Take That, Tom Dewey!

I can’t seem to find the actual document being quoted, so maybe I’m in danger of unfairly maligning the lioness of American conservatism, Phyllis Schlafly. But in a piece by the Washington Times‘ Ralph Hallow on an “update” she’s written for her 1964 Goldwater Campaign classic, A Choice Not An Echo, it’s said that she’s comparing the Establishment types promoting Jeb Bush to the “kingmakers” scorned by Everett Dirksen 63 years ago:

“Do you get the message that the media buildup for Jeb Bush has begun and that the 2016 Republican National Convention may simply nominate for president another Establishment loser candidate?” she writes.

“But it doesn’t have to be. Some of us remember Everett Dirksen’s famous speech at the 1952 Republican Convention when he publicly taunted the kingmakers, ‘We followed you before and you led us down the path to defeat.’”

Well, unlike the 90-year-old Schlafly I don’t personally remember ol’ Ev’s taunt, but have read enough about it to know it was directed on behalf of presidential candidate Robert Taft at two-time loser Thomas Dewey, chief backer of Dwight D. Eisenhower. Despite Dirksen’s warning, the Republican Convention did indeed follow Dewey once again, and Ike proceeded to break a five-election Democratic winning streak, and then was re-elected. So don’t b’lieve I’d go there, Phyllis.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.