Thursday, June 09, 2005

My Kind of Crazy Republican

[He] was variously reported to have marched twenty miles through heavy rain (in Norfolk jacket, corduroy knickers, yellow leggings, and russet shoes), swum nude across the freezing river, and climbed with fingers and toes up the blast holes of a disused quarry. His habit of forcing luncheon guests to accompany him on afternoon treks did not endear him to those who would have preferred to remain behind with the wine and walnuts.

. . .

On May 28, he was seen hanging from a cable over the Potomac, presumably in some effort to toughen his wrists. Owen Wister caught him walking behind John Hay on tiptoe, bowing like an obsequious Oriental. This might or might not have been connected with the fact that [he] was currently studying jujitsu. White House groundsmen, unaware that he was a published ornithologist, were puzzled by his habit of standing under trees, motionless, for long periods of time. Hikers in Rock Creek State Park learned to take cover when he galloped by, revolver in hand; he had a habit of "popping" shortsightedly at twigs and stumps with live ammunition.

. . .

On another occasion he appeared in George Cortelyou's antechamber and jumped clean over a chair. He encouraged his big horse, Bleistein, to similar arts of levitation at the Chevy Chase Club. Photographs of them airborne together soon appeared in the Washington Times. [He] was delighted--"Best pictures I've ever had taken!"--and passed out autographed copies to his Cabinet.

On Teddy Roosevelt as President. Edmund Morris, Theodore Rex, pp. 81, 108-109.

T.R. found such free time while returning the Cuba he helped liberate and modernize to its people, waging a war for the Philipines, decrying continued lynchings in the South, taking White House dinner with Booker T. Washington (for which he was called "a rank negrophilist" and "a coon-flavored president" by his more vocal detractors; to which he responded, "I shall have him to dine just as often as I please"), and winning votes for construction of the Panama Canal. Not to mention taking on the largest trust in American history.

Now that's Presidential.


Blogger ajmac said...

A man's man and a great President, to boot.

The popping revolver is a great anecdote. I wonder what the equivalent would be in this heavily-regulated age. Perhaps spitting while riding a mountain bike?

11:41 AM  

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