Obama’s relationships, just like Reagan’s, are relevant: Will Romney fight like Truman — or wimp out like Dewey?
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The most famous — and vividly so — was 1948 with the liberal Republican and New York Governor Dewey.
• 1948: Here’s Truman (at 3:34 into the clip) earning his reputation as “Give ‘em hell Harry” right out of the box with his famous acceptance speech launching his blowtorch of a campaign. In his very first sentence, Truman snaps to the first nationally televised convention audience:
“Senator Barkley [his VP running mate] and I will win this election and make these Republicans like it, and don’t you forget it.”
Here too in this same clip (17 seconds in) is Dewey starting off his 1948 race by setting a serene tone of being somehow above it all, refusing proudly to attack Truman. Dewey begins by saying “I pray God” that he was up to the race.
Over and over Dewey followed exactly the advice that Governor Romney seems to be following today.
• Appearing in Iowa at Drake University, Dewey in 1948 sounded eerily like Romney in 2012 on Reverend Wright, saying that he refused to indulge in:
“…loose talk, factional quarreling, or appeals to group prejudice.”
Again, Romney’s words on the proposed SuperPAC ad?
“I repudiate what they’re thinking about.”
• In that same 1948 Iowa speech, Dewey again went out of his way to appear as the Romney-esque nice-guy, following the strategy of being Mr. Steady, Mr. Above-it-All:
“I will not contend that all our difficulties today have been brought about by the present national administration… only part are deliberately caused for political purposes. It is not too important how these conditions came about. The important thing is that as Americans we turn our faces forward and set about curing them with stout purpose and a full heart.”
As Dewey toured Iowa that September saying these kinds of things, the Des Moines Register published a poll saying Dewey was beating Truman 51 percent to 30 percent. In fact, Truman carried Iowa 50.3 percent to 47.6 percent.
And what was Truman saying?
Things like this:
— Standing in no less than the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City that fall, Truman said Dewey represented “selfish men (who) have always tried to skim the cream from our natural resources to satisfy their own greed.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
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It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
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