New Republic’s bit about Perot sparked some thoughts from me.

From the issue of the New Republic currently on shelves, or being taken off the shelves in favour of the latest issue (incidentally with a cover story about how we must stay in Iraq, so I may well have to give it my “Weekly Standard” treatment shortly):

As the authors, Professors Ronald B. Rapoport and Walter Stone, know very well, Perot was not a typical third-party candidate. Many people were drawn to him, but they disagreed about why they were. When so many Americans were lured to Theodore Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Party in 1912, they knew why: to tame capitalism, to preserve natural America, to extend national power in the world. In the 1920s, those who voted for Robert LaFollette knew why they had to become progressives: to oppose ruthless individualism and competition and to assert the principle and practice of cooperation. In 1948, the voters who cast their ballots for Strom Thurmond did so because they were racists, and those who supported Henry Wallace chose him because they and he were fellow travelers of communism and the Soviet Union. (Please don’t roll your eyes. Wallace’s Progressive Party was a pure creation of the Communist Party.) Buchanan is a xenophobe and a nativist, and his followers latched on to him because that is exactly what they wanted; Nader is a paranoid with an ascetic streak who, like his supporters, wants to bring down U.S. capitalism. There were no mysteries about what attracted supporters to these candidates.

I shall go into Henry Wallace, Ralph Nader, and Strom Thurmond — because I actually have thoughts on all three of them. Who the hell has thoughts on Henry Wallace, Ralph Nader, and Strom Thurmond? I guess I just answered your question. Gawd, I’m weird.

Needless to say, it is comical to look back and see the Socialist Party of America, spear-headed by Norman Thomas, red-bait Henry Wallace, and also to see supporters of Strom Thurmond go back and forth in couching their “states rights” argument here, insisting it’s not about putting the negro down, and then hitting on how we need to keep the negro down the next day. 1948: Truman defeats not only the Republicans, but the Dixiecrats and the Communist Fellow Travelers. My next post will be looking at a 1948 NY Times article on the people populating Henry Wallace’s meetings. Please don’t roll your eyes. Wallace’s Progressive Party may or may not have been a pure creation of the Communist Party, and I note that Wallace was once editor of The New Republic, but his “Communist Fellow Travelers” seem to be rather decent individuals… and that they resemble Naderites a bit, we can excuse that and point out that Gore could not manage to defeat the Republican Party and the early 21st equivalent of Wallacites while unlike Truman he didn’t even have the Dixiecrats to worry about, so Truman is much better a politician than Gore was/is!

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