These long-headed statesmen had no illusion that our people enjoyed biological or psychological or sociological immunities from the hazards of concentrated power. It is absurd to see a dictator in a representative product of the sturdy democratic traditions of the Mississippi Valley. The accretion of dangerous power does not come in a day. It does come, however slowly, from the generative force of unchecked disregard of the restrictions that fence in even the most disinterested assertion of authority.The "representative product of the sturdy democratic traditions of the Mississippi Valley" was Harry Truman, who had accreted a little too much power.
The (unlinkable) OED defines "long-headed" — definition #2 — as "Of great discernment or foresight; discerning, shrewd, far-seeing." The historical examples include:
1711 R. Steele Spectator No. 52. ⁋3 Being a long-headed Gentlewoman, I am apt to imagine she has some further Design than you have yet penetrated....Searching my own files, I see this in Henry David Thoreau's "Walden":
1841 Dickens Old Curiosity Shop ii. lxvii. 178 Men of the world, long-headed customers, knowing dogs.
1864 J. R. Lowell McClellan or Lincoln? in Prose Wks. (1890) V. 173 Mr. Lincoln is a long-headed and long-purposed man.
Or on a Sunday afternoon, if I chanced to be at home, I heard the cronching of the snow made by the step of a long-headed farmer, who from far through the woods sought my house, to have a social "crack"; one of the few of his vocation who are "men on their farms"; who donned a frock instead of a professor's gown, and is as ready to extract the moral out of church or state as to haul a load of manure from his barn-yard. We talked of rude and simple times, when men sat about large fires in cold, bracing weather, with clear heads; and when other dessert failed, we tried our teeth on many a nut which wise squirrels have long since abandoned, for those which have the thickest shells are commonly empty.Now, don your frock, cronch on in to the comments section, and have a social crack with the long-headed squirrels of Althouse. Extract morals, haul a load of manure, talk of rude and simple times, or try your teeth on the toughest empty nuts. You know who they are!