With this head in the print edition of the WaPo, Michael Gerson's column scorns Glenn Beck's attack on Theodore Roosevelt for his Progressive policies. The former Bush 43 speechwriter should have followed the lead of our Roger Beckett.
In his "New Nationalism" speech at John Brown's home in Bloody Kansas, Roosevelt sees progress in history as arising from "this conflict between the men who possess more than they have earned and the men who have earned more than they possess."
Gerson objects that conservatives should no more go after TR than they should denounce Lincoln. TR claims the legacy of Lincoln. But Lincoln viewed human history as strangers becoming friends, not one of class conflict. Moreover, TR pushed centralizartion of power far further than circumstances justified: "The right to regulate the use of wealth in the public interest is universally admitted. Let us admit also the right to regulate the terms and conditions of labor, which is the chief element of wealth, directly in the interest of the common good." Even Gerson has to allow that TR's "progressivism could sound a bit like socialism."
In claiming TR as a forefather of "reform conservatism" Gerson simply shows his allegiance to big-government conservatism and his lack of understanding of founding principles. His speeches for "W" cited the Declaration of Independence often but without understanding the limited government principles within his founding document.