Home > Musings > Truth finally said through the mouths of political babes

Truth finally said through the mouths of political babes

An amusing anecdote is recounted in Edmund Morris’s The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt during Roosevelt’s campaign for election to the governorship of New York.  Some of the electorate’s excitement was due to his heroics during the Spanish-American War (notably San Juan Hill in Cuba) and the mystique of the Rough Riders.  In this specific campaign stop, two of his Rough Rider men were with him.  One, Sergeant Buck Taylor, introduced Roosevelt as follows:

I want to talk to you about mah Colonel.  He kept ev’y promise he made to us and he will to you….  He told us we might meet wounds and death and we done it, but he was thar in the midst of us, and when it came to the great day he led us up San Juan Hill like sheep to the slaughter and so will he lead you.  (p. 720)

Surprisingly, the audience was more amused by this than shocked.  Certainly a faux pas like this would be 24-hour news fodder for weeks and a sound bite routinely produced at his opponents’ own speeches.

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