Harry Truman: Phony Democrats

In only one short year, Democrats have managed to redirect away from the Republicans and at the Democrats the rage voters felt at Bush, Cheney and Republicans for destroying our economy and our country .

In only one short year, Democrats drove up deficits to bailout Wall Street and fund two wars nobody wants but Republicans.   They couldn’t manage to reinstate usury laws or Glass-Steagall, but they sure as hell could pass bankruptcy reform just in time for the meltdown.  Only tone deaf, elitist Democrats living in Washington’s bubble could possibly blow blue MA and lose Ted Kennedy’s seat.  

Democrats ran on change and proceeded to deliver Bush and Clinton’s third terms.  And if they think people are angry at them now, just wait until they use deficit reduction to cut Social Security and Medicare instead of raising taxes on the rich and corporations.  

By surrounding Obama with Clinton and Goldman Sachs’ reruns, the idiots in charge of this Party managed to make a liar out of Obama the reform candidate, a hypocrite out of President Obama and destroy the party and country’s desperately needed opportunity for real, fundamental reform.  Instead of a New Deal, a Fair Deal, they gave all of their supporters a raw deal.

Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.


The words of Harry S. Truman

Address at the National Convention Banquet of the Americans for Democratic Action.

May 17, 1952

(source: Truman Presidential Museum and Library)


“You can always count on the Republicans, in an election year, to remind the people of what the Republican Party really stands for. You can always count on them to make it perfectly clear before the campaign is over that the Republican Party is the party of big business, and that they would like to turn the country back to the big corporations and the big bankers in New York to run it as they see fit. They are just not going to do it.

Just leave them alone, and the Republicans will manage to scare the daylights out of the farmer and the wage earner and the average American citizen. They always do that….

This year they are at it again. The Republicans think they have been so successful with their campaign of smears and character assassination that they have the Democrats on the run. And they just can’t restrain themselves enough to hide their true colors until after the election. They are too impatient. First one way and then another they are giving themselves away….

The main body of the Republican leaders are doing just what they do every election year. They are making it good and plain to the American people that so far as domestic policies are concerned, the Republican Party is the party of reaction and the party of special privilege….

Now, we can always rely on the Republicans to help us in an election year, but we can’t count on them to do the whole job for us. We have got to go out and do some of it ourselves, if we expect to win.

The first rule in my book is that we have to stick by the liberal principles of the Democratic Party. We are not going to get anywhere by trimming or appeasing. And we don’t need to try it.

The record the Democratic Party has made in the last 20 years is the greatest political asset any party ever had in the history of the world. We would be foolish to throw it away. There is nothing our enemies would like better and nothing that would do more to help them win an election.

I’ve seen it happen time after time. When the Democratic candidate allows himself to be put on the defensive and starts apologizing for the New Deal and the fair Deal, and says he really doesn’t believe in them, he is sure to lose. The people don’t want a phony Democrat. If it’s a choice between a genuine Republican, and a Republican in Democratic clothing, the people will choose the genuine article, every time; that is, they will take a Republican before they will a phony Democrat, and I don’t want any phony Democratic candidates in this campaign.

But when a Democratic candidate goes out and explains what the New Deal and fair Deal really are — when he stands up like a man and puts the issues before the people — then Democrats can win, even in places where they have never won before. It has been proven time and again.

We are getting a lot of suggestions to the effect that we ought to water down our platform and abandon parts of our program. These, my friends, are Trojan horse suggestions. I have been in politics for over 30 years, and I know what I am talking about, and I believe I know something about the business. One thing I am sure of: never, never throw away a winning program. This is so elementary that I suspect the people handing out this advice are not really well-wishers of the Democratic Party.

More than that, I don’t believe they have the best interests of the American people at heart. There is something more important involved in our program than simply the success of a political party.

The rights and the welfare of millions of Americans are involved in the pledges made in the Democratic platform…. And those rights and interests must not be betrayed.

These are some of the principles for which the Democratic Party stands…. We stand for better education, better health, greater opportunities for all. We stand for fair play and decency, for freedom of speech and freedom of the press, and the cherished principle that a man is innocent until he is proven guilty.

Taken together, these principles are the articles of the liberal faith. I am sure that the liberal faith is the political faith of the great majority of Americans. It sometimes happens that circumstances of time and place combine to deny its expression. But the faith is there, and the reactionaries can never hope to have any but temporary advantage in this country.

If Obama doesn’t retire the Clintons and fire Geithner and Rahm now, 2010 and 2012 will be a blood bath for incumbents everywhere.  Obama should surround himself with the people who believe in and represent the fundamental change he promised, and he should tell Republicans to get the hell out of the way or else.  He won’t, but he should.  


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    • Edger on January 21, 2010 at 00:31
  1. ….but, unfortunately Harry Truman was himself a totally phony Democrat in my book.

    This is the guy who needlessly dropped two Atomic Bombs on Japan (a very Dick Cheney thing to do), as WWII was already winding down, and it was a foregone conclusion who had won.  As a consequence, millions of people died (and suffered horrible after effects), and the Soviet Union then felt compelled (justifiably) to develop its own weapons – and the global Nuclear age was launched for real.

    Next, Truman rejected the wise Franklin Rooselvelt-Henry Wallace policy of mutual cooperation with Russia (our ally in both WWII and WWI), and instead created the Orwellian National Security State than totally transformed our Nation into slaves at the mercy of Permanent Global Warfare.

    No longer was America the land of liberty — but it now was itself emulating the corrupt tactics and institutions of NAZI Germany — with 24/7 global CIA criminal activity, government secrecy, intimidation of pacifists, and non-stop Hot and Cold Wars.

    Finally, Truman set the new unconstitutional precedent of starting Wars without any formal Declaration of War by Congress, and got us involved in the futile and wasteful Korean War. Despite the unpopularity of that War, it opened the gateway for the presidential successors of Truman to also now start Wars, launch Invasions, and expand Wars, as a matter of routine (namely Lyndon Johnson, Nixon, both Bushes, Clinton, Obama).

    Truman was the ultimate Neocon, unlike Roosevelt, unlike Kennedy, and unlike Roosevelt’s first VP Henry Wallace.

    Those men were real Democrats.

    Harry Truman was not, and our Country has never recovered.

  2. I’m not going to spend 2 diaries explaining why I thought the DLC stuff in ’88 was going to be something new, AND, kill off fascist lies AND completely marginalize the fascist liars…

    ha ha ha. what an idiot!

    what did clammyc say on kos yesterday?

    ‘no message, no action, no base’

    oh well, maybe instead of my old home of MA. being the Big Zer0’s waterloo, maybe it will be the begining of somethign beyond Hopey McChange?

    ha ha ha.



  3. Truman’s decisions regarding the dropping of the A-bombs in 1945 will forever be debated. He no doubt realized at the time that no matter which decision he made, he would be criticized for generations.  

    Truman was mostly kept in the dark by Roosevelt, and faced an extremely steep learning curve when he suddenly assumed the Oval Office on April 12, 1945, less than a month prior to the victory in Europe and only about four months prior to the end of hostilities with Japan.  

    The temporary unity that existed in this country during the war effort quickly disintegrated once the troops returned home with literally dozens of political brushfires suddenly dotting the landscape.  Democratic control of Congress evaporated with the elections in 1946.  

    We may recall that a certain Representative from Wisconsin by the name of Joseph McCarthy rose to prominence soon afterward, and seemed, for a time, to have nearly all of his colleagues cowering in his shadow, including LBJ and Nixon.  I would seriously doubt that McCarthy, who enjoyed an extreme degree of power for a time considered Truman to be a hawk.  We may also recall that after the Truman administration, this country elected a World War II general to the Oval Office while the Cold War continued and if anything, escalated further.  

    Truman successfully resisted entreaties from his top military brass to pre-emptively carpet bomb mainland China and the Soviet Union with nuclear weapons.

    Although Truman will always be open to criticism, some of it valid, I don’t think anyone could credibly brand him a coward, and don’t believe that he pandered to his political opposition in the manner that we’ve seen during the Clinton and Obama administrations.  Similarly, I don’t believe he could be labeled as a corporatist and was not afraid to do battle on behalf of the common people.  We may forget that he displayed a sincere effort to enact universal healthcare in this nation, only to be rebuffed by deeply entrenched interests.  

    Truman assumed office under what may well have been the most challenging of circumstances for any of our Presidents. He at least made a sincere effort, on several fronts, to enact beneficial change for the rank and file in this country.  

    LBJ’s escalation of the Vietnam Conflict remains as a great stain on his presidency, however, he also presided over the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, representing significant, but incomplete steps in the right direction.  He also realized that the Democratic Party would suffer in the Deep South for at least a generation after having passed this legislation.  The Deep South used to be solidly Democratic.  Can any of you remember when that was most recently the case?    

    Since that time, which president of any party has demonstrated a sincere effort to stand up for the people rather than the corporations?  

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