I met James Madison today! He gave us a long “briefing” of the issues at hand in his current administration and interacted with us with charming wit.
It’s rare that Taft has competition in the facial hair department …
From the description:
William Howard Taft (U.S. president 1909-1913) and Charles H. Grosvenor sit in front of the Grosvenor house.Via Ohio University Libraries. Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections
Konneker Alumni Center houses the Alumni Association. Built for General Charles H. Grosvenor, it was designed by his cousin Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue, and is part of the Ohio University Campus Green Historic District listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The house remained in the family for approx. 50 years until descendant Constance Leete donated it to the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church. The church leased it to OU until Konneker donated the funds for OU to purchase it in 1980.
"An unappreciative audience", Omaha [NB] “Daily Bee”, 7/14/1914 [p.1]. William Jennings Bryan, then-Secretary of State, is depicted as standing on an enormous bag of money marked as aid for Latin America. “We can afford to be generous”, he says, while an American “wage worker”, his wife and child, and a child laborer look on. The woman is labeled “ice less” because she is too poor to afford ice. In the summer, the heat was considered a health issue, particularly for children.
You probably guessed: they didn’t win. In fact, their 590k votes was hundreds of thousands shy of Socialist Party candidate Eugene Debs' nearly one million votes in 1912 and again in 1920 (that last one from prison). Benson split with the party a few years later over its opposition to American involvement in World War I.
"Choice:" a 28-minute hand-wringing sermon on morality, brought to you by Barry Goldwater (but not really)
In 1964, political strategist Clif White helped secure the GOP nomination for Barry Goldwater, but he was dropped when it came time to assemble Goldwater’s campaign team. So, in what Daniel McCarthy at The American Conservative described as a “consolation prize,” White was granted permission to make a campaign film around the issue of morality in America, to be aired on television.
And it is awesome. There’s lots of dancing (gasp!), driving fast, even littering. And of course sex sex sex. All contrasted with AmericanTM shots of the Statue of Liberty, the Constitution and recreations of Valley Forge. And if you guessed that “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” is playing in the background, well my friend you would not be wrong. Self-righteous and way, way over-the-top, it was designed to show that the re-election of LBJ (the “Choice”) would hasten our already perilous decline, in a handcart to hell kind of way.
Jesse Walker, in Reason, recalls a passage from Mostly on the Edge, a memoir by Goldwater’s speechwriter Karl Hess, that explains what happened when this masterpiece was screened for Goldwater and the team:
Before a word could be said, the senator turned to my son — then sixteen years old — and asked his opinion. Young Karl said the ad was silly, had nothing to do with the ideas of the campaign, and was dirty politics to boot. Goldwater agreed. That was it; the ad was pulled, and the campaign stuck to the high ground of principles and substantive issues.
Goldwater’s decision to shelve it went beyond the lurid imagery and heavy-handed moral absolutism. The many depictions of young rioters was perhaps even more troubling. McCarthy cites Bill Middendorf’s (another campaign official) memoir A Glorious Disaster:
"It can’t be used." Period. The next day, he elaborated. "It’s nothing but a racist film." Choice gave equal time to black and white miscreants, but blacks were in the more violent shots.
At any rate, it’s a half hour well worth your time. Also, at around the 11:30 mark, you see footage about the “Baker case” - this is what that’s about.
edit: the_60s_at_50 on Twitter found a great New York Times article from 1996 about the film: "The First Days of the Loaded Political Image"
* Barry Goldwater vs. the Swinging ’60s: The ‘Choice’ Film / The American Conservative
* The Wild Campaign Film That Barry Goldwater Disowned / Reason
* Video via YouTube
Speeches were Adlai Ewing Stevenson II’s greatest strength, but they were also his greatest weakness. During the 1950s, when the televised image assumed an increasingly important role in winning and losing elections, Stevenson failed to transcend the image of a speaker. Although eloquent to be sure, he seemed abstracted and detached—an observer rather than a leader. In his 1952 presidential campaign, that image—together with speeches filled with reason, wit, and grace—won the plaudits of many intellectuals. On the other hand, his speeches often confused or bored many other Americans."Adlai Stevenson, Television, and the Presidential Campaign of 1956," Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Volume 89, Spring 1996 via the Illinois State Library [PDF]
Stevenson’s opponent, Dwight David Eisenhower, more practically strove for communication, rather than eloquence. Where Stevenson appeared to make a fetish of reason, Eisenhower recognized that effective communication depended more on stimulating a sense of shared emotion. His highly effective spot advertisements on television identified with the needs and yearnings of ordinary voters.
Eisenhower’s victory, due in part to a sophisticated use of television, taught many Democrats that political success in the future would depend on mastering the arcane techniques of the new medium.
Read more …
President Kennedy was known for being a fast and voracious reader.
As Mrs. Kennedy once said, “He’d read walking, he’d read at the table, at meals, he’d read after dinner, he’d read in the bathtub…He really read all the times you don’t think you have time to read.”
In fact, JFK could read 1,200 words per minute. Check out this letter from JFK’s press secretary, Pierre Salinger, discussing JFK’s talent.
-from the JFK Library