“Demagogue!” “Dangerous Egotist!” – No, This Isn’t About Trump

This person was called a “demagogue” and a “dangerous egotist.”

Let’s get out our Google dictionary to get a good definition of demagogue: a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument. 

Does that sound like anyone in the US 2016 presidential race?

How about “dangerous egotist?” Do you think that term could be used to describe anyone in this year’s election?

Well, these terms were actually used to disparage a presidential candidate. And they were hurled at that candidate by his challenger.

But the year wasn’t 2016, it was 1912. And the recipient of the slurs wasn’t Donald Trump. No, the person called those two highly charged terms was none other than former president Theodore Roosevelt. Who called him those? President William Howard Taft.

If Donald Trump is being portrayed by in those terms by some people, he seems to be in good company.

Roosevelt hand-picked Taft and coddled him into the White House in 1908 after Teddy’s two terms were up. But during Taft’s presidency, Roosevelt became so angry at Taft’s policies and the perceived notion that Taft was rolling back much that TR had accomplished that he decided to jump back into the race in 1912. After he couldn’t wrestle the Republican nomination away from the incumbent, he opened a third party run for the White House, which famously split the votes and allowed the Democrat Woodrow Wilson to be elected.

The 1912 campaign was brutal. And while Taft made it known his thoughts about TR, Roosevelt also blasted Taft, calling him a “fathead” and a “puzzlewit.” Yeah, I know. Puzzlewit doesn’t really have a nasty ring to us today, but back in the day, it mean “stupid.”

The mud was slinging from both sides.

So when we think that the stupid, fatheaded, egotistic, dangerous, demagogues only came on the scene in 2016, we’d be foolishly mistaken.

We’ve seen all of those people before. And we happened to call them our presidents.

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