John McCain is not really helping himself with the Republican base by claiming Teddy Roosevelt as his conservative role model. As Michael Knox Beran points out in National Review, it would be quite a stretch to classify TR as a conservative. Here's a piece:
It’s one thing for a conservative to admire T. R.’s style and gallantry, the charge up San Juan Hill, the rounding up of crooks in the Badlands. It’s something else for a conservative to identify Roosevelt as a fellow reformer, as Sen. McCain did in the Times interview. Far from allaying conservative fears, McCain can only add to them by trying to make a conservative of a man who, largely for reasons of expediency, embraced a host of dubious reforms, and who ended his public career by embracing the Progressive dream of a state strong enough to command the industry and commerce of the nation.
And then there's this, which describes TR, but in many ways seems to describe John McCain, as well:
Yet if Roosevelt was not a capitalist, neither was he deeply or sincerely a Progressive. He was a man of the state. Robert La Follette perceived the falseness of his reformist strutting: “Theodore Roosevelt is the ablest living interpreter of what I would call the superficial public sentiment of a given time, and he is spontaneous in his reactions to it.” Teddy’s Progressive agenda was driven not by principle but by political opportunism and a heightened sensitivity to the mood of the moment. The deviousness with which he negotiated the shoals of public opinion might have passed for wisdom, had it not been so patently pressed into the service of self-glorification.
Be sure to read the rest. If nothing else, it points to just how tough a time McCain may have inspiring the "true conservatives" in the GOP, and without them, not only will he lose, but he's liable to take down a whole bunch of congressional Republicans with him.