Where Have You Gone, Robert Alphonso Taft?

This article would be worth a link for its mention of a folk song called “Hang Earl Warren” (“to a sour apple tree/His impeachment still won’t fill the bill for folks like you and me”), but it has much else to commend it as well.

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3 thoughts on “Where Have You Gone, Robert Alphonso Taft?

  1. Tim October 3, 2006 / 11:02 am

    Although Robert Taft had a lot of commendable qualities, the portrait painted of him in Ronald Radosh’s (highly recommended) book “Prophets On The Right” seems to indicate that he was all over the place on the Korean War. Even the most pro-Taft cold war skeptics have noted his highly compromised stance on interventionism.

    So maybe had he beaten Eisenhower for the GOP nomination, and if in the unlikely event that he had then gone on to win the presidency, it’s not that clear he would have differed that much from Ike anyhow.

    I suspect he may have been less willing to tolerate the whole string of CIA covert operations that got launched on Ike’s watch (presumably Taft’s strong belief in international law may have moderated this) . But on the other hand without Ike’s “insider” knowledge of how military politcs worked, he might not have been as successful as Ike was in reigning in the USAF’s push during the “bomber gap” and “missile gap” affairs. Indeed if anything Taft was probably more pro-air power than Ike so it’s not impossible that a President Taft would have been less successful than President Eisenhower was in opposing the ‘military industrial complex’.

    Ike by developing the U-2 and Corona spy satellite programs, by persisting with Corona despite it’s great technical challenges, and by keeping both programs out of USAF / SAC control was able to provide hard information on actual Soviet capabilities to counter ‘gap’ scares. These two achievements were probably Ike’s biggest victories against the ‘Military Industrial Complex’. Would Taft have pulled these off? And would we have avoided a hot war if Ike hadn’t won these rounds?

  2. Daniel McCarthy October 4, 2006 / 5:18 am

    It’s sometimes been said — truly, I think — that Taft was a poor Taftian.

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