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President Truman

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Sometimes the average citizen forgets that there is a system of checks and balances that are constantly in motion with the United States government. The president is focused on so much because it is easier to do so. Mainly one person representing an entire branch of government is easier to follow than 100 senators or 435 representatives in congress. The Executive branch gets the most political attention because they are the face of the nation they represent. That does not mean that they are all powerful and whatever they want to accomplish can be done. Congress and the Supreme Court can either challenge or help the Executive branch with every decision that comes through the White House on a daily basis. The relationship with congress during a president’s time in office is crucial to his success. Not much can get done with an entire branch of the government opposing you. If congress helps and then the Supreme Court rules that your legislation is legal than great things can come form a president’s time in office. A large portion of President Obama’s time as a leader of the nation has been spent opposing views of the republican controlled congress. Harry Truman had much of that same difficulty during his tenure. It is hard to look at the past and see the truth but after Truman’s Honey Moon phase of his relationship with congress he had difficulties dealing with the republicans there just like Obama. Truman was quoted as saying “Republicans in Washington have a habit of becoming curiously deaf to the voice of the people” in referring to Republican leaders in Washington (McCullough, p. 661). Obama would most likely agree to this. After a take over of the majority in 2011 Obama has not had significant legislation pass through congress like he did during the first part of his presidency. The Affordable Health Care Act would not have passed if it was being voted on past 2011. “The president had already given up on major legislative action this year (2016), other than an immigration overhaul, and now even that looks implausible” (NY Times). Democrats outnumbered Republicans in the House by 257-199 (Forbes). With Obama having congress on the same page as him things were able to be done. However the view on the accomplishments it is safe to say when both branches work together at least something can be done. After 2011 Obama had a tough time doing anything with a Republican controlled congress. “It’s clear the Republicans do not want to do anything with Obama — nothing,” said Ray LaHood, the Republican former congressman from Illinois who served as the president’s transportation secretary in his first term. “Nobody wants to cast tough votes. Everybody wants to get through these elections and then see what happens” (Baker). Truman can say just about the same thing with his congress during his presidency. Right after the war things were able to get done. The Truman Doctrine helped the nation and his 21 point plan was very bold. Most likely too bold to accomplish everything at once but at least he got his ideas out in the open so the public and congress knew his stance on issues the country faced. What Hamby concluded was that Truman’s vision was "a largely unattainable checklist of legislation" (Wunderlin, p. 99). While the Truman era has been perceived as a stalemate between the executive and legislative branches, and while Congress failed to enact many of Truman's major domestic proposals, he still scored some notable legislative achievements in foreign and military policy. Truman tapped into experiences from his ten years in the Senate to forge relationships with members of Congress at a difficult time. Being a straight forward no bullshit man helped him in a time where leadership was needed. A Democratic President facing a majority Republican Congress and a disgruntled Democratic Party, Truman stands as a model for other presidents during periods of divided government. Truman faced opposition like Obama has had during his eight years. Maybe Obama has modeled some of his relationships with Truman’s success in mind and maybe he has not. Hopefully he has. Both presidents have a very similar situation of opposition and dealing with an opposing majority is an uphill battle. The opposing party made it difficult for both presidents to pass all of the legislation they desired to be in effect. Yet both men made a great impact on their nation they served by passing parts of what they wanted to accomplish. Working with those who disagree with you is a great trait for a leader and that should be part of both men’s legacy.

References
McCullough, David G. Truman. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992. Print.
Dallek, Robert. Harry S. Truman. New York: Times, 2008. Print.
Walker, R., MD. (n.d.). Retrieved March 14, 2016, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/ physiciansfoundation/2014/03/26/a-look-back-at-how-the-president-was-able- to-sign-obamacare-into-law-four-years-ago/#6b42aeb64096
Baker, P. (2014). Obama’s Odds With Congress: Bad to Worse. Retrieved March 14, 2016, from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/13/us/obamas-odds-with- congress-bad-to-worse.html?_r=0
Wunderlin, C. E. (2013). Congress and Harry S. Truman: A Conflicted Legacy. Edited by Donald A.Ritchie. Kirksville, MO: Truman State University Press, 2011. 209 pp. Pres Stud Q Presidential Studies Quarterly, 43(1), 219-220.…...

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