The Rise of the Vice Presidency

By Irving G. Williams; Edward R. Murrow | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 12
Return to the Senate

While the " Missouri Compromise of 1944" was being talked up among Democrats, the Republican party met at Chicago to name its slate. As Wilfred Binkley points out, though governor of Ohio John W. Bricker, an "honest Harding . . . was the personal choice of the Republican delegates for the presidential nomination . . . he had to be content with second place after the convention had reluctantly bowed to the sentiments of the party's rank and file." Before the balloting began Bricker sensed the futility of his presidential aspirations as he walked to the microphone to second Dewey's nomination. Though Ohio delegates shouted "No," Bricker announced that it was evident that sentiment for Mr. Dewey was "overwhelming" and urged his supporters to vote for the New Yorker. Then Bricker conceded that he had no chance to defeat Dewey. He expressed a willingness to accept the vice-presidential nomination. Since Dewey's own second place preference, Governor Earl Warren of California, refused to allow mention of his name, there was clear sailing for both nominees who were unanimously selected on first ballots.

This 1944 ticket represented a balance of regular Republican forces. If Dewey represented young Republicanism, it was not the New Dealish, "one world" Willkie type. Dewey's nomination marked the Republican "return to conventional practice in recognizing the claims of a candidate . . . based on outstanding public service as a party member." Bricker's nomination merely confirmed that the age of surprise in Republican nominations was over.

By far the most fateful selection of 1944 was that of Harry S. Truman by the Democrats. Coming to the Senate in 1935 after a career in petty Missouri politics and office-holding, Truman was a diligent if uninspiring party wheel-horse. There is no reason to doubt the accuracy of his own recollection of his initiation to Washington: "The first thing I did when I came down here as a Senator was to call on him [ Roosevelt] and pay my respects and to tell him that I had been elected on his platform of 1932 and that I expected to support him." Truman kept his promise. Well-trained in party discipline while the

-210-

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The Rise of the Vice Presidency
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Introduction v
  • Preface vii
  • Contents *
  • Vice-Presidents of the United States *
  • Chapter 1 - Forgotten Office 1
  • Chapter 2 - The Formative Period 14
  • Chapter 3 - The First Vice-Presidents 21
  • Chapter 4 - Politicians in the Saddle 32
  • Chapter 5 - Accession by Assassination 51
  • Chapter 6 - Rough Riding 71
  • Chapter 7 - Transition Years 81
  • Chapter 8 - Spokesman of Normalcy 116
  • Chapter 9 - Last of the Old Guard 128
  • Chapter 10 - Conservative Among Revolutionaries 149
  • Chapter 11 - Left Versus Right 177
  • Chapter 12 - Return to the Senate 210
  • Chapter 15 - Crisis at Md-Centur 235
  • Select Bibliography 259
  • Index 262
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