John McCain: Modern Progressivism
Presidential hopeful John McCain seems to want to revive
the Progressive Republican Party. With the elections around the
corner, McCain’s campaign is off the ground. And the comparisons
to former progressive president Theodore Roosevelt are endless.
The divide between him and the other major Republican candidate,
George W. Bush are increasingly obvious on most of the issues.
John McCain promises to expand and improve the United
States’ Armed Forces for better military preparedness. He
believes that it is our duty as a powerful free nation to ensure
and protect the rights of others around the world using any
measures we see fit., mediation in foreign affairs or even the use
of military power. Theodore Roosevelt advocated the same
military preparedness, he had faith in the virtues of war as he
had previously been so involved in the Spanish-American conflict.
He called the battle of San Juan Hill “the greatest day of my life.’
McCain has a similar history in the military, having served as a
captain in the United States’ Navy in the Vietnam War, he was a
Prisoner of War from 1967-1073. McCain has said that his tortured
time as a POW served to make him a stronger person.
Both McCain and Roosevelt have taken a moral approach in
reforming of the federal government. John McCain and Theodore
Roosevelt share a reformer’s point of view. McCain’s central
ambition as president would be to end the corrupt campaign
finance system of rewarding those with special interests
(companies or individuals who donate money to political campaigns)
with tax-breaks and special privileges while hurting the taxpayer.
McCain wants to do away with this use of loopholes in the law,
saying that “keeping money out of politics” is the best way to
develop a government that works more for the interests of the
people than for its own interests. Roosevelt did some of his own
reforms in his day, with the setting up of the merit system, where
government workers where appointed in accordance to performance
and competence instead of the previously used spoils system, in
which those who where loyal members of their party and helped
the campaigns were given the jobs. Though McCain has taken some
heat for using the system he is now trying to reform to increase
his personal wealth, Roosevelt also had some contradictions in his
administration. Roosevelt was a firm believer in capitalism and
abhorred socialism, but he did advocate government control over
some business. He was known for breaking up major business trusts
and monopolies, but he didn’t look down upon all trusts, he was in
favor of some and was reluctant to interfere too much in business.
Both politicians are known for excitable temperaments. Some
of McCain’s critics raise questions about McCain’s ability to be a
capable president with his assertive attitudes and firm (almost
stubborn-like) stance, they say he lacks diplomacy. McCain seems
to be turning Roosevelt’s famous phrase, “speak softly and carry a
big stick” right around. There is a lot of talk about wanting to
reduce crime but his position on how remain unclear He opposes
waiting periods for guns and advocates instant background check
even though they are not really available.
John McCain’s claim that Theodore Roosevelt is his hero and
his Teddy-like ways may be a way to give him more credibility as
would-be president. Many already admire his flexibility as a
Republican. And it annoys some, who see it as a way to get the
majority of the independent vote. Whatever he’s up to, it’s working
just fine. He’s had many state victories and is putting up quite a
fight for the presidency. If he wins, whether or not he will make
things happen in Washington is yet to be seen. He is the only
candidate likely to really push the campaign finance reforms, but
will he really change things as effectively as his hero?