Perhaps you, like me, watched the two infomercials staged as political conventions. There were highlights in both. In the GOP convention we were struck by Ann Romney’s great speech in support of her husband and particularly aimed to women. The line that grabbed me was, “We’re too smart to know there aren’t easy answers. But we’re not dumb enough to accept that there aren’t better answers.” Unfortunately, the public didn’t get much better answers. Bill Clinton was undeniably the highpoint for the Democrats.
We are not naïve enough to believe that honesty, straight talk and detailed agendas could prevail in today’s environment but we couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened if Harry Truman had been our president making this speech. I suspect it would have begun by “fessing up” what we already know, that the change he promised us in 2008 hasn’t happened and that he, as president, is where the buck stops. But Truman would have straightaway acknowledged that this nation’s problems, notably the economy, were much worse than he had been told before taking office and that we came dangerously close to an economic Armageddon. He could honestly report that his total energy that first year was spent trying to avoid bank and financial collapses, the failure of the automobile industry, even more massive repossessions in mortgages and the resultant panic that might have resulted, similar to The Great Depression.
“Give ‘em Hell Harry” would not have minced words in criticizing a Congress that was more interested in partisan politics, in both houses and from both parties, than in doing what was best for this country. If Obama loses I think he can place a lot of blame at the feet of Nancy Pelosi for manipulating TARP into a Democratic social agenda. We came close to the economic brink because of partisanship in Congress and other than the Affordable Care Act, compromised to the point of not being enough reform, Obama was pretty much blocked by a Senate that couldn’t prevent filibusters and a House intimidated by Tea Party supporters and Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform. Truman would have correctly called them a “do nothing” Congress.
I would liked to have had Obama admit he hadn’t been as successful as we or he had hoped for, telling us he had learned many lessons along the way and to hear him make his case for why now is not the time to change horses in the middle of a stream.