By Tom Quiner
This is a trivia quiz: who was the most unpopular President to ever leave office?
- Richard Nixon
- Harry Truman
- George W. Bush
- Herbert Hoover
The answer is Harry Truman. His popularity rating was a scant 22 percent when he left office in 1952, worse even than President Nixon’s 24 percent at the time he resigned from office.
President Truman’s popularity has grown over the years. I pay tribute to him this Memorial Day weekend because of two characteristics Americans find attractive in their leaders. Mr. Truman spoke plainly and honestly. He could be profane, but you knew where he stood, because he was a plain talker.
The second characteristic which is especially appealing these days was his willingness to take responsibility for the actions of the government. The sign on his desk said it all: “the buck stops here.” Contrast that philosophy with the current occupant of the White House who is still blaming his predecessor for every wrong in this country, including the gulf oil spill.
Conservatives of yesterday and today bristle at President Truman’s liberal domestic politics, including his support of National Health Insurance. Nonetheless, let us honor this man who was a practitioner of forthright leadership at a difficult time in our history. America needs you Harry Truman!
Let us honor another President, Ronald Reagan. You’re noticing a trend here, aren’t you? Both of these Presidents were born in the Midwest. I’m kind of partial to Midwesterners. I’m especially partial to this President. I could give you a hundred reasons, but let me leave you with two.
First, Mr. Reagan had a specific vision for America and the world. One of them was to “defeat the ‘Evil Empire.’ “ The political left and the Media (excuse my redundancy) ridiculed his vision. Even more interesting, so did many conservatives. Détente was the operative political strategy of the age among Nixon conservatives.
President Reagan won. The Evil Empire lost. And as a result, the entire world won. A man with a vision and conviction is a force to be reckoned with, and President Reagan was a force we have seldom seen in this country.
Second, Mr. Reagan saw that the greatness, the strength of this great land flowed from the people. He was an optimist who encouraged us to believe in our own strength, our own ability to succeed and prosper if only government would get out of the way.
What a contrast to the current occupant in the White House who views Americans as being weak, as in dire need of massive government intervention in our lives. America needs Ronald Reagan more than ever.
God bless you President Reagan. God bless you President Truman. Thank-you for your contributions to America. You served your nation with honor and dignity.
We salute you.