INSIDE THE BELTWAY
TRUE AMERICAN UNITY FORGED AT PEARL HARBOR
Numbers are the narrative of Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor 75 years ago: 2,403 Americans were killed, 1,178 wounded, and 19 ships and 328 aircraft were damaged or destroyed. It was an authentic moment of truth. Congress formally declared war on Japan a day later, passing the legislation just one hour after President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his remarkable, seven-minute “day of infamy speech” to the nation.
A pollster was there. In a survey conducted immediately after the events, Gallup found that 97 percent of Americans approved the declaration of war. They were standing fast, poised for a nationchanging encounter: 51 percent predicted the war against Japan would be a lengthy one and 65 percent foresaw that the conflict would be difficult.
“Americans were filled at the time with fear, apprehension, anger and vengeance — and yes, unity,” says historian Craig Shirley — author of the best-selling 2011 book “December 1941: 31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World.”
“It was one of only two times in the history of the United States in which we’ve been truly unified: Dec. 7, 1941, and Sept. 11, 2001. But they differed. We were only united for a short time after Sept. 11, but we were by and large united as a nation for four years after Dec. 7, 1941. Our history has been marked more by our divisions rather than our unity,” the historian tells Inside the Beltway.
Pearl Harbor brought a unique national trait into focus. “America conquered the world because of that unity. But rather than acting like awful conquerors such as Napoleon and Caesar through harsh policies, we rebuilt Germany and Japan into prosperous democracies and made them our allies in the fight against Soviet Communism,” Mr. Shirley says. “We should all appreciate that a confluence of crisis and creativity brought forward some very good men in very trying times such as FDR, Harry Truman, George Marshall, Cordell Hull, Dwight Eisenhower and Douglas MacArthur. It was a sunburst of history.”
And a pesky but brief Beltway tutorial: Along with the three aforementioned presidents and one legendary general, Hull was Secretary of State, serving in that position for a record 11 years from 1933 to 1944. Marshall was Army chief of staff, special ambassador to China, secretary of state, secretary of defense and a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
ON THE 75TH ANNIVERSARY
“In memory of all who lost their lives on December 7, 1941 — and those who responded by leaving their homes for the battlefields — we must ensure the sacrifices they made in the name of liberty and democracy were not made in vain. On this solemn anniversary, there can be no higher tribute to these American patriots than forging a united commitment to honor our troops and veterans, give them the support and care they deserve, and carry on their work of keeping our country strong and free.”
— from President Obama’s proclamation recognizing Pearl Harbor Day.
A speech of note for a complicated week: House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul will deliver the annual “State of Homeland Security Address” on Wednesday at the Heritage Foundation. His topics: America’s defenses against terrorists, the border crisis, and the “silent war” being waged against the U.S. in cyberspace.
Three GOP lawmakers with unique insight follow Mr. McCaul, ready to parse the issues President-elect Donald Trump faces in securing the homeland. On hand to have their say: Rep. Will Heard, a former CIA undercover officer and the man who represents the 23rd Congressional District in West Texas, which stretches more than 800 miles along the Rio Grande; Rep. John Katko of New York, who spent two decades as a federal prosecutor with a special interest in drug trafficking and gang activities; and Rep. Martha McSally of Arizona, a retired Air Force colonel, former A-10 combat pilot and squadron commander. See the two-hour talk streamed live at Heritage.org at 11 a.m. EST.
CNN EXPLAINS OBAMA
Those who wonder how President Obama’s legacy will evolve may want to watch CNN on Wednesday night. The network will air a two-hour prime-time special titled, yes, “The Legacy of Barack Obama,” hosted by political analyst Fareed Zakaria. It is the first of similar programs likely to come on other networks.
CNN vows the show will address “the brilliant successes and the heartbreaking failures” of the Obama era. Producers also say that both Mr. Obama and such key allies as David Axelrod, Van Jones and Rahm Emanuel offered “extraordinarily candid interviews.”
Ah, but there’s conflict of course. The network also adds, “Now, President-elect Donald Trump, who campaigned to dismantle most of Obama’s achievements, has declared that almost every major Obama initiative is under threat.”
The special airs at 9 p.m. EST and again at midnight.
WHEN IN TRANSIT
Some fellow travelers are more annoying than others. From a new Travelocity poll of 1,500 Americans comes news of the most annoying people who board on a holiday flight.
The three most mentioned include “The Oversharer,” an excitable passenger who informs one and all about “every single relative” they can think of, complete with pictures.
Then there’s “The Just One More Egg Nog Guy” who stumbles into an aisle seat and continually rings the call button throughout the flight for “just one more Jack and cola.”
And last but not least, there’s “Rudolph the Red Nosed Passenger” who travels with a raging cold or flu, “invariably seated in a middle seat so that he can share his bounty with as many people as possible.”
POLL DU JOUR
● 71 percent of American voters support President-elect Donald Trump’s proposal to raise taxes on U.S. businesses that move their manufacturing outside the country.
● 60 percent say their opinion of Mr. Trump has become more favorable after he persuaded Carrier to keep their jobs in the U.S.
● 55 percent say Mr. Trump will impose tariffs on goods made in China and Mexico.
● 53 percent say Mr. Trump’s Cabinet appointments will make “major changes” to the government.
● 51 percent say it’s “acceptable” for Mr. Trump to directly negotiate with private companies.
Source: A Politico/Morning Consult poll of 1.401 registered U.S. voters conducted Dec. 1-2.
● Murmurs and asides to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A newspaper front page following the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor 75 years ago.