Can We Please Resurrect Harry Truman and Run Him for President in 2012?!

by Will on August 31, 2010

Nick Rowe proposes that we resurrect Milton Friedman, who presumably would have credibility with conservatives but would also presumably have the intellectual honesty to point out that they’re buying into a lot of economic hogwash. I’m all for that, but as long as we’re resurrecting people, can we please bring Truman back? Congress needs to get on this immediately.

There is a famous anecdote from the Civil War era where somebody urges Lincoln to reconsider his decision to give Grant control of the Union army. Lincoln is supposed to have said of Grant: “I cannot spare this man. He fights.”

He was right. Grant prosecuted the war effort zealously, creatively, and with masterful insight into his enemy’s thinking, where previous generals had been cautious and kept getting outwitted. When you’re in a fight, actually fighting is very useful, especially if the opponent means business. Grant understood this and won the war.

Harry Truman also understood this. During his presidency the congress was controlled by Republicans who successfully obstructed his agenda. Everybody took for granted that he would be defeated in the election of 1948 by the dashing Thomas Dewey. Truman undertook a massive whistlestop tour of the country, giving forceful speeches that strongly lambasted his Republican opponents. The public memory has recalled the popular slogan yelled at such stops, “Give ’em hell, Harry!” And guess what? Truman won the election, against all odds.

My dissatisfaction with Barack Obama has been that he does not fight. Instead he seems overly concerned with appearing to be Reasonable and Pragmatic — which is not the same thing as actually being reasonable and pragmatic. The other side accuses him of being a foreign-born Marxist, and he says, “the other side has some legitimate complaints and I want to work with them.” He’s shooting himself in the foot. He’s stabbing every one of his party’s candidates in the back. Maybe a back-from-the-grave Harry Truman, running a spirited primary bid for the nomination, could show him the light.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lonely Planet August 31, 2010 at 8:16 pm

Just had to let you know I found this place thanks to your mom! I will check in and out just to see what you are reading. Ohhhhh, Banner Under Heaven, Lenny Bruce twice???

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Will August 31, 2010 at 11:01 pm

Who is this?

You will be disappointed to learn that that photo is unlikely to change in the future. Also, it’s the same four shelves, over and over again. Hence the replication not just of Lenny Bruce, bot also of “Hammer of the Gods” and the old bottle of Lillet and “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” and “This Side of Paradise”, and everything else.

I’m sure I’ll also blog about whatever I’m reading, though. Lately it’s a bio of Frances Perkins, and “Battle Cry of Freedom.”

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