Friday, December 15, 2006

more presidential comparisons

Apparently, de facto President George "Iraq" Bush compares his plight to that of Harry S Truman; he read David McCullough's biography of Truman.* I guess there are some common points. For example, Bush first because President without being elected, and neither was Truman (he succeeded Franklin D. Roosevelt when FDR died in early 1945). Truman fired General Douglas MacArthur for insubordination, over MacArthur's public call for a more aggressive strategy in the Korean War. Bush fired General Eric Shinseki (ok, technically he wasn't fired -- but he was neutered when Bush named a replacement for Shinseki many months before Shinseki's term as Chief of the Joint Staffs was due to end) for publicly stating he thought the US would need 500,000 troops for Iraq. (A difference -- history has proven MacArthur wrong in this instance; it is proving Shinseki right.)

Beyond that, comparisons become difficult. Truman was a straight-talker. Bush is a liar. Truman was a Democrat, Bush a Republican. Truman got involved in a war defending a country (South Korea) that had been invaded by its neighbor. Bush launched a war of aggression (Iraq; again Afghanistan was the right war, although not so well prosecuted as I'd hoped). Truman was widely perceived as being for the little guy, and came from humble roots. Bush's base, by his own admission, is the elite.

Better for Bush to look to his own Republican party for the President with whom he shares the greatest characteristics: Richard M. Nixon. Power grabs, lies, marginalizing other parts of the government, lies, oh and lies -- a much closer fit.

*So when did Bush actually start to read books?


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