Streetwise Professor

April 5, 2008

It’s A Feature, Not A Bug, Part II

Filed under: Military,Politics — The Professor @ 8:29 am

Newsweek, font of Liberal Conventional Wisdom–LCW–has put its imprimatur on Campaign Meme 2008: John McCain is too dangerously hot tempered to be president. According to this article by Michael Hirsch, McCain is in the habit of intimidating European diplomats and members of the American striped pants set.

Like I say: feature, not bug.

And a little history is in order. Presumably even some modern liberal Democrats admire Harry Truman. News flash, guys, but Give ‘Em Hell Harry was also known to chew out foreign diplomats. When meeting with Molotov–Molotov!–Truman pressed the Soviet to live up to the Yalta agreements. Truman said: “I gave it to him straight. I let him have it. I gave him the straight one-two to the jaw. ” Molotov replied: “I have never been talked to like that in my life” (a dubious assertion, given that he was Stalin’s henchman for years, but no matter). Truman replied: “Carry out your agreements and you won’t get talked to like that.”

Hear, hear! We need more of that, not less, and if McCain is hardwired to deliver it, all the better.

Truman also dripped with disdain for the State Department, whom he derisively referred to as the “striped pants boys.” Truman particularly disliked their Arabism, and barely concealed anti-Semitism, and realized that they were prepared to sell Israel down the river. Truman put a stop to that. Again: hear, hear! It would be refreshing indeed to have a president that knows how to put the State Department in its place, which, if I understand the Constitution, is in subordination to the president, and charged with carrying out his policies, rather than indulging their own. But I’m just a simple Midwestern guy (like Truman), and perhaps I don’t have the same sophisticated understanding of these matters as the denizens of Foggy Bottom.

Paul Johnson notes: “Truman was not a member of the wealthy, guilt-ridden East Coast establishment [i.e., Newsweek‘s readership, stagnant as it is, as well as the prime recruiting grounds for the State Department and CIA] and had none of Roosevelt’s progressive fancies. He was ignorant, but he learned fast; his instincts were democratic and straightforward.” Our day’s guilt-ridden East Coast establishment tolerates–and sometimes even promotes–McCain when he is useful as a weapon against betes plus noir, but at the end of the day he is as alien to its sensibilities as Truman was to its 1940s predecessor. Consequently, you can expect to see much more of this meme in the next 7 months. And they will be doing McCain a big favor, because the people that McCain needs to win over to prevail in the presidential race will view the criticisms of the Micheal Hirschs of the world as an endorsement, a very badge of honor.

Give ‘Em Hell, John.

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