That the Truman campaign is a template at all is a measure of Obama’s desperation, and of his definitive termination of the politics of hope and change. We associate 1948 with the smiling, triumphant Truman holding up a post-election copy of the Chicago Daily Tribune with the erroneous headline dewey defeats truman. That’s because there are no compelling photos of the low demagoguery that fueled his reelection.
In his book The Last Campaign, Zachary Karabell writes: “It was a campaign of us and them, of anger and bitterness, of the haves and have-nots. Truman fought to lead the country for another four years, and to achieve that victory he was willing to sow dissension, stir up fear, and slander his opponents.” In this sense, President Obama is sure to channel the Spirit of ’48.