Six Questions for Obama About the Original New Nationalism
Having gratuitously invoked Teddy Roosevelt with his own recent remarks in Kansas, Barack Obama is obliged to weigh in on the substance of TR's own Kansas address, which happened to be called "The New Nationalism." The American people are entitled to learn from their president whether he agrees or disagrees with the following six ideas, set forth by Roosevelt in the old New Nationalism.
- "We grudge no man a fortune in civil life if it is honorably obtained and well used. It is not even enough that it should have been gained without doing damage to the community. We should permit it to be gained only so long as the gaining represents benefit to the community. This, I know, implies a policy of a far more active governmental interference with social and economic conditions in this country than we have yet had, but I think we have got to face the fact that such an increase in governmental control is now necessary."
- "[E]very man holds his property subject to the general right of the community to regulate its use to whatever degree the public welfare may require it. But I think we may go still further. [...] Let us admit also the right to regulate the terms and conditions of labor, which is the chief element of wealth, directly in the interest of the common good."
- "The betterment which we seek must be accomplished, I believe, mainly through the national government."
- "I believe that every national officer, elected or appointed, should be forbidden to perform any service or receive any compensation, directly or indirectly, from interstate corporations[.]"
- "I know well that the reformers must not bring upon the people economic ruin, or the reforms themselves will go down in the ruin. But we must be ready to face temporary disaster, whether or not brought on by those who will war against us to the knife."
- "No man is worth his salt in public life who makes on the stump a pledge which he does not keep after the election; and, if he makes such a pledge and does not keep it, hunt him out of public life."