Taft vs. Eisenhower 1952: The GOP Loses Its Soul: Through Deceit, Verbal Attacks, and GOP Rulemaking, the Eastern Republican Establishment Nominated Liberal Dwight Eisenhower as the GOP Presidential Nominee in 1952

By Byas, Steve | The New American, July 4, 2016 | Go to article overview

Taft vs. Eisenhower 1952: The GOP Loses Its Soul: Through Deceit, Verbal Attacks, and GOP Rulemaking, the Eastern Republican Establishment Nominated Liberal Dwight Eisenhower as the GOP Presidential Nominee in 1952


Byas, Steve, The New American


In recent American history both the Republican and Democrat National Party Conventions have nominated presidential candidates who garnered the most delegates and were presumed to be the nominee prior to the first bang of the gavel at the convention. In fact, recent conventions have typically been well-scripted events intended to give the party's choice a major public-relations boost going into the fall election campaign. But the conventions have not always been beauty pageants for the presumptive nominees, and may not be this year for either presumptive nominee, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

In 1968, for instance, the public-relations benefit that Democrat presidential nominee Senator Hubert H. Humphrey might have derived from the convention in Chicago was marred not only by contentious controversy inside the convention hall, but even more so by the riots outside. And 16 years earlier, at the 1952 Republican National Convention in Chicago, the expected standard-bearer for the Grand Old Party failed to get the nomination after many of his delegates were disqualified and others were convinced to switch sides. The candidate whose nomination was stolen that year was Senator Robert A. Taft of Ohio, one of the most qualified men ever to seek the presidency. And the Grand Old Party's nominee was General Dwight D. Eisenhower.

It was the contest in which the Republican Party sold its soul, surrendering its principles in exchange for a "victory" at the polls.

Taft: Mr. Conservative

The 1952 contest between Taft and Eisenhower ended with defeat for those who wanted the Republican Party to restore the Republic to a nation of limited government, individual liberty, constitutionalism, free enterprise, and a traditional American foreign policy of America First. Technically, the Republican Party "won" back the White House in 1952, but it did so at the cost of transforming itself into a pale imitation of the big-government Democratic Party. And by so doing, Americans were often left with election contests where neither major-party candidate genuinely supported rolling back the size and scope of government, the campaign rhetoric notwithstanding.

When Senator Taft announced his candidacy in the Republican Conference Room at the U.S. Capitol for the Republican nomination in 1952, he explained his campaign would be about "liberty rather than the principles of socialism," and the "restoration of a government of honesty and integrity."

In the "wilderness years" of the Republican Party from the Great Depression through World War II, Taft had been the undisputed leader of the opposition to the ever-increasing size of government led by the Roosevelt and Truman presidencies, earning him the adulatory titles of "Mr. Republican" and "Mr. Conservative." When, in 1946, the Republicans ran a congressional campaign of "Had Enough?," after nearly 20 years of uninterrupted Democrat rule in Congress, and won both houses, it was Taft who emerged as the unquestioned leader of the triumphant Republican Party.

The Republican-led 80th Congress of the United States was derided by President Harry Truman, in his 1948 presidential campaign, as the "do-nothing" Congress. But in reality, the 80th Congress was one of the most productive in American history. This Congress reduced taxes, balanced the federal budget, reduced the national debt, and laid the groundwork for the postwar economic boom. The Congress accomplished much of this by removing wartime price controls, and by removing much of the regulatory burden that had hampered business for years. And Congress did this under the able leadership of Taft.

With an eye toward limiting the alarming growth of presidential power under Franklin Roosevelt, who had been elected four times, shattering the strong two-term tradition going back to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, the Congress enacted the 22nd Amendment in 1947, limiting the president to two terms in office. …

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