In the Badlands of South Dakota, outside of the town of Wall, there is a monument carved into the bedrock of America.
Next to the Statue of Liberty, Rushmore is quite possibly the most recognizable symbol of what America aspires to be*.
Gutzon Borglum carved four faces into the rock. The faces of who he considered the four greatest presidents of the United States. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln - all Americans agreed these men were great historical American figures, great American leaders, great American presidents. Washington led the new country to freedom, Jefferson forged the Constitution and the Union, Lincoln preserved it through its darkest hour.
But Theodore Roosevelt?
When Borglum first began blasting his way into the mountain in 1927, Teddy had been dead for a mere eight years. His place in history was still being written. People really weren’t sure that he belonged on the mountain.
It was not long, however, before history showed TR to be one of the truly great Presidents, and the very archetype of an American. He was more than worthy to stand beside the men who had become the very symbols of America.
Educated, cowboy, sportsman, soldier, naturalist, explorer and adventurer, prolific writer, raconteur and gifted speaker, state assemblyman, state governor, vice president, president - Roosevelt was all of these things and more, much more.
TR was a true hero of the highest caliber. During the Spanish American War, on July 1st, 1898, Colonel Roosevelt led the US 1st Volunteer Calvary Regiment and the 10th US Calvary (the Buffalo Soldiers) in a charge up not one, but two hills during the Battle of San Juan Heights. He and his men took both Kettle and San Juan Hills in the face of blistering fire and that charge is one of the most famous and amazing feats of raw courage ever recorded in the annuals of combat. His commander, Colonel Leonard Wood, nominated him for the Medal of Honor – but Roosevelt himself doomed the nomination by raising hell with the War Department over delays in getting his men home from Cuba – and in fact more of the Rough Riders and Buffalo Soldiers died from malaria and yellow fever awaiting transport then died in combat, a situation that outraged Roosevelt. And so he placed personal honors aside for the sake of his troops – this is the mark of a truly great military leader and man who understands honor and who lives it. His men loved him for it for the rest of their lives. In 2001, Roosevelt was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously, making him the only American president to ever be awarded such.
Roosevelt was a lifelong Republican, and when he returned from Cuba he hung up his sword and returned to politics. He was elected Governor of New York in 1898 and became famous for his honesty, forthrightness, and fervent efforts to root out and destroy corruption. The GOP nominated him as McKinley’s Vice President largely to get him out of New York, so they could get back to business as usual. This maneuver blew up in their faces six months later when McKinley was assassinated. Roosevelt became far more than anyone had ever imagined – except Roosevelt himself, of course. He was a champion of people over corporations (the Trusts). The country loved him and he won reelection in a landslide. He believed that each man should be judged solely upon his merits and not by the color of his skin – and was the first President to invite a black man to dine at the White House as a guest. That dinner with Booker T. Washington cost him dearly, but again Roosevelt was a man who placed honor and integrity above his own personal welfare and he shrugged the criticism off. He believed that it was government’s place to ensure each citizen had the opportunity for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. He believed in conservation and the preservation of natural resources. He was a reverent man who attended church regularly and believed in the value of family and home. He, personally negotiated an end to the Russo-Japanese War – and earned himself the Nobel Peace Prize in the process.
He had his flaws, certainly. He was often called imperialistic and an interventionist – especially in reference to the Panama Canal. He was outspoken, bombastic, and bullheaded. But he changed the very face of America, and set the nation on the road to superpower. He earned the highest awards any American can, as both a warrior and as a peacemaker. So few people are good at any one thing, Theodore Roosevelt was a master of many, many things. History has been very kind to him and historians regard him as one of the top five US Presidents.
Why do I mention it?
Aside from the fact that Theodore Roosevelt in one of my personal heroes and a man I admire very highly?
John McCain would have been worse for the country than Barack Obama
said Glenn Beck to Katie Couric during the first installment of Couric’s new weekly webcast, @katiecouric.
What does this have to do with the 26th President of the United States?
Well, Beck then went on to say that he would have voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton rather than John McCain if he had been faced with a choice between the two.
I can't believe I'm saying this, I think I would have much preferred her as president and may have voted for her against John McCain. McCain is this weird progressive like Theodore Roosevelt was.
I’m going to say that I can’t believe Beck said that either.
After all his bullshit about liberals, and all his endless bullshit about the Democrats, Beck declares he would have voted for Hillary Clinton over John McCain. Apparently, the woman who championed healthcare reform and staunchly liberal causes is less of a “weird progressive” than John Fucking McCain.
Buwah? Is Beck back on the sauce?
And then, not only does he manage to call McCain a liberal pussy, he manages to piss backhanded on one of the greatest leaders this country has ever had.
You can’t call what Beck does entertainment. He is not an entertainer. He’s a sick joke with a lame punch line.
If you listen to this horse’s ass, if you give credit to anything this ridiculous sad little man says and take it as anything other than the ravings of a malformed mind, well, you’re an idiot.
As much as I disagree with McCain’s politics, Glenn Beck isn’t a tenth of the American John McCain is.
And it’s for damned sure that Glenn Beck couldn’t hold TR’s towel while the President skinny-dipped in the Potomac.
Beck is nothing more than a puss filled carbuncle on the ass of humanity.
And it’s about time he was lanced.
* I am aware of the controversy surrounding Rushmore. I am aware of how the land was acquired. I am aware of how Native Americans regard the monument. This post isn’t about that.
I think it's mostly a part of his "I'm not a party line man" and his "9/12 project is about people of both parties" crap. It's the same level as commentators on a certain blog we all love who claim, "I was a liberal until I stopped drinking/discovered logic/lived in the real world/whatever." It's all good and fun to say, "I would have done this" once the ship has sailed. Can't disprove it, and it's an attempt to make him seem reasonable. Plus, you know, McCain = RINO. At least Hillary is true to her nature. At least in how Beck's mind works.ReplyDelete
And yeah, Glen, I don't normally encourage this, but start drinking again. Okay? Your country asks it of you. (I'm normally a nice guy until the opposition proves themselves to be unworthy of the effort - said with my sarcasm knobs turned to 11).
Oh, forgot to mention, I'm sure he meant that other Roosevelt. You know, the one we don't remember. (it's like watching a fire-breathing preacher when he screws up his biblical references).ReplyDelete
Salon has been running a fascintating/appalling three part bio of Beck that's probably worth reading (part one can be found here). The gist of the Salon take can probably be summarized as "Glenn Beck is a 'morning zoo' radio DJ who has risen above his proper place in the world and is more interested in generating ratings (by stirring shit up) than any particular principle." It should be taken as a standard caveat that Salon isn't an unbiased source (and that aside from being a liberal joint, seems to have a special loathing for Beck--of course I happen to be a liberal who thinks that loathing is justified, for whatever that's worth).ReplyDelete
A "classic Glenn Beck story" appears to be the time he called a rival DJ's wife live on the air while she was recuperating from a miscarriage to ask her about it. Classy.
Beck is, plain and simply, a pretty awful person if even a tenth of the Salon bio is accurate, and judging by his current persona it's likely that far more than a tenth is accurate. This leads to a bit of a conflict for me, since there's part of me that thinks he should be exposed as a bastard and another part of me that thinks that every single pixel of coverage the man receives is more than he deserves: he's made a career out of the cliche that there's no such thing as bad publicity.
Steve, you're probably right that Beck meant FDR (you should have pointed out that FDR was what Beck would call an "oligarh," heh), though the awesome thing about TR was that he indeed was largely a progressive. As Jim says, TR was made of awesome. Personally, I think both Roosevelts were, but I would say that, wouldn't I?
No, I'm pretty sure Beck meant TR.ReplyDelete
TR is regarded within the extreme fringes of the GOP as a traitor to the party. He championed the common citizen over the large corporations, he was an outspoken defender of the environment, and believed in racial equality. Most of what TR believed in and fought for would be regarded as the purview of the Democrats today. He was commonly called a progressive (one of the planks of the Bull Moose Party) and the extreme right tends to vilify him for it.
No, I think Beck said what he meant - especially as a comparison to McCain.
Looks like Beck just reproved the Peter Principle and risen to his own level of incompitence once again.ReplyDelete
T.R. is a hard one to classify. One of my favorite, yet no doubt flawed, cinematic portrayals of T.R. is in The Wind and the Lion. I don't care if its historically accurate, I love that movie. (grin)ReplyDelete
I am not sure The Peter Principle can be applied to Beck. There HAS to be a level of competence to overreach.ReplyDelete
Dr Phil, the wind and Lion is also one my very favorite movies. One of Brian Keith's best roles ever and I think John Milius' best movie. Though the Milius prequel, the made foe HBO Roughriders, is a very close second and probably the best ever portrayal of TR. An excellent mini series if you haven't seen it.ReplyDelete
On the original post, saw an article this morning comparing Obama to FDR - so maybe the comment above saying beck meant FDR is correct. Of course that makes Beck an even bigger idiot.
Part of the thing I'm figuring out about Beck is that he has no idea what he means. FDR, TR, hell, you could ask him if he meant Eleanor and he'd probably be agreeable.ReplyDelete
He doesn't have a clue and he doesn't much care. In so many ways this makes him a worse human being than somebody like Limbaugh or O'Reilly who actually has principles, however sick and twisted and just plain stupid. Beck can't see far enough beyond his own messed up head to realize anything he says might have some kind of real-life consequences and his appeals to patriotism or pride or whatever are oh-so-many vapid words.
Neither Limbaugh or O'Reilly seem to be concerned with telling the truth. In my mind that equates with having no principals.ReplyDelete
Beck is still just a shock-jock. He doesn't actually believe in anything except what gets a rise and gets him ratings. His core audience reads and understands even less than he does, so he can get away with anything.ReplyDelete
It's all schtick.
And TR vs. FDR. TR was the progressive, FDR the liberal. The labels were commonly used in their time and are still today.ReplyDelete
FDR was a class traitor for being a Democrat and for the people.
TR a party traitor for not upholding big business above all else (and letting them mine/forest what is now public land).
My wife's neighbor's held a cocktail party in celebration of FDR's death, during WWII.
Good Republican Westchester folk. (My wife hadn't quite been born yet, D-Day took her birth announcment off the front pages of the papers.)
Wow. I guess going away to England for two weeks wasn't going to make the crazy stop after all.ReplyDelete
(Thanks, Jim, for writing this stuff. It alleviates in me any pressure to comment on the crazy, and actually makes me feel like I can spend my time doing other things. Plus, I enjoy your writing.)
Mount Rushmore is 70 or 80 miles west of Wall, SD. The nearest town I can think of is Keystone, SD. And it's not in the Badlands. It's in the Black Hills National Forest.ReplyDelete
Not trying to be a dick. It's just that if I can't convince people that there's more to my state than Mt. Rushmore and anti-abortion laws, I can at least make sure they're able to find the damned monument.
Other than that, excellent post. :)
I spent a couple nights in Wall a few years back. Breakfast at the famous Wall Drugs was a great experience.ReplyDelete
We spent a fascinating week hiking Rushmore, Crazy Horze, The Black Hills, and the Wounded Knee on the Oglala/Pine Ridge Reservation. I'd forgotten that Rushmore was actually an hour's drive from Wall. Thanks for reminding me.