Facebook Twitter

FDR’S EGO LED TO MISTAKES, SAYS MAN WHO REVERED HIM

SHARE FDR’S EGO LED TO MISTAKES, SAYS MAN WHO REVERED HIM

Harry S. Truman says he regarded his mentor, Franklin D. Roosevelt, "almost as a god" even though Roosevelt had an ego that sometimes got him into political trouble.

In fact, the 33rd president says about the 32nd, Roosevelt's ego was a factor which compelled him to break a tradition as old as the republic and run for a third and fourth terms.Truman discusses his boss in a posthumous book, "Where the Buck Stops," to be published late this month by Warner Books, Inc. It is edited by his daughter, Margaret Truman, who says her father wanted its publication withheld until after he and wife Bess were dead so that he could be completely candid.

The book gives Truman's assessment of Roosevelt as a strong leader but weak administrator and as a president whose ego sometimes led him to mistakes.

He cites one big example: FDR's "court-packing" plan of 1937. Roosevelt wanted Congress to give him the power to enlarge the Supreme Court, which had been striking down one New Deal program after another.

Truman writes that he supported Roosevelt's plan out of his knowledge from history that Congress had changed the number of justices over the years.

But Truman says Roosevelt's ego led him to overestimate his power and led to the most severe setback of his presidency.

"I didn't agree at all with Roosevelt's obvious feeling that he had become so popular and so powerful that he could go ahead and push through anything, even an unprecedented plan like that one, without help and without bothering to try to convince people opposed to the plan that he was right," Truman writes.

"The United States lost a bill that might have been very helpful to the American people because Roosevelt's ego misinformed him and made him believe he could win on his own."