The key is the last sentence of the preceding paragraph:
But has the shadow of any 20th-century American president veered and quavered more than Theodore Roosevelt’s in recent decades?
Teddy's reputation has "veered and quavered," meaning people can't decide what to think about his legacy. In some ways he was visionary and forward-thinking, in other ways, there are things about his past that "bother" us, and make us hesitant to put him on a pedastal. The author is merely going through a few samples of those conflicting emotions.
Is the author trying to evoke the conflicting viewpoints among the general population? I think in some ways he's saying that there are two different views of Roosevelt among the general population; in other ways, he's saying that any one of us might feel those conflicting views when trying to form our own opinion.
This is not unlike the structure that Dickens used to open A Tale of Two Cities:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.