Sunday, April 3, 2016

Teddy, Truman and Trump

I've thought for some time that America might need a president like Theodore Roosevelt or Harry Truman.  They were strong larger than life leaders who played a major role in making the United States a strong world power.   Donald Trump is the only current candidate who comes close to the personality of those two.

Teddy Roosevelt inherited the presidency after the assassination of President William McKinley.   The United States had won a war with Spain, but European powers who had designs on Latin American countries that owed money to them didn't regard the United States as a major power.  Roosevelt told them to stay out and he would deal with Latin American debtor nations.  Latin American nations complained about Roosevelt's Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, but his actions prevented European nations from dividing up Latin America the way they were dividing other parts of the world.  Roosevelt's heavy handed approach to Latin America also produced a canal through Panama.

Roosevelt negotiated an end to a war between Japan and Russia and earned a Nobel Peace Prize.  He ended  a west European conflict over control of  Morocco that might have become a major war.

Roosevelt pushed Congress to give the United States one of the world's largest navies.

Harry Truman inherited the presidency upon the  death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt as World War II was ending.   He faced the task of rebuilding a world devastated by years of Depression and war.  He set up the Marshall Plan to help west European countries rebuild their economies so that the communist political political groups couldn't use the situation to gain control of those countries.  He helped the Japanese switch from being a military power to a nation focused on economic goals.  Truman helped establish the United Nations and a system of regional treaties as he made the United States the principle super power.  He kept the country from slipping back into a Depression.

Teddy Roosevelt was the original Bull Moose.  He was out spoken and belligerent with strong opinions.   In 1912, he was so upset with his successor that he ran against him on the "Bull Moose" party ticket.

Harry Truman wasn't a tall man but he would stand up to anyone from Kansas City political strong man Boss Pendergast  to the leader of the Soviet Union Joseph Stalin.  When one of the nation's greatest generals, Douglas MacArthur challenged Truman's decision on how to handle the  Korean War, Truman didn't hesitate to say "you're fired."  Critics sometimes complained about  his crude language.  

Donald Trump is clearly the only "Bull Moose" in the race.  He shares Harry Truman's pen chant for using language that some consider crude.  Donald Trump is  a real larger than life person like Teddy Roosevelt and Harry Truman were.  To borrow an old Flip Wilson tag line "what you see is what you get".   He tells voters what he thinks rather than sticking to a  prepared script like most of the phonies who run for office.   Like Roosevelt and Truman he won't let special interests push him around.

It isn't necessary for presidents to enter office with specific plans for handling all problems.  We need a president who knows how to select qualified subordinates.  Richard Nixon was one of the 20th Century's most intelligent presidents, but he was forced to resign because he chose the wrong people to assist him in the White House.   The War on Terror is going badly in part because President Barack Obama chose an inept Secretary of State named Hillary Clinton. Trump's business success demonstrates he knows how to make good decisions.    The United States is facing a difficult war because of poor presidential decisions.  We need a strong leader who will take charge and make the nation great the way Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and  Harry Truman did.

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