Woke up this AM thinking about Teddy Roosevelt -- I swear, this is true -- and then clicked on the computer to see that Al Gore has won the Nobel Peace Prize. Way to go, Al. It's hard to tell what affect this might have on Gore's chances to win the presidency, should he actually run. (With Hillary appearing so strong right now, there is far less chance that he will toss his hat into the ring.) Teddy R. was sitting President at the time that he won his Nobel Peace Prize in 1906, for brokering the Treaty of Portsmouth, which ended the Russo-Japanese War. Sort of hard to think of Teddy as a peaceful guy --on one safari he was personally responsible for killing nine lions, eight elephants, twenty zebras, seven giraffes and six buffaloes. Henry James, not a fan, called him "a monstrous embodiment of unprecedented and resounding noise."
In 1912, when Teddy became a third party candidate against William Howard Taft and Woodrow Wilson, he coined the phrase about throwing hats into the ring. (He also said: "The fight is on and I am stripped to the buff!" which I would give a year's royalties to hear a modern candidate proclaim.) Teddy didn't win but his Nobel didn't hurt him, probably because he was obviously a non-peaceful kind of guy, but if Gore runs, there is a chance, politics being what it is, that he will be caught in number one of my Ten Classic Smear Attacks in Presidential Elections: "You're Not Tough Enough!" (Its flip side being "You'll Drive Us Into War!").
Still, way to go, Al. You've come a long way from 2000. Al may not be the kind of guy who strips to the buff, he did give us this immortal exchange when he called George Bush up on election eve to tell him he wasn't going to concede, after all:
Bush: "Let me make sure I understand. You're calling me back to retract that concession?"
Gore: "You don't have to be snippy about it!"
Teddy would have been proud....
Friday, October 12, 2007
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