The Gospel Truth

It All Started with Roosevelt—the Other One! | November 21, 2012

What is wrong with the Republicans?

Can anyone tell me?

I think it all started with Roosevelt.

No, not FDR–the other one…his cousin Teddy!

Started the split in the Party

Republicans, especially those in the Establishment and we all know who they are, have been having a field day in the post-mortem of their potentially devastating loss in the 2012 presidential race.

They have been blaming conservative thinking, the Tea Partiers, and  talk radio, especially Rush Limbaugh for what has become a regular quadrennial exercise in lost opportunities.

This is a pattern that I thought dated back to 1964 when Barry Goldwater suffered one of the worst defeats in Republican electorial history.

That year there had been an ideological split between New York liberal governor, Nelson Rockefeller and Goldwater’s libertarian brand of conservatism–which to my consternation later included gay marriage and abortion rights.

Was the leader of the Republican left

That division has carried on its diverse history ever since with the establishment usually offering up so-called moderates such as Bob Dole, John McCain and both Bushes.

The only exception has been Ronald Reagan who energized and greatly expanded the base given to him by Goldwater.

But the price of at least six of the best years in the 20th century was unfortunately 12 years of the Bushes with their water-down conservatism that underscored the Republican establishment’s marriage to the big government policies of the left.

Thanks to George W. Bush and his fellow Republicans’ abject failure to defend the charge that BUSH DID it!! we now have to suffer eight, not just four years of Obama.

How did this all happen?

Glenn Beck was notorious for his laying all the blame of Big Government on Woodrow Wilson’s doorstep.

As one of the originator of the Progressive Movement, Wilson certainly was a reliable and a viable proponent of the first real inroads socialism made in American political history.

But few realize that his election would have probably not have happened had the other Roosevelt, Cousin Teddy bolted his party because he was as mad as a Bull Moose.

This 1912 photograph of Theodore Roosevelt in Oyster

Roosevelt was indeed mad, bordering on lunacy in some dramatic ways, like his reckless charge up San Juan Hill during the Spanish-American War in 1898.

Historians tell us that since he was extremely near-sighted, he had 22 pairs of replacement glasses sown into his military tunic.


Reckless in war and in peace

It was well-known historian Richard Hofstadter and others who wrote about Roosevelt decided role in as a progressive Republican, motivated by the spirit of the times, wafting over large urban centers in the country.

In his confusing and somewhat contradictory book, The American Political Tradition (1948) he laid out an account on the ideology of previous U.S. presidents and other political figures.

He knew that Roosevelt despised the rich Hofstadter had the temerity to write that TR was conservative frightened by any sign of organized power among the people.

This sounds like pure baloney to me.

This is all a little too much to take given his real history.

Without even realizing it, Hofstadter underscored the elite sense of entitlement that has characterized liberals and progressives ever since.

They despise all the people less fortunate and not as well-educated as they.

They believe that their role is divest the wealthy of their money and power and keep the people enslaved in their dependence on government.

Was right and wrong at the same time

It was his 3rd party challenge to President William Taft, whom he had chosen as his own successor in 1908, that had guaranteed a narrow victory for the naive and inexperienced Wilson.

When Republican operative Mark Hanna first heard that William McKinley had been assassinated in Buffalo, New York on September 6, 1901, he quipped in disgust That damned cowboy is in the White House!

As president Roosevelt demonstrated a penchant for being anti-big business…not unlike Obama.

He strove for more government regulations and was the nation’s first environmentalist.

Like most of his patrician class, Roosevelt believed that he had a moral obligation to help the poor and unfortunate  and to legislate their behavior.

This was out of what the French called, noblesse oblige.

In a historical synthesis that would have had the approval of both Hegel and Marx, Roosevelt led the fight to turn Hamilton and Jefferson on their heads by using the former’s emphasis on big government to ensure the latter’s emphasis on better condition for the poor and the common folk.

This approach served to revolutionize American political history.

In doing so it set the country on the dangerous course of state socialism with many Marxist overtones and policies.

Richard Zachs’ portrayal of Roosevelt in his recent book, Island of Vice, detailed TR’s contentious battles as New York’s Police Commissioner to clean sin-loving New York City’s lewd underbelly.

Unpopular in NYC

Roosevelt’s demeanor betrayed that self-righteous moral arrogance that still runs through liberals in both parties today.

As governor of New York, he boxed with sparring partners several times a week, a practice he regularly continued as President until one blow detached his left retina, leaving him blind in that eye.

A fact not made public until many years later.

A health culturalist because he  was sickly as a child, TR practiced  judo attaining a third degree brown belt and continued his habit of, like Quincy Adams before him, skinny-dipping in the Potomac River during winter.

In a speech delivered after leaving the Presidency in August 1910, Roosevelt introduced the phrase Square Deal to describe his progressive views .

In his broad outline, he stressed equality of opportunity for all citizens and emphasized the importance of fair government regulations of corporate ‘special interests’.

Doesn’t this brief outline sound familiar?

Running through it is a complete lack of respect for people’s freedom and their own abilities to run their lives without government interference.

Historians credit Roosevelt for changing the nation’s political system by permanently placing the presidency at center stage and making character as important as the issues.

Roosevelt failed to understand the people he sought to save from themselves didn’t want or ask for his help.

As it is today, people like this usually make things worse for everyone.

He brought this same attitude to the Oval Office as president.

Thanks to Theodore Roosevelt and his Teddy Bear morality we now will have to endure another four years of this expansive approach.

Just one of his inner contradictions

If the Republicans listen to their establishment leaders they will be doomed to follow the same destructive path.

Just look what the Republican leadership did to Rep. Todd Akin in Missouri.

Had they grouped behind him after he apologized for his gaffe, there was a better than 50% chance that he would have unseated the out-of-touch with Missouri Claire McCaskill.

As it played out she won in a landslide after inundating the state with ads that did nothing more than play clips from Romney, Rove and other establishment leaders condemning their fellow Republican.

This was a breach of the Party’s own 11th Commandment that Ronald Reagan spoke against.

In effect Akin lost because of the ghost of Teddy Roosevelt.

If they don’t change their attacks on conservatives, undoubtedly they will go the way of the Whigs, a party that lost sight of its origins, its history and its purpose in life.

And maybe that’s what should happen to these moderates who are useless in a time of political crisis.

The Republican future?



  1. You are really wrong on Akin. In 2008, McCaskill received over 600K votes in her primary. In 2012, this dropped to 300K. Now, I wonder just where they went! Akin had 36%, Brunner 30%, Steelman 29%. Poor Claire was very successful in her strategy indeed. Once the media sunk into Akin like a Pit Bull, he should have withdrawn for the good of the party. I voted for Steelman and she would have cleaned Claire’s clock. Ufortunately, he did the Custer impression and his recalcitrance spread to Indiana and the Tsunami spread. He should have stuck his finger in the dike (polite spelling) and allowed Steelman to take his place.

    Comment by jbq2 — November 21, 2012 @ 9:13 pm

    • Dear Jacque:

      The sad truth of the Akin Affair was that we will never know. While much of what you say is true, once the Republican establishment literally turned their back on him, it was over and even Steelman or another “substitute” would have had that stigma attached to her or his neck and Claire would have still won. I think the leaders reacted too quickly as if they were unhappy with his choice from the start and just used his simple gaffe and it was nothing more than that, to cut him off at the ankles. Akin did show very poor judgment in going on with Jaco, who is no journalist but a card-carrying pro-abortion activist. Todd’s faith let him down by trusting this viper. BB


      Comment by bbprof — November 22, 2012 @ 3:19 pm

  2. Will we ever learn from history??

    Comment by Mary B. Lachney — November 21, 2012 @ 9:17 pm

  3. Major media denied the truth about the Obama admin-
    istration and alternative media tried to expose what
    BO Gang had done. Unfortunately the Churches did
    not use the power of the pulpit and Church publications
    to inform the laity. Clerics have embraced social
    justice (socialism) to the detriment of a free Constitu-
    tional Republic. The USCCB spoke out against
    the HHS Mandate early on but did little to remind
    Catholics of it near election time. It a way their
    opposition to ONLY the Mandate may have led
    people to think that was the ONLY problem with ACA
    and most are not that concerned about contraception

    TOO BAD the USCCB did not holler about rationed
    health care. If they had seniors sure would not have
    voted to reelect BO.

    In colonial America it was the role of the pastor to keep
    his flock informed. As America grew, pastors felt that
    it was their duty to inform congregations about impor-
    tant events and candidates – they were free to endorse
    political parties. BUT today, due to the tax exempt
    status of most churches, the churchmen have been
    bullied into silence. Time to challenge the Fed and
    speak out as provided for in our First Amendment
    Right to Freedom of Speech.

    To summarize the above: We lost because of the
    lies people bought from the liberal major media.

    “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”
    Hosea 4:6


    Comment by MFritz — November 21, 2012 @ 10:59 pm

  4. Happy Thanksgiving, Bill.

    We have so much to be thankful for this year, especially the election of my fellow Irishman, O’Bama.

    Already, Hillary Clinton, another favorite of yours and mine, has brokered a cease-fire between Israel and Egypt, just a month and a half after O’B got repeat support from the so discerning American. Didn’t the stock market acknowledge bright days ahead with a monster day just yesterday? What other wonders in store for us in FOUR MORE YEARS?!!! God (D.-HVN) is good.

    Sadly, Mitt R. has a mitt-full of IOU’s, a bane for anyone other that a Bain guy, and I imagine many of his former financiers have retracted their pre-election invites for mega-yacht-borne victory sea cruises. (Not enough bytes on this old computer to even begin to respond to your “what’s wrong with Republicans?” query…I’ll save it for our next reunion, over a good drink).

    Don’t worry; be happy. (Havin’ a HLL of a time extracting my tongue from my LEFT cheek).

    Peace, and a lovely Thanksgiving to you (I do mean it, no wise-ass in that offering),

    Comment by bbprof — November 23, 2012 @ 3:24 pm

  5. My reply to my old college classmate:

    Do you really believe all of what you wrote? I am coming to the conclusion that we are so divided as a country on morals, ethics, history, the past, the present and most undoubtedly the future that we live in parallel universes. Se may live in the same country, speak what sounds like the same language but our words mean different things.

    For this Irish president, truth is a commodity that he uses to foster his ends. The market went up a bit after several days of descent, only because they think he will come off his high horse and “compromise” with Boehner. My gut feeling is that he will pull the rug of conciliation from under the Speaker’s feet, paint the Republicans into a corner–sink the economy or give in to their campaign promises—Boehner won too—don’t forget, we do not live in a dictatorship yet.

    This man is still campaigning because I believe that as our first Marxist president and probably the first atheist to hold the office, and does not plan to leave after his time is up. The cliff is coming and I really fear he will lead us over it—from behind of course—he is the first backseat president I think we have ever had.

    And if you think just because Madame Clinton shows up the Jews and Arabs have seen the error of their ways—you are dreaming. My guess is that she bribed both sides to cool it for a while. It is far from over. Read a little history and stop drinking the Kool Aid. My best BB

    Comment by bbprof — November 23, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

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About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at







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