Political Rudeness

Political rudeness occurs when people in the political arena (and that includes the press) do something that is embarrassing because it violates the customs of politics insofar as those customs are essential to carrying on democratic politics, and so is different from the rudeness that occurs in everyday life whereby people who are rude violate customs of etiquette, such as by making a pass at a friend’s wife, or not tipping the waiter, which allow ordinary social life to be stable and mutually satisfying. An example of political rudeness is Eisenhower showing up late at the White House to pick up Truman to go to the Eisenhower Inauguration. Truman properly interpreted that as an insult to the Presidency while Eisenhower simply saw it as an expression of his distaste for a person he thought to be a political hack, while seeing himself as a noble figure, forgetting that he had been ever so political when he refused to defend General of the Armies George Marshall, the man who made him, on the campaign trail just months before, when Joe McCarthy had called Marshall “a disgrace to his uniform”. Who was the person up to his eyebrows in politics?

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