What Time Is It?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006
While trying to figure out who the Pogo cat was in the cartoon below I googled Henry Wallace and turned up this little item of political history:
Eventually Wallace and Roerich had a falling out. The letters that Wallace had supposedly written (several may have been forgeries) came into the hands of Republican leaders. Having proved the authenticity of several letters through handwriting examination, they decided to use them as campaign ammunition. The Hearst, Scripps-Howard, and Paul Block chains were invited to make these letters public. But before the press could decide whether or not to do so, the Republicans withdrew them. According to Newsweek, Harry Hopkins, then managing the New Deal campaign, went to Wendell L. Willkie, the GOP candidate, and told him that if the Wallace correspondence became public, then so would Willkie's private life (he had an ongoing liaison with Irita Van Doren, the editor of the New York Herald Tribune Book Review). So the threat to the Democratic ticket was resolved--but Roosevelt never forgot it, nor did Hopkins. (The letters were finally published in a series of columns in March 1948 by Westbrook Pegler, in the New York Journal-American.
Ah, some things in politics never change. But like many things, what used to be kept behind doors has become public. And anyone who doesn't believe there was an orchestrated campaign behind the TANG letters is probably naive.

Now read this bit of political history and consider that Henry Wallace was Roosevelt's vice president during his third term. Consider that this proto-communist and admirer of Stalin might have been vice president when Roosevelt died. Now there is a historical fork for a bit of alternative history. Fortunately Roosevelt didn't want the man, and in that clever Rooseveltian way maneuvered to get him out of the way.
While FDR ostensibly favored Wallace's renomination, so anxious was he to keep his Vice President from building up delegate support that he sent him on a three-month trip to Siberia, China, and Mongolia, "to promote goodwill between Chiang Kai-Shek and the Communists in Yenan."
Heh, I love it. It's right up there with "personal reasons."


terrye said...

I read David McCullough's book on Truman and some of this in the book. It seems that is why Truman was picked for VP. Truman himself was not really all that crazy about the idea, but Wallace had to go.