Ike! Where Are You When We Really Need You?
Of course our newspaper was just what Allen needed to clinch his argument. We all sat in the Eisenhowers’ little upstairs sitting room while Allen read it aloud, mouthing the phrases with unctuous emphasis. According to some obscure Democratic Congressman, Ike had definitely promised to run if nominated.
The General got madder and madder. His face became turkey-wattle red and he snorted violently at each innuendo. “I never saw that fellow in my life,” he said. “He came to my office, but never got past the receptionist.”
“All the same, you’ve got to say something,” Allen argued. “Otherwise the Convention might nominate you by acclamation. Then what would you do?”
“I’m sure going to look like a darn fool,” Ike muttered, “twice refusing a crown that wasn’t offered to me even once.”
Nevertheless, the following morning the newspapers carried Ike’s unequivocal statement that under no circumstances would he accept the Democratic nomination.”
The next time I saw Eisenhower I said to him, “You knew the way things were going that you would have to speak out. Why did you wait so long?”
Very slowly Ike said, “I waited to see if the Republicans would nominate someone acceptable.”
“Do you mean that if Taft or Joe Martin had been nominated...?”
“I’d have done something,” Ike snapped.
I took that to mean that if a neo-isolationist had been nominated Eisenhower might have made himself available to the Democrats. Though, as I have said, his inclinations were definitely Republican, they had not yet been fixed in the mold of partisanship to the extent that, as he phrased it, he would be willing to see “all the things I have worked for go down the drain” rather than turn Democrat.