Ike! Where Are You When We Really Need You?
On another occasion John and I were discussing the book money.
John said, “I don’t altogether like it.”
“The responsibility of someday inheriting all that money worries me.”
Very gently I said, “John, it just ain’t that much money.”
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Eisenhower’s Presidency of Columbia was subject to many interruptions. The first was political. After sixteen years of Democratic rule the Republicans desperately needed a winner.
Back in January , Senator Charles W. Tobey and Mr. Leonard V. Finder of New Hampshire had entered his name in the presidential primary of that state. Ike was tempted. He was bone-weary, anxious for a comparatively peaceful life; and he knew the rather dismal history of generals in the White House. On the other hand was his genuine feeling of obligation to the American people and the knowledge that as President he could exert tremendous influence on the shape of the future. Let us not rule out ambition, which every American boy of his era must have felt at one time or another to be President.
In the end he wrote a Shermanesque refusal to Finder saying:
“It is my conviction that the necessary and wise subordination of the military to civil power will be best sustained ... when lifelong professional soldiers, in the absence of some obvious and overriding reason, abstain from seeking high political office ... nothing in the international or domestic situation especially qualifies (me) for the most important office in the world.
“In any event, my decision to remove myself completely from the political scene is definite and positive ... I could not accept the nomination even under the remote circumstance that it were tendered me.”
In private Eisenhower said, “I see no reason why I should allow the Republicans to use me as a catspaw to regain the Presidency.”