Speaking in 1910, former two-term president Theodore Roosevelt offered some practical advice that Elizabeth Warren and today’s progressive Democrats would be wise to heed. Although, they probably won’t.

Teddy said: “The citizen must have high ideals, and yet he must be able to achieve them in practical fashion. No permanent good comes from aspirations so lofty that they have grown fantastic and have become impossible to realize. The impractical visionary is far less often the guide and precursor than he is the embittered foe of the real reformer who, with stumblings and shortcomings, yet does in some shape, in practical fashion, give effect to the hopes and desires of those who strive for better things.”

Dick Polman, a veteran national political columnist based in Philadelphia and a Writer in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania.

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