Archive of Reader Reactions & Anecdotes

Reader Comments on The Great Seducer

From Jim M., 09 March 2008:
I wanted to remark about your appreciation for Harry Truman. He has always been a personal favorite of mine, and one of the reasons was he faced so much adversity and failure throughout his life, and yet never let it defeat him. Even his own mother-in-law was sure that he would never be elected President, as was everyone one else, except 'ole Harry!

Truman had an expression that summed up the strange phenomenon that you so aptly described on your blog, the way that the Washington environment subtly and progressively corrupted one’s morals and ethical behavior: he called it “Potomac Fever”!

From Dixie, 23 February 2008:
Dixie&DerekHi Jack I had to read 3 blogs at once — was off on a ski trip! You certainly have a way with words. Re going to Washington and the changes that can occur to individuals who find themselves there, I am sharing a picture with you. The young man next to me is Derek Walker. I have known him since he was a little boy. He is 32 years old and is one of 9 Republicans running in the primary on April 22nd for the US Congress. Derek's 96 year-old grandfather, Ray Walker, on the right, is still downhill skiing - he is sharp! Goes to the office daily. Anyway, Derek is a Bucknell graduate and has his Masters from Penn State, is very personable and bright, and now teaches college math. And he is so pure and kind and honest and wonderful - I am wondering what Washington would do to him. I'll let you know who wins. . . . should I hope he does or doesn't?


From Gordo, 17 February 2008:
I just read your latest blog, and I share your admiration for Truman. He made some of the biggest decisions of any president and I agree with all of them, including dropping the bombs on Japan. At the same time, he was the kind of guy you'd love to have a beer with, a regular fellow, who enjoyed poker. I also share your feelings about Ford. Man, you've had a wonderful career, knowing about these people who I've only read about. Including LBJ. I thought he was a lousy person, and I'm a Democrat.

Could you tell me who that "honorable" was who kept inviting blondes into his office?


Reply from Jack:  Sorry, Gordo. If I didn't snitch then, I'm not about to now.

From Daphne, 17 February 2008:
Having just reread The Potsdam Bluff and Tailspin (which, I happen to know, are both more truth than fiction), I'm inclined to agree with Gordo: Truman was a man I would like to have spent an evening with, just talking. Although I don't share Truman's love of poker, I've often suspected that his decisions were good poker strategy, as Churchill's were often based on his knowledge of chess: bluffs and feints and keeping the other guy off balance.