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News: Atlas Hardware Upgrade complete October 13, 2013.

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51  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: What party are you a registered member of? on: July 24, 2014, 12:50:34 pm
I registered as a Libertarian when I was 18. I left the party briefly in 2000 to caucus for Bush, 2004 to caucus for Dean and in 2008 and 2012 to caucus for Paul. This brief forays into the GOP were very brief and I always returned to the Libertarian Party.
52  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Voting Booth / Re: MW: July 2014 Special Althing and Archduke Elections on: July 22, 2014, 01:26:43 pm
Ballot for For Most Serene Representatives:
[1] Cris (Fed-CO)
[2] Gass3268 (Lab-MB)
[3] Write-In: LeBron FitzGerald (Lab-MN)

Ballot for For Archduke:
[1] LeBron FitzGerald (Lab-MN)
[ ] Write-In: ________________
53  General Politics / Book Reviews and Discussion / Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? on: July 20, 2014, 10:34:23 pm
Fateful Lightning: A New History of the Civil War and Reconstruction by Allen C. Guelzo. Guelzo is without a doubt the finest Ciivl War historian writing today. This book reads like a greatly updated (and far more readable) Battle Cry of Freedom. McPherson has always hit me as too heavy on data, far too light on story. Guelzo finds an incredible balance and also works a new view of Reconstruction into the treatment as well. A fine read and highly recommended. 
54  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Why is Meet the Press with David Gregory's ratings so low? on: July 20, 2014, 10:30:48 pm
Why are TV news and info shows even on  air anymore? I thought we had the internet for such things.
55  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: A reminder of Joe Biden's group/primary debate skills on: July 20, 2014, 10:27:06 pm
I do fondly remember the time that "Big" Joe Biden humiliated Paul Ryan on national television. But his debating skills do not outweigh his other weaknesses, unfortunately.
If giggling like Cesar Romero's Joker is akin to humiliating Paul Ryan than, yes, Biden did that.
56  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: July 20, 2014, 10:14:27 pm
1844, Part III

The Whigs found it impossible to reply in kind to these attacks. Clay was colorful and controversial, but Polk was colorless and calm. Even his Democratic friends referred to the staid Polk as “Polk the Plodder.” Thus the Whigs unleashed an unusual, yet imaginative, assault on the dull Democrat. First, Whigs made fun of the less than well-known Polk. While Polk was no political novice he palled in comparison to the celebrated Henry Clay. Whigs chortled, “Who is Polk?” and John Crittenden of Kentucky commented to Clay concerning his opponent’s nomination: “Great God, what a nomination!” Whigs laughed as they sang a funny little song, “Ha,ha, what a nominee is Jimmy Polk of Tennessee!” The second great assault on Polk was novel for the time. Polk was a slaveholder, so was Clay. However, Polk was painted as an “ultra-slave holder” due to the large amount of land and slaves he owned. In order to appeal to Northern Whigs, Clay’s men told nasty tales of J.K. Polk- the cruel slave master. Clay’s campaign found a reference to Polk in Roorback’sTpur through the Southern and Western States in the Year 1836 in which the author commented that Speaker Polk had purchased forty fresh slaves and, “was informed by [Polk] that the mark of the branding iron, with the initials of his name on their shoulders to distinguish them from the rest.” This excerpt tuned out to be made up but it had an effect on the campaign. Northern Whigs attacked Polk for buying a new plantation in Mississippi but also made sure to accuse him of being a religious bigot who wanted to ban Roman Catholicism from the United States. In New York City ingenious Whigs tried to persuade Democratic Irish Catholic voters to turn against Polk and instead cast their ballots for “Patrick O’Clay.” Yes, they thought of everything.

The high point of the Whig Campaign was a great rally in Polk’s home state of Tennessee. At a Whig rally in Nashville, S.S. Prentiss of Mississippi- a celebrated orator and lawyer- gave a four hour address to a spell bound audience. His speech was so filled with Whig red meat and soaring praise of Henry Clay that the audience demanded that he give an encore. That night Prentiss spoke again and his heated words against Polk and the Democrats caused his face to turn red and his voice to soar to dizzying heights on the octave scale. At the very climax of his eloquence Prentiss grabbed his head and fell in a swoon into the waiting arms of Tennessee Governor James C. Jones. Jones, the old comic, whispered into Prentiss’s ear: “Die, Prentiss, die! You will never have a more glorious opportunity!” Daniel Webster once commented that he had never beheld more powerful speaker than Prentiss. That has to be the highest compliment ever paid to an orator.

In the end all of the screaming, hoping and scheming landed Polk in the president’s chair. This was seen as an upset by Clay and the Whigs. Clay himself assumed he would win the race and had even purchased a fine new bed for his White House residence. The dark-horse Polk won only 38,181 popular votes than Clay. The results of the contest are a dramatic conclusion to a thrilling contest. 1844 is a treat for presidential election fans and one of the most important elections in American history.        
57  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: July 20, 2014, 10:13:45 pm
1844 continued


The disappointment of the Whigs Convention is easily eclipsed by the incredible Democratic fracas at the Odd Fellows Hall. The Democratic Party was in the midst of a civil war that makes the current imbroglio in the Grand Old Party pale in comparison. Texas was the powder keg of the Democratic Party and the old fire breather John C. Calhoun looked likely to ignite the issue. As Secretary of State, Calhoun had worked out the treaty of annexation with Texas and had the backing of President Tyler. Calhoun hoped he would follow in the footsteps of Jefferson, Madison, Monroe and J.Q. Adams and assume the White House after stints at the State Department. Northern Democrats who opposed annexation, derisively called “Locofocos’ by their critics, were determined to stop Calhoun from taking the nomination and they had a candidate and the issues (what I hear to be a deadly combination). Anti-Texas Democrats focused around former President Martin van Buren. The Little Magician had been practicing his tricks in Kinderhook, New York, since he was unceremoniously kicked out of the White House in 1840 by hard cider fueled Whig mobs. The issue of slavery had bubbled up as an issue in American politics following the departure of General Jackson from the White House and van Buren had situated himself on the side of free soil. Southern Democrats wanted nothing to do with van Buren but Calhoun was far too extreme to appeal nationally. Thus entered Gideon Pillow, an ambitious Nashville lawyer with a dream to place his former law partner James Knox Polk in the president’s chair.

Polk was hardly presidential timbre in 1844. An ambitious lawyer who had once had gallstones removed without any pain killers, Polk had served as Speaker of the House of Representatives and was a loyal solider of Jackson during the epic Bank War, yet his terms as governor of Tennessee had fallen flat. A boring speaker with little personality, Polk was sent packing in 1841 and 1843 by Whig politician and former circus performer James C. Jones. The governorship gone Polk seemed to be retired. The most exciting part of the 1844 election was the Democratic Convention and what is arguably the greatest political resurrection in American history. The Democrats meeting in Baltimore were Odd Fellows themselves: they had five candidates vying for the nomination and none of them could win the dreaded 2/3rds majority of the delegate’s votes. Moderate Senator James Buchanan- who had yet to take any position on slavery or Texas- appeared to be the favorite, yet he lacked the support of old Jacksonians due to his Federalist background. Former Vice-President Richard Mentor Johnson was too controversial due to his former slave common law wife. Van Buren had offended the South over Texas with his controversial Hammett Letter. In this letter van Buren declared that as president he would refuse to allow for the entrance of Texas into the union. Senator Lewis Cass of Michigan, who famously broke his sword over his knee when the American surrendered Detroit to the British during the War of 1812, looked like he might emerge as a compromise choice. However, Southern Democrats threatened an open revolt if Cass won the nomination and President John Tyler, who was still hoping to run as a Southern independent in 1844, was only too happy to welcome them. Henry Clay may very well have won the presidency had his old archenemy Andrew Jackson not stirred himself from his sickbed at the Hermitage to spur on Gideon’s trumpet and lead to the nomination of Young Hickory Polk.

The drama of Jackson issuing a clarion call for his supporters is the stuff that movies are made of. Concerned that Britain would Balkanize Texas, outlaw slavery there and form a bulwark against the American South, Jackson turned on van Buren. Martin van Buren had made Andrew Jackson president through his political machinations in New York State. Van Buren had been Jackson’s most loyal subordinate for eight years and faithfully carried out Jacksonian fiscal and Indian policy for the four years of his tough tenure in the White House. The code of political Omerta dictates that if someone helps you than you must help them. As always, Jackson played by his own set of rules. In a well-publicized announcement he called on Southern Democrats to reject van Buren and find a candidate who was acceptable on both the issues of slavery and expansion. Ironically, it was a man from Massachusetts who formally introduced James K. Polk as an acceptable compromise candidate. Historian George Bancroft introduced Polk as a nationalist and champion of the expansionist theories of the Young America. The rush to nominate Polk was more of a walk but in the end Polk was nominated on the eight ballot. Gideon Pillow rejoiced as did Southern Democrats. While Polk had not said he supported expanding slavery into Texas as Calhoun had he was a slave holder himself and so he worked fine from the slave power in the Democracy. Anti-annexation Senator Silas Wright of New York turned down the honor of the vice-presidency but Pennsylvanian George M. Dallas, an associate of Buchanan, accepted the prize. The Democrats adopted a fierce platform calling for Young America to live up to its Manifest Destiny. The Democracy called for low tariffs, an independent treasury, the annexation of the disputed Oregon Territory to the lines of 54’40 and the annexation of Texas. The slogan they ran under was fiery and strong: “Fifty-four forty or fight!” That was a real strong slogan and Polk would live up to it.

The campaign of 1844 is as grand as the conventions. One would have expected Henry Clay to be jubilant over the nomination of a light-weight dark horse such as Polk. Clay’s son Henry, Junior, (who would die in the war against Mexico) had been in Lexington, Kentucky, at the home of Robert Todd as the Democratic Convention was in full swing. When he returned he excitedly told his father that the Democrats had selected a candidate. “Is it Matty?” Clay asked. His son said it was not. “Buchanan, Cass, Tyler?” Clay asked again. The son replied in the negative. “They could not have been mad enough to choose Calhoun of Johnson?” a perplexed Clay asked his son. Unable to contain his giddiness the boy blurted out: “It’s James Knox Polk!” Clay did not respond as his son had hoped. The old statesman stood up from his chair, walked to his liquor cabinet, poured a glass, chugged it down as sighed: “Hal, I am beat again.” Clay knew Polk was no fool. He was just the right man for the 1844 campaign. A Southern nationalist, Polk had the support of Democrats around the country. He was a uniting figure and Clay was the perfect antagonist to get Democrats to turn out in force. There was also the sticky issue of Texas. Polk was in favor of annexing Texas, Clay had made a strong stand against it. He knew that this would hurt him amongst Southern voters. Thus the Great Compromiser tried to play both sides of the fence. Northern “conscience” Whigs and Southern “cotton” Whigs both tried to make Henry Clay into their man. In the North Whigs ran Clay as “the abolitionist candidate of the North.” This was in an attempt to keep Northern Whigs from bolting to the anti-slavery Liberty Party and their colorful standard bearer James G. Birney, a reformed slave master. Henry Clay, the consummate gambler, bet all his chips on the Texas issue…and lost. Clay tried to play both sides of the issue, telling Southerners in letters that he had “warmed to the issue of Texas’s annexation.” This proclamation created such a hoopla in the North that Clay retracted with an open letter in September 1844 declaring, “I am decidedly opposed to the immediate annexation of Texas to the United States.” Much like John Kerry 160-years later, Clay was mocked by his partisan opponents for being for Texas annexation before he was against it. A Democratic Missouri editor put the issue of Clay’s tango with Texas in the form of a silly limerick:

He wires in and wires out
And leaves the people still in doubt.
Whether the snake that made the track
Was going out or coming back!

If that is not political theater at its most comical than I have no idea what is.

The 1844 campaign was greatly helped by the ingenious campaign strategies of the opposing camps. Polk’s campaigners placed it upon their shoulders to assault Henry Clay for being a drinker, gambler, duelist and womanizer. In a widely circulated pamphlet entitled “Henry Clay’s Moral Fitness for the Presidency, Tested by the Decalogue” the Democrats outlined line-by-line how Clay had violated all of the Ten Commandments. Another pamphlet was entitled “Twenty-One Reasons Why Clay Should Not Be Elected.” This tract gave all the best details of “the seedy, slimy life of Hal Clay.” Reason Number Two to vote against Prince Henry was: “Clay spends his days at the gambling table and his nights at the brothel.” This would be reason enough for me to happily vote for Clay but in 1844 America this was quite the charge. Clay himself threatened legal action (and one duel) against the publishers of the Twenty-One Reasons leaflet.
58  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: July 20, 2014, 10:12:36 pm
# 26: The Election of 1844



Taking the twenty-sixth spot on the list of lists is the campaign over Texas, Oregon and America’s manifest destiny. By 1844 a new brand of statesman had risen up to replace the cocked-hatted, knee-breeched generation of wig dotting politicians. These new, hardy men from the West called themselves the “Young Americans.” Strongly they called out for America to show its dominance over the continent, to free enterprise from the shackled of regulation, to invest anew in the youth of the nation and to leave behind the doddering theories of “old fogies.” To the Young Americans the United States was a beacon of hope that was going to define the 19th and 20th Centuries. “All history is to be re-written!” triumphantly declared journalist John O’Sullivan in 1837. Political science and the whole scope of all moral truth have to be considered and illustrated in the light of the democratic principle!” O’Sullivan, who coined the term “manifest destiny”, called for America to take the wilds of the West from Mexico and the Native Americans and take its rightful place as leader of the civilized nations of the Western world. It was against this exciting backdrop that two scions of the American West did battle for the White House and over the momentous issues of expansion, slavery and the future of the American people. 1844 is an exciting race.

The conventions of 1844 are the first ingredient in a truly mesmerizing contest. The Whig Party convention, however, is not the one to look at. Henry Clay, the talented compromiser whom was elected Speaker of the House on his first day in Congress, was the titular leader of the Whig Party in 1844. In 1840 he was snubbed for an easy White House win by William Henry Harrison, but the death of Harrison and the ascension of John Tyler to the presidency had increased Clay’s hopes of taking the nomination. Tyler, who wanted to run for president as the candidate of Southern independence, had vetoed a Third National Bank and had worked with Secretary of State John C. Calhoun to annex Texas and create a new slave state. Clay, a slaveholder who dreamed of manumission, was the national voice that was needed to hold off sectional struggle. With the issue of slavery’s expansion eating away at the Whig Party Clay was seen as the Western voice of compromise. The architect of the Compromise of 1820, Clay was nominated without opposition at a nearly quiet Baltimore convention. Two-weeks before the convention Clay had made his position of the annexation of Texas “clear.” In his infamous Raleigh Letter, Clay responded to Secretary Calhoun’s pro-slavery, pro-Texas annexation Packenham Letter. In Clay’s Raleigh Letter, he flatly denounced the Tyler annexation bill and predicted that its passage would provoke a war with Mexico, whose government had never recognized Texas independence. Clay went as far to write that even if Mexico was willing to sell Texas without a fight he would not accept the territory. It seemed to Northern Whigs that Clay was their man: a Westerner who opposed Calhoun’s dream of an “Empire for Slavery.” The Whig Convention and campaign was thoroughly underwhelming. Clay was nominated by acclamation and paired with the pious “Christian Statesman” Senator Theodore Frelinghuysen of New Jersey, who still has a relative serving in Congress in the form of Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen. One can only wonder how Clay and John Boehner would get along. The anti-slavery, anti-alcohol Frelinghuysen was paired with the slave-owning, hard drinking, card playing Henry Clay. The Whig Campaign was a real downer, though. After writing a pathetic platform of a little over 10 words, the Whigs adopted the weak campaign slogan “Hooray for Clay.” “Ugh,” is all the writer can say about this most pathetic of campaign sloganeering. One bright spot for the campaign was that a group of enterprising Whigs from Pennsylvania came up with a way of rhyming the confusing Dutch last name of their vice-presidential nominee: “"Hurray, Hurray, the Country's Risin' – Vote for Clay and Frelinghuysen!” Whoever came up with that deserves an A for effort.
59  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: 1920 Primaries on: July 17, 2014, 01:22:25 pm
Senator Harding for Vice-President and Senator Poindexter of Washington for Vice-President! Let us return to normalcy, enforce civil rights and respect the rule of law (on most things at least).

Unless it's been specifically contradicted, I'd think Poindexter would be a Bull-Moose. Are you suggesting a unity ticket and, if so, under which party line?

Harding would make a half-way decent Bull Moose candidate. He was a "progressive" on many issues. Harding is hardly the arch-conservative he is made out to be (that is also true of J. Calvin Coolidge). A unity ticket would also be helpful to counter the huge turnout that will benefit ex-President Debs.
60  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: 1920 Primaries on: July 16, 2014, 11:55:26 pm
Senator Harding for President and Senator Poindexter of Washington for Vice-President! Let us return to normalcy, enforce civil rights and respect the rule of law (on most things at least).
61  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of John Boehner on: July 16, 2014, 11:51:18 pm
I have taught student with behavior disorders for many years now. They are tough and obstinate. They can do what they are supposed to do but generally choose theatrical histrionics. John Boehner is like a BD Teacher and his caucus the BD students. As a BD teacher you are always wrong no matter what way you choose. The right choice is always to never choose to lower yourself to the behaviors of the class. That is the right choice. One can choose the right way and still be wrong. John Boehner usually decides to lower himself to the level of the worst people in his caucus. Rather than showcase right behaviors he usually trips over himself to showcase the worst ones. That leads to classroom choas and, as we now see, a speaker who has lost control. I pity the poor man and see why he drinks and weeps. Yet, he has none to blame but himself.     
62  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of the "Radical Republicans" on: July 13, 2014, 02:59:46 pm
Radical Republicans were indeed fighters for freedom. Corruption would have came to any government which took over the defeated Southern states. Transitions are rarely pretty and one can only applaud the Freedmen's Bureau and most of the Republicans governments of the South for trying to treat freedmen and freed women as citizens. Perhaps if the Freedmen's Bureau had been given half a chance to succeed great good could have come from it.
63  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Keith Olbermann on: July 11, 2014, 02:49:52 pm
I always enjoyed it when he read James Thurber stories.
64  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Do you have a plan for your life? on: July 05, 2014, 12:44:12 am
How do you make God laugh? Tell him your future plans...and dirty jokes. He likes those too.
65  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of former Libertarian Atlasians on: June 24, 2014, 10:40:03 pm
I'm glad I got my libertarian phase over before I ever posted here.
Don't worry. Its never too late to return to the correct side.
66  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of John Brown on: June 23, 2014, 11:14:21 pm
Brown was a crazy, broke deadbeat who thought God talked to him. He never freed any slaves but did manage to kill a free black man at Harper's Ferry and take George Washington's relative hostage. His raid on Harper's Ferry and his gangs mutilation of non-slave owners at Pottawatomie Creek show him to be deranged. Even abolitionist and free Kansas Governor Charles Robinson attacked Brown and declared Brown's behavior in Kansas what not to be justified. The money of the Secret Six encouraged the broke debt jumper Brown to entertain his bloody delusions of grandeur and in the end his Holy War was cut short, and none of the Secret Six came to his aid. I believe Nathaniel Hawthrone was correct when he said of Brown: "No man was more justly hanged." Brown did not free any slaves and only had his sons butchered. He was not, as Melville stated, the "meteor that brought the war" but he was the man who encouraged Southern militias to build up their defenses. The early Army of the Potomac (the Virginia model that would later become the Army of Northern Virginia) was greatly armed by the guns bought in the South in response to Brown's folly at Harper's Ferry. He died for the slave and also for the Confederate Army. All Brown ever did was encourage the South to buy guns to fight a war.    
67  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Was Harry S. Truman a War Criminal? on: June 23, 2014, 11:01:46 pm
"Killing Japanese didn't bother me very much at that time... I suppose if I had lost the war, I would have been tried as a war criminal," is what General Curtis LeMay stated and he was right. Truman is a war criminal who killed a lot of innocent people in Japan and Korea.
68  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: June 23, 2014, 10:48:19 pm
The Election of 1952, Part III

The final part of C2K- Korea- turned out to be the most dramatic masterstroke of the whole campaign. In a speech in Detroit, Michigan, on October 24, 1952, Ike dropped the October Surprise: “I shall go to Korea.” In this speech Ike declared that the Korean War was “never inescapable” and that he was going to travel to Korea as soon as he was elected president to find a way to make peace as quickly as possible. Stevenson had toyed with the idea of announcing he would travel to Korea but his handlers told him that this was a gimmick that could backfire. Instead, it erased the many gaffes of the Ike 1952 campaign and is the most remembered campaign stunt of Eisenhower’s political career. “For all practical purposes,” one reporter wrote when the election was over, “the campaign ended that night.” Eisenhower had shown he wanted peace so bad he would go into Hell to find a way. Stevenson later said, “If it had not been for that going-to-Korea business, I might have beaten him.” That is a fantasy but it shows how well a war weary populace will respond to a man who wants peace. It is the most dramatic part of the election.         

The final unique and interesting part of the election of 1952 is the usage of television advertisements. TV had been used in a limited way in the 1948 election and in the 1950 midterm races, but in 1952 the medium came into its own in the national presidential contest. The Republicans used TV to portray Eisenhower as a wise, worldly grandfather figure. Beside a Walt Disney produced cartoon add featuring the Irving Berlin tune “I Like Ike”, most Republican TV ads started with the announcer declaring “Eisenhower Answers America” with a voter asking the general a question and the general giving a quick, intelligent response. Stevenson’s broke campaign released fewer TV ads but they packed more of a punch. In one ad a heart named “Bob”, for Robert Taft, and another named “Ike” swoon over what the other is saying. The TV ad ended with a jaded little poem:
Reuben, Reuben I’ve been thinking
‘Bout the general and his mob
If you’re voting for the general
You really are electing Bob
Let’s vote for Adlai and John!
[/i]
Another cartoon advertisement told the story of Old MacDonald and his broken down farm of 1931. This advertisement was made to show the nation what happened the last time a Republican won the White House. Stevenson himself hated TV. “The idea that you can merchandise candidates for high office like breakfast cereal is the ultimate indignity to the democratic process!” he roared. However, the usage of TV ads makes the 1952 election unique and interesting in the history of presidential elections. Nothing changed the way men and women campaign for president like television and it all started in 1952.

The final results of the election are not all that dramatic or interesting when one looks at the polls. Eisenhower won by a landslide and carried the Republicans over the top in the U.S. Senate. Ike won 39 states and 442 electoral votes, crushing Stevenson who only won a few states in the Democratic South. The election does reveal that the Jim Crow hold on the South was slipping from the greasy fingers of the big Southern Dimmycrats. South Carolina- where session loftily bared its head in 1860- only voted for Stevenson by 51-49% margin. Florida, Texas and Tennessee bolted for the Republican Eisenhower, showcasing the rise of conservative Republican voters in the South. The Democrats hold on the Sunny South was over. The 1952 election had a big win for a national hero but it was also a lot of fun to watch. It is an exciting race with an expected ending. Stevenson, when asked about the election returns, quoted Abraham Lincoln: he said he felt like the little boy who stubbed his toe in the dark, “he was too old to cry, but it hurt too much to laugh.”   
69  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: June 23, 2014, 10:47:30 pm
The Election of 1952, Part II

Despite all this talk and refusal Stevenson had an inkling that the nomination was his if he asked for it. He did so in his welcoming address to the Democratic Convention in Chicago, Illinois. “I thought I was welcoming you, not you welcoming me!” Stevenson quipped as the delegates chanted “We want Stephenson.” The witty speech, peppered with assaults on the GOP which made Stevenson sound just like a candidate, propelled Stevenson into the nomination on the third ballot. Some worried that the intellectual Stevenson was “too smart” to be president. Paired with Senator William Sparkman of Alabama, Stevenson was now forced to answer these questions head on. New York Herald Tribune columnists Joseph and Stewart Alsop attacked Stevenson and his advisors as, “eggheads.” This was in reference to Stevenson’s grand baldness and the intellectual university background of his key speechwriters and policy advisors. Stevenson laughed off the two scions of Roosevelt by crying: “Eggheads of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your yolks!”

Yes, Adlai Stevenson is one of the reason why the 1952 election “works.” He was smart, witty and often hilarious. He was a passionate liberal and progressive on issues of civil rights, economic justice and war. Despite a lack of funds, Stevenson declared he was going to “reason with the American people” and embarked on a nationwide tour. He assaulted the build-up of nuclear arms, spoke in favor of ending the Korean War and the draft and warned of a return to “Hoover Era bread lines and soup kitchens” if the Republicans were allowed to regain the White House. Major newspapers ignored the Ike momentum and backed the intelligent-but plain- speaking governor of Illinois. Stevenson delighted reporters and campaign followers alike in his offbeat, intelligent way. When a writer approached Stevenson with the idea of writing his campaign biography the governor threw his hands in the air and cried, “I don’t see how you’re going to do it. My life has been hopelessly undramatic. I wasn’t born in a log cabin. I didn’t work my way through school, nor did I rise from rags to riches, and there’s no use trying to pretend I did.” If only politicians today were that brutally honest. Stevenson’s Democratic campaign train rolled through countless states and he made the crowds laugh as hard as any journalist. In Pontiac, Michigan, Stevenson was speaking when it started to rain. Thousands of people huddled together in misery and the often longwinded Stevenson felt their pain. “I’m not going to talk to you about labor policies,” Stevenson told the wet crowd. “I’m not going to talk to you about foreign policies. In fact, I am not going to talk to you about a thing because of this dammed rain! Good bye!” The crowd chuckled, cheered and dispersed as Stevenson walked- bald head bare- through the Michigan storm. Stevenson lost Michigan by 12% to Ike and that is just not very appreciative of the people of the Wolverine State.  The Democrats were reliant on Stevenson’s wit and brains to make up for their total lack of money. When an aide told Stevenson that it would cost $60,000 to broadcast one of his speeches the governor calmly replied: “I wish you hadn’t told me that. Now, every time I start to put a word on paper I’ll wonder whether it’s an expensive ten-dollar word, or a little, unimportant word like ‘is’ or ‘and’ that costs only a $1.75.” This little anecdote proved to be deadly serious when the Democrats were forced to have to exhort money from a wealthy donor during a live televised broadcast of a Stevenson speech. One another occasion Stevenson’s televised broadcast was cut out when the Democrats could not pay for the entire hour of airtime. The campaign took a terrible toll on Stevenson’s health. An insomniac by nature, Stevenson did not sleep regularly during the campaign. One of the main reasons why 1952 is an excellent campaign is that Adlai Stevenson made the election worth following.

The Republican campaign of 1952 is worth remembering because of communism, corruption and Korea. This ingenious political formula worked both ways for the Grand Old Party in 1952. One can laugh out loud at how effective and incompetently C2K was used by Ike and his handlers during the campaign. Eisenhower was a stiff, military man who needed a lot of time to transition to the off color, informal world of retail politics. In June of 1952 candidate Eisenhower touched down in Kansas City and was greeted by Colorado Governor Dan Thornton. Thornton, a Texas born cattle man who donned a ten gallon Stetson hat and cowboy boots, saw Ike and gave him a hearty slap on the back. “Howya, pardner!” Governor Thornton cried jovially. Eisenhower’s eyes blazed with indignation and his back stiffened. His handlers looked at him and Ike exhaled: “Howya, Dan?” This story perfectly illustrates the stiffness of the Ike 1952 campaign and how the political formula of C2K was utilized.

Communism was a huge issue in the election and Ike and Nixon made sure to assault Stevenson and the Democrats on the issue of red infiltration. However, the irascible Senators Joe McCarthy and William Jenner of Indiana made for an embarrassing photo op. Nixon assaulted Stevenson as “Adlai the Appeaser” and brazenly declared that Stevenson had attained his Ph.D. from “Dean Acheson’s College of Cowardly Communist Containment.” The greatest moment for the “communism” component of C2K was when McCarthy opened fire on General George Corley Marshall, the former Army Chief of Staff and Secretary of State. McCarthy accused Marshall of being an agent of the reds who “lost China” for the forces of freedom. Senator Jenner stated that Marshall was not a traitor, but a “front man for traitors.” Marshall and Ike had been friends since before World War II and it was widely expected he would defend his associate from the attacks of McCarthy and Jenner. On October 3rd, 1952, Ike’s train rolled into Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and he entered the belly of the beast. Senator McCarthy was in a tough battle for reelection against Attorney General Thomas Fairchild and the whole state GOP ticket was running on the name and coattails of General Eisenhower. Ike faced a dramatic decision: would he attack McCarthy or leave Marshall out to dry? Ike planned to give a speech that included this part: “I know that charges of disloyalty…have been leveled against…Marshall. I have been privileged for thirty-five years to know General Marshall personally. I know him as a man and as a soldier, to be dedicated with singular selflessness and profound patriotism to the service of America. And this episode is a sobering lesson in the way that freedom must not defend itself.” This part of the Milwaukee speech was never delivered. The speech with the Marshall defense was released in press reports but was left out of the speech itself. Democrats howled with delight as pro-Ike Republicans felt their stomachs turn. “The Republican candidate has been worrying about my funny bone,” Stevenson said when Ike accused him of being to witty on the trail. “I’m worrying about his backbone.” President Truman declared that the entire GOP campaign was a sellout of “friends and ideas” to the anti-communist cabal. Arthur Sulzburger, the Republican editor of the New York Times, told Ike, “Do I need to tell you that I am sick of heart?” Ike, thoroughly embarrassed by the whole thing, was further maligned by a small time TV make-up man. “What a come down!” the make-up man said as he applied cream to Ike’s face, “I used to be a paratrooper in France. Now I just smear this stuff on homely mugs.” The TV make-up man, clearly angry over Ike’s surrender to McCarthy in Wisconsin, then coldly added: “And you used to be a five-star general, but now you’re just a politician.” Communism was a two-way street for Ike and he mishandled it.

Corruption proved to be another double-edged sword in C2K. Truman was a corrupt Democrat, no doubt, but the Democrats knew that the Republican trunk wasn’t as clean as a Dutch whistle either. Democrats challenged Eisenhower to release his tax returns to the media as Stevenson, Sparkman and Nixon had done. Ike had made a bundle off of his book Crusade in Europe and had received countless gifts from a thankful free world since 1945. He did not want to show the nation every penny he had. The Democrats, thus, decided to target Richard Nixon, Ike’s attack dog. On September 18, 1952, the New York Post ran the headline, “SECRET NIXON FUND” followed by the tagline, “Secret Rich Men’s Trust Fund Keeps Nixon in Style Far Beyond His Salary.” Sixty-six wealthy California Republicans had indeed set up a “slush fund” of over $18,000 to cover Nixon’s political expenses. This was a tried and true method for covering political expenses for most senators who were not millionaires but since Ike was not realeasing his own tax records the Democrats made political hay out of Nixon’s misfortune. The second most dramatic moment of the 1952 election played out as Richard Nixon, shut down in Denver, called Thomas E. Dewey and asked him what to do. Dewey, the man who took down Lucky Luciano, was blunt and told Nixon he had to fight or die. Nixon then called up Ike and told him he was going on national TV to tell the world his fund was honest and he was not a corrupt IRS agent getting mink coats from the mob. “There comes a time in even your life general,” Nixon told Ike, “when you need to either sh**t or get off the pot.” On September 23, 1952, Nixon appeared on TV with his wife Pat at his side. Yes, he talked about his dog Checkers at the end and took some potshots at old Harry Truman by telling the nation that Pat did not have a Democratic mobster mink coat, “but a respectable Republican cloth coat and I always tell her she’d look good in anything.” Dewey had told Nixon that the Eisenhower people wanted him to drop off the ticket when his speech was over. That, Dewey told him, was what the general expected. Nixon went over Ike’ head with his conclusion: “Wire and write the Republican National Committee whether you think I should stay or whether you think I should get off. And whatever their decision is I will abide by it.” Ike broke the tip of the pencil he was holding and angrily hissed at RNC Chairman Arthur Summerfield, “Well Arthur, you sure got your money’s worth.” Nixon stayed on the ticket but Ike never forgave him for violating the chain of command. In 1956 Eisenhower would seriously consider dropping Nixon from the ticket, would refuse to campaign for Nixon in 1960 and would only reluctantly endorse his own veep for president in 1968. Nixon and Ike were now a pair or rivals.      
70  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: June 23, 2014, 10:46:29 pm
#27: The Election of 1952



Number twenty-seven is the election of 1952: when a general ran against an egghead. The election of 1952 occurred as the bottom was falling out of the tub for the Democratic Party of the old New Deal Coalition. President Harry S Truman, a failed haberdasher turned machine politician, had failed to keep the party afloat during his tenure in the Oval Office. Massive corruption and incompetence stalked the halls of power in the White House and in the Party of FDR. In 1952 Republicans thought they finally had found the sure-fire formula for taking the White House back after a twenty-year eviction: K1C2. The formula called for one Korea, one dose of corruption and more than just a pinch of communism. The 1952 campaign is a thoroughly entertaining affair in which an affable Illinois politico and a straight-laced, but broad grinned, military man faced off for the top prize.
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President Truman’s full-term in office was a difficult affair for the Missourian as well as the nation at large. Truman would comment, “Sherman was wrong, peace is hell.” As a wartime president Harry Truman had led the nation to victory over Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. The alliance against the Axis made the world a clear cut black-and-white. The Soviet Union and the sadistic Josef Stalin were allies against Hitler and the dark empire of evil he represented. Communism- outside of those of the Dies Committee- was an unseen threat that few cared about. Then, peacetime arrived and the term seemed to be a big lie. The Korean War, which began in 1950, was in a stalemate by January 1952. Communist infiltration of the State Department was in the headlines and public mistrust of Democratic officials over mafia bribery scandals dogged Truman’s long days. The Truman IRS began to resemble the seedy bars and smoke filled rooms of Jackson County, Missouri, in which Truman began his political career. IRS agents were paid off with cash and their wives were given expensive mink coats as gifts. The IRS agents agreed not to report the non-payment of income taxes by several mafia figures and the agents were gifted with color televisions and shiny new refrigerators for their cooperation. Truman never fired a person over the scandal. To the public, who grew enraged when Truman fired war hero Douglas MacArthur over disagreements in the Korean War, Truman was a small man in a job that required a giant. The president’s approval ratings fell through the floor. By March 1952 the president’s job performance was disapproved of by 66% of those polled by George Gallup. Only George W. Bush and Richard M. Nixon would attain worse disproval ratings. The weakened incumbent president would prove to be a plumb target for ambitious Democrats and Republicans alike.

The Republican Primary of 1952 is a good one as it serves as both a bridge to the past and future. Senator Robert A. Taft, the archconservative son of William H. Taft, had run for president in 1940 and 1948. Known as “Mr. Republican” Taft represented the forces of the Old Right. An opponent of the interventionist Marshall Plan, a critic of the Nuremberg Trials and a man wary of peacetime alliances, Taft emerged as the choice of conservative Republicans. His opponents would all be on the other side of in terms of foreign policy intervention. Governor Earl Warren, the 1948 vice-presidential nominee and the governor of California, ran as a favorite son candidate with the hope of proving to be a kingmaker at the convention. Former “boy wonder” Harold Stassen, a Minnesota governor and staff officer in World War II, ran as a liberal alternative to Taft in the New Hampshire Primary. What made the Republican Primary worth watching, however, was the entrance of General Dwight David Eisenhower, the former Supreme Allied Commander during World War II. At one point in Ike’s career he feared he would retire as a major, the peacetime army allowed for little advancement. The outbreak of a World War in 1939 allowed for Ike, who had cultivated excellent connections in the forms of Generals MacArthur and Marshall, to head up the invasion of North Africa and eventually be made the Supreme Allied Commander. Eisenhower proved to be a master of media manipulation and the United States fell in love with the affable, wide grinning general officer. In 1948 Eisenhower declined running for either the Republicans or the Democrats. He commented that he did not want his name placed in nomination for any office be it dogcatcher all the way to “grand high Supreme King of the Universe.” In 1951 a mass rally for Einsehower for President held at Madison Square Garden finally forced Ike off the fence. He entered as a Republican and turned out to be a moderate. In domestic policy Ike was a critic of government spending but embraced most of the New Deal. In foreign affairs he was an unabashed nationalist and as the former NATO Commander he was fully in support of U.S. intervention in Europe.

The struggle between Taft and Eisenhower is unique in three specific ways. First, it showcases the pivoting of the Republican Party from the Harding-Coolidge-Hoover “Party of Normalcy” to that of Eisenhower’s New Republicanism. The old anti-interventionist theories of normalcy were being challenged, and would eventually be replaced, by more modern interventionist theories. Second, it foreshadowed a more epic struggle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party that would play out from 1960 to 1980. As Taft spoke on behalf of conservative Republicans of the West, Midwest and South he was matched by Eisenhower’s East coast brand of liberal Republicanism, soon to be rebranded as “Rockefeller Republicanism.” Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater and John Ashbrook picked up the ball where Taft fumbled it in 1952 and the Gipper would eventually score the great touchdown that Taft was not able to do himself. The third reason why the GOP Primary of 1952 is unique and interesting is that it involved so many twists and turns. Eisenhower won the New Hampshire Primary without campaigning. Senator Richard Nixon, the redbaiting California Republican, politicked on the train from Los Angeles to the Republican Convention in Chicago to get Eisenhower nominated for president, all while pretending to back Governor Earl Warren for the nomination. Nixon would prove himself to be an extremely effective manipulator at the convention. Nixon proved to be important in getting more Eisenhower Delegates seated in the convention than Taft delegates. When Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois, a Taft supporter, pointed at pro-Ike man Thomas Dewey and yelled, “Twice you led us to defeat”, it was Nixon who was instrumental in churning out the jeers to quiet the silver tongued prairie politician. Nixon’s behind the scenes machinations to ensure Fair Play- the refusal to seat many Southern Taft delegates- and his active lobbying to deny Warren any votes outside of California led to Eisenhower being nominated for president on the first ballot. Nixon was rewarded for his strong work on behalf of the old general. He was nominated for vice-president and the exciting convention where fist fights broke out over delegate seating ended.

The Democratic Primary of 1952 makes the election highly enjoyable as well. The unpopular Truman thought that he could perhaps win the 1952 Democratic nomination through the power of incumbency alone. Truman's main opponent was populist Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver. The coonskin hat donning lawyer had chaired a nationally-televised investigation of organized crime in 1951 and had made Louis Lempke, a feared underboss in New York, plead the Fifth. Kefauver would go on to chair the 1954 committee that went to war with comic books such as “Tales from the Crypt.” Though this anecdote has nothing to do with the 1952 election it bears repeating that Senator Kefauver was able to get William M. Gaines, a noted comic book publisher, to state that one could depict the image of a severed female head in “good taste.” This comic crusade was in the future, in 1952 the New Hampshire Primary was the real struggle. Kefauver beat Truman in the New Hampshire Primary and Truman dropped out of the race. Truman’s anti-social wife Bess Wallace Truman- who was always paranoid that her father’s gruesome suicide would become public knowledge- was so excited by the announcement that an aide told President Truman, “When you said you were not going to run again Bess’s face looked just like yours when you draw four aces.” Truman stated in his memoirs his upset defeat to Kefauver had nothing to do with his withdrawal from the election. If you believe that than I have a habedersahery in Independence I can sell you. Democrats who were not entranced by Kefauver began to thrash around for an “anti-Kefauver.” Illinois Governor Adlai E. Stevenson III, the grandson of a vice-president, was running for reelection but was eyed as the best man for the top job in the White House. Despite the fact that Stevenson had overwhelmingly ousted corrupt GOP Governor Dwight Green in 1948 and cleaned up corruption in Springfield he was smart enough to know that he could not beat a war hero. When one Democrat told Governor Stevenson he was going to be nominated for president Stevenson firmly replied, “I just do not want to be nominated for the presidency.” “Well,” the persistent Democrat retorted, “what’ll you do if we nominate you anyway.” Stevenson, who had accidently shot and killed a young girl with a rifle as a boy, replied darkly, “Guess I’ll just have to shoot myself.”
71  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Voting Booth / Re: June 2014 Midwest Gubernational election on: June 21, 2014, 02:11:19 pm
1. Windjammer (Labor-MN)
72  General Politics / Book Reviews and Discussion / Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? on: June 20, 2014, 08:16:14 pm
Danger My Ally by British explorer F.A. Mitchell-Hedges. I have no idea how much of this autobiography is true but Mitchell-Hedges can tell a story. He rode with Pancho Villa, battled pirates in the Caribbean, treasure hunted in South Africa and even claimed to discover the fabled Crystal Skulls of the Mayan. He might be full of BS but the book is a wonderful adventure.
73  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Voting Booth / Re: June 2014 Federal Election - President, VP and Regional Senators on: June 20, 2014, 07:51:42 pm
President:

[1] Sirnick of New York and Dallasfan65 of Massachusetts
The People's Party - Democratic-Republican Party

[2] DemPGH of Washington and Windjammer of Minnesota
Labor Party

Midwest Senate:

[1]RR1997 (Federalist Party)
74  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: The Federalist Party: June 2014 Convention (WE ARE NOW VOTING - 72 HOURS) on: June 14, 2014, 01:38:58 pm
PRESIDENTIAL ENDORSEMENT:

[ 2] Governor DemPGH (LAB-WA)/ Governor Windjammer (LAB-MN)
[1 ] Fmr. Governor Sirnick (TPP-NY)/Governor Dallasfan (DR-MA)
75  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Chris Hedges, plagiarist on: June 12, 2014, 04:31:42 pm
New Republic going after journalists with no integrity? They have a Glass chin when it comes to these type of things.
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