CONFLUENCESnFr»m Boring to BotMessnOni- of till- Ixrsi thing’s alioiit most ofnAmLTica’s past I’rcMclcniial clfctiimsnis that thfv have really ilcfidcd sonlittli”. A remarkably centrist eiilturalnanil social consensus has dictated that,ndespite all of the vehement campaignnrheti )ric, hot h nuji )r parties have iisiiall-nafjreed on a wide range of fundamentalnissues. This national consensusnhas otien made for dull elections, asnPaul Boiler. Jr. admits in I’resith’titialn(Mtupaifiiis (Dxlbrd I ‘niversity Press;nNew York), a collection of rathernsuperficial capsule histories of Presidentialnelei-tions, enliened hy the inclusionnof many campaign anecdotes.nHut dull yet free elections are greatlyndesirahle. since the’ signal nationalnharmony. Radical disharmony makesnelections less dull, but far morenominous.nHut 12 years ago. a coalition of extremistnfactions turned (ieorgenMc(iovern’s campaign into an assaultnupon middle America. Voters overvvheliTiinglyn-oiced their disapproval.nBut rather than accepting this verdict,nradicals simply moved key social issuesnbeyond the reach of the ballot andninto activist court.s. tendentious bureaucracies,nand the irresponsiblenmedia. Ironically. nian’ of those whonloudly blamed Reagan’s election inn1480 on insullicient voter participationnwere the very people makingnvoting seem like a waste of time tonmany ihouglufiil citi/en.s. Certainly,none su.specls that many VN’ho oncensupported Reagan because of theirncoininitment to traditional ‘aliies vlnnot bother this year after w atching hisnlargely ineifectual struggle against iinelectednjudges, bureaucrats, and newsmennon such issues as abortion, taxsubsidi/edncontraceptives, and schoolnreform. This elfeciive disenfranchi.semcntnof .mericans, not voter apathy,nis perhaps the most troubling recentniliA’clopmcnt in national politics, i .’n22inChronicles of Culturenuseful for tiying to understand Eisenhower.nHe was, he always said of himself,na team player (his favorite sport, incidentally,nwas football). The subordination ofnself to a common goal, the coordinationnof one’s personal efforts to what the teamndemands are necessary in football, butneven more so in a bureaucracy. Eisenhower’snsuccess as a military ofl&cer wasndue to the fact that he was a team playernin the Army of bureaucracy.nEisenhower had an ego and wanted tonshine no less, perhaps, than DouglasnMacArthur, but how can that be accomplishednwhen one is a member of anbureaucracy? This was Eisenhower’snproblem. One way to shine was throughnknowledge; Eisenhower enjoyed thentutelage of a remarkable officer namednFox Cotmor under whom he served innPanama Connor’s insistence that Eisenhowernstudy military history and replaynold campaigns paid off, for when henentered the Army’s Command and GeneralnStaff School, Eisenhower, knownnchiefly for his friendliness and enthusiasmnfor sports, came in at the top ofnthe class. There comes a time to getnserious about your career, he once saidnAnother way to succeed as a bureaucratnis through conformity, which in thenArmy means following your commander’snorders. For Eisenhower, as ansecond-in-command for a succession ofnbrilliant oflicers—Connor, MacArthur,nand Marshall—it meant knowing yourncommander’s mind-set so well that youncould anticipate his orders, and act as annextension of the commander. Expressingnone’s opinion, except in private, wasnone thing Eisenhower learned not to do.nWhen he wrote an article for an Armynjournal advocating tank warfare, hisnsuperiors told him that it was contrary tonArmy doctrine (Ronmiell, Patton, and denGaulle, however, were saying the samenthings as Eisenhower). Eisenhowernnever raised the issue again.nThe biggest problem in any bureaucracynis getting other people to do thingsnfor you. This requires a means of persuasion,nfor which Eisenhower used hisnnntremendous personality. His friendlinessnand magnetism projected very well,nwhich helped him with his superiors,nsubordinates, and peers, and he becamena master at compromise and accommodationnbetween strong egos and competingninterests. One of the chief skUls ofnthe successful bureaucrat is never tonmake enemies. Richard Nixon relatesnhow Eisenhower once called him up tongive him specific instructions to savagenAdlai Stevenson in response to a Stevensoniannattack on Eisetihower’s Administration.nThe net political effect, as bothnmen knew, was that Nixon would reinforcenhis public image as a street fighternwhile Eisenhower would reinforce his asn”Mr. Clean.” Eisenhower rewardednNixon by publicly stating that Nixon wasnwell qualified to be President. One doesnnot learn such skills on InaugurationnDay. Eisenhower learned them in thenArmy.nUnlike John Keimedy, Eisenhower hidntalents that no one suspected he had.nThe usual disparity between publicnimage and private reality found in publicnfigures applies to Eisenhower—but innhis case, it works to Eisenhower’snadvantage. Thus it is that a generationnafter their respective presidencies,nKennedy’s reputation has declined,nwhUe Eisenhower’s has increased.nBesides the talents of a successfulnbureaucrat, something else lay hidden atnthe heart of Eisenhower’s success. In onensense, the popular conviction distilledninto a descriptive phrase was precise andnintuitively correct. The phrase “Eisenhowernmorality” is usually used pejorativelynby cultural relativists who wish toncondemn traditional morality. Butn”Eisenhower morality” also explains hisnstrength, namely that he was a moralnman, a man of virtue, virtue conceivednhere as a strength of character, not as ancode of ethics held to out of fear ornconformity. And Eisenhower’s successesnwere a result of his virtue. If the battle ofnWaterloo was won on the playing fieldsnof Eton, then the battle for Europe wasnwon on thousands of athletic fields in thenhigh schools and colleges of America. Dn