October 24, 2011
For Obama, Is It 1948 Redux?
In selling his American Jobs Act and setting himself up for the 2012 presidential campaign, many pundits have noted that President Obama appears to be engineering a "Give 'em Hell Harry" or a "Do Nothing Congress" campaign, referring to Harry Truman's amazing come-from-behind 1948 victory. But few know that the original Truman campaign was also a political contrivance. Going into the primaries, things looked bad for Truman. During the previous midterm elections, the Republicans won control of both houses of Congress. Only 32% of the country approved of Truman's job performance. And Democratic leaders hinted that Truman should not run for reelection. Indeed, perceiving Truman's weakness, the Democratic Party splintered: conservative Southern Democrats followed Strom Thurman and formed the "Dixiecrats," and liberal Democrats followed Henry Wallace and formed the Progressive Party. On November 19, 1947, the now-legendary Democratic strategist Clark Clifford...(Read Full Article)