Sunday, August 22, 2021

the last book I ever read (Truman by David McCullough, excerpt eleven)

from Truman by David McCullough:

Henry Wallace was one of the most serious-minded, fascinating figures in national public life, a plant geneticist by profession who had done important work in the development of hybrid corn and whose Pioneer Hi-Bred Corn Company was a multimillion-dollar enterprise. He was an author, lecturer, social thinker, a firm advocate for civil rights and thorough New Dealer with a large, devoted following. With the exception of Franklin Roosevelt, he was the most popular Democrat in the country. Those who loved him saw him as one of the rare men of ideas in politics and the prophet of a truly democratic America. But he was also an easy man to make fun of and to these tough party professionals, Wallace seemed to have his head in the clouds. They had never wanted him for Vice President. He had been forced upon them in 1940, when Roosevelt threatened not to run again unless he could have Wallace as his running mate. Wallace was too intellectual, a mystic who spoke Russian and played with a boomerang and reputedly consulted with the spirit of a dead Sioux Indian chief. As Vice President he seemed pathetically out of place and painfully lacking in political talent, or even a serious interest in politics. When not president over the Senate he would often shut himself in his office and study Spanish. He was too remote, too controversial, too liberal—much too liberal, which was the main charge against him.

Of the group only Ed Flynn appears to have personally admired Wallace and his ideas, but as the political writer Richard Rovere observed of Flynn, he considered candidates only as good as their chances of winning.

No comments:

Post a Comment