Obama: No Teddy Roo­sevelt

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary -

H“I care not what oth­ers think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do! That is char­ac­ter!”

— Teddy Roo­sevelt as there ever been such a small, whiny, petu­lant pres­i­dent as Barack Obama?

Of course not. First and fore­most, pres­i­dents are men. All be­fore No. 44, rich or poor, had led de­mand­ing lives, filled with vic­tory and loss, joy and heartache, tested by fire, made strong by tri­umph­ing over ad­ver­sity.

Take Teddy Roo­sevelt: Sickly and asth­matic as a boy, he had to sleep propped up in bed to breathe.

When he was in his early 20s, his wife and his mother died the same day — just two days af­ter the birth of his daugh­ter. A city boy from New York, he struck off for the Dakota hills and built two ranches, rid­ing, rop­ing, even hunt­ing down out­laws who stole his river­boat.

When he re­turned to NYC, he served as po­lice com­mis­sioner, walk­ing the streets af­ter mid­night to make sure his cops were on the beat.

The list goes on and on and on: as­sis­tant sec­re­tary of the Navy; founder of the Rough Rid­ers that fought the Spa­niards in Cuba; colonel of the reg­i­ment that charged San Juan Hill; gov­er­nor; vice pres­i­dent; pres­i­dent.

All be­fore he was 43. Af­ter serv­ing two terms in of­fice, he didn’t sit in his rocker and rem­i­nisce. He went to Africa to hunt big game.

Now take Barack Obama. He at­tended an elite prep school near the Waikiki beaches of Oahu; then, it was off to the Ivy League Columbia and his first job — “com­mu­nity or­ga­nizer,” what­ever that is.

From there, he hob­nobbed at Har­vard and held cushy jobs as a lawyer, a teacher and a state se­na­tor (where he voted “present” 129 times — think Teddy ever voted “present”?). Then he waltzed into the Se­nate af­ter some Chicago-style dirty tricks and sowed di­vi­sion and dis­en­chant­ment right into the White House.

Un­like TR, who liked to track white rhi­nos and once fol­lowed the Nile from Congo to Khar­toum, this pres­i­dent likes to play golf and ride his bike (al­ways with a hel­met on, a real Rough Rider).

And un­like any other pres­i­dent in his­tory, this one is a thin-skinned cry­baby, bristling at the slight­est crit­i­cism. More, he blames ev­ery­one but him­self for his woes, tar­get­ing his op­po­nents with per­sonal at­tacks, un­able to ne­go­ti­ate even the small­est com­pro­mise with the party that runs half of Congress — and rep­re­sents the views of half of Amer­ica.

(An aside, said Teddy: “To an­nounce that there must be no crit­i­cism of the pres­i­dent … is morally trea­son­able to the Amer­i­can pub­lic.”)

That pet­ti­ness — the re­lent­less con­dem­na­tion of any­one who thinks dif­fer­ently from the way he does — has led to now: the fed­eral gov­ern­ment in shut­down, a fierce bat­tle over the na­tion’s debt limit, and no di­a­logue un­der­way to end ei­ther stand­off.

The pres­i­dent’s small­ness also has led to one of the most petty and con­temptible ac­tions a pres­i­dent has ever taken: the clos­ings of Amer­ica’s war memo­ri­als and mon­u­ments.

Even though the memo­ri­als for World War I and II vet­er­ans and Viet­nam vet­er­ans are open-air pedes­trian path­ways along the Mall, the pres­i­dent or­dered the Na­tional Park Ser­vice to shut them down with bar­ri­cades, and stand watch to make sure no 88-yearold man who stormed the beaches of Nor­mandy 69 years ago can get in. Like a mouse, not a man, he blamed Repub­li­cans.

But Amer­ica’s vet­er­ans, like Teddy Roo­sevelt, are men of great char­ac­ter and strength. So, just as Teddy would have done, the vet­er­ans sim­ply knocked down the Bar­rycades and walked onto the ground that they — and they alone — made hal­lowed. They pushed their way into the World War II Me­mo­rial, the Viet­nam Vet­er­ans Me­mo­rial wall, the Iwo Jima memo­ri­als.

Park Ser­vice work­ers stood aside, no doubt aware of the sac­ri­fice made by the men who had come — some for the last time in their lives — to see their memo­ri­als.

Said Teddy: “A man who is good enough to shed his blood for the coun­try is good enough to be given a square deal af­ter­wards.” He also said this: “Know­ing what’s right doesn’t mean much un­less you do what’s right.”

Barack Obama can’t hold a can­dle to him — or Amer­ica’s mil­i­tary men.

Joseph Curl cov­ered the White House and pol­i­tics for a decade for The Wash­ing­ton Times and is now ed­i­tor of the Drudge Re­port. He can be reached at josephcurl@gmail.com and on Twit­ter @josephcurl.


The Rough Rider and the easy rider have lit­tle in com­mon other than the White House. One led a vic­tory charge on the bru­tal bat­tle­field of San Juan Hill; the other erected bar­ri­cades on the open-air Mall hon­or­ing the brav­ery of such men.

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