By 1966, Acheson had soured on LBJ, writing, “He creates distrust by being too smart. He is never quite candid. … He yields to petty impulses such as the desire to surprise everyone with every appointment. It is too childish.” But he remained one of the “wise men” who consulted with LBJ frequently, and he was in the group whose advice in the spring of 1968 persuaded Johnson not to seek re-election.
As an old Washington hand, I gaze around town and regret that my eyes do not fall on another Truman or Acheson. I just went back and read a “spasm” letter that Truman wrote to Acheson in December 1955 that seems applicable to many current talking-head “experts” and media personalities who pose as “wise men.”
As Truman wrote, “We have men, in this day and age, who are prostitutes of the mind. They sell their ability to write articles for sale, which will be so worded as to mislead people who read them as news. These articles or columns are most astute and plausible and unless the reader knows the facts are most misleading. … Prostitutes of the mind have been the great menace to free government since freedom of speech and freedom of the press [were] first inaugurated.”
Give ‘em hell, Harry - we need it.
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