Tag Archives: Truman

Liberals Can be Tough

Harry Truman’s Liberalism is too often overlooked by historians… indoctrinated by the historiography of FDR and the New Deal.  Truman’s Fair Deal was every bit as progressive and in regards to civil rights, it far exceeded the progress of his predecessor.

16-truman-w710-h473-2x

Truman was also dealing with the Red Storm rising… the ambitions of Stalin’s Russia in post-war Europe.  Roosevelt had established an amiable tone with the Soviets at Yalta- the direct precursor to the aggressive moves of the Red Army in Eastern Europe.  On April 23, 1945 Truman met with Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov.  The new American President made it clear that policies were changing-

“I explained to him [Molotov] in words of one syllable…that cooperation is not a one-way-street.”
Molotov responded-
“I have never been talked to like that in my life….”
Truman clarified-
“Carry out your agreements and you won’t be talked to like that.”
Listen to me now....

Listen to me now….

The Buck was stopping….

 

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How the Tables Have Turned

The buck stops here, General.

Harry Truman’s delightfully salty answer to why he fired Douglas MacArthur… spoke volumes about the division between our civilian and military authorities:

“I fired him because he wouldn’t respect the authority of the President…I didn’t fire him because he was a dumb son of a bitch, although he was, but that’s not against the laws for generals. If it was, half to three-quarters of them would be in jail.”

The buck is in his pocket

Today it appears the proverbial shoe is on the other foot… the ignorant whelp with conjectural progeny is in the oval office.  Generals are now trying to steer a rational course and save the republic from a man-child with a serious Napoleon complex.  The lines between the civilian and military are dangerously blurred.

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Facts in Five

Election of 1948 edition

 

  • Democrats briefly courted Dwight D. Eisenhower to challenge Truman for the nomination.  The Republicans were talking with Douglas MacArthur during the same period. 
  • Truman’s support for  NAACP legal efforts combined with his executive order desegregating the military caused the Southern Democrats to splinter and nominate Dixiecrat, Strom Thurmond.
  • Liberal Democrats rejected Truman as well- they nominated Henry Wallace as the Progressive party candidate.
  • Dewey’s lackluster campaign was best summed up by the poorly crafted message- “You know that your future is still ahead of you.”
  • As election day arrived, only Truman was convinced of his victory- many on his staff had already accepted other jobs. 

Harry1

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In A Dangerous World

“I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures. I believe that we must assist free peoples to work out their own destinies in their own way.”

 

These are not the words of George W. Bush… Ronald Reagan, or even John Kennedy.  This is the essence of the Truman Doctrine- a clear outline for America’s strategic place in the world.  Though primarily written by Dean Acheson, Harry Truman’s plain spoken manner made the intent abundantly clear.  Our security at home was directly tied to our vigilance abroad.

Carry the battle to them...

Carry the battle to them…

Would such decisive language be welcomed… by Democrats today? Politicians on both sides of the aisle seem to be embracing the self-destructive tenants of isolationism.  They are deluded as were our early leaders that neutrality was not only desired, but possible.

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Liberals Can be Tough

Harry Truman’s Liberalism is too often overlooked by historians… indoctrinated by the historiography of FDR and the New Deal.  Truman’s Fair Deal was every bit as progressive and in regards to civil rights, it far exceeded the progress of his predecessor.

16-truman-w710-h473-2x

Truman was also dealing with the Red Storm rising… the ambitions of Stalin’s Russia in post-war Europe.  Roosevelt had established an amiable tone with the Soviets at Yalta- the direct precursor to the aggressive moves of the Red Army in Eastern Europe.  On April 23, 1945 Truman met with Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov.  The new American President made it clear that policies were changing-

“I explained to him [Molotov] in words of one syllable…that cooperation is not a one-way-street.”
Molotov responded-
“I have never been talked to like that in my life….”
Truman clarified-
“Carry out your agreements and you won’t be talked to like that.”
Listen to me now....

Listen to me now….

The Buck was stopping….

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Ephemera

Facts in Five

Election of 1948 edition

 

  • Democrats briefly courted Dwight D. Eisenhower to challenge Truman for the nomination.  The Republicans were talking with Douglas MacArthur during the same period. 
  • Truman’s support for  NAACP legal efforts combined with his executive order desegregating the military caused the Southern Democrats to splinter and nominate Dixiecrat, Strom Thurmond.
  • Liberal Democrats rejected Truman as well- they nominated Henry Wallace as the Progressive party candidate.
  • Dewey’s lackluster campaign was best summed up by the poorly crafted message- “You know that your future is still ahead of you.”
  • As election day arrived, only Truman was convinced of his victory- many on his staff had already accepted other jobs. 

Harry1

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Biggest Presidential Election Upsets

Many Presidential elections are decided… long before the votes are cast.  Technology makes predicting election results an acceptable part of the modern campaign cycle.  Historical analysis provides election scorecards on races prior to modern media technology.  Despite all the prognostication, there are several key elections which defied expectations.

5.  1892—  Grover Cleveland became the first candidate to be nominated by a party three times and was seeking his second (non-consecutive) term.  Benjamin Harrison was a solid, but uninspiring incumbent who had narrowly defeated Cleveland four years earlier.  Republicans spent millions in a campaign centered on currency policy.  Harrison enlisted allies like Ohio Governor William McKinley but was unable to campaign personally because of the death of his wife in October, 1892.  Cleveland overcame the powerful Republican campaign and the sympathetic figure cut by his opponent to win easily in what must be considered an upset.

Wins the rematch

4.  1960–  John F. Kennedy was young and relatively inexperienced when he challenged two-term Vice President, Richard Nixon.  The Cold War was the dominant issue of the day and no one seemed to have stronger anticommunist credentials than Nixon.  Kennedy attacked the failures of the Eisenhower administration including the U2 incident and the fall of Cuba to Castro’s communists.  He even went as far as to fabricate statistics to accuse Nixon and Eisenhower of allowing the Soviets to pull ahead in the arms race.  Kennedy pulled out one of the narrowest victories of the 20th century.  Illinois was the swing state and Kennedy’s victory there has long been disputed.  Kennedy became the youngest man elected President and used  current technology to secure the upset.

3.  1844–  The first election to feature a darkhorse candidate, James K. Polk emerged from the pack and upset perennial challenger Henry Clay.  Democrats were hoping to restore the Jacksonian policies that had them in power for over a decade.  Finding a successor to Jackson had proven impossible, but Polk emerged from an uninspired field to win the nomination.  The Whigs nominated their ideological leader, Henry Clay (his 4th presidential run.)  The annexation of Texas and westward expansion dominated the campaign and Polk presented a strong expansionist platform.  Clay was better known, but the American people were ready for expansion and embraced Polk’s fiery rhetoric.

Who is James K. Polk ?

2.  1824–  Andrew Jackson rode the wave of his popularity to what seemed to be an election victory.  Regional voting results divided the electoral count so no candidate secured a majority of the votes.  Jackson won a plurality in the electoral and popular results.  The matter was turned over to the House of Representatives where Henry Clay used his influence to secure the election for John Quincy Adams.  In return, Adams named Clay as his Secretary of State.  Jackson claimed collusion by his arch-enemy Clay and publicly denounced the “Corrupt Bargain.”   Adams’ victory was a clear upset over the wildly popular Jackson.

1.  1948–  Discussed in an earlier post, Truman’s victory was the greatest upset in Presidential election history.  Thomas Dewey enjoyed comfortable leads in almost every national poll.  This caused Dewey to run an uninspired campaign, rarely leaving his home state of New York.  Truman launched an aggressive rail campaign across the country, taking the fight to all Republicans, not just Dewey.  Truman won the key states of Ohio, Illinois, and California by less than 1%.  The pro-Republican Chicago Daily Tribune made sure that Truman’s victory became iconic.

Not so fast…..

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