21 July 2006

Stop taking Harry Truman's name in vain.

What is it with this damn president Bush who has to invoke Truman at every whipstitch? Every time Bush compares himself to Truman, I feel a rumble in the ground which is My Man From Independence, two hours down the road, spinning in his grave.

I was just reading this article from the Washington Post called "Hijacking Harry Truman," and totally agree with it. And I found myself adding a few more reasons why this dolt we call a president should be violently restrained from saying he's following Truman's footsteps.

First: this little issue of a war record. In WWI, Truman served as captain of Battery D of the 2nd Battalian, 129th Field Artillery. Served with distinction, always in the front lines with his soldiers even when all hell was breaking loose. And when WWII began, the 57-year-old Truman went to then-General Marshall to re-enlist. General Marshall said Truman would be better off staying where he was.

What did Bush do during Vietnam? To dodge the draft, he went to the Texas Air National Guard. He tested in the 25th percentile out of 100, then leaped ahead of thousands of other Guardsmen (thank God for special privilege) and was given a pilot's post.

Now, hello, Truman would have scorned such use of influence. Back in Kansas City, during the 20's, he worked with Pendergast, the city Boss. Pendergast helped Truman get elected as judge; he wanted a little favoritism in return. "The Boss wanted me to give a lot of crooked contractors the inside and I couldn't," Truman wrote.

"Didn't I tell you boys," Pendergast spouted, "He's the contrariest cuss in Missouri." And then Pendergast never asked Harry to do anything illegal after that.

As far as Bush's record on using influence to his profit, cripes don't get me started.

Second, let's look at Truman's record as a senator. When WWII started and the big corporations started dogging the Department of Defense for contracts at insane prices, Truman started up the Truman Committee to make sure the nation's money was spent wisely. His committee inspected war plants, army posts, and strenuously investigated defense production. They found companies producing faulty airplane engines and ships that broke in two, and made them pay. The Truman Committee's work may have saved the country at least $15 million.

Of course Bush saved the country more money. Somewhere. I don't know where, actually, but that doesn't matter, does it?

Then there's this issue of fighting a pre-emptive war. Guys. The Korean War was not pre-emptive. Communist North Korea marched on U.S.-occupied South Korea. Truman didn't want to start this, which he felt could escalate into WWIII, especially with Russia just waiting for their chance. War was the last thing he wanted.

And then General MacArthur wanted to make the war bigger, wanted to take on the Chinese as well. He wanted to drop atomic bombs on China. So of course Truman did.

No he didn't! He kicked MacArthur's ass out of Korea and replaced him with General Ridgeway! Got a lot of flack for that, but Truman didn't want a war on two fronts, didn't want a war that would create enormous deficits and loss of lives.

Just like George.

The kicker: in the 1948 presidential election, whose side would Bush have been on, Dewey's or Truman's? Hell, he would have voted for Dewey, of course, that arrogant old automaton who was too full of his own ideas to even talk with the common people. Bush would not have voted for Truman, he would have been too busy denouncing him with the rest of the press and the Republicans and the Dixiecrats.

Well, the feeling was mutual. Truman on Dewey, 1948:

"This soft talk and double talk, this combination of crafty silence and resounding misrepresentation, is an insult to the intelligence of the American voter. It proceeds upon the assumption that you can fool all the people -- or enough of them -- all the time."

Or on the Republican doctrine:

"If you can't convince them, confuse them."

Or Republicans in general:

"They dare not answer me. They are afraid to get on the issues. They talk about home, and mother, what a nice country it is, 'you can trust us.'

"You can't trust 'em."

And that just about sums it up, people!

Current music: "Where Are You, Harry Truman" -- Chicago.


Writerious said...

This is what we who actually read history get for being so "reality-based." Why deal with messy old facts when a good lie and a juicy campaign slogan can get you so much further -- especially when someone's tinkering with the Diebold machines in the background...

Melinda said...

I just read yesterday that the Democrats had won the 2004 elections, too. But the places where the ballots were disputed, the votes were taken by automated voting machines -- no paper trail. But exit poll numbers were way higher for Kerry than for Bush, which is a sign that something's wrong. I don't know why more of a kerfluffle wasn't made over that. I'm interested in hearing more.

Melodye said...

"This soft talk and double talk, this combination of crafty silence and resounding misrepresentation, is an insult to the intelligence of the American voter. It proceeds upon the assumption that you can fool all the people -- or enough of them -- all the time."

How scary that we're facing these Orwellian tricks even today. Saddest part: The assumption Truman refers to is true. How do we stop that trend? By speaking truth to power? I dunno. It's hard to be heard over the din of Republican spin.

Melinda said...

We just gotta keep yelling and stick to our guns.

I think there are plenty of people out there that agree with you. Just watch the Daily Show; folks are tired of what this administration is pulling on us.

But it's also hard being heard over the spin that the corporate media interests are putting on the news, too. Check out the news from other places in the world, like the BBC or the CBC, and you'll get a whole different look at America. There's a lot of stuff that our media, obsessed with fluff, just passes by. And a lot of that stuff is damned important.

Okay, I'm off the soapbox now!