Barack Obama initially ran for president invoking Abraham Lincoln, then looked to Franklin D. Roosevelt and even appealed to Ronald Reagan. He began campaigning for reelection as Harry Truman running against a “do nothing” Congress. But now, at long last, he has revealed that his heart truly lies with the old Bull Moose progressive, Theodore Roosevelt.
In a pilgrimage to the small town of Osawatomie, Kan., President Obama has given the defining address of his administration. Osawatomie is where Teddy Roosevelt in 1910 delivered his famous speech calling for a “New Nationalism” and launching his campaign for a third presidential term, which ultimately led him to bolt from the Republicans and run as the Progressive-party candidate.
Osawatomie was Roosevelt at his most progressive, and so it was for Mr. Obama. If there was any doubt before, it is now clear that the president has given up on the center of American politics and doubled down on his governing model. And this tells us everything about where he is coming from and where he wants to go.
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