Then, as ever since, his obsession had been to find and hold the center of power. In 1882, he had watched a small group of Tammany mavericks parlay eight voters out of 128 into an operating advantage that had effectively immobilized the state government for more than three weeks. Roosevelt had never forgotten his early lesson in the application of physics to political process. A mass of opinion on one side was quantifiably irrelevant, if balanced by an equal and contrary mass on the other. The same went for any number of masses, large or small, as long as they balanced circularly. Only the slightest pressure, applied by whoever stayed in media res, was necessary to tilt the opposites to and fro, or for that matter hold them still. That was power: operating freedom, not force.

Theodore Rex, Edmund Morris
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