Harold E. Stassen – Governor of Minnesota
Its intriguing to watch the Republicans twist themselves into salted pretzels.
“Anybody but Marco!”
Ted. A pizza man. Bush III. Trump. Jesus. Donald Fukkin Trump
Where Oh where is Harold Stassen when you need him?
Unfortunately he died in 2001 at the age of 93 and you young folks out there have probably never heard of Harold Stassen. Never got the jokes.
“Hey do you want some eggs a la Harold Stassen (Always running!!)
Or the three poker players evaluating their cards – Strong hand, a Richard Nixon. Challenging hand, an Ed Muskie or finally “a Harold Stassen” (a loser)
For you youngsters out there, Harold Stassen, a Duke University PhD, was the 25th Governor of Minnesota from 1939 – 1943 and after the war served as President of the University of Pennsylvania.
He was elected Governor at the age of 31 (that’s 31!) and delivered the Key Note Address at the GOP Convention in 1940 securing the nomination for Wendell Wilkie. He was re-elected twice as Governor of Minnesota.
In 1943, against all advice, he resigned as Governor to serve in the U. S. Navy on active duty as a Lieutenant Commander. He was promoted to Commander and he joined the staff of Admiral Bull Halsey serving in the Pacific for two years, leaving active duty in November 1945 as a Captain.
Stassen lost some of his political base while overseas as other Republicans such as Tom Dewey increased theirs. Before becoming President of Penn, he was appointed by FDR and served as a delegate to the San Francisco convention which wrote the UN Charter. He was voted the most effective delegate at the convention.
Stassen’s strongest bid for the Presidency came in 1948 when he won a number of upset primaries against Tom Dewey. Polls indicated that Stassen could defeat Harry Truman but Stassen ultimately lost the nomination to Dewey who went on to lose to Truman.
Stassen played a key role in 1952 when he threw his delegates to Dwight Eisenhower enabling Ike to beat the conservative Robert Taft for the nomination on the first ballot.
Stassen served in the Eisenhower Administration at a cabinet level, specializing in foreign affairs, disarmament and foreign aid. He tried to unseat Richard Nixon (probably at Ike’s urging) for the VP slot in 1956 but was unsuccessful.
In 1958 he ran for Governor of Pennsylvania but lost. It wasn’t close. Two years later JFK would beat Richard Nixon for the Presidency. Stassen’s political career was over.
“Though he maintained a successful law practice in Philadelphia and was a major figure of the World War II and immediate post-war eras, he nonetheless became the subject of jokes, particularly as the GOP moved further and further to the right. The humor was collective, with the ‘Stop Stassen’ movement often attracting more attention than Stassen’s bid for the nomination. He made his last attempt at the presidency in 1992.
Stassen had gained a reputation as a liberal particularly when, as president of the American Baptist Convention in 1963, he joined Martin Luther King in his march on Washington, D.C.. He was a prime representative of the left wing of American Republicanism. Yeah, we used have a Republican left wing.
Much of his political thought came from his religious beliefs. He was known for his work in theological ethics, political philosophy and social justice and developing the Just Peacemaking Theory regarding the ethics of war and peace.
An active American (or Northern) Baptist, he held important positions in his denomination and in local and national councils of churches. Baptists writing memorials remembered him as much a church figure as a political candidate.” He lived his religion every day but never pushed it down the throats of others.
Stassen ran for President numerous times – and after 1952 he never came close. As late as 1968 he received two votes for President at the Republican Convention.
Looking at the current crop of GOP candidates, Harold Stassen, a man who left a Governor’s position to fight in WWII, who was there at the founding of the U.N., who served in Ike’s Cabinet, who found his empathy with common people through his church and a man who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King is surely a giant among the little mean people seeking the nomination of the party of Lincoln.
Today a young Harold Stassen would not be the butt of jokes. He wouldn’t get the nomination. He might not even be a Republican . But oh he could sure make us see them for what they are.
We should be so lucky to have a young Harold Stassen at the GOP “debates”. At least he read a newspaper.