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Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children.

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Irish Elk
Monday, March 09, 2009  

Strong Horse

That's how this pic of President Taft is slugged at Wikimedia Commons.

Taft's Wikipedia bio notes:

He was given the nickname "Big Lub" because of his size, but his college friends knew him by the nickname "Old Bill". Taft received jibes about his weight throughout his life: as governor of the Philippines, Taft once sent a telegram to Washington, D.C. that read, "Went on a horse ride today; feeling good;" Secretary of War Elihu Root replied, "How's the horse?"

* * *

A selection of Taft quotes:


I am a Unitarian. I believe in God. I do not believe in the divinity of Christ, and there are many postulates of the orthodox creed to which I cannot subscribe. ~ Letter to Yale University (1899), quoted in Henry F. Pringle, "William Howard Taft: The Life and Times," vol. 1, p. 45 (1939)

If humor be the safety of our race, then it is due largely to the infusion into the American people of the Irish brain. "Irish Humor," address in Hot Springs, Virginia (1908-08-05) [2]

I have come to the conclusion that the major part of the work of a President is to increase the gate receipts of expositions and fairs and bring tourists to town. ~ Letter of Archibald Butt to Clara F. Butt (1909-06-01); reprinted in "The Intimate Letters of Archie Butt" (Doubleday, Doran, & Co., 1930)

Next to the right of liberty, the right of property is the most important individual right guaranteed by the Constitution and the one which, united with that of personal liberty, has contributed more to the growth of civilization than any other institution established by the human race. ~ "Popular Government: Its Essence, Its Permanence and Its Perils," chapter 3 (1913)

The world is not going to be saved by legislation. ~ "The President and His Powers," chapter 6 (1916)

Substantial progress toward better things can rarely be taken with out developing new evils requiring new remedies. ~ "Our Chief Magistrate and His Powers" (Columbia University Press 1916), p. 61

Anti-Semitism is a noxious weed that should be cut out. It has no place in America. ~ "Anti-Semitism in the United States," address to the Anti-Defamation League in Chicago, Illinois (1920-12-23)


Failure to accord credit to anyone for what he may have done is a great weakness in any man.

The President cannot make clouds to rain and cannot make the corn to grow, he cannot make business good; although when these things occur, political parties do claim some credit for the good things that have happened in this way.

Don't worry over what the newspapers say. I don't. Why should anyone else? I told the truth to the newspaper correspondents - but when you tell the truth to them they are at sea.

Politics: when I am in it, it makes me sick.

The intoxication of power rapidly sobers off in the knowledge of its restrictions and under the prompt reminder of an ever-present and not always considerate press, as well as the kindly suggestions that not infrequently come from Congress.

Enthusiasm for a cause sometimes warps judgment.

I think I might as well give up being a candidate. There are so many people in the country who don't like me.

I don’t remember that I ever was president. ~
Reportedly when asked about his preference between being President and being Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

The press sees itself to be the agents of heaven in establishing virtue.

I'll be damned if I am not getting tired of this. It seems to be the profession of a President simply to hear other people talk.

One cannot always be sure of the truth of what one hears if he happens to be President of the United States.

I love judges, and I love courts. They are my ideals, that typify on earth what we shall meet hereafter in heaven under a just God.

No tendency is quite so strong in human nature as the desire to lay down rules of conduct for other people.

Presidents come and go, but the Supreme Court goes on forever.

Don't write so that you can be understood, write so that you can't be misunderstood.

There is nothing so despicable as a secret society that is based upon religious prejudice and that will attempt to defeat a man because of his religious beliefs. Such a society is like a cockroach -- it thrives in the dark. So do those who combine for such an end.

Some men are graduated from college cum laude, some are graduated summa cum laude, and some are graduated mirabile dictu.

The cheerful loser is a sort of winner.

Dancing is the most effective form of negotiation.

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