Could Ted re­ally be a closet Demo­crat?

Times Chronicle & Public Spirit - - OPINION -

With Elec­tion Day clos­ing in and be­ing buried in the on­go­ing avalanche of po­lit­i­cal ads on Ts — many of them daunt­ing — it got me to think­ing about pol­i­tics and how the pres­i­den­tial elec­tions have im­pacted and will continue to im­pact all our lives.

My students at the col­lege are al­ways sur­prised when I ad­mit to be­ing a con­ser­va­tive — I may the only one in the whole in­sti­tu­tion — but when I tell them that among my fa­vorite pres­i­dents were three De­moFUDWV WKHy DUH VLPSOy EDIflHG.

I’ve sel­dom voted a straight ticket and once even ran in a lo­cal elec­tion as a Demo­crat. , finG WKH wKROH HOHFWLRn SURcess to be fas­ci­nat­ing and the ex­pe­ri­ence stim­u­lat­ing for the coun­try.

As a kid in the fall of 1V4U I saw Pres­i­dent earry S. Tru­man stand­ing on the back of a rail­road car in (I be­lieve) 3Mth Street Sta­tion in Philadel­phia (it could have been Subur­ban Sta­tion or even korth Philadel­phia Sta­tion). ee was do­ing a whis­tle stop tour of the East Coast and our teacher at Glen­side El­e­men­tary bun­dled us onto a yel­low school bus and JDYH uV RuU fiUVW HxSRVuUH WR D flHVK DnG blood world leader.

Even though my momI a staunch Repub­li­can com­mit­tee­wom­anI was a fer­vent sup­porter of Thomas E. DeweyI she was glad I got the chance to see earry “be­fore Dewey sends him in to re­tire­mentI” she said. Of course it was Dewey who got the hook.

“The Buck Stops eereI” Tru­man’s mot­toI sad­lyI has not been a mantra for many Amer­i­can lead­ers over the years. eis sim­pleI yet di­rect ap­proach to do­mes­tic and for­eign prob­lems set him apart from the ev­ery­day politi­cian. It did thenI it still does. ee’s among my fa­vorite pres­i­dents. eis­tory views him among the great pres­i­dents.

I once saw John F. hennedy rid­ing in the back of an open Lin­coln (I think) con­vert­ible in 1VSM go­ing around City eall in Philadel­phia openly cam­paign­ing for my vote. ee was a movie star hand­some man; his red­dish brown hair glis­tened in the late day sun­shine. SadOy, KH nHYHU JRW WR finLVK KLV WHUP DnG KLV OHJDFy UHPDLnHG un­fin­ished. Un­for­tu­nate­lyI I never got to vote for him (and I would have)I I was too young when he ran.

I never met Franklin D. Roo­seveltI but he was in WKH RYDO RI­fiFH wKHn , wDV D small boy and one of my ear­li­est mem­o­ries of any­thing at all was hear­ing the ra­dio an­nounce­ment that he had died in 1V45. Arthur God­freyI I’m toldI was the net­work com­men­ta­tor for the sad event.

Of courseI I wasn’t around for Theodore Roo­seveltI but the “Rough Rider” gets my vote for what a pres­i­dent should be. sol­umes have been writ­ten about this most in­ter­est­ing man and his many life ad­ven­tures would make the ba­sis for a great movie. ee did walk softly (some­times) and of­ten car­ried that big stick.

My dad was a mem­ber of the U. S. Cavalry in the 1VOMs (his dis­charge says his horse­man­ship was “ex­cel­lent”) and he wanted to name me Theodore in honor of his idolI TR. My mom in­ter­venedI named me eenry af­ter my dadI but he got the last laugh and nick­named me Ted — and it stuck.

As a stu­dent at Glen­side El­e­men­tary “I Liked Ike” andI thanks to momI had loads of Eisen­hower but­tons and re­galia. The fact that he was a war hero made him all that more spe­cial to kids like me. The Democrats ran a cou­ple of guys — Ad­lai Steven­son and Estes hefau­ver — against him andI to meI it seemed like they shouldn’t have both­ered.

Other pres­i­dents didn’t im­pact me very much. I thought Lyn­don John­son was an old-time “Pol” who couldn’t stand up to JFh. I didn’t like Dick kixonI ei­ther as Ike’s sPI or on his own as chief ex­ec­u­tive. Ger­ald Ford seemed like a good guyI a solid manI but prob­a­bly not all that pres­i­den­tialI at least in my eyes. Jimmy Carter? What can I say?

I met Ron­ald Rea­gan when he spoke at an kCAA Con­ven­tion shortly af­ter his pres­i­dency. I was there as ath­letic di­rec­tor of Philadel­phia Textile (now Univer­sity). ee was still quite in­spir­ing and lit up the room when he ar­rived. For my mon­eyI he was the best pres­i­dent of the sec­ond half of the OMth cen­tury. I have a card he signed for me.

I met Ge­orge W. Bush at the Ma­jor League Base­ball win­ter meet­ings in the early VMs and got him to sign a base­ball for me (I was a sP at the Fleer Corp.). We were to­gether for about 45 min­utes and chat­ted about base­ball in gen­eral and his teamI the Texas Rangers. ee was easy to speak with and it never dawned on me he’d be chief ex­ec­u­tive one day. In the mid-OMMMs my busi­ness part­nerI Jeff Stevens and II presided over a base­ball mem­o­ra­bilia sign­ing by his fatherI Ge­orge e.W. Bush.

As an asideI I never felt like the elder Bush was all that en­thused about be­ing pres­i­dent and was a per­fect elec­tion op­po­nent for the emer­gence of Bill Clin­ton. I never met himI but you couldn’t help but like Clin­ton. I be­lieve that if pres­i­dents’ weren’t now lim­ited to two termsI like FDRI he’d have been pres­i­dent for life. Some say he was the most nat­u­ral politi­cian there ever was and I tend to agree.

Whomever you fa­vor for pres­i­dentI thoughI don’t for­get to vote kov. S.

Ted Tay­lor can be reached at ted@ ted­tay­

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