Teddy Roosevelt and Donald Trump: Destroying party politics for the better–or worse

Glenn Beck makes some good points in the following video regarding Trump’s position against Ford Motor Company building a plant in Mexico. Beck brings up that Ronald Reagan promoted free trade and that Trump is wrong to suggest beating Ford into submission with tariffs for taking American jobs out of the country. Beck is speaking on behalf of free market capitalism and if Mexico has the best offerings and lowest wages, then they should get the manufacturing plant. It is essentially the same argument that I made in favor of Boeing moving one of their large manufacturing facilities from Washington State to South Carolina—to a right to work region so that they can hedge against work stoppages from labor strikes every couple of years. The Mexican people have a reputation for hard work so I can’t blame Ford for wanting to avoid the dope smoking line workers they have in Detroit for the hard-working Mexicans for half the cost. There are a lot of factors at play, and under the basic premise of Beck’s argument, Ford should have the free ability to move wherever they want—because it is currently too expensive to do business in America.

Trump reminds me a lot of Teddy Roosevelt—which is dangerous, because it was basically a beef with the Republican Party that pushed Teddy to start the Progressive movement, which ended up being detrimental to global politics. Progressivism and the hatred of wealth and capitalism has made it too expensive to do business in the United States so to make it beneficial for international corporations to move their plants to destinations like Mexico and China. The policies that make business in America expensive by progressives are purposeful attacks against capitalism and wealth to redistribute those assets to countries that don’t have them. So for Beck’s premise to be correct, you’d have to remove all progressives from the federal government and start with an even playing field. That’s where Trump comes in.

In spite of the current thinking, Trump is not a big government guy, but he is a top down implementation boss. As a president he will take charge and twist arms to get what he wants, and that will likely make the Teddy Roosevelt presidency look like seven years of mediocrity. Trump will go on a war path, and from my perspective it’s the only way to put out the fires of D.C. politics. Sometimes when a raging fire is ablaze, water is not enough. The best thing to do is to cut off the fuel, but in this case the fire is propelled by stolen tax payer resources, so there is no way to stop the inferno that way. That leaves an explosion so violent that everything gets decimated putting out the fire and destroying the fuel that fans the flames at the same time. That’s what Trump brings to the table not as a Republican or a Democrat, but as a “Trumpian.” Roosevelt was not really a hard-core Republican. His great weakness was that he didn’t really understand money, and he picked on the wealthy with a populist anti-trust crusade which really formed the foundations of progressivism. As much as I liked Roosevelt as a Rough Rider and as a cowboy president, he stepped all over the Constitution with an A type personality that resonated throughout the country for an entire century. He did a lot more bad in the long run than he did good. Trump has the potential to eclipse Roosevelt’s activism. But is that really a bad thing?

If things are left the way they are now, we’ll lose everything in America. Playing nice will not get the job done. And the two-party systems are so far divided that it’s impossible to bring 50% of the country to the table to on anything. It’s just not possible. The party system is so bad that reform of any kind is just not possible. It’s as big as a stalemate as the education system is under union prevention. Nothing can happen in education to make it better because of the labor unions. And nothing can happen in national politics to make it better so long as the party machines run it under collective influence. Case in point, the collectivism that protects John Boehner from challengers in Butler County, Ohio is the central committee—in this case a lady name Judy Shelton. She essentially knocks down challengers to Boehner before there are primaries and protects his seat from any viable challenge. Recently Lindsey Graham challenged Trump to come to South Carolina where he has full control of the committee chairs in his home district and proclaimed that he’d “kick his ass.” Tough talk for a progressive moderate Republican, Lindsey trusts that his political machine can withstand his protective mechanisms from a challenge and that despite what the polls suggest, Graham could fend off any challenge, even if it comes from what he thinks is only 25% of a radical right angry mob. Boehner doesn’t worry about his seat in Butler County because Shelton and her political machine protect him from challenges.

Roosevelt knew what was against him. The party bosses didn’t want him as a prominent Republican. They tried to give him silly little roles and even tried to appease him with a vice presidential role—really just to keep a gag on his mouth. Roosevelt knew it and much of his war against the rich as an anti-trust buster was derived from his hatred for the Republican Party machine. When McKinley died in office, Roosevelt much to the horror of the Republican Party at the time went on a rampage of revenge against the party bosses and nobody ever forgot it. Roosevelt did some really good things like the Panama Canal and some really destructive things—especially along the lines of anti-trust and over the years become more and more liberal until he eventually launched the Progressive Party. That was created out of a war with his former friend, William Howard Taft finally severing his ties to Republicans for the rest of his life. Much of the evil that resulted in all that activity came out of party politics as opposed to the will of the people, or free market opinion. The system was corrupt from the very start. Roosevelt fought against it the way he thought was best. The Constitution was the biggest victim of his presidency which was overlooked because much of what Roosevelt did had lasting, and meaningful impacts on the world in a very good way. That doesn’t make what he did right, but much of what he did do was good. That would have never happened without someone like Roosevelt who would break all the rules which inadvertently propelled society forward.

Trump is of the same type of mind, only he does understand money. He knows that the first thing he needs to do with Ford and other companies thinking of leaving America for some NAFTA refuge saving massive amounts of money from The Department of Labor lawsuits, and ridiculous wage expectations from a society that demands a minimum wage of $15 dollars an hour, is to re-make the American brand into something that has value again. By making citizenship a valued option and making the American flag mean something on products shipped to other countries representing respect, Trump is looking to create a brand similar to what he’s done with his own name, and that would benefit every single human being on earth indirectly.   That danger is that Trump wouldn’t know when to stop once he gets going, and America could end up with another dictator on its hands.

However, I believe Trump is smarter than Teddy Roosevelt. I’ve read his books, grown up with him and feel I know the guy pretty well. He does a lot of things in his life that I wouldn’t do. But he doesn’t believe in drugs or alcohol, sets high standards for his family, and is a generally good person. He’s an authentically strong person whereas Teddy Roosevelt because of illnesses he had when he was younger always felt he had to overcome his personal demons. I don’t think Trump actually has any demons. So could he be trusted as a strong manager of American resources to blow up party politics for the next century, for the good of everyone? I think so. We live in a very screwed up world and it will take someone like a Donald Trump to get things in order again with mass destruction of party politics on both sides.

Glenn Beck has lost his audience to Donald Trump essentially. The same people who went to Beck’s 8/28 rally in Washington during 2010 are those who are now supporting Trump because they wanted to see a fighter. Beck was selling himself as a fighter at the time, and people loved him for it. But then he showed up on stage with a bullet proof vest and starting spouting off about God, he lost those fighters slowly over the next few years. And if you really peel back the layers of what Beck is saying about Trump, you’ll find a Glenn Beck who really still wishes he was like the old Glenn Beck. But now that he’s told the world he’s a better man now than he was back then—he can’t very well backtrack. People see what the problems are and they inheritably know that nothing will happen so long as there are party machines controlling politics. It’s as bad on the right as it is on the left. Trump is offering a way to break that system down. The downside to Trump would be more of the same—an arrogant president who thinks he’s an emperor. We had that with Teddy Roosevelt and we certainly have that in Barack Obama. But if Trump is actually smarter than Roosevelt he may just be successful both as an economically activist president who can pull the country back from the brink and establish once again a republic that is Constitutional in its nature. But that’s a long view plan. On the other hand Trump may become a ruthless dictator who declares himself emperor. That is a risk that if left unchecked, Teddy Roosevelt may have done. But the real trouble is with party politics. If left as it is now, it is destroying America anyway. I see nothing wrong with blowing up the whole system for a fresh start. Just as under the present conditions I see nothing wrong with closing the American borders and giving strong financial incentives to keep American companies within those borders—so that the brand of America can be rebuilt. Without those companies, there isn’t anything to rebuild and the intentions of progressives to destroy the economic engine of free enterprise will be re-distributed to a far away lands. So we will have to fight to keep them here, first with force, then with incentive—but the political mechanisms are already in motion and cannot be stopped—expect with a major explosion that levels everything in the political field. It is of course the last resort for our times.

Rich Hoffman


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