Friday, August 01, 2008

1956 Election Preview-The Republicans

DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER-In spite of his health issues and complaints of his overall ineffectiveness, Eisenhower won reelection in 1956, taking Nixon with him back into office. The General became known for his golfing and his heart attacks as much for anything he actually did in office.
RICHARD M. NIXON-Maybe you heard of him. He campaigned unsuccessfully against Kennedy in the 1960 elections (if only he had shaved!), then had an equally unsuccessful bid for California governor. He announced that the press "…won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore" and for a few years he was correct. In 1968, running on a law and order platform in a confused time of change, Nixon finally became president (after appearing on TV’s LAUGH-IN asking, "Sock it to ME?"). Although mercilessly mocked, he was considered a statesman and a supporter of the moon landings, international relations and "peace with honor" in Vietnam.
Things changed. Although Nixon won reelection by a landslide in 1972, the Watergate scandal grew, revealing his paranoia, his dark side and his illegal activities all around, causing Nixon to be the first (and to date only) US President to resign the office. His choice for Vice, Spiro Agnew, had already himself resigned and been replaced by Gerald Ford. Ford became the country’s only non-elected (official) President and promptly pardoned Nixon. In disgrace, "Tricky Dick" returned to China, the scene of one of his biggest triumphs. In later years, a controversial series of interviews with David Frost showed the man’s human frailties like no other. He continued writing books on political and social issues until his death in 1994.
EARL WARREN-Although he continued as a controversial Chief Justice until 1969, Warren’s name will forever be associated with the Commision that investigated the assassination of JFK. He died in 1974.
CHARLES A. HALLECK-Became House Minority leader from ’59 to ’64. After that he was replaced by the younger Gerald Ford. Although he remained in the House until 1969, his very conservative beliefs and support of the War in Vietnam worked against him in the sixties. In spite of that, he became a popular TV Republican of his day. He lived until 1986.
SHERMAN ADAMS- A powerful Chief of Staff under the ailing Eisenhower, Adams nonetheless resigned in ’58. He returned to New Hampshire where he opened a popular ski resort. He died in 1986.
GEORGE M. HUMPHREY- In 1957 he returned to private sector where he eventually became head of National Steel. The Senate later investigated a scandal dating to his time in the Eisenhower administration. Declining health led to his death in 1970.
WILLIAM F. KNOWLAND-Went from being Senate Minority Leader to Senate Majority Leader. He developed a long rivalry/friendship with Lyndon Johnson as his opposite number. He had withdrawn from seeking the ’56 nomination when Eisenhower recovered enough to run. In ’58 he left the Senate to fight a hard campaign for governorship of California but he lost. He inherited the Oakland Tribune newspaper in 1966 but had personal issues that ultimately led to his suicide in 1974.

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