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Teddy Unbearable

Here’s a letter to the Washington Post:

Impressed that Pres. Obama spoke yesterday on “the site of Theodore Roosevelt’s legendary ‘New Nationalism’ speech 101 years ago,” E.J. Dionne is delighted that Mr. Obama is now channeling the ghost of the 26th President of the U.S. (“Obama’s New Square Deal,” Dec. 8).

I don’t share this delight, for H.L. Mencken was spot-on correct when he wrote of T.R. that “the America that Roosevelt dreamed of was always a sort of swollen Prussia, truculent without and regimented within.”*

The vision that motivated T.R. – and that transports too many modern-day “Progressives” into raptures – is repellent to anyone who cherishes peace and individual freedom.

Donald J. Boudreaux

* H.L. Mencken, “Roosevelt I” (1920), reprinted in Mencken, A Mencken Chrestomathy (New York: Knopf, 1949); p. 233.