The Truman Primary

In the check out line this weekend, I happened to see the cover of Newsweek: Wanted: A New Truman. Pictured along the top were the current contenders for the Presidency. Which one of them has what it takes to be another Truman?

What?!? I’m sorry, I didn’t realize we were looking for one of those. I asked my husband what he thought they might mean by this. Maybe because Truman ended a war? he guessed. Yeah, by dropping atomic bombs and completely obliterating two cities (which also happened to have the highest percentage of Catholics residing there, but what’s my point with that anyway?). Is this what they want to do? Should we withdraw all the troops from Iraq and then just wipe it off the face of the earth? It’s a technique…

I didn’t buy the magazine, but the article is now online.

Rudy Giuliani notes that Truman was unpopular in his day, but if he hadn’t stood up to the Soviets in the late 1940s, asks Giuliani, “Who knows how much longer the cold war would have gone on?”

Gee, by my calculation, the cold war raged another 4 decades. But okay, if we want to credit Truman with keeping a lid on it, sure.

The case of the now sainted Truman, the Platonic presidential ideal of 2008, is an example of just this phenomenon. In 1953, when Truman left Washington for Independence, Mo., few were unhappy to see him go. His administration was accused of corruption and the Korean War was stalemated.

Wow. We’ve now got a St. Harry to whom we can turn for intercession in finding a decent leader for our country. Isn’t that peachy? St. Harry, please not Rudy, please not Hillary, please not Obama…St. Harry, please isn’t there somebody good? Not somebody like you, but somebody good?

Buffeted by war, unhappy with President Bush, many Americans—Democratic,
Republican, independent—seem hungry for a Trumanesque figure, a truth-telling,
bare-knuckled president who will give it to us straight. The question now is
whether anybody in the 2008 field can measure up.

The article then goes on to discuss the various figures vying for the top dog slot and how they compare to our beloved saint. The writer of this article, Evan Thomas, was born in the early 50s. Do you think this might be a case of wearing rose-colored glasses? I guess I’m pretty lucky that I was born during the Nixon presidency. We lost that war he presided over. Yes, I know he didn’t start it, but between that and the Watergate scandal, his cause for canonization is pretty much kicked out the door, thank goodness.

I’m not declaring Truman good or bad. I’m not going to take a definitive stand on whether the Atomic bombs being dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki truly ended the war faster and ultimately saved American lives. I mean, I think they did do that. But I’m not sure that the ends (ending the war with fewer American casualties) justified the means (destroying two cities filled with civilians, many of whom just happened to be Catholic…blood-thirsty, war-mongering Catholics, I’m sure).

But I am saying that another Truman is surely not what America really wants and needs. Is it? Basically, if ol’ Saint Harry were on the ticket, would you vote for him?

6 thoughts on “The Truman Primary

  1. “In 1953, when Truman left Washington for Independence, Mo., few were unhappy to see him go. His administration was accused of corruption and the Korean War was stalemated.”Hmmm, actually the person presently in politics fitting this description that first comes to my mind is…George W. himself!Not too many will be sad to see him leave office, his administration is constantly accused by the media of corruption (I am actually skeptical as to how true this is, knowing the bias in the media), and many argue that we are in a stalemate in Iraq. Funny!

  2. I’ll admit, I had to go to Wikipedia and look him up. Seems to me we already HAVE a Truman president – here are some quotes from the Wiki article:Truman…was a folksy, unassuming presidentAt one point in his second term, his public opinion ratings were the lowest on recordAttorney General (Alberto Gonzalez….) J. Howard McGrath became involved in a corruption scandal which put a dent in Truman’s public approvalI think we really need a James K. Polk president…he was good at foreign relations and made the government put their money in the US treasury (as opposed to banks…or IOU’s…)His wife was devout and against drinking, gambling, and the sort (and, I imagine, infanticide, unlike other first ladies…)Plus, he died right after leaving office, sparing us the quasi-campaigning and book tours.< HREF="" REL="nofollow">Mama Says<>

  3. I think this article shows how desperate Americans are at our prospects for the next election. They don’t even know what they want!

  4. Oh I pray the people of this country have the good sense to elect somebody decent. I told an email aquaintance that if Hilary wins, I’d seriously consider a move to Canada. What happened to the patriots? Why are we left with nothing to pick from but politicians?

  5. I think I might just vote for the first person who says to his opponent in a debate, “You know, that’s a *great* idea. I’d love to discuss this with you later.” Why must everyone be so danged oppositional? *Lots* of people have good ideas, and wouldn’t the country work better if this were acknowledged and people actually worked together to accomplish common aims?

  6. <> “You know, that’s a *great* idea. I’d love to discuss this with you later.” <>Amen!

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