Truman and Vandenberg

What a great two weeks (for me). The week before this past was spent at the beach with the family in Sanibel Florida. Living with the same people in a different environment is a different experience. In addition, watching the Olympics with my son in law was a great opportunity to trade comments-of all sorts. This past week, more Olympics watching, punctuated by grass cutting and errand running. And, the not so great return to reading about and watching the coming elections.

Mr Trump reorganized his effort once again, though the commentators think he will not change what he says and does. As for Mrs Clinton, she ignores Trump and plows on visiting places where her campaign managers think there are voters to be corralled.

One of these people will become president and in my mind I keep going back to Harry Truman, his 1948 election and subsequent actions as President. Much of his activity when he became President involved dealing with the aggressive Russians and helping a flattened Europe get back on its feet. In both cases, he was involved increasingly in foreign affairs, a role the United States had always avoided. So, he had very little previous experience to go on. In addition, Congress was in the hands of Republicans, though fortunately their leadership did not allow some members to run wild with their pet issues.

He based his actions on working with some outstanding men; Dean Acheson as Secretary of State, George Marshall as Secretary of Defense (and anything else he was asked to do) and Arthur Vandenberg as well as some others.  It was not a given that American leadership would move in the direction of supporting continuing involvement in Europe, and this was especially the case with the Republicans in the Senate where this new position would have to be worked through.

As President, he also worked with Senator Arthur Vandenberg, leader of the Republican controlled Senate. Both men had the interests of the country at heart and worked to pass legislation that they both approved of. They developed a mutual trust that led to the Marshall Plan as the tool that led the restoration of Europe’s economic and political structures. Through building support in Congress for rebuilding the military as backbone of resistance to the Russians, Vandenberg was of great support to Truman. In short, together they led the United States into replacing Great Britain as the stabilizer of world affairs.

Congress does not have to be at daggers drawn with a President on every issue.

  1. #1 by Marvin on August 22, 2016 - 3:59 pm

    I look forward to your posts, so welcome back.

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