Demonstrating his lack of seriousness for all to see, Glenn Beck has apparently posited that Paul Ryan is something of a RINO, just like (gasp!) John McCain. Why? Because in this speech, Ryan said the following about Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson:
Progressivism was a powerful strain in both political parties for many years. Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican, and Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat, both brought the Progressive movement to Washington.
Early Progressives wanted to empower and engage the people. They fought for populist reforms like initiative and referendum, recalls, judicial elections, the breakup of monopoly corporations, and the elimination of vote buying and urban patronage. But Progressivism turned away from popular control toward central government planning. It lost most Americans and consumed itself in paternalism, arrogance, and snobbish condescension. “Fighting Bob” LaFollette, Teddy Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson would have scorned the self-proclaimed “Progressives” of our day for handing out bailout checks to giant corporations, corrupting the Congress to purchase votes for government controlled health care, and funneling billions in Jobs Stimulus money to local politicians to pay for make-work patronage. That’s not “Progressivism,” that’s what real Progressives fought against!
That was it. That was all. That was everything. Ryan stated that the progressives of Roosevelt’s and Wilson’s time would have had nothing to do with the progressives of our time, and for that, he is branded as a heretic by Beck.
Beck’s argument, of course, is not worth refuting; it refutes itself rather well without anyone’s help. To emphasize: Ryan said nice things about Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson only in terms of contrasting them with the current band of progressives. And for this, he is supposed to be read out of the Republican party by the likes of Glenn Beck. This doesn’t even begin to pass the laugh test, and to the extent that anyone actually takes Beck’s words seriously, it’s rather dangerous to think that one of the smartest people in the Republican party can be pronounced as not being philosophically pure simply because he decided to issue some complimentary comments about two former Presidents. I am no Wilson fan myself; he was a racist, he was totally unrealistic about his foreign policy goals, and he allowed his Administration to founder on the shoals of the League of Nations, but throwing a few verbal bouquets his way shouldn’t be enough to have one’s Republican credentials revoked. And Teddy Roosevelt, whatever his other faults, helped see America’s way to global power status, and did so quite intelligently; his foreign policy was Realpolitik at its best. Republicans ought to embrace that particular legacy, not run away from it. Put another way, I would sooner ditch Glenn Beck than I would ditch TR.