Editorial failed to understand Truman

To the editor:

Wednesday’s Adirondack Daily Enterprise editorial, “Where’s the buck on” used a picture of a great president – Harry S Truman, with his famous desk sign, “The buck stops here!” I am a sucker for any picture showing Harry S. Truman, so I expected something pretty good to follow.

Unfortunately, whoever wrote the editorial doesn’t understand what that desk sign meant to Harry Truman.

It did not mean, as the editorial argues, that anything that went wrong in federal government was the president’s responsibility, at least not to President Truman.

In his own words, that sign meant that the “president – whoever he is – has to decide. He can’t pass the buck to anybody. No one else can do the deciding for him. That’s his job,” according to the Truman Museum and Library’s transcript of Truman’s farewell address.

The editorial suggested that President Obama had not acted in a Truman-like manner. The facts, however, show that Mr. Obama stood fast on the Affordable Care Act against a rabble of misinformed folks who see nothing good in anything Mr. Obama proposes. In short, Mr. Obama decided and made it stick.

Though he tried, Mr. Truman was not able to get universal health coverage through Congress. Mr. Truman was despised then by editorialists, too, as ineffective and difficult, and even indecisive.

Mr. Obama himself has personally acknowledged being disappointed and upset that the computer system for health care registration did not work smoothly. Perhaps someone should be, or has already been fired, because of the problems, just as a newspaper routinely fires writers for mistakes or pressmen for delayed print runs or carriers for late delivery – or goofy editorials.

When it comes to this particular unattributed, unsigned editorial, I wonder if this was just one sent from the corporate office in West Virginia to be run. The ADE staff whom I know seem much too bright to have written this editorial, and it would be nice to know “where the buck stops.”

Philip Williams

Saranac Lake