Roger L. Simon

Is Trump Ready for Truman's Kitchen?


In 1945, President Harry S. Truman had to make what might be considered the toughest call of anyone in human history — whether to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and, then, Nagasaki.  We know what he decided and most people would agree his decisions worked out well with hundreds of thousands of American and Japanese lives ultimately spared despite the immediate carnage from the nuclear weapons.  And as an important bonus, the display of what the bomb could do has discouraged others from employing them in war since.

Truman was one tough dude.  He was, it’s worth remembering, the man who told us of politics and the presidency, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”  He also opined, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.”  Wise words those.

Barack Obama has been a kind of anti-Truman, hardly ever living up to his word.  Two easy examples are the phony red line to Assad regarding chemical weapons and the now silly-seeming claim that the Iranians would have to allow “anytime, anywhere” inspections in order for us to sign the Iran deal.  Compared to Harry, Barack’s a wimp. That Putin has (literally) pushed him all over the map — first Ukraine, now Syria — is no accident.

So where does The Donald fit in this equation? Superficially, he seems a macho guy, but I’m not sure Truman would approve of his thin skin.  Right now Trump’s announced he’s “boycotting” Fox News because he says he’s not been treated fairly.  Megyn Kelly and Bill O’Reilly have been mean to him.  Maybe so, but at least from my vantage point, Sean Hannity’s been acting like Trump’s virtual press secretary.  You gotta take the good with the bad.  Fox News is no perfect news organization, but I never heard of one that is. And if Trump is trying to play Fox against CNN, I have got bad news for him.  Get in bed with CNN and they will cut your heart out and feed it to all the wolves from here to Alaska when the general election starts.  These are the self-interested creeps who lied about Saddam’s rape rooms, remember, to keep access with the dictator. (Well, maybe Trump doesn’t.  He’s not always up on foreign affairs.)

Trump’s also angry at the gang from the Club for Growth for running commercials in Iowa pointing out that he, in the past at least, has not exactly been Grover Norquist when it comes to lowering taxes.  Well, he wasn’t. But The Donald called out CFG for running ads that were not only “disingenuous, but replete with outright lies, false, defamatory and destructive statements and downright fabrications which you fully know to be untrue.”  The CFG, from their side, told him to “stop whining.”

Hello, kitchen.  I can imagine Harry shaking his head.  What does Donald expect?  Donations to the Trump Foundation? A round of steaks at Peter Luger?  He’s the frontrunner for POTUS.  And the truth is the next POTUS is going to have to be cool, calm and collected as never before because that kitchen is really heating up.  I worry a bit that Trump’s preferred way of dealing with the bad actors heating that kitchen is to make friends with them.  He brags continually how everybody likes him, but Ayatollah Khamenei and Vladimir Putin couldn’t be less interested in palling around.  This “hail fellow well met” approach, though it may work well in business, doesn’t cut it with the KGB and their modern avatars.  It sounds suspiciously like Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Kerry and their reset button.  How’d that work out? And we’re not even mentioning al Qaeda, al Nusra, the Islamic State and the rest of the seventh century religious lunatics whose power grows daily despite pathetic U.S. government attempts to say we are “winning.” The next POTUS may have to refight the Battle of Tours.

So who is ready for Truman’s kitchen?  I’m not saying Donald isn’t, but my eyes are open and yours should be too.  There are at least four others we should be watching who might even be tougher than Trump in the end, better commanders-in-chief. And they are Rubio, Cruz, Fiorina and, yes, Carson, in his quiet way. (He’s certainly been honest about Islam lately.)  Sometimes I think I’ve made up my mind, but I really haven’t.  I’m the Mad Voter, after all, and intend to remain so for a while. But you shouldn’t have made up your mind either.  There’s still a long way to go.

(Artwork created using multiple and AP images.)