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    Anecdotal Observations On History & Politics

    Entries in Eisenhower (4)


    Goldwater's Attempt at Damage Control

    In late September of 1964, Republican Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater attempted to confront the widespread impression that he was too dangerous to become president. Hoping to push back against the public impression created by Johnson's infamous "Daisy Ad", which aired earlier the same month, Goldwater joined Dwight D. Eisenhower at the former president's Gettysburg ranch. Here's how General Eisenhower vouched for the Republican nominee in a 30 second spot, which was excerpted for air from a longer version: 

    Operative word: "Tommyrot" (noun) - nonsense; utter foolishness.


    Campaign Slogans: To Recycle Or Not To Recycle?

    Ben Smith reported last night that Mitt Romney's new slogan, "Believe in America," was previously used by John Kerry for a cross-country bus tour. However, many presidential campaign slogans have been strikingly similar, albeit not exactly the same, as previous campaigns:

    • George W. Bush's 2004 campaign message, as introduced at his RNC Nomination speech was "TURN THE CORNER," which was near identical to FDR's 1932 slogan, "WE ARE TURNING THE CORNER"
    • Both Nixon and Reagan stressed the urgency of their message, Nixon with "NIXON NOW" and Reagan with "THE TIME IS NOW"
    • John McCain's 2008 slogan "COUNTRY FIRST," was almost the same as Warren Harding's "AMERICA FIRST" in 1920.
    • Eisenhower's "WE LIKE IKE" sounded like a rip-off of Wendell Willkie's 1940 message "WE WANT WILKIE," except one was a rhyme and the other used alliteration.

    Disney Votes For Eisenhower

    The Walt Disney Company in the 1950's was best known for Cinderella (1950), Alice in Wonderland (1951) and Peter Pan (1953), but one animation is overlooked on their wikipedia page: a TV spot for presidential candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower, titled I Like Ike.


    The 1952 spot, which was produced by Roy Disney (Walt's brother) and donated by Walt Disney Studios, even threw a few punches, first showing three rather hapless donkeys ("We don't want John or Dean or Harry") in a stable and then a donkey marching in the wrong direction in the background. The three are likely John Sparkman, Dean Acheson and Harry Truman. 

    It was the only political commercial Disney ever produced and was credited with softening Eisenhower's image. Further helping the WWII general was the fact that Adlai Stevenson hardly ran any TV advertising, refusing to be sold "like soap". 


    Obama Channels Eisenhower

    President Obama's State of the Union speech made every attempt to stress the importance of education and innovation as a means of "winning the future," which is a message not unlike former President Dwight D. Eisenhower's State of the Union in 1958. 

    The US was caught by surprise with launch of Sputnik in 1957 -- an event that began the space race and put a emphasis on the technological capacities of the two great superpowers. Calling this challenge "a different kind of war," then-president Eisenhower took it upon himself to boost America's future potential in the fields of science and math so as to empower the nation to compete internationally. In his 1958 State of the Union he emphasized the need for more than just military power alone:

    We must never become so preoccupied with our desire for military strength that we neglect those areas of economic development, trade, diplomacy, education, ideas and principles where the foundations of real peace must be laid.

    The challenge, as Eisenhower put it was, "not our strength today; it is rather the vital necessity of action today to ensure our strength tomorrow," a theme not unlike Obama's concept of "winning the future".