December 17, 2009


(Governor Alfred E. Driscoll (R) - His legacy: The New Jersey Turnpike)

The world of politics seems to be one endless procession of bright lights, sterling hopefuls and utter flame-outs.

During the 1948 Presidential campaign, the name Alfred E. Driscoll was bandied about as a possible vice-Presidential running mate with Thomas E. Dewey on the Republican ticket. It surfaced again in 1952. But neither panned out and New Jersey Governor Driscoll quietly faded from the public scene after leaving office in 1954. His legacy, it would appear, are a number of bridges along with championing the cause of the New Jersey Turnpike.

At the time though, (1948) eyes were trained on him as serious Capitol Hill material, as is evidenced by this rather lively discussion on an early incarnation of Meet The Press regarding the postmortem on the 1948 election and the disastrous defeat for the Republican party.

Lawrence Spivak: “Fortunately, I have before me Governor, Clarence Buddington Kelland’s quotation on the campaign. Mister Davis, a moment ago asked you about it and I’d like to read it to you and see if you agree or disagree with what he said. He said ‘Dewey’s campaign was smug, arrogant, stupid and supercilious. No issues were stated or faced.’ You think that was true of the Republican campaign, that they failed to state their issues or face them?”

Governor Driscoll: “ Well I would like to enter an emphatic denial on the first part of . . that statement. I think that the Republican party did fail for reasons that are now apparent, which were perhaps not apparent at that time. To adequately state and fight the issues.”

Although it's clear Driscoll wasn't up for exchanging fistfuls of mud with the panel, his answers give some indication where the Republican party's troubles lay in 1948. And one could say the same for the election of 2008, sixty years later.

Some things don't change.

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