Monday, July 1, 2013

I've been reading...

...Ike and Dick: Portrait of a Strange Political Marriage, and it's really a good book. There are so many fascinating parts; I was particularly struck by something I read last night. To give you some idea of how a high-ranking officer in the military must have thought at mid-century (and maybe today, for all I know), Eisenhower apparently felt it was a bigger deal to be a five-star general than president of the United States. As he was leaving the White House at the end of his second term as president (all emphasis mine):

At Eisenhower's request, Congress passed a special bill that restored his rank as a five-star general, and that was how he preferred to be addressed for the rest of his life.


"Mr. President?"

"WHAT did you call me?"

"I mean, General Eisenhower."

"That's more like it..."

And check this out:

Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower had never lived the way most Americans live. Ike never learned how to do many of the things that other people regard as routine, such as paying tolls on a turnpike, or mixing frozen orange juice, or adjusting the picture on a television set. He'd grown up in the Army, and then he'd gone into politics, after a brief detour as college president. He could not even use a rotary telephone -- that was what secretaries and aides were for -- and on his first evening as former president, when he wanted to call his son, he shouted for a Secret Service agent: "Come show me how you work this goddamned thing!"

Someone once told me that it's not how much money you make, it's how well you live that counts.

And I think these generals must live pretty well. From an earlier post of mine:

Obama may be surrounded by servants morning till night, but not for him the daily drill of Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was dressed by a valet, John Moaney, from inside out—underwear, socks, pants, shirt, tie, shoes, jacket—every morning.

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