One of the elements I’m enjoying of House of Cards Season 3 is the many subtle historical references.
Staying awake in U.S. History class is paying off.
There’s Frank giving a toast by quoting De Tocqueville, and another character referencing Kennedy’s missile crisis and Kkhrushchev’s embarrassment. Understanding the context gives the show an even richer and deeper meaning.
That’s why I can’t help but feel that showing Frank repeatedly walking past the portrait of Harry Truman has some major significance.
Consider that Truman inherited the office of the presidency and wasn’t taken seriously. His approval rating was abysmal — as low as 22 percent , the lowest of all time in the Gallup poll — and he was considered a placeholder president. Even newspapers infamously declared his presidency over with the “Dewey defeats Truman” headline.
Of course, he ended up making one of the most significant decisions a president has ever had to face — dropping the atomic bomb.
I think there’s a reason why Truman is visible after Frank makes a decision with some parallels in how it could impact civilians and children.
Later, Frank grapples with the human toll of that decision and the United States Supreme court hears arguments about whether it’s justified force.
History, it would seem, repeats itself.
Unpopular in his time, history has reformed and been kind to Truman’s reputation.
Can the same be said for Frank Underwood?