests are gone, when the coal, the iron, the oil, and the gas are exhausted, when the soils have still further impoverished and washed into the streams, polluting the rivers, denuding the fields and obstructing navigation." This still holds true today. T.R. was a Republican. But if alive today, it is doubtful the GOP would accept him into their fold as T.R. would surely oppose the GOP-led Congress' efforts to guarantee Big Petroleum profits without liability and/or expense. Have a great week!