- Elected in 1904, Theodore Roosevelt, considered himself a "steward of the people," and as such, he took all action necessary for the public good — within the laws set forth in the Constitution.
- Roosevelt was known as a “trust buster.” He worked to regulate big business in the best interests of the economy and of American workers.
- Roosevelt had a strong foreign policy, and understood the need for a global presence. During his presidency he helped solve disputes over Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, and Morocco. He also won the adoption of the Drago Doctrine, which prevented the use of force in collecting foreign debts.
- He was also known as “The Father of Conservation.” During his presidency, he formed the United States Forestry Service. Forest reserves in the U.S. went from approximately 43-million acres to about 194-million acres.
- As President, he signed legislation that established five national park units: Crater Lake, Oregon; Wind Cave, South Dakota; Sullys Hill, North Dakota; Mesa Verde, Colorado; and Platt, Oklahoma. He also established eighteen national monuments including: Devil's Tower, Wyoming; El Morro, New Mexico; Montezuma Castle, Arizona; and the Petrified Forest, Arizona; and a large portion of the Grand Canyon in 1908.
- Early in Roosevelt's presidency, Upton Sinclair published an expose on the meat industry’s use of downed, dead, diseased and decayed cattle. After reading the book, Roosevelt ordered an investigation into the issue. Apparently a previous USDA investigation was less than truthful. When Congress still stalled on taking action, Roosevelt released a report on the issue to the public and this public outcry forced Congress to take action and sign into law the Pure Food and Drug Act — the foundation for today’s FDA and USDA organizations.
And then there’s our 46th President. Also Republican. George W. Bush.
- Steward of the people? Well, as long as you are certain people in certain special interest groups.
- Trust buster? My trust is busted. But a lot of big businesses are happy.
- Foreign policy? Let’s not go there. Oh yeah, we’ve been there for five years now.
- Conservation? Let’s see, worst environmental record of any president ever includes:
• Gutting key sections of the Clean Water and Clean Air acts
• Cut the EPA's enforcement division by nearly one-fifth, to its lowest level on record
• Fines for environmental violations dropped by nearly two-thirds in the administration's first two years
• Opened millions of acres of wilderness to logging, mining, and oil and gas drilling.
• Opened areas for development including the million-acre Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument in Arizona, the 2,000-foot red-rock spires at Fisher Towers, Utah, and dozens of others.
- As for fighting Congress to legislate for healthier food when confronted with the meat industry’s use of downed cows (for school lunch programs) … uh, Dubya? You there? Dub? Yeah, I thought so.
But, let's not dwell on the past, shall we? We've got a lot of work to do to fix this nation. In saying so, I challenge you, the next president of our embattled and embittered nation, to be half the leader that Theodore Roosevelt was. Half. And, we'll all be a whole lot better for it.