Sunday, August 30, 2015

Presidential Historian Compares Trump And Fiorina To Wendell Willkie

Wendell Willkie
Presidential historian Michael Beschloss pens a column for the New York Times in which he likens the unlikely candidacies of business executives Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina to Indiana native Wendell Willkie's unlikely Republican presidential candidacy in 1940. Willkie, a native of Elwood, Indiana, was an accomplished corporate lawyer who later ran the the New York-based public utility company, Commonwealth & Southern Corporation.

Willkie had been a Wilsonian Democrat and early supporter of Franklin Roosevelt. Willkie turned on Roosevelt after his administration created the Tennessee Valley Authority, which he believed provided unfair competition for the public utility company he ran. Commonwealth & Southern Corporation eventually was forced to sell its assets in the region to the TVA in 1939, the same year Willkie officially switched parties from the Democratic to the Republican Party.

Willkie defeated other well-known Republican politicians, including Thomas Dewey and Robert Taft, on the sixth ballot for the nomination in 1940. Beschloss notes that Indiana's former senator, James Watson, warned Willkie at the time that Republicans would not take well to his late decision to switch political parties. "It's all right if the town whore joins the church, but they don't let her lead the church choir the first night," Watson reportedly told Willkie.

Beschloss notes the role the media played in Willkie's unlikely ascension to the Republican nomination. Publisher Henry Luce, whose publishing empire became a major disinformation agent of the CIA regarding the John F. Kennedy assassination, used his magazines, Time, Life and Fortune to help turn the little-known Willkie into a national celebrity at the time. When Willkie arrived in Philadelphia where the Republican convention was being hosted, he boasted that he had self-financed his own campaign. "I will be under obligation to nobody except the people," Willkie said.

Willkie's views on World War II really weren't that much different from Roosevelt's policies of providing aid to the allies, although he pretended to be somewhat of an isolationist in order to win the Republican nomination. He also had no plans to dismantle Roosevelt's New Deal programs; rather, he argued that he could better manage them based on his business experience. After Roosevelt easily defeated him in the November election, he "shed his isolationism as quickly as he had donned it," Beschloss notes. Willkie became much closer to Roosevelt, serving in diplomatic roles for him. He also became a major advocate for a one world government. Willkie was persona non grata in the Republican Party when he briefly entertained a second candidacy in 1944.

Willkie had personal foibles with which to deal as well. He and his wife, Edith, had been estranged for many years. She joined him on the campaign trail in 1940 to quell rumors about their estrangement. Willkie lived primarily in a 5th Avenue apartment in New York City where he carried on an extra-marital relationship with a writer, Irita Van Doren. Decades later, tape recordings emerged of President Roosevelt calling for surrogates to mount a whispering campaign regarding Willkie's marital problems during the 1940 campaign. Roosevelt, of course, was willing to do this knowing he had carried on an extra-marital affair with his personal secretary, Lucy Mercer, for many years. Eleanor Roosevelt apparently had a preference for women and wasn't particularly bothered by her husband's infidelity. Sounds a lot like Bill and Hillary Clinton.


Josh said...

LOl so a dem gets stepped on by dems higher up and switches teams. Still a dem but with an r behind his name. I wonder if this will be how Trump as potus plays out, a dem in rino clothing.

Flogger said...

Trump is the perfect candidate for the McMega-Media, loud, aggressive, rich and famous and of course big ratings. Trump is like one those phony reality shows. Trump is very definitely via the Media controlling dialog and the other Republican Candidates. The Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker said on Sunday that building a wall on the US northern border with Canada was “a legitimate issue for us to look at”.

Chris Christie said on Saturday that if elected president, he would use a FedEx-like system to make sure visitors who enter the United States legally on visas depart the country when their time is up. He maintains that 40% of illegal immigrants with visas overstay their visits.

I suppose now it will be a verbal fight among Republicans as to who can build the highest wall.

Greg Wright said...

Wilkie's grandson was Lugar's campaign manager.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone really believe that Trump will continue with his campaign? I can't imagine he would ever release his tax forms.

MikeC said...

Until Eisenhower in 1952, Willkie received the most votes of any GOP presidential candidate.

His gravesite is in East Hill Cemetery in Rushville right off US52.

After his nomination, about 200,000 people turned out for his speech on 8.17.40 in Elwood.

An excellent account of the Willkie phenomenon, as well as the New Deal itself, is found in "The Forgotten Man" by Amity Shlaes.

Josh said...

As to a wall between Canada and the US, there are miles of open border with no surveillance whereby terrorists could transport things from Canada into the US. The same for our border with Mexico. I suspect terrorists have likely already availed themselves of the porous US borders to bring in all sorts of mass murder devices.

Josh said...

Just noted this at the Willkie wiki;

"Post-election life

After the election, Willkie became a fervent internationalist and an unlikely ally of Roosevelt. To the chagrin of many Republicans, Willkie spoke out for controversial Roosevelt initiatives such as Lend-Lease, and campaigned against isolationism. In 1941, Willkie joined with Eleanor Roosevelt to found Freedom House. On July 23, 1941, he urged unlimited aid to Britain. As Roosevelt's personal representative, he traveled to Britain and the Middle East in late 1941, and to the Soviet Union and China in 1942.

In 1943, Willkie published One World, a book for popular audiences in which he recounted his world travels on the Gulliver and urged that America accept some form of "world government" after the war. One World was a best-seller that marked his transformation into a major spokesman for internationalism and made him a controversial figure within the Roosevelt administration and among his Republican colleagues, but it helped move public opinion from isolationism to internationalism. Its publication also extended Willkie's contacts with the world of literary critics and film executives.[17]"

I think anyone can see that Willkie was a saboteur sent in by dems to take votes away from any real conservative candidate, wich he did. Then, after he "lost" the election he comes out as a freaking globalist and wants Americans to submit to a world government.