I never cared for Gore Vidal’s politics by I loved reading his books and listening to him talk. He and William F. Buckley gave us some of the most erudite and fiery debates in history. I have been rereading his historical novels and finished “Empire” . I came across this marvelous little bit of sarcasm. Having led us through the machinations and strange doings that brought Theodore Roosevelt to the Presidency, Vidal lays out the surprising reaction of the public to what some called a “strange little man”. His daughter, Alice was considered “refreshing” to higher society to which Vidal writes, “but then the entire Roosevelt family was a surprise to a world that had come to look upon the White House as a seedy boardinghouse for dim politicians emeriti.”
I’m not sure we ever stopped looking at it that way. Kennedy acted like the White House had turned into a nursing home when Eisenhower was there. He rattled on about “viga” (vigor), and all the things that they were doing in the first months of his administration. His brother remarked that lots of activity with vigor did not necessarily mean getting anything accomplished and Eleanor Roosevelt lisped that she wished Kennedy had “less profile and more courage”.
I particularly like the dim politicians shot. We put too much store in the intelligence that the press tells us these politicians have. We are coming to realize, if we pay attention, that most of them are pretty dim. Running for President because it is your turn is dumb and dim.