Shutting the Barn Door

December 19, 1951 — The Times Record

The Mossadegh Project | July 5, 2017                    

U.S. President Harry S. Truman (1884-1972)

An editorial in the Truman-hating newspaper The Times Record of Troy, New York.

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The moral code of President Truman evidently consists in this: Do everything you can for yourself, provided it doesn’t hurt your political future or your party cronies. Get rich if possible, by devious ways, but don’t get caught. And try to keep within the law so that nobody can do anything to you if they find you out. But——

If the going gets tough, change methods before the cause is lost. In short, lock the barn door even if the horse is stolen. We can get along without the horse but we mustn’t let people see the place wide open. Gifts to officials by those seeking favors were all right, of course. Pendergast taught us that such exchanges of pelf for privilege was a part of politics; and Pendergast’s code of ethics was better than the Decalogue. [Kansas City political boss, Truman friend and supporter Thomas J. Pendergast, imprisoned for corruption] Why, even I, the President, have a handsome deep-freeze unit at Independence; and I don’t propose to return it. My buddy, General Vaughan, was expected to help us all get things for free. That’s why I have employed a man of his kind. [General Harry H. Vaughan, pal and Military Aide to Truman as Vice-President and President, 1945-1953]

But now it looks bad. We are losing face. We might lose elections. We can’t tolerate that. In spite of my personal approval of taking anything you can get—legally, of course— it mustn’t be done any more. At least, not until after next November. We’ll see what happens then. If we can persuade the people that we are ethically honest as well as legally honest, we can win. If not—well, we’ve done pretty well, haven’t we? Most of us have had a lot of free fun. So close the door. If the horse wanders back, put him in his stall. If not, what difference does it make if people see the barn all shut up and clean looking?


Related links:

Mr. Truman Exposes His Own Flaws | Spokane Daily Chronicle (Dec. 15, 1951)

Harry Truman Least Qualified President Ever, Says New York Newspaper (1952)

Plenty Is Wrong, Mr. Truman | Spokane Daily Chronicle (Dec. 10, 1951)

MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”

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