A very good post, although I don’t agree with the premise from “A Big Fat Slob”.
According to the latest USA Today/Gallup survey, 62% of Americans disapprove of the job that the Bush regime is doing. The poll was taken March 23 through 25; when the same survey was taken March 21-23, 2005, the disapproval rating was “only” 49%. Since then, over half of Americans have pretty consistently said that “Bush sucks”.
Yet, this regime continues to operate like it had a mandate (which it NEVER had). It is the arrogance of power; nearly everyone in the country opposes nearly everything that Bush and Cheney and Gonzales and Rice and the rest of the cabal does. Yet, they smirk and say, “Just try and stop us”.
The Bush regime likes to compare themselves to Harry Truman, who also had below 50% approval ratings in his last two years in office. Truman, they remind us, is now a highly regarded President. The implication that the Bush toadies would like us to draw is that history vindicated Truman in the same way that history will vindicate this gang of criminals and incompetents.
What the Bush apologists ignore — and depend on everyone else ignoring — is that history did not vindicate Truman. At least not in the manner that Bush would like us to assume.
Truman’s low marks at the end of his term, and subsequent withdrawal from his reelection campaign, resulted from the morass of the Korean War and his sacking of MacArthur. Ike was elected on the promise that HE’D go to Korea and clean up the mess left by Truman. Scandal and corruption at high levels in his administration, and his failure to deal with Congress to get his legislation passed, also contributed to his low scores on the national approval polls.
Today, Truman’s standing is not based on Korea, his domestic agenda, nor on any revisionist vindication of the corrupt elements of his administration. Truman is today honored (and we’ll leave it to the reader to decide if justly) for the successful conclusion of the wars against Germany and Japan, for the Marshall Plan, for the United Nations, the Truman Doctrine, Israel, and NATO. It is the perceived good done by Truman before those horrid last two years and apart from his outrageously incompetent and wrong-headed domestic policies (such as loyalty oaths), which serve as the base for his honored status today.
Truman’s handling of Korea is still viewed as pretty much the disaster that it was seen as back in the day. But Truman’s presidency had other successes, which history has judged outweighed the failures.
What are the successes on which Bush expects history to weigh him more successful than
6362% of his fellow citizens view him today? That’s not rhetorical — there are none. Not one. Much less any that would overcome the rank incompetence, the heavy hands, the corruption and criminality, the complete, miserable failure which is, and has been from first to last, the hallmark of this presidency.
A very good post, but, I disagree strongly with your assessment of the Truman “legacy”. Truman is given credit mostly for his “containment” policy and for not giving in to going nuclear in Korea, which many, especially MacArthur wished to do. The same could be said of the Iraq War.
I’m not saying that history will vindicate the current administration, but there are many simliar parallells to the causes of their administration. Right now the fear that I have, is that this will become similar to the Johnson (Andrew) Presidency, where you have a stubborn President, who will be wielding a veto pen frequently, and a Congress that will not let the President have any wiggle room. The real problem will be that legislation with regard to immigration, where there is enough consensus to sign a meaningful bill, budget items, review of Title I, and a score of other initiatives, including Coleman’s stem cell compromise may go down the drain, as the statements from DNC insiders are saying, they are not going to give this guy anything to hang his hat on.
In the end history will judge Iraq, not the present day, and we’re talking 30 to 50 years minimum before the fruits of this action are seen. Candidly, there are also major social differences in the mindframe of the American public regarding casualties and activity in a war. In the 1950’s the burden of the military was shared more equally by society at large, conscription was a fact of life, and though there were deferrments, the reasons and allowance of them were not easily given. The country also had a mindframe, and I think it was formed by the toughness of their life, that this country could stoicly take casualties. This was a nation that endured 100,000 KIA, Wounded and POW in one battle, The Ardennes, only five to ten years before. Also, the Great Depression, which had an equallizing effect on society, in that all classes were hit hard, although as always those with the least means were hit hardest, and society was better able to endure setbacks. I think that the American psychology of the Baby Boomers and subsequent generations, is just not able to endure the television and access to information about daily losses.
Again, the causes can fairly be disputed towards their differences, but that card is casually and incorrectly played.
America had a more America is right attitude, and today’s attitudes are more complex. This is not to classify “The Greatest Generation” as simplistic, but there was a simpler day to day attitude, and a world view that was certainly America first. This was greatly caused by Pearl Harbor, as America had been fiercely isolationist prior to WWI and between the wars. So, taken that value of isolationism, and add the other factors, plus the seeing the war on television everyday, it is understandable why this generation reacts differently. Candidly, the 40’s and 50’s would look at the 3,000 KIA and think it was a battle, not a four year war.