Phil Harris

This article was originally published in September of 2005. With the fervor of the 2008 elections "already" coming to a boil, perhaps it is more relevant today than it was a year and a half ago. The media hacks up and uses old Bush-Is-The-Devil, liberal talking points as if they are nothing less than immaculate historical fact. If Theodore Roosevelt were alive today, he likely would kick his spittoon across the room after viewing only a single day's worth of our modern journalism in action.

Kool-Aid drinker refers to the poor souls of Jonestown in Guiana, who followed notorious cult leader Jim Jones to their death by drinking cyanide laced Kool-Aid per his instructions. You will earn this designation quickly, if you dare to challenge criticisms of the Bush Administration. It is an unfortunate charge to make, because from that moment forward, debate pivots on the idea that "the defender" would argue to the death solely on blind faith in the Man, or the Party's position.

Theodore Roosevelt is often quoted to counter charges that Democrats (and the media) are unfairly attacking the President. Here is a passage snipped from within an editorial he wrote during World War I, often used to defend the practice...

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."

This makes good sense, but directly following that passage and conveniently left out are these words:

Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.

Note the balance inserted by Mr. Roosevelt, as he warns that criticism must be based on truth. Failure to recognize this balance in quoting Roosevelt is symptomatic of the larger problem at hand. A closer look at Roosevelt and his position regarding Presidential criticism is available by examining his 'Man with the muck rake' speech.

Here is a lengthy excerpt:

In Pilgrim's Progress the Man with the Muck Rake is set forth as the example of him whose vision is fixed on carnal instead of spiritual things. Yet he also typifies the man who in this life consistently refuses to see aught that is lofty, and fixes his eyes with solemn intentness only on that which is vile and debasing.


Phil Harris

Phil Harris is a software engineer, author of Cry for the Shadows and blogs at Citizen Phil.

Be the first to read Phil Harris' column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.