Monday, August 06, 2007

And they put him on Mt. Rushmore!

The American Thinker is carrying a review of Thomas E. Woods Jr's book 33 Questions About American History You're Not Supposed To Ask. Here is a bit about his chapter on Teddy Roosevelt:

But we can take a quick peak at a really, really good example titled: Who is Most Responsible for The "Imperial Presidency?" Now, I know that there are Republican Party stalwarts reading this who are salivating over the prospects that Woods names Franklin Roosevelt or Harry Truman or Lyndon Johnson. And, if you did, you'd be wrong. No siree, Tom Woods says it was good old Teddy Roosevelt, he of the beloved Rough Riders, who Woods implies should have been the first recipient of a Ritalin prescription.

Now before you get excited about Woods picking on the Republicans lets take a quick look at Teddy. First of all that handsome, cigar smoking, teller-of-tales, Mark Twain met with Teddy twice and "declared him ‘clearly insane,'" which, coming from a man who consistently exhibited a certain discernment in his literary efforts, cannot be construed to be approbation.

Dr. Woods also informs his readers that (1) at the age of twenty Teddy had a fight with his girlfriend, came home and shot and killed the neighbor's dog. (2) Upon shooting and killing his first buffalo - PETA members please don't read any further - he "abandoned himself to complete hysteria...." And "as historian Edmund Morris put it, ‘whooping and shrieking while his guide watched in stolid amazement.'" And, (3) for the proverbial kicker Woods adds, "His reaction was similar in 1898 when he killed his first Spaniard." Oh, and by the way Dr. Woods cites the Spaniard killing incident in Edmund Morris's The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt (New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1979). Dr. Woods's book is full of citations.

To give you an indication of Teddy's state of mind, during the United Mine Workers strike of 1902, when questioned by House Republican Whip James E. Watson regarding the constitutionality of sending federal troops in to operate the mines, Teddy responded, "The Constitution was made for the people and not the people for the Constitution," a comment that would surely warm the heart of Howard Zinn.

I have said before that Teddy was not the smartest or the dumbest, the tallest or the shortest, the best or the worst American president. But he was, without any doubt, the craziest.