Is there a similarity in today’s search for a Republican Presidential candidate and that of sixty years ago?
The contest of 1952 saw conservatives generally supporting Senator Robert Taft of Ohio – son of former President William Howard Taft while moderates were getting behind General Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The Party was unsure of Gen. Eisenhower and was not certain he was one of them – but appeared more electable. Sound familiar?
New Hampshire voters went with Eisenhower 47,000 to 37,000 for Taft – even while Ike remained in Europe.
The Party and Taft came to terms with Eisenhower when he selected Richard M. Nixon as his running mate. There may be a lesson here!
Despite a nomination contest twelve years later that was even more bitter between Barry Goldwater and Nelson Rockefeller – than between today’s Presidential contenders – the Republican Party never totally lost its way.
Richard Nixon in 1959 warned against either of the parties undergoing an ideological realignment – that has now taken place over the years.
He told the California Commonwealth Club, “I think it would be a great tragedy if we had our two major political parties divide on what we would call a conservative-liberal line. I think one of the attributes of our political system has been that we have avoided generally violent swings in Administrations from one extreme to the other. And the reason we have avoided that is that in both parties there has been room for a broad spectrum of opinion. Therefore, when your Administrations come to power, they will represent the whole people rather than just one segment of the people.”
Despite the divide between today’s GOP Presidential contenders they should think about the sage advice of Nixon.