Could Ted really be a closet Democrat?
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@ tedtaylor.com.