Thursday, November 6, 2008

The 1952 Election: Eisenhower vs Stevenson ""low down tricks to win the November 4 ballots!”"

50 years ago the 1952 election was about deciding the direction of an unpopular war. The Korean war was two years old and the candidates were battling to win an election that would determine the course of the war. It was war time hero, General Dwight Eisenhower on the Republican ticket versus
Adlai Stephenson on the Democratic ticket.

The Melbourne Times reported the elections of 1952. The headlines on October 2nd splashed the declaration, “Ike says "No Sense" In U.S: Bearing Brunt of War.“. Eisenhower “Ike” made it clear he wanted to replace our troops with South Korean ones. On Oct 16, the issue read “Tumultuous receptions are given Ike in South and Adlai in West. GOP vice presidential candidate Richard Nixon carried the campaign to Indiana. “ Ending the Korean War was the main theme and the newspaper reported that the discussion took on the appearance of the "The great debate," a nationwide discussion of foreign policy that followed the recall from Korea of Gen. Douglas MacArthur. Eisenhower put forth a proposal to reduce American troops by replacing them with them with more South Korean troops. He quoted from a letter from Lt. Gen. James A. Van Fleet the United Nations 8th army commander, saying the South Korean Area was in "apple pie" order and if more South Koreans would be brought into service, American divisions could be released.” Adlai Stevenson retaliated and called Eisenhower’s proposals a “Cynical search for votes” and President Truman used the same tone with different words, he called the general's proposals "low down tricks to win the November 4 ballots!”

Eisenhower castigated President Truman's administration as having blundered into the Korean war despite repeated warnings by military and GOP leaders and he said that he would “head an administrative resolve "to forego the diversions of politics and to concentrate on the job of ending the Korean war- until that job is honorably done." "That job requires a personal trip to Korea," He said. "I shall make that trip." The same night, Adlai accused Eisenhower of making this a "Sly and ugly campaign".

Election day and the paper reported on Dwight D. Eisenhower landslide victory over Democrat nominee Adlai Stevens that ended a 20 year reign by the Democratic Party. Up to this point Eisenhower received more votes than any presidential candidate in history. President Truman offered President-elect Eisenhower the use of the White House plane “Independence” for his flight to Korea but Eisenhower declined preferring to use an US Army aircraft. Locally the Eau Gallie precinct polled the greatest majority vote for Eisenhower more than any precinct in the Brevard County. The Eau Gallie Republican Headquarters was located at the Oleander Hotel. With a proximity close to the Eau Gallie Library this structure Oleander Hotel still stands,currently as the former Conchy Joe’s Restaurant.

Another memorable election was the 1960 election of Senator John F. Kennedy. Kennedy opened the last day of his presidential campaign with a charge that Vice President Richard Nixon believes that peace can be secured "by parades and visits to the Soviet Union." But Kennedy said in Providence RI that the productive power of the United States "put to great purpose is the only real answer to the struggle with the communists." Kennedy’s approach was the “give them hell.” In another final campaign speech JFK committed himself to education and vowed to give teachers a pay hike. JFK gave a pledge of a fighting administration for peace "for generations to come." and get this country going.

President Eisenhower said of Nixon his Vice President and Nixon’s running mate, “offer the nation "the finest type of leadership that is available to the nation.” 67 million voters turned out for this election. Kennedy won but with a narrow margin and Florida gave Nixon all of its ten votes.