This from a right-wing blogger today: So little time and so little to pick from. Now that Cain is blowing up I’m at a loss. Can we draft somebody?
There is spreading angst in the GOP ranks these days about their chances to beat President Obama in 2012. And he’s very vulnerable. The right-wing of the GOP, the dominant side of today’s Republican Party, cheered on their set of candidates only to watch each one rise and fall in a very short time. Some called this the flavor of the week as did Herman Cain, the latest victim. Right-wing bloggers have their panties all in a knot over this situation, and they clearly don’t like Romney.
Thus, what are their options? As the opening quote suggested, they could draft Candidate X. Who that would be remains a mystery. Yet, back in 1952, the Republican Party drafted Dwight D. Eisenhower rather late in the game. It was, as it turned out, a brilliant maneuver as Ike went on to two full terms as President.
Some of us recall that scene very well because we watched it develop on our 12″ black and white Raytheon TVs. My parents were avid Robert Taft enthusiasts because, after all, he was smart and was from Ohio, for crying out loud. They ended up voting for Ike in the end, but would rather have had Taft as the candidate. I still have an ‘I Like Ike’ pin that I wore to school in the 6th grade.
I can recall vividly the vote at the Convention that July; I made some Taft signs and taped them to the walls as my family watched the vote that evening. There had been 10 candidates for the nomination including the perennial presidential candidate Harold Stassen. There were other prominent candidates including Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Gov. Earl Warren and Sen. Wayne Morse. The vote between Eisenhower and Taft teetered with each new alphabetical state vote, swinging one way and the next.
Many were disappointed during the roll call of states as the leader of the state had to announce a smattering of votes for the minor candidates as well. Stassen got 20 votes and MacArthur received 10. Governor of California Earl Warren won the state’s delegation’s impressive set of 81 votes as the state’s ‘favorite son.’ Had there not been ‘pledged’ votes for these minor three candidates, the convention might not have given Eisenhower the nomination. The vote was 595 to 500 on the first round.
Late in 1951 Eisenhower had not yet decided to enter politics. In a reply to a letter from Harry Truman who asked Eisenhower to run on the Democratic ticket, Eisenhower wrote back, “I do not feel that I have any duty to seek a political nomination.” He was concerned that he ought not mix politics with his military career. Yet, in early March, Eisenhower’s name was on the GOP ballot in New Hampshire, a move that was made by friend Henry Cabot Lodge and unknown to Eisenhower. He never campaigned nor publicly spoke of running for the nomination before the vote, yet he won that primary getting 50% and capturing all of the state’s primary votes. The day after the New Hampshire vote, Eisenhower announced that he was entering the race.
Now, fast-forward to 2012. Gaud, how unpleasant. Today’s right-listing GOP is facing a situation not unlike that of 1952. The set of burlesque show participants that gathered to seek the nomination are, well, rather worthless and will probable not be able to beat the wounded Democratic candidate next year. Will they discard the pathetic set of candidates for someone new, exciting and worthy?
Taft lost several key votes on the very first day of the convention as the Eisenhower group prepared to manipulate votes from Texas and other Southern states. They wanted to unseat pro-Taft delegates and replace them with pro-Eisenhower ones. I”n a maneuver called of all things, “Fair Play,” the convention voted to support the pro-Eisenhower delegates in Texas and so that state’s vote went for Eisenhower, 33-5. Michigan and Pennsylvania, with uncommitted state delegations, got on the Eisenhower bandwagon after that maneuver, and the handwriting was on the wall for the Taft people.
There’s the 1952, 2012 possibility. The only remaining question is who.