The Forces for Ike
T HE MOVEMENT TO get Eisenhower to run and the campaign to win the GOP's nomination resembled, in many ways, the Willkie drive of 1940. Both drives were for political amateurs and, not surprisingly, both were suspected of having been engineered by Democrats. Unquestionably also they were strong personalities who were regarded by the public as "above politics." A popular following among the apolitical centrists, therefore, became a vital constituency in 1952 as it had been a dozen years earlier. That neither had ever stood for elective office was more of an asset than a liability. Their cadre and so-called grass-roots support were mobilized largely by businessmen concerned about international as well as domestic commercial interests; and, although such devotees to the crusades behind Willkie and Eisenhower were often small-town bankers and investors, the most influential and powerful sources were in the country's major financial quarters, particularly New York and Boston. Furthermore, the 1952 campaign aimed against a continuation of the New Deal that Mr. Willkie had failed to stop. Both campaigns brought convention victories for the so-called Eastern Establishment of the Republican party.
Such comparisons become important only when trying to understand the persistent dilemma of the moderate and liberal wings of the GOP, largely in the East. A closer view, however, suggests some contrasts. The same businessmen who had helped Willkie against Arthur Vandenberg, Robert A. Taft and Thomas E. Dewey had aligned themselves, by the early 1950s, with Dewey to elect Eisenhower. And their advantages were significant. Unlike Willkie, Eisenhower had never been a Democrat but