My dad turned 70, so I had gotten out my copy of Rebellions, Perversities, and Main Events so that I could send him a Xerox of St. Murray's 70th-birthday column, which I remember reading in New York Newsday. But before I put it up, I thought I would quote an extended excerpt from one of my favorite essays of Kempton's, "The Underestimation of Dwight D. Eisenhower":

Dwight Eisenhower was as indifferent as Calvin Coolidge, as absolute as Abraham Lincoln, more contained than John Kennedy, more serpentine than Lyndon Johnson, as hard to work for as Andrew Johnson. Historians seem to accept most of these qualities as necessary for greatness: certainly none of them diminish it. But, then, most are accounted sinister by the great mass of civilians, and to confuse civilians and to keep them off his back is the soldier's art....

The Eisenhower who emerges here
[in his memoirs] intermittently free from his habitual veils is the President most superblyy equipped for truly consequential decision we may have ever had, a mind neither rash nor hesitant, free of the slightest concern for how things might look, indifferent to any sentiment, as calm when he was demonstrating the wisdom of leaving a bad situation alone as when he was moving to meet it on those occasions when he absolutely had to....

The precepts are plain to see:
1. Always pretend to be stupid; then when you have to show yourself smart, the display has the addtional effect of surprise.
2. Taking the blame is a function of servants. When the orange is squeezed, throw it away.
3. When a situation is hopeless, never listen to counsels of hope. Fold the enterprise.
4. Do nothing unless you know exactly what you will do if it turns out to have been the wrong thing. Walk not one inch forward onto ground which has not been painfully tested by someone else.
5. Never forget the conversation you had with Zhukov about how the Russian army clears minefields. "We march through them," Zhukov had said. It is a useful instruction if applied with the proper economy. Keep Nixon and Dulles around for marching through mine fields.
6. Always give an enemy an exit.
7. Never give an ally his head.
8. Assume that your enemies are just as sensible as you are. ("Personally I had always discounted the probability of the Soviets doing anything as 'reaction.' Communists do little on impulse; rather their aggressive moves are invariably the result of deliberate decision.")
9. Lie whenever it seems useful, but stop lying the moment 99 percent of the audience ceases to believe you.
10. Respond onlyy when there is some gain besides honor in meeting the challenge or some serious loss from disregarding it. For example, when Eisenhower was the first candidate for President in memory who indicated that he was unable to pronounce the word "injunction" when discussing the labor problem, I suggested to one of his admirers that he seemed extraordinarily dumb.

"If he's so dumb," was the reply, "why is he such a good bridge player?"

Like all defenses of Dwight Eisenhower it seemed sillly at first; but, with thought one understood its force. Eisenhower spent the twenties as an officer in garrison; his friends were civilians in towns like Leavenworth, Kansas. He learned to play bridge well because his pay did not cover losing money to civilians. He is equipped to respond to any challenge which seems to him sensible.

I think of those precepts a lot, these days. Kempton I miss even more. Here is the concluding graf from the birthday column I sent to my dad:

There are, in truth, kicks everywhere, and I have had all these and never one at my own expense. Most of life's epiphanies arise from its accidents, and it is never so much fun as when it conscripts us as prisoners to the luck of the day. Colette says in "The Vagabond," the bible for all us migratory laborers, that "If Chance ever got Herself called God, I should have been a very good Catholic indeed." And so, too, should I.


Anonymous said...


[b]Xrumer SEO Professionals

As Xrumer experts, we have been using [url=http://www.xrumer-seo.com]Xrumer[/url] quest of a large leisure things being what they are and grasp how to harness the massive power of Xrumer and adapt it into a Cash machine.

We also purvey the cheapest prices on the market. Diverse competitors will cost 2x or temperate 3x and a lot of the continuously 5x what we charge you. But we feel in providing gigantic accommodation at a low affordable rate. The entire direct attention to of purchasing Xrumer blasts is because it is a cheaper variant to buying Xrumer. So we aim to support that mental activity in cognizant and provide you with the cheapest grade possible.

Not only do we be suffering with the unexcelled prices but our turnaround occasion after your Xrumer posting is super fast. We drive take your posting done to come you distinguish it.

We also outfit you with a sated log of loaded posts on manifold forums. So that you can catch a glimpse of seeking yourself the power of Xrumer and how we be struck by harnessed it to gain your site.[/b]

[b]Search Engine Optimization

Using Xrumer you can expect to realize thousands upon thousands of backlinks in behalf of your site. Many of the forums that your Site you settle upon be posted on oblige acute PageRank. Having your tie-in on these sites can truly serve build up some cover dignity back links and really boost your Alexa Rating and Google PageRank rating through the roof.

This is making your position more and more popular. And with this developing in regard as familiarly as PageRank you can expect to witness your milieu absolutely downright expensive in those Search Mechanism Results.

The amount of traffic that can be obtained aside harnessing the power of Xrumer is enormous. You are publishing your locality to tens of thousands of forums. With our higher packages you may still be publishing your site to HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of forums. Visualize 1 collection on a all the rage forum will inveterately rig out 1000 or so views, with signify 100 of those people visiting your site. At once create tens of thousands of posts on popular forums all getting 1000 views each. Your shipping liking associate sometimes non-standard due to the roof.

These are all targeted visitors that are interested or curious nearly your site. Deem how innumerable sales or leads you can succeed in with this titanic figure up of targeted visitors. You are in fact stumbling upon a goldmine friendly to be picked and profited from.

Keep in mind, Transport is Money.



Anonymous said...

Reconcile Our Risqu‚ Prices at www.Pharmashack.com, The Unequalled [b][url=http://www.pharmashack.com]Online Chemist's look for [/url][/b] To [url=http://www.pharmashack.com]Buy Viagra[/url] Online ! You Can also Espy Immense Deals When You [url=http://www.pharmashack.com/en/item/cialis.html]Buy Cialis[/url] and When You You [url=http://www.pharmashack.com/en/item/levitra.html]Buy Levitra[/url] Online. We Also Be subjected to a Ginormous Generic [url=http://www.pharmashack.com/en/item/phentermine.html]Phentermine[/url] In resources of Your Regimen ! We Offer Blot celebrity [url=http://www.pharmashack.com/en/item/viagra.html]Viagra[/url] and Also [url=http://www.pharmashack.com/en/item/generic_viagra.html]Generic Viagra[/url] !

Anonymous said...

Predilection casinos? examine this unversed [url=http://www.realcazinoz.com]casino[/url] commander and focus on up online casino games like slots, blackjack, roulette, baccarat and more at www.realcazinoz.com .
you can also balk our fashion [url=http://freecasinogames2010.webs.com]casino[/url] inappreciable discussion at http://freecasinogames2010.webs.com and go along with in genuine affluence !
another unsurpassed [url=http://www.ttittancasino.com]casino spiele[/url] in the district of is www.ttittancasino.com , preferably than of german gamblers, array unrestrained online casino bonus.

Anonymous said...

Dear Alyssa,

For long time I use this freeware: [url=http://www.freeflvtomp3converter.com]FLV to MP3 free converter[/url].

FLV to MP3 free converter is a free YouTube, MegaVideo, Myspace and similar video sites to MP3 Converter and allows you to convert a video to MP3 file.

This software is fast, free, and requires no signup. All you need is a FLV Video file, and this software will extract the MP3, and give you an audio file.

So you are able to listen to your favorite YouTube tracks on every MP3 player.

You can download it for free at [url=http://www.freeflvtomp3converter.com]www.freeflvtomp3converter.com[/url].

I hope this help you.

Anonymous said...

You could easily be making money online in the underground world of [URL=http://www.www.blackhatmoneymaker.com]blackhat techniques[/URL], Don’t feel silly if you don't know what blackhat is. Blackhat marketing uses not-so-popular or not-so-known methods to produce an income online.

Anonymous said...

It isn't hard at all to start making money online in the hush-hush world of [URL=http://www.www.blackhatmoneymaker.com]blackhat money[/URL], You are far from alone if you haven’t heard of it before. Blackhat marketing uses alternative or misunderstood methods to build an income online.

Anonymous said...

Sup i am new on this forum i hope i will be able to help & contribute here because i have learned a great deal myself.


[URL=http://learnviolinonlinehq.com][B]Learn Violin Online Free[/B][/URL]

Anonymous said...

Hi there! This post couldn't be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this post to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

Here is my blog; plus de followers