THE NATION: An Older Wisdom

For a generation the U.S. has been riding—and ridden by—statistics. When Dwight Eisenhower had his heart attack, the curbstone actuaries were ready with figures to show that his life expectancy had been reduced to the point where a second term in the presidency was unimaginable. Not many people felt like betting on it, but in October it was 10 to 1 that Ike would not run. What changed?

A wisdom older than actuarial tables intervened. A leader, in the nature of his job, is often old, often ailing, yet if he is still able to do his job, the risk...

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