Weekend Talkshows Past with an episode of American Forum Of The Air, first broadcast in March 1952. The subject was "Issues Of 1952" featuring Senators Everett Dirksen (Republican) and Robert Kerr (Democrat), discussing what may be the deciding factors in the 1952 Presidential election.
January 28, 2012

Even after 60 years, very little has changed - except maybe the haircuts.

In 1952 the issues surrounding the Presidential election of that year were a bit different, only because we had the all-pervasive Cold War hanging over America's collective head.

But aside from that, not much has changed. In 1952 we were stuck in Korea, an undeclared war that, as of March 1952 had already claimed some 103,000 lives. A Foreign Policy that was woefully short-sighted. Corruption in Government, and an Internal Security System that many felt left us ripe for "enemy takeover".

In 1952 we were hot in the midst of a Cold War and everyone employed by the Government was under suspicion of taking orders from The Kremlin. It was disclosed that over 16,7000 Federal employees were under investigation by the FBI and the list of "undesirables" was growing.

And of course, the argument was this never would have happened if there was a Republican in the White House. All the country's ills were laid solidly at the foot of Harry Truman and his Commie invested Administration on Capitol Hil.

At least that's the way Republican Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois put it. Countering the partisan blast was and Oklahoma Senator Robert Kerr, a Democrat who casually reminded listeners that the Republicans were a notoriously backward thinking party and that their hearts were solidly in the 19th Century (some things never change).

The irony was that Everett Dirksen sought to paint the Republicans as a party of Peace, saying that in the previous 90 years (from 1952 which meant roughly 1870), not one single American had died as the result of war fought during a Republican Administration. Oh. Well, I guess the Spanish-American War of 1898 during Republican William McKinley's tenure wasn't actually a war and the sea battle in Manila Bay which lead to U.S. control over the Philippines had nothing to do with war either. Or the land-grab wars involving all the tribes of our indigenous folk during Republican Ulysses S. Grant's Administration in the 1870's wasn't really considered anything remotely war-like. No. Those must've been peace missions gone awry.

At any rate - the arguments are the same and on this episode of American Forum Of The Air, which was broadcast on March 3, 1952, it makes it abundantly clear Politics and the two party system don't really veer much off course, no matter what. We just don't have Joe Stalin and the Kremlin to deal with anymore - they've been traded in for the Taliban and airport security.

The faces and names change. The rhetoric may be a bit more off-the-wall now than it was in 1952, but then consider what people were used to then and it may be the insanity is the same then as it ever was.

That's what politics and looked and sounded like in 1952.

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