CHAPTER 18
Politics in Time of Peril--1940

Landon, although firm in his decision not to seek renomination, was displeased with the prospective crop of Republican presidential nominees, Dewey was not campaigning adroitly; even worse, the views of Borah, Vandenberg, and even those of Capper would take the Republican party back to a nineteenth-century isolationist position.1 Moreover, although he agreed with Roosevelt's statements that Republicans and Democrats must, in the national interest, cooperate on foreign affairs and defense measures, Landon thought the President insincere in his calls for unity.

Particularly disturbing was the incident created by the President on the occasion of the capital's Jackson Day dinner on January 8, 1940. Roosevelt had announced that his address would be nonpartisan, and as a gesture of unity had invited three Republicans to attend; because it was a Democratic meeting, however, the Republicans declined. Roosevelt's scolding of the three Republicans seemed to Landon the action that "might be expected of a national chairman." He told the press:

It wasn't necessary for the three Republican leaders to attend the Democratic meeting to portray national unity. The way to get national unity is for the President to invite them to the White House and talk things over. He

____________________
1
Landon to W. A. Sheaffer, December 27, 1939, Alfred M. Landon Papers, Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka.

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