Barack Obama faced an obstructionist Congress in 2012… much like the one Harry Truman faced in 1948. Truman waged a fiery campaign against what he termed the “do nothing Congress” and surged past a floundering Thomas Dewey. The 80th Congress was dominated by Conservative Republicans who blocked most of Truman’s domestic agenda that he laid out in 1945. Congress then passed the controversial anti-union Taft-Hartley Act over Truman’s veto. Truman went back to his populist roots and crisscrossed the nation championing the common man. The people rejected Republican obstructionism. Truman’s victory is the greatest election upset in our history.
Truman faced a Congress with both houses… controlled by Republicans. Obama was confronted by a divided legislature, but it is giving him just as many headaches. Obama’s biggest problem is a flagging economy that has prompted legislative initiatives following a shift in control of the House. When Democrats controlled both houses much of Obama’s program was enacted, including the massive healthcare overhaul. The election proved that Truman’s tactics are still viable; Obama returned to some of Harry Truman’s rhetoric of ’48. Obama channeled Harry Truman to secure his second term. Unlike Truman, his legacy is still in doubt….