Eisenhower and the American Crusades

By Herbert S. Parmet | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 24
The Politics of Jobs, Taxes and Oil

T HE ADMINISTRATION'S BASIC political realities were the vulnerability of the slight Republican Congressional majority to intraparty dissension and a legislative leadership that was controlled by such conservatives as Robert A. Taft, Styles Bridges, Eugene Milliken, Joe Martin, William Knowland and, dominating the headlines with even greater frequency, Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin. Collectively, they were the most vocal exponents of economy, sound money, lower taxation, reduced domestic and foreign spending, a "get tough" policy toward organized labor and the Western world's most enthusiastic anti-Communist cold warriors.

Their constituents were not at all identical with the party of the New York Herald Tribune and those whose economic sphere ranged far beyond the domestic market. Smaller and middle-level proprietors were not equal to the businessmen who bought and sold on a global scale; their more limited assets and holdings rendered them less dominant over vital markets. They were concerned, above all, that a business administration should voice the interests of their business. For them, the campaign slogans were not mere rhetoric. Like good businessmen, they had come to believe in their own product.

The politicians, of course, had to satisfy such interests; but since they were impotent without power, the main concern of most Republicans upon their return from the long exile from the White House was patronage. Involved, of course, were jobs ranging from high-level, policy- making positions and diplomatic posts to rural postmasters. But even more important to those already firmly entrenched as policy-makers was the fear that two decades of Democratic rule and deft use of Civil Service protection by the Truman Administration had frozen into posi

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