Media Watch: The NYT Falls for the TR MythFact & Fiction
Ms. Mitchell has fallen for a myth. TR's record as a reformer is decidedly mixed. The position Mr. Bush finds himself in today is the same as TR in 1905. That year the media were filled with stories of corporate corruption. The year before corporations had made millions of dollars in political contributions, most going to the campaign of Teddy Roosevelt. TR in his annual message to Congress championed reform, declaring himself flatly in favor of a ban on corporate contributions. But according to historian Robert Mutch, TR promptly lost all interest in the issue. Congress passed a weak ban without his support in 1906.
The following year TR again seized the high ground in the battle for reform, this time telling Congress he favored the passage of a"radical measure" to allow for the public financing of presidential campaigns. He wasn't serious. Mutch says that what Roosevelt really wanted was to use the proposal to divert public attention from a bill to require the disclosure of the names of political donors, which was gaining in popularity.
Perry Belmont, head of the National Publicity Bill Organization, which was established to lead the campaign for a disclosure bill, charged afterward that TR had sabotaged the organization's efforts:"[N]ever once did he do anything to promote such [reform] legislation. . . . He retarded the movement by his indifference and deliberate neglect, and his last message on the subject, proposing Treasury appropriations for campaign contributions . . . was in fact, and was intended to be, a hindrance to our movement."
Says Mutch:"Roosevelt treated public funding with the same seriousness as his earlier proposals. He made no attempt to introduce a bill and never mentioned the subject again."
SOURCE Robert Mutch, Campaigns, Congress and Courts: The Making of Federal Campaign Finance Law (1988).
comments powered by Disqus
- Rubio Surges Into Second In New Hampshire
- Branstad Says Cruz Ran ‘Unethical’ Campaign
- Christie Highlights Santorum’s Endorsement of Rubio
- Portman Comes Out Against Trade Deal
- Megyn Kelly Gets a Book Deal
- A Big List of the Bad Things Clinton Has Done
- An Unambiguous Sign Sanders Won Last Night’s Debate
- Still Friends at the End
- Quote of the Day
- Trump Still Leads as Clinton Slips
- Clinton Can’t Shake Image as Wall Street’s Friend
- Maddow Doesn’t See Sanders Winning
- Why Does the Media Still Shield Chelsea Clinton?
- Bush Jokes His Mother May Have Abused Him
- Rubio Closes the Gap in New Hampshire
- Transcribed Document: Soviet Politburo Discussed CIA Billion Dollar Spy Adolf Tolkachev
- Pentagon withholds Iraq War photos showing detainee abuse
- These Rebels Have Amassed A Library From Syria’s Ruins
- Was 1916 fire at Canadian Parliament set by German saboteur?
- United Nations Calls On U.S. To Pay African Americans Reparations For Slavery
- Juan Cole says America’s inclination to turn to the military started with Manifest Destiny
- History Jobs Drop
- Paul Krugman gives credence to Robert J. Gordon's pessimism about American economic growth
- Harvard President Drew Faust Condemns Free Tuition Proposal from Outsider Overseers Ticket
- Andrew Roberts says Trump is the Mussolini of America with double the vulgarity