In 1912, the politically inconceivable happened: a third-party candidate very nearly won the Presidency of the United States. The candidate was former President Theodore Roosevelt. The third party was the Progressive Party, better known and remembered as the Bull Moose Party after Roosevelt’s declaration that he felt “fit as a Bull Moose.” Although Roosevelt did not win the election of 1912, he still stands as the only third-party candidate in modern American politics to have placed second in a Presidential election, receiving more votes than the incumbent Republican President William Howard Taft. TR (as his friends called him; he hated the name Teddy) went on to become one of the greatest of our American icons, but his party soon faded from existence.
Now, nearly a century later, we of the new Bull Moose Party seek to recapture the spirit of Theodore Roosevelt. We are conservatives, libertarians, and liberals (in the classical sense) who, like Roosevelt, have seen the Republican Party move ever further in practice from the principles it ostensibly supports in theory. As Roosevelt himself said in his “Confession of Faith” speech of August 6, 1912:
There are other important things to be done, but this is the most important thing. It is preposterous to leave such a movement in the hands of men who have broken their promises as have the present heads of the Republican organization (not of the Republican voters, for they in no shape represent the rank and file of the Republican voters). These men by their deeds give the lie to their words. There is no health in them, and they cannot be trusted. But the Democratic party is just as little to be trusted.
The promise that lay in the Contract with America was lost after little more than a decade. The leaders behind that movement have since moved on, leaving in their wake a Republican Party that has reversed course on many of the issues that put them in power. They have become a party of platitudes rather than principles. As Roosevelt said, there is no health in them, and neither party can be trusted.
That is why the Bull Moose Party now stands resurrected. We are a party for those conservatives who still believe in fiscally responsible government. We are a party for those liberals who believe in the freedom to control your pocketbook as well as the freedom to control your personal life. We are a party for those libertarians who believe the state can be limited without being stripped to the bones. We are conservatives who believe in the value of the environment, and liberals who believe in the power of the free market. If we must be called moderates, we are radical moderates.