Politically, it is a brilliant move. Particularly if you love big government in every aspect of your life. But the danger of big government just keeps moving. It does not stop. It is never satisfied. Here is the scenario:
At the time of writing the Senate has not yet passed the Bill to regulate freight rates, but it will have passed the Senate several days before this is read. In the early days of this longdrawn-out and at times acrimonious contest between the President and some of the most influential Members of his Party in the Senate, Mr. Roosevelt announced that "Canossa gehen wir nicht." It would be somewhat unprofitable, and almost too academic, to determine whether the President played the part of Henry IV. and the Senate that of Gregory VII. The Republican Senators who blocked the Bill insisted that the Bill as it passed the House must be amended so as specifically to provide for an appeal from a decision made by the InterState Commerce Commission to the Federal Courts, which Mr. Roosevelt at that time resisted, because, as he viewed it, that would defeat the purpose the law was intended to correct. This appeal, however, has now been provided for, and Mr. Roosevelt expresses himself satisfied.
The Senators may claim it as a victory, but the country can see in it only the triumph of the President and the forced obedience of opposing Republican Senators to the will of the people. The country is correct in giving the President the credit for this legislation. He not only made it the great question in Congress, but he compelled a hostile Senate to enact it into law. Facing at one time a seemingly adverse Republican majority, he consented to the Bill being thrown into the hands of the Democrats, much to the confusion of the Republicans and to the gratification of their opponents, who expected to reap political advantage. But the Republicans pulled themselves together, and will vote solidly for the Bill, which disappointingly deprives the Democrats of their expected political gain. Mr. Roosevelt has again shown his amazing political shrewdness. He emerges from the fight the champion of rate legislation, and if that legislation corrects the abuses that are aimed at it, it is Mr. Roosevelt, and no one else, whom the victims of railway extortion - the farmers and small business men, who constitute the real political strength of the countrywill thank for relief and the end to favouritism, by which the great trusts have been able to crush out competition. Apart from what he gains personally, Mr. Roosevelt has put his Party in a very favourable position. Had the President been forced to accept Democratic votes to offset Republican defection, it would have been a non-partisan measure which, politically, would have done the Republicans great harm; but as the majority vote was cast by the Republicans, the Democrats can claim no credit. And though it is a fact that an important group of Republican Senators were able to secure the concession they demanded, thus again demonstrating that in a trial of strength between the President and the Senate it is generally the Senate that can force the President to its terms, the country will believe that for once, at least, the usual order was reversed. Mr. Roosevelt having said that the Bill suits him, the country sees in imagination the Senate making a wry face and swallowing an unpalatable dose while pretending to enjoy it. This discomfiture of the Senate, and this belief - quite a mistaken one, but which is of no consequence—that the Senate has at last met its master in the President, is very pleasing to the people.
Dang! No wonder McCain is literally in love with Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt was a supreme conservative-defeater! TR knew how to rout those nasty little hobbitses.
In T.R., the Last Romantic, Brands notes what TR wrote to his son Kermit: (page 547)
"I am now trying to see if I cannot get it through in the form I want by the aid of some fifteen or twenty Republicans, added to most of the Democrats."
"The Republican leaders have tried to betray me", Theodore Roosevelt whined to his son. Mr. Roosevelt, you were growing government bigger, your usual M.O. Of course they were betraying you. They were supposed to betray you. It is my sincerest wish that at any time someone is trying to grow government, that betrayal is what they face. I hope he fails. - to borrow four famous words.
Betraying the forces of big government means allying with those of us, the serfs of this country.
In any case, this mirrors the exact activity that we see today, with only one exception. Back then, republican leaders betrayed a big government president. Surely, many of them probably had all of their reasons that may not have had small government at its core, but that would have been the end result: a small government triumph. Today, the exception, is that republican leaders betray small government activists to the benefit of big government. Little doubt exists in my mind, that Theodore Roosevelt is very proud of what the GOP has become. They all now do what he did.
Other than that, what do we see? The republicans are too busy battling the democrats, and the democrats are too busy battling the republicans, that not a one of them stops and asks if the current activity is constitutional or not. We see it all the time, at least, a facade of such activity. Nobody asks the constitutional question. Nobody wants to ask that question. In the end, it's always 'we the people' who get hurt the most by government activity and largess. The GOP "goes along to get along" because in the end, they have proven that they reject the mold of constitutionally minded people such as the Founders, Reagan, or Coolidge. The GOP is the TR party. Over the last 80 years, TR won. They now want big government too in the GOP. The more bigger, the more better.
That's progressivism. The ends justify the means. Theodore Roosevelt, as usual, provides the blueprint of how its done. Growing government the big stick carrying way. This is the beginning of today's uniparty. These are the roots.