Becoming a power broker – Alice

After the war [WWI], Alice Roosevelt Longworth would evolve into a Washington statesman. Not limited by a constituency as were elected politicians, she could go anywhere, talk with anyone. Her power came to be greater than any lobbyist’s or social maven because her home was the place to be, to see and be seen, to spill secrets, to meet people, and to broker deals that could not be made in Congress. Alice’s drawing room became a required stop on the path to political prominence.” Stacey A. Cordery, Alice: Alice Roosevelt Longworth, from White House Princess to Washington Power Broker.

Still an interesting read, as Alice’s life takes some pretty amazing twists and turns. Acerbic, witty, a fine hostess, and yet not infallible. Interested in politics until her dying days — and the story is fascinating enough that someone like me (who hates current politics and political ads) could find the rise and fall of different politicians as Alice shows that she never quite got over being a wild child. It was interesting to see how Alice evolved into someone who talked to anyone (Nixon, the Robert Kennedy and JFK, Truman), or who could stridently campaign against a relative (FDR), but still let her only daughter play with his children in the White House. Honestly, she wouldn’t have been easy to live with, but she would never have been boring. So now, for balance, I suppose I should find a good biography of Eleanor Roosevelt.


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