The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism
I found this book two Christmases past and it was an interesting take on an angle of history most of us had never heard of. Everyone associates Roosevelt with an excellent example of reforms in America and he easily beats out most competitors today as one of the greatest Presidents of all time. But this book isn’t really about him – it is about the fragile friendship he had with another great, former President William Taft and advocating-journalism.
I did not very much enjoy the smear targeted at Roosevelt and the “accolades” dawned upon those specific journalists. It is always the prevailing idea that devolution of power is the right trick to a more correct and free society but those are incorrect perceptions, I believe! The government never floats a recession, it is the spending habits of the rich that dents the economy. The government has never supported segregation, it is your suburban outlook that needed to change. The government is never responsible for an altered cultural idea that teenagers have over sex, drugs and an education, if anything they always try to promote safe sex, saying no to drugs and a yes to school. But the book is very much against these ideas most of us probably take for granted, except when you meet thoughts of how great a random reporter might have been and Capitol Hill is or was not.
Some of these reporters seem to have shared an uncomfortable friendship with Roosevelt, which begs the question where his priorities really lay about government transparency over lunches, dinners, and social talks enjoyed with the mundane that positions of power never warm to. These outlooks leads me to question if the author wasn’t a big fan of the Progressive Era because amongst many things it implemented the prohibition of alcohol; bootlegging was the only way you could really have a pint.
Furthermore, when you read this book you can almost form a parallel idea of the former President of America: Roosevelt seems to have withered into a rose burdened by its power and the courtship that comes from corners out to make a big buck over selling papers interested in sensationalism. Tragic, yes! Interesting, no! There’s also always the stories about the President’s wife and their secretive romance, hidden from public view because she was indeed a First Lady, or a woman disappointed over losing a Panama Canal project to Roosevelt – it’s all very glorious and boring! Give me what makes (or made) the Rockefeller Center any damn day!