I think a regular Thursday (or whatever day I feel like) U.S. history blogging feature has become necessary after the popularity of last week's ode to James K. Polk.
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt, Jr. really liked wars. He was the (Assistant, but pretty much acting) Secretary of the Navy leading up to the Spanish-American War, and was like, "Yeah, let's go fight those motherfuckers in Cuba. Let's get a bunch of ships and shit." Also, the media was totally agitating for a war. Newsies*-era newspaper barons Pulitzer and Hearst were cultivating what came to be known as "Yellow journalism," but back then it wasn't considered a racist term.** But as soon as war was declared, Teddy (or "TR," as lazy people call him) was not content to just sit behind his desk at the Department of the Navy (or whatever). Nope, he rounded up a bunch of rich friends and cowboys and the like and formed the "Rough Riders" cavalry. Have you ever thought about fighting a war on horseback? What if you fell off your horse and you got trampled? Or your horse got shot, and it landed on you? And even if it didn't land on you, then you'd be screwed, because all your fellow cavalrypersons would be able to ride off really fast, and you'd have to try and catch up to them on foot. I'm pretty sure even Teddy Roosevelt couldn't run as fast as most horses.*** Though it turns out only Teddy had a horse. I was wondering how they got all those horses to Cuba. But anyway, Teddy loved killing Spaniards. Also, he liked hunting animals. So basically, he liked shooting living things. Much like Dick Cheney. But more adorable. By the way: drawing or photograph? So hard to tell with him.
After the war and becoming the governor of New York, the Tedster was nominated as William McKinley's second-term VP. Apparently McKinley's first No. 2 sucked a lot, and I am too lazy to look up who he even was, because we'd probably have never heard of him anyway. Well, McKinley got assassinated by a crazy son of a Pollack**** and TR became one of our nation's most ridiculous presidents. I will now list some of his accomplishments:
1. He was a trust-buster. AKA not friends with the day's Halliburtons: Carnegie, Rockefeller, etc.
2. Because he like camping and hunting and whatnot so much, he thought we should maybe not cover the entire continent with railroads and steel factories. He established the U.S. Forest Service, and even got his own motherfucking National Park. Too bad it's in South Dakota.
3. He spearheaded that whole "let's build a canal in Panama so we don't have to sail around the southern tip of South America anymore" thing. Too bad we give it back to those crazy Panamaniacs.
4. HE HAD HIS OWN COROLLARY. Every ambitious woman or man should make it a priority to coroll-ize someone else's doctrine. I'm aiming for the Heaven's Gate Cult. But mostly Teddy was like, "Yeah, Monroe wanted to keep Europe out of our Western Hemisphere business, but now these Latin American countries, like, need money. Ummm... well only WE can interfere in their business because we live on this side of the Atlantic. Also, shut up or I will hit you with my big stick." Thanks for making intervention part of the Doctrine, pal! Who doesn't love the subsequent awesomeness of Iran-Contra, the embargo on Cuba, the War on Drugs, NAFTA, CAFTA, and any number of CIA-backed coups and assassinations? Seriously, who? But this is not his greatest legacy. Nope, that belongs to:
5. Teddy bears. 'Nuff said.
Unfortunately, after some safariing and Latin travels, Teddy really jumped the shark with that whole, "I'm pissed at the Republican Party and at my fatty fat successor Taft, so I'm going to form my own Bull Moose Party because it's a manly name, split the party, and hand over the 1912 election to Woodrow Wilson." He spent the rest of his life enjoying his poached elephant ivory and loudly criticizing public policy from his malarial bed. And that is all you need to know about Teddy Roosevelt.
*Did you know that "Governor Teddy Roosevelt" makes an appearance in Newsies? Oh, well you probably don't know all the words to "King of New York," either. Not that I do. Ehhh....
**This is a joke. Sorry. Racism has never been funny. And neither has sensationalism, the term "muck-racking," or tabloid magazines. Unless Bat Boy and/or Lindsay Lohan is on the cover.
***Though he is known as "the Roosevelt who's not a cripple."
****Is this slur out of the "offensive" realm and into the "ironic and HILARIOUS" usage realm yet? Whatever.