Eisenhower and the American Crusades

By Herbert S. Parmet | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 8
Truman's Troubles

EISENHOWER RECALLS THAT the drive to persuade him to run for the Presidency began "almost within hours of Truman's defeat of Dewey."1 While that was not unique in American history, more distinctive was the desperation that agitated Republicans after that horrendous disappointment in 1948. For the party stalwarts there was frustration over failure to recapture the federal bureaucracy with all its rewards. For business interests, troubled by the growth of Big Labor, it was a lost chance to oust the Administration that had vetoed the National Labor Relations Act of 1947 ( Taft-Hartley) and excoriated the Republican-controlled Eightieth Congress for having enacted it into law. For conservatives in general, the unbalanced budgets, "fiscal irresponsibility," taxation, enlargement of the federal bureaucracy -- all associated with New Deal- Fair Deal Democrats -- had to be halted before, as Senator Taft and his followers warned, there would be no return from a steady march toward "socialism." For those perplexed and frightened by the advances of European and Asian communism, it was time to get rid of those inheritors of the party responsible for having negotiated secret and "immoral" deals with Stalin at Yalta. In New York a former New Dealer, Alger Hiss, had been named by Whittaker Chambers as the transmitter to the Reds of classified State Department documents; and within six weeks of Truman's upset victory, Hiss was indicted by a federal grand jury on two counts of perjury. For the followers of South Carolina Democratic Senator J. Strom Thurmond there still remained the task of getting rid of the Administration that had rent the Philadelphia convention by writing a bold civil-rights plank into the platform. Even on the left there was

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