The Corner

Ah, the Good Old Days of Bipartisanship

In a new collection of letters to and from John F. Kennedy, publication slated to coincide with November’s sad anniversary, I find the following, in a letter from former president Harry Truman to then-President Kennedy, dated June 28, 1962:

It looks as if the Republerats haven’t changed a bit since 1936.

Yes, I know Harry Truman was renowned for his forthright and salty tongue, and that he was a partisan. But “Republerats”? It lowers him in my estimation that he would sink to such a dismissive, low-rent coinage. It’s as if one of my intelligent liberal friends today were to say “Rethuglican,” or one of my intelligent conservative friends were to use the word “libtard.” Harry Truman stood for some great American values, not least in his steadfast stand against the Communists in the crucial postwar days when they were seriously eyeing Europe; disappointing that in some regards he would have felt quite at home in the combox culture of 2013.


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