Friday, February 25, 2011

How Do You Really Feel?

Theodore Roosevelt on Woodrow Wilson, May, 1917, after Wilson stopped Roosevelt from gaining a command in World War I:

...Wilson is profiting to the full by his two great powers; that of puzzling ordinary men who are well meaning but not wise; and that of appealing to the basest element in every man, wise or unwise. He has profited immensely by his entire devotion to his own interest. He is neither for nor against Democracy or reaction, Germany or the Allies, radicalism or conservatism, socialism or high finance; he is for himself, and for or against any man or any cause exactly as it suits his own interest. We should have beaten him last year if it had not been for the smallness of soul of the Republican leaders. Now I suppose he will appear as the "great idealist of the war for Democracy." Some of my Progressive friends, notably W.A. White, take this view now. Probably history will take it; but at least it will be taken in spite of the testimony of you and myself.

He has succeeded in putting Wood and myself on the side lines; because we both sought to save this country; and at my age the chance of me ever again taking an active part in affairs is infinitesimal. I have loyally supported the Liberty Loan and all other war measures; but I am deluged with requests to speak for them which I refuse, for I can not run around slopping over about an Administration which I despise and distrust, and I will not say anything which might in the smallest degree hamper the prosecution of the war.
Theodore Roosevelt to Henry Cabot Lodge, May 26, 1917, in Selections from the Coorespondence of Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge, vol. 2 (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1925), pp. 526-527.

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