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Re: [tr-m] "Bully Boy" by Jim Powell

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  • Edward J. Renehan Jr.
    Don t worry. Powell s book has been widely ignored - let s keep it that way by not giving him the advantage of publicity generated by outraged TR-fans. He ll
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 19, 2006
      Don't worry. Powell's book has been widely ignored - let's keep it that way by not giving him the advantage of publicity generated by outraged TR-fans. He'll be lucky if it sells 10,000 copies, whereas Edmund Morris's books - for example - have sold hundreds of thousands of copies. No-one knows Powell, an obscure CATO institute fellow. Everyone knows TR. The war is over. TR has won. His face is on the mountain. - EJR

      TomQ1717 <tomq1717@...> wrote:
      I almost flipped when I was recently in the local bookstore and came
      across, "Bully Boy - The Truth about Theodore Roosevelt's Legacy" by
      Jim Powell.

      Let me recount some of Powell's distorted and demented assertions:

      * How TR's regulations, tariff and "trust busting" policies harmed

      * How TR's foreign policy undermined the Monroe Doctrine and set
      precedents for future intervention in conflicts with no clear threat
      to U.S. security

      * How TR's Meat Inspection Act and Pure Food and Drugs Act were used
      predominately as special interest legislation and set the foundation
      for the future FDA "drug lag," which has killed thousands

      * How TR's conservation policies were counterproductive

      * How TR's tax policies help to establish the federal income tax

      * etc etc etc

      I obviously wouldn't buy or support garbage dramatization and
      historical fantasy like this book. But... I am livid that some
      mushroomheaded, malfeasant, angry TR hater would launch such an
      attack and almost feel compelled to respond.

      A few reviews from Amazon.com:

      Editorial Reviews

      From Publishers Weekly
      Powell, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, has made a name for
      himself writing provocative studies of presidents (FDR's Folly and
      Wilson's War). In this biased, unpersuasive account, Powell argues
      that virtually every plank of Teddy Roosevelt's Progressive agenda—
      including trust-busting, regulation of food and drugs, and the
      income tax (which Powell describes as "blood money") was a disaster.
      He sees Roosevelt as a dangerous tyrant who sought to expand the
      power of the executive office in order to promote his own interests.
      Powell's libertarian politics color almost every page of this study.
      To wit, his critique of Roosevelt's conservationism: "By
      establishing federal control over so much U.S. land, he defied the
      prevailing American view that land use decisions were best made by
      private individuals who had a stake in improving the value of their
      property." Powell also turns his guns on muckraking reporter Jacob
      Riis, remembered for his journalistic exposés of urban poverty.
      Powell says that instead of unmasking poverty, Riis should have
      asked "whether the poor were better off" in his day than they had
      been in the past, then approvingly quotes Thomas Hobbes's
      description of life as "poor, nasty, brutish, and short." This is
      irresponsible revisionism at its worst. (Aug. 8)
      Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier
      Inc. All rights reserved.

      From Booklist
      Powell takes Theodore Roosevelt to task, criticizing the historical
      plaudits attached to the Rough Rider's presidency. Flowing from a
      free-market perspective, Powell scores TR's trust busting,
      maintaining that monopolies, if they existed at all, were
      ineffective. TR's support for an income tax, touted as a soak-the-
      rich scheme, earns Powell's condemnation for its growth into a soak-
      everybody scheme. The analytical polemic continues with TR's
      creation of food and drug inspectorates, bureaucracies Powell flays
      as unnecessary since food processors had market incentives to keep
      food safe. Nor is TR-the-conservationist safe from Powell's pikes as
      the author argues Roosevelt damaged rather than preserved the
      environment. And as for TR's Big Stick, that was an original sin
      that opened the door to America's foreign interventions in the
      twentieth century. Readable, forceful, and opinionated, Powell's
      third presidential jeremiad (after Wilson's War, 2005, and FDR's
      Folly, 2003) should ignite debate between supporters and opponents
      of big government. Gilbert Taylor
      Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

      Any thoughts on how to protect TR's legacy from nutball revisionist
      like Powell?


      Tom Quirk
      Catonsville, MD

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      Edward J. Renehan Jr.

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