Harry Truman helped me through some difficult times. 

Yes, I know; that’s weird.

In a period that was stressful for a number of reasons that are happily in the past, I tackled David McCullough’s Truman. It took forever to read this 1120 page book. After all, those more difficult moments usually aren’t the ones that leave you with tons of energy at the end of the day. McCullough doesn’t weave fairy tales nor deal in hagiography, but each Truman story left me stronger than it found me. 

I know; that’s weird.

They called him “Give Em Hell Harry” because he during a speech a supporter called out, “Give em hell, Harry,” as Truman attacked his political opponents. In response he said, “I don’t give them hell. I just tell the truth about them and they think it’s hell,” during the 1948 presidential campaign. “Give Em Hell Harry” became a lifelong slogan among Truman supporters. It was also the name of a biographical play and a movie about the president. In Roger Ebert’s review of the movie, he make’s reference to “Harry Truman’s unique ability to say what he thought in any way he damn well pleased.” This play was anchored around a series of events in Truman’s life, capturing the various roles he performed throughout his life of service.

While Truman objects to the charge that he gave anyone hell, it seems less likely that he’d argue that he wasn’t the recipient of his fair share. A big portion of that was at the hands of Douglas MacArthur.

Give Em Hell Harry vs. Dugout Doug sounds like it should be a stop-motion claymation brawl.

I know; that’s weird.

In this brawl, Dugout Doug violated the established terms between them by making statements that were contrary to the US official position in Korea, and more specifically contrary to Truman’s position. His rogue activities crippled US aims. Harry had to act, and dismissed MacArthur.

At this point, MacArthur was a bit of a public darling and Truman couldn’t compete in the popularity contest. In fact, Truman’s approval rating dipped down to 22% in February 1952, the lowest Gallup poll rating of any sitting United States President.

Truman faced combat in World War I, succeeded to the presidency during World War II, survived a 1950 assassination attempt, and then this! No wonder he liked to have a shot of bourbon in the morning and a cocktail in the evening.


The cake: The cocktail that Truman often enjoyed was the Old Fashioned. This cupcake is based on these flavors. The cupcake itself is flavored with bitters. It is filled with maraschino cherry juice flavored whipped cream. The frosting is whiskey buttercream and the cupcake is garnished with a cherry.

I liked this cupcake, but I could have been more liberal with the bitters. Like Truman, I should have gone with the flow of what I meant.