Intriguing idea from VDH: Truman as Proto-Trump.
Truman swore. He had nightly drinks and played poker with cronies. And he shocked aides and the public with his vulgarity and crass attacks on political enemies. Truman mocked the widely respected Sen. William Fulbright as “Half-bright.”
In the pre-Twitter age, Truman could not keep his mouth shut. When a reviewer for the Washington Post trashed Truman’s daughter’s concert performance, Truman physically threatened him.
“It seems to me that you are a frustrated old man who wishes he could have been successful,” Truman wrote in a letter to critic Paul Hume. “Someday I hope to meet you. When that happens, you’ll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!”
I always did love that story.
Truman was supposed to be slaughtered in the 1948 election. Roosevelt’s holdover New Dealers made fun of his Midwestern parochialism. Democrats had blown up the party during the 1948 nominating convention. Left-wingers, who could not stomach Truman, broke off and supported the progressive Henry Wallace as a third-party candidate. Democratic segregationists, who hated Truman’s military integration order, ran Sen. Strom Thurmond as a fourth-party Dixiecrat alternative. Thurmond promised to keep the South racially segregated.
In the general election, polls predicted an easy win for Republican challenger Thomas Dewey. Instead, Truman won by a comfortable margin.
With Truman’s second term due to expire, Democrats forgot his “the buck stops here” pragmatism. Instead, they returned to elite progressivism and nominated Adlai Stevenson, a liberal’s liberal.
Stevenson lost both the 1952 and 1956 elections to Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, a national icon. For all his criticism of Truman, Ike governed more or less as Truman did.
It took a half-century for historians to concede that the feisty Truman had solid accomplishments, especially in foreign affairs.
It’ll probably take a lot longer than that for Trump’s remarkable achievements to be acknowledged by some “experts”—if they ever are at all.
Update! Case in point:
The President jokingly predicted to the hostages that “[y]ou probably broke the all-time in history television rating for 3:00 in the morning” and so (MSNBC host Nicole) Wallace proclaimed that “the President unprompted stepping all over his own great moment….but perhaps that offhand comment…wasn’t so offhand at all” because it showed he’s not that genuinely interested in peace with North Korea, but instead having something to flaunt for the midterms.
“It may be an indication that the President is actively trying to reap the political benefits of diplomacy with North Korea,” she argued before reading a supporting piece from panelist and Washington Post White House bureau chief Philip Rucker.
Wallace turned to her fellow failed McCain/Palin campaign aide Steve Schmidt, whose deranged MSNBC rants are so painfully unhinged: “What do you make of this ratings talk at 3:00 a.m., stating, you know, we have three detainees, you know, clear-cut victory for the President, these people finally reunited with their families and he’s talking about 3:00 a.m. ratings?”
With a record of juvenile rants denouncing Trump’s own bad behavior, Schmdit stated that Trump “has a complete incapacity for human empathy” because, while three North Korean prisoners have returned home, the President showed it’s all about him and “ratings” even though “it’s not a game.”
Wallace later teed up Schmidt to excoriate the push to award the President the Nobel Peace Prize.
Anybody think people as obssessively petty and hate-blind as this will ever give Trump credit for anything?