The Republican Dilemma: Conservatism or Progressivism

By Conrad Joyner | Go to book overview

THE REPUBLICAN DILEMMA

It is tempting to conclude this analysis with certain analogies between the present and the past. For instance, it might be interesting to compare the approaches of Governor George Romney and Wendell Willkie. Romney's talk of the citizen in politics, and Willkie's "We, The People" approach seem to have a great deal in common. Willkie's distaste for "bigness" in any segment of American life is echoed in the Michigan Governor's dislike for the contemporary corporate and business structure in this country. Romney also appears to have the ability to sell himself whether he is out beating the hustings for Rambler or attempting to entice business into Michigan. As a big businessman who is an opponent of economic exploitation, Romney shares an attribute which Willkie used to good advantage in 1940. Comparisons of this type could go on to the point of proclaiming that with slight variations Romney is a latter-day Wendell Willkie. But such comparisons add little to the understanding of the dilemma which confronts the Republican party. They merely indicate that the party has an unorthodox personality of sufficient national prominence to warrant consideration as a presidential candidate.

It also might be interesting to speculate on the delegate strength which Goldwater, Rockefeller, and the favorite sons will possess at the 1964 convention. There also is the fascinating comparison between the late Senator Taft and Senator Goldwater. An attempt to explain why Goldwater's Gallup poll standing is better than Taft's was, could prove to be an excellent study in political personalities. But to do this would be to miss the great conflict which grips the Republican party.

Certain observers -- and indeed Senator Goldwater himself -- maintain that Rockefeller and Arizona's junior senator are not very far apart on basic issues. A careful review of their public statements indicates that, although there are areas of difference between the two, their

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