April 12, 2010

NO TWO PRESIDENTS WERE EVER MORE DIFFERENT:

Will Bush Be the Next Truman?: This week marks the 65th anniversary of Harry Truman’s inauguration, ex-Bush aide Mark McKinnon sees parallels to another wartime leader deeply unpopular in his day—and wonders how history will treat his boss. (Mark McKinnon & Myra Adams, 4/12/10, Daily Beast)

They both gave hell and got hell.

As presidents, George W. Bush and Harry S. Truman had a lot in common.

Both were skeptical of elites and the media, driven by their faith, had troubled presidencies, made momentous and difficult decisions, took the nation into war, were unpopular in their time and weren’t concerned about it. They deeply believed if they did the right thing, history would sort things out in the end.

This week marks the 65th anniversary of Truman’s inaugural, it’s an appropriate time to remark on his historical evolution and reflect on the similarities between the two presidencies.


There have been only two significant tasks facing presidents for the past seven decades: winding down the Second Way in domestic affairs and hastening the End of History in still benighted foreign lands. Truman failed at both, as did most of his successors. At best, until W, they might have gotten one right--Reagan the latter (ending the Soviet Union), Clinton the former (Welfare Reform). Only W got both right. He will be rehabilitated mostly by the triumph of his ideas, which is in no small part the rejection of Truman's.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 12, 2010 8:02 PM
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