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Too Competent

March 2024
1min read

Having been an editorial cartoonist for the newspaper PM in New York City during the Roosevelt years, I was delighted with Charles Monaghan’s piece about political art (October/November 1984). Naturally I kept close watch on the party conventions in those days. Permit me to take exception to one statement in a picture caption: “Truman was assailed as incompetent but joined the ticket… after Roosevelt dropped Wallace as too radical.” FDR did not drop Wallace willingly. He fought hard to keep him, but powerful conservative Democrats continued threatened to block FDR’s nomination. It was they, not he, who considered Wallace a radical. World War II was still on, and FDR wanted to finish the job, so he accepted Truman, thus getting an unprecedented fourth term.

As to Truman’s competence, he was too competent. His senatorial committee investigating war contracts and procurement procedures was doing such a good job that a lot of people wanted him out of the Senate at all costs.

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