O’Reilly Interview of Obama
Reminds Me of a Truman Story

 By Jim Berlin 

When it comes to politicians my hope does not spring eternal. When Bill O’Reilly did his pre-Super Bowl interview with President Obama, it did not spring past the first 60 seconds.

Obama, nattily dressed in a tailored Teflon coat, easily danced and slip-slided through questions on Benghazi, IRS harassment of conservative groups and why the ever-earnest-yet-always-confused face of Kathleen Sebelius still leads the government assault on health care.

All we learned for sure from the interview is the chief executive believes that – if not for Fox News and people like O’Reilly – hardly anyone would be saying bad things about him. Unfortunately, he’s right.

But Teflon coats are nothing new in the White House closet. In fact, we have to go all the way back to Harry Truman in 1950 to find an instance of a president speaking truth straight from the gut…

After severely criticizing the professional singing voice of Truman’s daughter, Margaret, Washington Post music critic Paul Hume received a letter from Harry: If we ever meet, Truman promised, “you’ll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for your black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!”

 But here’s the really telling part of that story: Truman showed the letter to his aides before sending it, and to a man they warned him it would be a PR disaster. “You don’t know human nature,” he said.

When the music critic published the letter (fully expecting an avalanche of public sympathy), 80 percent of Americans stood up and cheered for Harry. Threatening to kick a guy’s ass for messing with your kid? That was just fine with The Greatest Generation.

But that was a different time, a different president. Before Teflon. When hope sprang eternal.