Roosevelt handpicked Taft to be his successor.rnRoosevelt was so popular andrnpowerful that he could have put virtuallyrnam one in the White House in 1909.rnHe was idiosyncratic enough to selectrnBill Taft, probably because the lethargicrnTaft would never have had enough ambitionrnto seek the job on his own initiative,rnhi reality Taft was a good Presidentrnand a fine man. His reputation has sufferedrnmerely because his term was sandwichedrnbetween two supposedly greatrnPresidents: that “damned cowboy” TeddyrnRoosevelt and the tiresome and selfrighteousrnCalvinist Woodrow Wilson.rnTaft made only one of history’s “greatrnmistakes,” but it was more than enough.rnTift’s error was that he supported thernidea of the personal income tax and wasrnthe prime advocate of the SixteenthrnAmendment to the Constitution. Thernamendment is onlv one sentence (30rnwords), but it changed the basic naturernof our Republic forever. Beginning inrn1913, Congress could legally tax personalrnincomes. Suddenly the potential forrnexponentially increased riches for therngovernment’s coffers was at hand, andrnhistor- cleady demonstrates that politiciansrnwill exercise their “divine right tornspend” more than they .should, buying,rnor at least attempting to buy, their reelectionrnin the process. Taft could havernstopped the income tax, but instead hernardently supported it. The bill authorizingrnthe constitutional amendment wasrnpassed in the carK months of Taft’s presidency,rnand Taft proudly certified thernamendment’s final ratification bv thern36th state on February 25, 1913, onlyrnseven days before he left office.rnPoor Taft was doomed to serve onlyrnone term as President because hernwouldn’t take his marching orders fromrnTheodore Roosevelt. TR at first tried tornlet Taft be Taft, but physical dimensionsrnaside, there really wasn’t much that wasrnpresidential about the jolly walrus. Beforernlong Teddy, who, as his uppityrndaughter Alice once said, “had to be thernbride at ever’ wedding and the corpse atrnevery funeral,” couldn’t leave wellrnenough alone. Soon the former friendsrnbecame bitter enemies.rnThe outcome of this blood feud withinrnthe Republican Party was the electionrnof Woodrow Wilson. TR tried to wrestlernthe Republican nomination away fromrnTift in 1912, but the Republicans werernnot about to cashier an incumbent President.rnSo in a fit of childish petulancernTR formed the Progrcssi’e “Bull Moose”rnParty and ran as a third-party candidaternagainst both Wilson and Taft. TogetherrnRoosevelt and Taft garnered 7,610,000rnvotes to 6,286,000 votes for Wilson.rnHowever, since the Republicans splitrntheir vote among two candidates, Wilsonrnwas the victor. Thus, the death of Hobartrnled to Roosevelt in 1901, who thenrnanointed Taft in 1909, which in turn resultedrnin Woodrow Wilson’s inaugurationrnin 1913.rnWoodrow Wilson made three mistakes,rnand, in addition, unknowingly alteredrnhistory b appointing a Hyde Parkrnblue blood, one Franklin D. Roosevelt, asrnAssistant Secretary of the Navy. But inrnthis essay we are onl’ interested in Wilson’srnreally big mistakes.rnFirst, Wilson quickly had Congressrnpass legislation implementing the incomerntax that had been handed to himrnon a silver platter by his Republican predecessor.rnWith this new ability to extractrnbillions from the populace, it was possiblernfor Wilson to build up the Americanrnmilitary. Wilson talked a mighty goodrnpeace with his high-flown and hypocriticalrnrhetoric of being “neutral in thouglitrnas well as deed.” In 1916, Wilson ran forrnreelection on the “He kept us out of thernwar” platform, but he cleverly playedrnboth sides of the street by also advocatingrn”preparedness.” Wilson was an ardentrnsupporter of the tyyo great warrnpreparations bills to expand the Armyrnand Navy, which his toadies pushedrnthrough Congress in the summerrnof 1916. These measures insured thatrnby April 1917, when Wilson calledrnCongress into special session to declarernwar, the United States ahead} had arngood start on building the armed forcesrnit would need to go to war against Germany.rnSo warmongering was the first of Wilson’srngreat errors. He dragged his nationrninto Europe’s civil war, with the resultrnthat over 100,000 of our fine young boysrnnever came home. It was Wilson, thatrnimperious, idealistic, know-it-all Wilsonrnwho set the precedent that the UnitedrnStates would willingly, if not eagerly,rnsend millions of its best men across thernoceans to fight in the Old Wodd’s civilrnwars. It was the same ninny Wilson whorncon’inced the nation to turn its back onrnour traditional policy of letting p]uropernhave the privilege of settling its ownrnmesses. Because of Wilson the UnitedrnStates had the pleasure of experiencingrnfirsthand the carnage of both World WarrnI and World War II.rnOne could even say- that Hobart’srndeath also led to the deaths of countlessrnthousands in the influenza epidemic ofrn1918-1919. This forgotten pandemicrnkilled about 675,000 Americans in thernten months from September 1918rnthrough June 1919. Note that the combinedrnbattle deaths of U.S. forces inrnWorid War I, Wodd War II, Korea, andrnVietnam total only 423,000. Unlike usualrnattacks of influenza, this virus didrnnot concentrate on killing the very youngrnand very old. It was most often fatal tornyoung men in their prime, for reasonsrnscience has never understood. Conditionsrnin the armed services were perfectrnfor spreading the disease: the cheek-byjowlrnliing of the ramshackle militaryrncamps, the trains that were used to delirner troops throughout the nation, thernsardine-like conditions on troop ships atrnsea, the munitions plants that broughtrnmillions out of their homes into dailyrncontact with the multitudes, even therncrowded public places where men werernrequired to report for induction. Yes,rnWoodrow Wilson’s war was the perfectrnmeans of insuring that in short order thernplague was distributed far and wide,rnecnly and rapidly across the continent.rnIn 1918, wc could not properly fightrnboth the plague and the war. So, inrnkeeping with the hoary philosophy thatrnindividual deaths are tragedies but thousandsrnare just statistics, the war was consideredrnmore important. Lives berndamned, the military effort continuedrnunabated, while the disease completedrnits lethal work under ideal goernnicntapprovedrnconditions.rnIf the United States had had the goodrnsense to let the Europeans fight theirrnown fight in 1917, the world undoubtedlyrnwould have been spared the sufferingrnand carnage caused by communism.rnBy the summer of 1917, Germany hadrnalready knocked Russia out of the war,rnand in short order the Germans yvouldrnhave done away with Lenin and his lackeys.rnThe Russian Civil War, the 1920rnwar between Poland and Russia, therngreat crimes of Stalin, the communists’rnintentional starvation of millions in thernUkraine in the 1930’s, the genocidernagainst the Kulaks, World War 11, thernIron Curtain, the gulag, the nuclear armsrnrace, the Cold War, the Korean War, thernBay of Pigs, the Cuban missile crisis, thernVietnam War, and all the other plaguesrnand terrors that the yvorld has reaped asrna result of communism during the last 75rnyears—all perhaps could have beenrnMAY 1994/47rnrnrn