Eisenhower the commander versus Trump the pretender
Washington -- I'm a liberal, and I love Eisenhower Republicans after viewing the new memorial for the 34th president. There are few such moderates left in President Donald Trump's deadly wake.
The dedication ceremony happened on a rainy September night. It made me proud to be an American for the first time in four years. Most Americans, in fact, liked President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a man of few words and no tweets. As the slogan said, "I like Ike."
I wasn't born yet during his presidency of peace and prosperity, but gosh, the 1950s seem swell now. 2020 just brought grief: over 210,000 lost lives in the pandemic and the COVID-19 case-in-chief.
Compared with a boastful president who contaminates the West Wing and the Pentagon with the coronavirus, pays pennies on his taxable wealth, and insults and interrupts through a debate, I like Ike.
Eisenhower's slight smile was calming. Imagine that. You knew what would happen next with a man who knew how to run an army at war and a country at peace. The strong old soldier was everything the slipshod showman Trump is not -- but wishes he was.
The contrast couldn't be clearer as we descend to the lowest rungs of government anyone living can remember.
Close your eyes. Leave Trumpian chaos, fear and uncertainty.
Sixty years ago, Eisenhower, on the cusp of 70, would soon hand the torch to John F. Kennedy, 43, the sunrise of a new generation. While in office, Eisenhower had a heart attack and also underwent surgery at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He didn't do defiant balcony photo-ops. Nor did he order Secret Service agents to drive him around the grounds so he could wave at circus crowds.
Ike wasn't the most exciting guy, but hey, that's OK. He exuded character in command in the father-knows-best spirit.
Eisenhower was a Kansas farm boy who went to West Point and became the supreme allied commander of D-Day. That's the famous 1944 invasion of Normandy, France, which made World War II victory all but certain.