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?