Executive Listening

Presidents have not immune to the wonders of technology. As soon as new devices were invented, political leaders put them to use. President Hayes installed the first office telephone.  It connected directly (and only) to the Treasury.  Presidents since Franklin Roosevelt have experimented–some more extensively than others, with recording their conversations.  Historian Taylor Branch writes that the secret recordings of Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon offer “a democratizing glimpse into how our government really works…. They humanize the institution of the presidency in a way that’s good for all Americans because we tend to think of these great impersonal institutional imperial forces and everything and forget that the president is a person like all of us: often flummoxed, sometimes passionate. A lot of things that perplex us, perplex them as well.”

About PLR

Comments are closed.