Miller Center

Riding The Tiger

“I discovered that being a President is like riding a tiger. A man has to keep on riding or be swallowed.” Harry S. Truman

Welcome!

Gerald L. Baliles

Gerald L. Baliles, Director of the Miller Center

I welcome you to our blog Riding the Tiger: The Presidential Election in Context. The Miller Center is a non-partisan research institution that seeks to expand understanding of the presidency, policy, and political history, providing critical insights for our nation’s governance challenges.

We intend to take the news and issues of the election campaign coverage and mine our resources to provide historical context to those issues. Our goal is to show when similar issues or situations have confronted presidents or presidential candidates, how they have responded—and how the lessons learned from those attempts, whether failed or successful, impact the decision-making by candidates today.

Why Are We Riding This Tiger?

Tiger

So why did we title this blog, Riding the Tiger?

It is a take-off from a quote by President Harry S. Truman. In the first paragraph of Volume Two of his memoirs, Years of Trial and Hope (Doubleday, 1956), Truman wrote:

“Within the first few months I discovered that being a President is like riding a tiger. A man has to keep on riding or be swallowed. The fantastically crowded nine months of 1945 taught me that a President either is constantly on top of events or, if he hesitates, events will soon be on top of him. I never felt that I could let up for a single moment.”