My avocational reading right now is Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book “The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism.
As a media junkie I find this detailed work of Goodwin’s fascinating.One of the most interesting aspects of her research is the comparison of Roosevelt’s personality with that of the calm, judicial Taft. In the book she relates some comments published in the Washington Post from a critic of Roosevelt:
“(He spoke) like a person suffering from an overdose of nerve tonic. He came into official life with a blare of trumpets and a beating of gongs, blared and beat by himself. He immediate announced himself the one man competent to take care of the entire business of Government. To his mind every department of the Government was under the management of incompetent and bad men. He said to himself, to his barber, to his laundryman, and to all others who would listen to his incoherent gibberish: ‘I am _________look at me!’ For a short time he had clear sailing. As he sailed, he took in wind. As he took in wind he became more puffed up. As he became more puffed up he became insolent, arrogant and more conceited.”
If you rhink this sounds like Donald Trump, you are not alone. He came ti mind immediately after I read this.
In thinking of past politicians, I do not think the Donald is a Roosevelt. He does share the Alpha Male traits possessed by Teddy, but while Roosevelt was an avid outdoorsman and physical man, Trump is not.
If Trump reminds me of anyone, it is Douglas MacArthur. The general in charge of America’s army in the Pacific during the Second World War and the Korean conflict, MacArthur ruffled the feathers of the establishment of his time. In fact, his manner of running roughshod over the wishes of his superior Harry S. Truman cost him his job in the latter war. One is also reminded of George S. Patton when Trump’s persona is considered.
Regardless, Trump’s manner is out of place in the 21st century. Dominant male animals like MacArthur caused a stir in a much more Mad Men-like society of the mid-2oth century. How much more is the modern American psyche shattered by the appearance of a loud, brash, bull like Mr. Trump.