The Teddy Roosevelt Arena Fan Club: Bristol Palin, Elliot Spitzer, Jerry Sandusky, Richard Nixon, Orrin Woodward, and TEAM/LIFE
There’s this certain quote from former President Theodore Roosevelt which is quite popular among TEAM/LIFE members:
It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
This quote has been in the news lately. Convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky used it in a letter to one of his victims. Bristol Palin has it on the dedication page of her autobiography. Elliot Spitzer signed off from his In The Arena show on CNN reciting the quote. Richard Nixon used it in his resignation speech to the American public.
I like how Chris Kelly, a writer on the Real Time with Bill Maher show, puts it in his article about the quote:
But let’s say she did at least approve it, just like Nixon and Jerry Sandusky. What is it about this particular piece of threadbare claptrap that makes it so attractive to a certain kind of public figure?
Mostly, I suppose, it speaks to these disasters because it’s so beautifully self-pitying and arrogant. “Sure I’m a screw-up, but at least I tried, if I do say so myself, unlike you, loser.” But I think there’s something even darker to it than that. It’s the line about “it’s not that critic that counts.” I think that’s what really sexy about it to frauds who’ve been caught. (And I don’t mean Bristol Palin, who’s just a kid. I mean Palin Inc., and the ghostwriter she was assigned.) The important thing Jerry Sandusky, and Richard Nixon, and the Palins want to remember is this: Never listen to cynics.
They’ll just warn you about us.
Yup, this about sums up how Orrin Woodward and the TEAM/LIFE members who repeat this quote want people to think about their critics. Don’t listen to the critics, because they will tell you the truth about how bad a business opportunity TEAM/LIFE really is.