Where's Harry Truman?



I'm no Harry Truman fan (and don't even me started on James Whitmore). But Larry Kudlow rightly calls out for the miniature Missourian when it comes to out-of-control and corrupt spending in Iraq.

Special K's basic point is this:

But [inspector general for the Iraq reconstruction Stuart] Bowen says this is a problem that began at home: "[T]he Bush administration's overall handling of Iraq contracting—from relying on no-bid contracts even when major fighting had ended, to failing to standardize contracting regulations to help prevent fraud—was deeply flawed." He goes on to say that the U.S. has not provided the proper contracting and procurement support necessary to manage reconstruction efforts that were begun three years ago, and also cites widespread mismanagement among competing U.S. government agencies.

What does this have to with Harry Truman?

When Truman was an unknown senator from Missouri during WWII, he chaired hearings that rooted out corruption in various war-related contracts among defense suppliers. In doing so, he made a real name for himself as a corruption fighter, prompting FDR to put him on the presidential ticket in 1944….

The senator held numerous hearings in Washington, and traveled all over the country gathering facts and figures on the building of ships, warplanes and various plants. He investigated giant corporations, small businesses and unions, turning up all manner of bad planning, sloppy administration, poor workmanship, and cheating by labor and management.

And count Kudlow among conservative hawks whose enthusiasm for the Iraq War is plummeting:

I want to win this war. I do not want to cut and run. I agree with President Bush's basic mission of spreading democracy and freedom to the Middle East.

But after three democratic elections in Iraq, a wondrous advance for democracy, it still does not seem that we are winning this war. And if we are not winning it, then one has to worry about the possibility that we may lose it. And that would be a very bad thing.


Whole thing here.

Hey Steve Earle or Tim Robbins, why don't you stage a version of Arthur Miller's war-profiteer thumbsucker All My Sons and set it during the Iraq War?

Gratuitous but funny Catholic-bashing quote from Bess Truman here.

NEXT: Air Products Feels the Joementum

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  1. Of course, Truman lived by the motto “The Buck Stops Here.”
    Bush does not live by that motto.

  2. That Bess Truman quote reminds me of what her husband said in 1960, denying that his opposition to JFK’s presidential candidacy (Truman preferred his fellow Missourian Stuart Symington) was motivated by anti-Catholicism:

    “It’s not the Pope that worries me–it’s the Pop!”

  3. So, what’s not to love about Harry? All you really need to know is that none of the kingmakers in either party (including FDR) ever wanted him to actually become President. Might be nice to have a President who didn’t owe the power of his office to anyone and was willing to say what he thought, consequences be damned.

  4. I’m going to guess that Bess’ comment was referring to an unexpected case of the preggers…

  5. Can someone explain to me how that quote is anti-Catholic? I’m afraid I don’t quite get it.

  6. anonymous coward:

    Let me get you Bill Donahoe’s number…

  7. The source of the quote, incidentally, is Margaret Truman, who recalled Bess saying it when Margaret announced she was pregnant again.

    Apparently, Bess could be quite acerbic: “As an 8-year-old, Margaret ran into the house one day and called out, ‘Mother, am I adopted?’ ‘No,’ Bess replied. ‘If you were, we would have done better.'”


  8. Walsh: Bill Donahoe? The salesman? Is he to sell AC the idea of that quote being anti-Catholic?

    I’d have thought it referenced the Catholic love of birth control, but it is really quite tame.

  9. The mismanagement of the Iraq “reconstruction” effort, and the resultant waste (and outright theft) of the funds alloted for it, do not get anywhere near the coverage they deserve. Another example, as if one were needed, of the intrinsic corruption and incompetence of government agencies and the people who infest them. I would heartily endorse capital punishment as an appropriate penalty for malfeasance, or simple incompetence, in “public office.”

    Maybe Kudlow has finally begun to regain his power of independent thought; I would like to think so.

  10. Kudlow does an unintentionally entertaining, deadpan impersonation of Phil Hartman, which I quite enjoy. I regret that he is unable or unwilling to take his more idiotic guests to task (Nancy Pelosi comes to mind) for their embarrassing revelations of free-market ignorance, but one can’t have it all.

  11. chaired hearings that rooted out corruption in various war-related contracts among defense suppliers.

    Maybe the chairman of the Armed Services Comm. can take on that role.

    Oh. Duncan Hunter. Nevermind.

  12. Liberuls are a disgusting breed until you need them, eh Nick, does that about size it up?

    Roy Rogers, the comic cowboy and democrat from back then, once said that the only real difference between a republican and a deocrat is that republicans don’t trust democrats, while democrats don’t trust republicans or democrats.

    I would add that a libertarian is someone who trusts republicans and hates democrats, but doesn’t have anyone to call on when the republicans mount them and begin humping.

    (I support neither Dems nor Repubs, but I laugh at the notion that there is such a thing as a small government republican)

  13. I recall lauditory stories in Time Magazine during 2003 about how our brilliant officers were handing out suitcases full of cash to locals, with very little oversight, to buy their support or, at least, their quiet.

    This was a Very Good Thing, and demonstrated that our officers were so much better than the bean counting bureacrats (who weren’t Real Men, anyway) back in in Washington. It also showed the wisdom of the administration and the E-ring, who didn’t allow said unmanly bean counters to interfere with the manly, boots on the ground work of the troops.

  14. “Well, you’re not a Catholic, so I can only conclude that you’re careless.”

    As a Catholic, I am not offended, only bewildered.

    The source of the quote, incidentally, is Margaret Truman, who recalled Bess saying it when Margaret announced she was pregnant again.

    Ah. Thanks for the context. Still not offended; kind of amused.

    Funnier: “What do you call people who practice the ‘rhythm method’ of birth control?” “Parents.”

    (Yes, yes, I have been told this can actually be effective if you pay attention to all the stuff you’re supposed to pay attention to. Still funny.)

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