Harry Truman–Advice for Campaigners

I’d like to welcome to the blog the honorable Harry S Truman, 33rd President of the United States.  Mr. President, thanks for joining us.
You’re very welcome, but you are aware that you’re making this interview up, aren’t you?

Well, not exactly, sir.  I’m trying something different just for fun.  It’s true that I’m not actually talking to you, but I am going to be using your exact words in the interview.  Would that be all right?
I suppose so, young man.

Thank you.  Can you give us a guiding philosophy, just to get started?
I don’t believe in anti-anything. A man has to have a program; you have to be for something, otherwise you will never get anywhere.

Pet peeve?
The people can never understand why the President does not use his powers to make them behave. Well all the president is, is a glorified public relations man who spends his time flattering, kissing, and kicking people to get them to do what they are supposed to do anyway.  I sit here all day trying to persuade people to do the things they ought to have sense enough to do without my persuading them … that’s all the powers of the President amount to.

Can you tell us something that you’re proud of?
I’m proud that I’m a politician. A politician is a man who understands government, and it takes a politician to run a government. A statesman is a politician who’s been dead 10 or 15 years.

What do you think about government?
Whenever you have an efficient government you have a dictatorship.  No government is perfect. One of the chief virtues of a democracy, however, is that its defects are always visible and under democratic processes can be pointed out and corrected.

You’re from Missouri.  What do you think about the “Missouri Waltz?”
I don’t give a —– about “The Missouri Waltz” but I can’t say it out loud because it’s the song of Missouri. It’s as bad as “The Star-Spangled Banner” so far as music is concerned.

Favorite animal?
My favorite animal is the mule. He has more sense than a horse. He knows when to stop eating — and when to stop working.

What’s the difference between a recession and a depression?
It’s a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it’s a depression when you lose yours.

Thoughts on internationalism?
No nation on this globe should be more internationally minded than America because it was built by all nations.

Thank you very much.  Can I ask you to give some advice to campaigners?
It isn’t important who is ahead at one time or another in either an election or horse race. It’s the horse that comes in first at the finish line that counts.

Mr. President, I really appreciate you being with us today. I’m a great admirer of your work and your character.  Any concluding thoughts?
In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves… self-discipline with all of them came first.