From “The Human Condition: A User’s Manual,” by Arnold Kunst
At just the right time – timing in politics is everything, isn’t it? - Teddy Roosevelt who already had a political career launched, who had already spent time in the Badlands of the Dakota Territory, volunteered for active duty when the Spanish-American War broke out and was commisioned a colonel; he formed the famous Rough Riders including an odd assortment indeed - his Dakota cowboy friends as well as his upper-class Eastern-Establishment cronies - and led them on the famous and well-publicized charge up San Juan Hill. That charge, unlike much of what took place in that murkey war, was a [simple] clean American victory.
The war itself was short, and with the good press he got from the Hearst newspaper chain, Roosevelt caught the attention of President McKinley who selected him as his vice-presidential running mate in1900. A few short months after that election McKinley was assassinated, and Theodore Roosevelt became, at age 42, the youngest president in American history.
He was called, with considerable justification, “a steam engine in trousers.” He relished his time in the White House; he even won the Noble Peace Prize for brokering a peace treaty at the end of the Sino-Russian War in 1905.
He easily won the 1904 presidential election in his own right, and almost certainly would have held on to the job he so much enjoyed in 1908, but he decided to chase off to an African safari instead, so he bestowed the job that was clearly his to bestow on his good friend and Secretary of War William Howard Taft.
Then everything changed.
Fate up to this time had, it seemed, favored him; now, it seemed, Fate turned on him. After that short-lived African safari [his enemies pointed out, perhaps fairly, that hunting big game wasn’t enough to satisfy his gargantuan ego] TR came to disagree with the policies of his White House protégé to the point of seeking the Republican nomination for president in 1912. In the process his friendship with Taft soured bitterly - Taft got the nomination for himself, and TR bolted to form the short-lived Bull Moose Party becoming its candidate for president. The ensuing bitter struggle hopelessly divided the Republican Party and gave the election that year to Woodrow Wilson. Despite his heroic efforts, TR’s unwanted retirement was confirmed.
[By the way, that same Fate that seemed to curse TR in 1912 seemed to bless Woodrew Wilson, an academic’s academic with a scant two years of executive experience as New Jersey governor.
One star down, another up.