TR was a progressive member of the elite. His family was “comfortable” and his father devoted much of his time, energy, and (family) money to helping the poor in New York. Actually associate with them on a more or less equal basis? Well, that was rather different. TR knew very well of his lineage, and so did everyone who knew him at Harvard where he became quite “foppish.” In his senior year he wrote to his sister, “I stand 19th in my class, which began with 230 fellows. … Only one gentleman stands ahead of me.” Harvard did not become coeducational until many years later.
As TR saw the world, only with the guidance and resources of the elite could the poor improve their situations. As he aged a bit he became at home with cowboys on the range as well as with the elite. He positively enjoyed military adventures; his charge up Kettle Hill was such an adventure. “Gentlemen, the grace of God and the Just Cause are with you! Gentlemen, charge!” Lieutenant Colonel Roosevelt yelled in his high pitched voice as, on horseback, he led his troops. He believed in a strong United States and considered her truly exceptional. So does Sarah Palin. President Obama? I don’t think he has any interest in or would enjoy that sort of thing. Nor does it seem likely that he will enjoy mingling with the little people, as he evidently plans to do rather more intensely in the coming years. Will his focus be on his worshipful base, or on those whose lives have been royally screwed through his initiatives and who still cling to their Bibles, guns, and Constitution? It does not seem probable that he will pay the latter much attention; to the extent that he does and is rebuffed it will get precious little attention in the MSM.
President Obama shares and relishes the perception that he is of the elite, but is probably mistaken aside from the negative connotations of the word. TR had a very real sense of noblesse oblige and President Obama often affects something similar, claiming that he and his government need more power only to do good things for the little people; our celebrities buy what he is peddling in wholesale lots and offer it at retail to their viewers, undiluted but with a superior gloss suitable for the finest perfume. They seem either to reject or perhaps never to consider the possibility that he wants power for the sake of power. If only the spiteful Republicans would put partisan politics aside and be reasonable like him! The United States and indeed the whole world would be transformed magically via his awesome powers of mind and communication to accept uncritically his perceptions of good. All would then be better off, particularly those who, like the MSM, support him in his aspirations; human dignity, prosperity, and world peace would flourish and the miserable wretches in “Palestine” and elsewhere would become prosperous, content, and therefore peaceful. If only oppressive and offensive Israel would listen to reason (him) and cease being a warmonger! Stark reality, Kassam rockets, and other stuff of man-made disasters cannot be allowed to disturb his dreams. Neither can such silly old stuff as the United States Constitution, written for an ancient time and now merely a bothersome impediment to the achievement of his brilliant visions of equality and social justice. How could the new House of Representatives sink so low as to tolerate its reading in the halls of Congress?
President Obama lacks the intensity and nearly all encompassing passion of TR for life, knowledge, and adventure. He also appears, after slightly less than two years in office, to have lost focus and perhaps even interest — he reserves those for important stuff such as vacations, sorely needed to refresh him for the public relations battles ahead, all to help the little people. It is questionable whether he knows what he is doing. He is a celebrity without the human substance with which TR overflowed. His superficiality is a poor substitute and he continues to feast on his celebrity status. He is, according to a Newsweek cover, God of All Things.
In recent years our presidents have enjoyed in full measure the trappings of the rich and famous. We are all, of course, happy to foot the bills, most recently for a few days in Hawaii, even during periods of economic distress and uncertainty; in the big picture $1.5 million for that was a mere pittance and contributed only minimally to the 2010 national debt. And, of course, the little people face catastrophic consequences if the stingy, partisan, game-playing Republicans don’t agree to increase the national debt limit; again (the debt is now a mere $14,025,215,218,708.52). Money is meant to be spent; that’s what governments are supposed to do. It’s needed to help the little people!