Trumanizing Obama . . . Or Is There a Third Option?
Vol: 122 Issue: 21 Monday, November 21, 2011
I think it is fair to say that the average Obama supporter would find great similarities between Obama and FDR or Truman. Obama has made that comparison himself.
CNN ran a story depicting Obama as Truman when it was propagandizing in favor of Obama’s ‘jobs bill’ recalling Harry Truman’s use of a ‘do-nothing Congress’ to win his first elected term in 1948.
(Vice President Truman first became president on the death of FDR in 1945).
When President Harry Truman left office in 1953, he did so as one of the most unpopular chief executives in American history. At 22%, Truman’s approval rating in February 1952 was even lower than Nixon’s approval rating on the month that Nixon was forced to resign.
Although Truman was eligible to run for re-election in 1952, given his unpopularity at the polls, he decided against running again for the good of his party in order to give the Democrats an opportunity to run somebody who at least had a chance at holding the White House.
Although decades of Democrat revisionist history had largely rehabilitated Harry Truman, after a review of information available to Truman on the presence of Soviet spies working in US government, Democrat Senator Daniel Patrick Moynahan concluded that Truman “was almost willfully obtuse” concerning the danger.
Senator Moynahan was legendarily partisan — had he not been, he would undoubtedly have concluded that Truman deliberately looked the other way. Senator Joe McCarthy [R Wi] is sort of Truman’s opposite number.
McCarthy’s legacy is the exact opposite of his accomplishments. In her book, Treason, Ann Coulter shocks readers with the statement:
“Everything you think you know about McCarthy is a hegemonic lie. Liberals denounced McCarthy because they were afraid of getting caught, so they fought back like animals to hide their own collaboration with a regime as evil as the Nazis.”
The fact is that the McCarthy hearings unmasked a number of very high ranking US officials, including Alger Hiss. Alger Hiss was accused of working for Moscow while working as a top official at the State Department, and later at the UN.
Hiss, like Truman, had seen his reputation largely rehabilitated by Democrats who much preferred to refer to Hiss as a “victim of McCarthyism” until the Venona Project was released by the CIA in 1995.
Venona was a US intelligence operation that decrypted thousands of WWII-era telegrams sent to the Soviet Union by its US operatives. Venona confirmed that Hiss had been an agent of the Soviet GRU.
And instead of only passing non-military State Department secrets to the Soviets, Venona revealed Hiss to have been a military spy. Since 1995, liberal academics have been forced to shift tactics, attacking the Venona files instead.
In addition to Hiss, (who was FDR’s WWII advisor and first Secretary General of the UN) McCarthy’s hearings uncovered as Soviet spies; Harry Dexter White, assistant secretary of the Treasury and Truman’s appointee as director of the International Monetary Fund; and Lauchlin Currie, administrative assistant to Presidents Roosevelt and Truman and hundreds of others.
At least three sitting members of Congress (Democrats all!) were also revealed by Venona to have been working for the Soviets during the war.
Although McCarthy is charged with a failure to distinguish between liberals and Communists, it was generally liberals who couldn’t recognize the differences.
It was Franklin Roosevelt that brought Alger Hiss to Yalta and Harry Truman who promoted Harry Dexter White to head the International Monetary Fund.
Both Truman and Roosevelt entrusted these Soviet agents with top positions long after they had been told that Hiss and White were involved in espionage.
Venona revealed that influential liberals in the media like I.F. Stone of The Nation, Michael Straight, editor of The New Republic, and Pulitzer Prize Winner Walter Duranty of The New York Times were actually agents of the Soviet Union.
Prominent unions like the Congress of Industrial Organizations and the Screen Actors Guild really were dominated by Communists. Even major industrialists like Armand Hammer did their part by laundering Soviet money to domestic U.S. Communists.
Although liberals to this day claim that McCarthy never uncovered a single Communist, history (and Venona) say that McCarthy was right about Owen Lattimore, Edward Posniak, Mary Jane Keeney, Gustavo Duran, and John Carter Vincent, and dozens, if not hundreds of others.
The truth about Joe McCarthy can be gleaned, despite the historical revisionism, by taking a closer look at McCarthy’s detractors, most of whom are liberals.
Those on the Right that joined in the McCarthy bashing did so based on misinformation about McCarthy and without the benefit of the Venona Project findings.
Neither Roosevelt nor Truman knew about Venona.
General Omar Bradley made the decision to deny President Truman information about Venona because he didn’t trust Truman with classified information — probably because Bradley knew what was in Venona’s files.
McCarthy’s detractors challenged him to name names; when he did so, they accused him of slandering those he named without proof.
McCarthy was parodied in the movie “The Manchurian Candidate” as Senator Johnny Iselin, whose claim to fame amounted to picking figures at random in speeches, such as “There are exactly 349 Soviet spies working in the US State Department”, etc.
(Actually, Venona confirmed that there were 349 American government officials working for the Soviets during the McCarthy investigative era. McCarthy was right.)
To my mind, the most compelling evidence favoring McCarthy is the way that liberals close ranks immediately whenever McCarthy’s name comes up. And the fact that all of those “victims of McCarthyism” were reliably progressive liberals.
Just like their modern-day apologists and defenders.
Had Harry Truman sought another term in 1952, it is probable that the Soviet agents within his administration would have kept their jobs through 1956.
One can only imagine how things may have turned out if it had been Truman facing off against Khrushchev instead of Eisenhower, but it probably would not have ended in a US victory in the Cold War.
Fortunately for America, Truman decided that his poll numbers made re-election impossible and he decided not to run again. Thanks to that decision, the liberal media was able to rehabilitate Harry.
Thanks to the work of liberal revisionist history, Harry Truman is consistently numbered among America’s near-great presidents, despite what amounts to a pretty sad record.
Truman’s great accomplishments, like desegregating the military, were pragmatic, rather than ideological decisions. (Truman famously opposed the 1960’s civil rights movement, calling it “silly” and saying it “won’t accomplish a darned thing.”)
If one were to take a poll in 1953 of America’s worst presidents, Harry Truman would have won it, hands down. Indeed, in 1952, that is about the only contest Truman could have won — its harder to revise the present than it is the past.
What made Harry Truman one of America’s near-great presidents was his decision not to seek re-election in 1952. In 1999 C-Span ranked him America’s fifth best president.
In 1968, embattled President Lyndon Johnson refused to run for re-election. Johnson’s “War on Poverty”, was the blueprint for his “Great Society” — a Marxist utopian vision that resulted in, for the first time, the possibility that an American who was not elderly or disabled could make a living off the US government.
We can thank President Johnson for Medicare/Medicaid, PBS, student loans, Head Start, food stamps, gun control, the Watts riots and the Vietnam War. US involvement in Vietnam escalated from 16,000 advisors in 1964 to 550,000 combat troops by 1967.
But since he decided not to run for a second term in 1968, Johnson’s apologists were able to spin his administration to the point that in 1999, C-Span ranked the Johnson administration the tenth best in US history.
Jimmy Carter refused to reconsider running for a second term and was faced with a direct challenge for the Democratic nomination by Teddy Kennedy. Kennedy lost the nomination, but the fight so damaged Carter that it handed the White House to Ronald Reagan.
The liberals never forgave Carter, (who ranks as 27th best, or 15th worst, depending on your perspective).
A year ago in the Washington Post, two Democrat pollsters, Doug Schone and Pat Caddell, co-authored an op-ed in which they implored President Obama not to seek re-election for the good of both the party and the country.
“This is a critical moment for the country. From the faltering economy to the burdensome deficit to our foreign policy struggles, America is suffering a widespread sense of crisis and anxiety about the future. Under these circumstances, Obama has the opportunity to seize the high ground and the imagination of the nation once again, and to galvanize the public for the hard decisions that must be made. The only way he can do so, though, is by putting national interests ahead of personal or political ones.”
The best way he can do that, according to these two Democrats, is by following in the footsteps of two of America’s ten best presidents, Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson.
“To that end, we believe Obama should announce immediately that he will not be a candidate for reelection in 2012.”
According to the op-ed, the two Democrats believe that Obama should step down in favor of . . . no surprise here . . . Hillary Clinton.
Obama himself once said to Diane Sawyer: “I’d rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president.” He now has the chance to deliver on that idea.”
According to the pollsters, the problem for Obama is that he is a lousy president. Instead of governing the nation, he spent his first three years in office campaigning for his next four. If he would stop campaigning and start governing . . .
“Obama could better make hard decisions about Iran, North Korea and Afghanistan based on what is reasonable and responsible for the United States, without the political constraints of a looming election. He would be able to deal with a Democratic constituency that wants to get out of Afghanistan immediately and a Republican constituency that is committed to the war, forging a course that responds not to the electoral calendar but to the facts on the ground.”
That was a year ago. This morning, they’ve published a second op-ed making the same argument, only this time more passionately.
Even Chris Matthews’ thrill up his leg has been replaced by a burning in his esophagus. First Lady Michelle Obama was resoundingly booed by fans at Sunday’s NASCAR race.
And so the secret is out. As a president, Obama makes a great community organizer. So here are the choices before him.
He can be “Trumanized” if he decides against a second term.
Or, like Jimmy Carter, he can spent the next thirty years trying to explain why he wasn’t the worst president in two hundred years.
Or he could try the third option, similar to the way he and his party have handled America’s budget crisis.
We haven’t had a budget since Obama took office. Obama submits one he knows won’t pass, then blames the Republicans for its defeat. (Last vote to reject an Obama budget was 97-0)
Obama’s foreign policy seems deliberately aimed at provoking an existential crisis. In such a crisis, elections could be suspended indefinitely, an idea already being floated by the Dems.
Of all the options available, it seems certain that the one least likely to materialize has Obama stepping down for the good of the country.
This is one time America really could use another Harry Truman.