Wednesday, October 13, 2010
William Howard Taft
Nickname: Big Lub
Ok, before we get started, yes, Taft was the one who got stuck in his tub. He had to have a larger one installed to support his hefty build. Taft had the daunting task of following up Roosevelt's presidency. History shows us that most presidents that follow greats, do not fair so well. I'm looking at you Adams, Van Buren, and Andrew Johnson. Truman did alright. Taft could not, no matter what he did, get out from Roosevelt's shadow. Roosevelt chose him to keep his progressive ways going and promptly took a safari trip with his son Kermit. Not having Roosevelt around helped, but Taft was just no Teddy. Taft was deliberative and cautious which people perceived as slow moving, which was not what they were used to after Roosevelt.
Taft actually did more in terms of trust busting than Roosevelt, and did a pretty good job with everything else. He parted ways on how do deal with labor unions, income tax, and help for women, children and the poor, finding that those things the government could not interfere with. He believed that presidential power only went as far as the Constitution would allow. Roosevelt was dismayed by Taft's performance when he got back stateside and tried to get the Republican nomination in 1912. No such luck, as Taft won the nomination, though some think it was due to back room dealings to keep the hard to handle Roosevelt out of the office. The 1912 election went this way: Roosevelt made his own party and came in second to Democrat Wilson. Taft came in a distant third for the Republicans. Some argue that if Roosevelt won the nomination, or if he had just stayed out of it, perhaps the Republicans would have won. However, they split the vote and caused Wilson to win. This may of had far reaching consequences, which I will talk about later.
Taft went on to become the only former president to become Chief Justice in the Supreme Court, something that he enjoyed much more.
I like Taft a lot. Not as much as Roosevelt, but he did a lot of the same stuff. He had a much more conserved viewpoint which may of kept him out of trouble. Taft was extremely hurt when Roosevelt tried to take the reigns back in 1912, and feared that he had lost a friend. The two became friends again afterward, but it showed that Taft had a good heart and cared more about his friends than his political appointment. Good character traits aside, Taft would of had a smoother presidency if he had followed any other person.