Election Connection

The Truman Show

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has a habit of including Sen. John McCain's middle initial, 'S' when she refers to the presidential candidate.


She did it in Dayton, Ohio last week when McCain announced her as his running mate. And she did it again on Wednesday, in the first moments of her speech to the Republican National Convention.


"And I accept the privilege of serving with a man who has come through much harder missions ... and met far graver challenges ... and knows how tough fights are won - the next president of the United States, John S. McCain."


Could this be a not-so-subtle comparison to another presidential 'S'?


Harry S Truman's legacy has much in common with the Republican nominee. While he was a Democrat raised in the tradition of the Midwest party machine, he was also a combat veteran and his military experience played a large role in his campaign. Others like David Colburn in the Chicago Tribune, have pointed out further similarities.


"But like Truman, McCain does not hesitate to speak his mind. He has also been accused of being impatient and having a temper, much like Truman," Colburn wrote.


McCain's remarkable service is everywhere in this campaign, on both sides of the aisle - Sen. Barack Obama paid homage to him at the Democratic convention in Denver last week, and the RNC's 'Service' and 'Country First' signs leave little to the imagination.


To get a larger sense of how presidents' military experience influenced their campaigns, check out this clip from American Experience. Did it matter that Harry Truman was a combat veteran? Will McCain's experience in Vietnam make a difference in 2008?


Ryan said:

Palin launched attacks at Obama last night talking about how he has not the same experience as she has. However she has 5 kids @ home who need her @ home. I mean one who has down syndorome and another one pregant @ 17 she needs to be home leading her children not trying to run the government. I do not mean that a mother can't run the country it is just having young kids @ home and being a mother you need to spend time investing in them not running for V.P. Maybe like Mrs. Clinton when your kids are grown you can run for President. You do not have as many distractions. This is how I feel. Women can do a great job if they have very little or no distractions. I take nothing away from her leadership capabilites but she has to many problems at home to try to run as a V.P.

Mothers need support to raise a child. They need to be at home with there children not running the country when they can't even run there own household. Her children need her at home not trying to run for V.P. It shows her husband can't do it all! Women need support from the whole household! And Palin instead of putting her self before her kids she needs to put her kids before her self!

Palin lied about the bridge in Alaska and how she got federal funds to build it and then rejected it! She has mislead the nation for she is under investagation by her own state for misconduct! She also has lost focused on the issues on home instead choosing to attack Obama on his record not on the economy! She is no doubt inexperienced to be a V.P. and needs to attend to her family needs not her own!

Slava said:

So, who is running for president here? It is well known, and McCain made it even clearer in his speech, that he is a good servant and soldier for his country. And that's great and deserves all kinds of respect. But the country needs a LEADER, not a SERVANT, for a president. Yes, there is a concept of a "servant leader" out there, and that can work very well at small management level, but not for a commander-in-chief and president of the United States of America!

With all the hype around Palin in the last few days, it begins to look like it is she who is running to become the president. And considering McCain's age and medical history, that very well maybe so. However, aren't you scared of just a thought of a pregnant, about to give birth woman directing US Armed Forces in two already existing wars? And in such a psychologically unstable state, it's not that hard to, say, decide to invade Iran too.... This may sound very sexist, but anyone who knows anything about the hormonal and psychological effects of a pregnancy on a woman cannot disregard that as an issue. And remember -- Palin just had a kid and apparently is against any birth control! So, who knows, there maybe another one on the way...

tandon said:

I am Republican and I feel Republican is doing injustice to American people by deviating from the issue based politics to talking 24/7 about Palin. I am surprised how dumb and stupid we American can become when we are moved by star power. McCain is playing negative politics by letting American talk about Palin instead of issues. He is Maveric, but what he is doing now hiding behind Palin and that is not positive.

The biggest stupidity is we are talking about VP candidates instead of Presidential candidate. Why? Can anyone explain? Palin is running for VP and not for President. It is an important duty of Media to explain to American citizen what they should focus on right now and talk something about President and not VP candidate personality.

On the other side if McCain is true hero and have guts American would love him if talk more of issue and how he will resolve them – “Heads on with Obama” and come out victorious. As of now I see that Republican are not doing good job and bound to loose.

Leave a comment

We welcome your comments, and hope to host energetic, civil discussions. As you post, please keep the following in mind:

  • Keep your comments focused on the topic at hand.
  • Don't use profanity, personal attacks or hate speech.
  • Don't promote a business or raise money.
  • When all else fails, think "Golden Rule": Treat others the way you'd like to be treated yourself.

We reserve the right to remove posts that don't follow these guidelines. By clicking submit, you acknowledge that you have read and agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Type the characters you see in the picture above.

About this blog
PBS Engage, public broadcasting's social media initiative, and PBS Vote 2008 are finding the best elections content from across public media and our partners and bringing it to you. We're following the campaigns and highlighting in-depth coverage. Feel free to leave a comment, send us an e-mail, or suggest a topic!
Keep in touch with election coverage from PBS and public media. Sign up for our RSS feed.
Recent Comments

Support Provided By: