FLATLANDER

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The way we were?

From the Grand Potentate of Blogdom, James Lileks:

Keeping the country united? Good luck. Imagine FDR running a war with a press composed of cynical snickerers who derided the president as a rich old cripple who thought the best way to defeat Tojo was a war in North Africa and preached defeat every day through the hard slog of the Pacific theater. Imagine running a war with an entertainment industry that declined to make a single movie about the conflict - why, imagine a "Casablanca" where Rick and Sam argue about whether America started it all because they didn’t support the League of Nations. Imagine a popular radio drama running through the early 40s about a smart, charismatic, oh-so-intellectual Republican president whose bourbon baritone mocked FDR’s patrician whine, a leader who took no guff from Stalin OR Hitler! Lux Soap brings you, The West Wing of the White House! Imagine Thomas Dewey’s wife in 1944 calling the WW2 a war for oil; imagine former vice presidents insisting that FDR had played on our fears after Pearl Harbor. Imagine all that.

FDR won the 1944 election 25,602,504 votes to Dewey’s 22,006,285. And this was almost two million votes less than he got in 1940. Did he fail to unify the country, if half the voters wanted someone else? Or is that just how we always are, more or less?

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