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NYTs Reiterates: McCain is No Teddy Roosevelt « The Washington Independent

As environmentalists well know, John McCain is no friend of the environment. Somehow, though, the image of the GOP presidential hopeful as a rough-and-ready, saddle-for-a-pillow, earth-before-industry Teddy Roosevelt has seeped into the public consciousness as something approaching accurate. In this space, TWI’s John Dougherty has, on several occasions, revealed why that’s not the case (one here; another here; and another here ). And today, New York Times columnist Bob Herbert dispels the myth further:

Senator McCain will tell you outright: “I am a Teddy Roosevelt Republican.”

That’s about as elastic as the facts can get. In June, Mr. McCain (“We’re gonna drill here! We’re gonna drill now!”) got a big boost in donations from oil industry executives after he reversed course and came out strongly in favor of offshore drilling. A Washington Post headline pointedly said: “Industry Gushed Money After Reversal on Drilling.”

To put it mildly, that was not very Rooseveltian. Around the same time that the McCain campaign was pocketing its oil industry windfall, the historian Douglas Brinkley was poring over letters in which Roosevelt, running for his first full term as president in 1904, was indignantly ordering his campaign to return a $100,000 contribution from the Standard Oil Company.

[…]

But what is telling about this particular difference between Teddy Roosevelt and John McCain is that it is so illustrative of what Roosevelt was really about, and how fundamentally different that was from what Senator McCain and the latter-day Republican Party is about.

“The truth of the matter is that Roosevelt today would be on the left,” said Mr. Brinkley, who is writing a biography of the former president titled “The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt’s and the Crusade for America.”

Roosevelt believed passionately in regulating industry and curbing the excesses of the great corporations. He favored the imposition of an inheritance tax and fought his party’s increasing tendency to cater to the very wealthy. And, of course, he was a ferocious protector of the environment.

Nobody, it seems, told McCain.

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