My U.S. History teacher in high school loved TR. She also loved Bill Clinton ("When you were in a room with him, you felt like you were the only one he was looking at", she was fond of reminiscing and we were fond of cringing at).
But mostly she loved Theodore Roosevelt: founder of National Parks, the bully pulpit, teddy bears, and national food safety laws among other things... (legend has it that while in Cuba during the Spanish-American War of 1899 he came across some gnarly canned meat and all it took was Upton Sinclair to close the deal).
Many labels have become attached to this great presidential legend: maverick, reformer, progressive...hmm sound familiar?
Well, there's one label McCain can't claim he shares with TR anymore. In a recent posthumous interview on what would have been his 150th birthday, TR confessed,
"Q. One last question, Colonel. If you were campaigning now, would you still call yourself a Republican?
A. (after a long pause) No."