Regarded as one of the great populist campaigns of American history, Truman's 1948 whistle-stop tours showed millions of Americans a common man battling for the rights of other common men. But Truman, like FDR (especially in his 1944 SOTU address--see 6th paragraph from the end) was willing to denounce Republicans in the most strident terms, far meaner than what we see today (other than in lefty blogs), at least so far. Here's a sample, from his October 25, Chicago speech:
We must not imagine, just because we love freedom, that freedom is safe--that our freedom is safe. Eternal vigilance is still the price of liberty.
Other people have also loved freedom, but have lost their liberty with tragic suddenness.
It happened in Italy 25 years ago. It happened in Germany 15 years ago. It happened in Czechoslovakia just a few months ago. And it could happen here.
I know that it is hard for Americans to admit this danger. American democracy has very deep roots. But, if the antidemocratic forces in this country continue to work unchecked, this Nation could awaken a few years from now to find that the Bill of Rights had become a scrap of paper.
My friends, that must never happen! Look back over history, and you will find that wherever ruthless men have destroyed liberty and human rights, certain economic and social forces had paved the way for them.
What are these forces that threaten our way of life? Who are the men behind them? They are the men who want to see inflation continue unchecked. They are the men who are striving to concentrate great economic power in their own hands. They are the men who are setting up and stirring up racial and religious prejudice against some of our fellow Americans.
I propose to state in simple, unmistakable language, just exactly how each of these three groups of men--working through the Republican Party, if you please--is a serious threat to the future welfare of this great Nation.
And it gets better, with references to the big businessmen behind Hitler and the other fascists and charges of racial and religious prejudice. Watch out, whoever gets the Republican nomination for a Truman-style campaign.