September 7, 2009

The Nicest Guy To Never Be President

Reader Michel R. sent me this Goudey-esque Adlai Stevenson card from the Philadelphia football set. Adlai was the Democratic nominee for President against Eisenhower in both the '52 and '56 elections and was pretty universally regarded as gentleman in the truest sense of the word. But if Hitler couldn't defeat the Supreme Allied Commander, what hope did Adlai have?

You might remember also that Adlai was the UN Ambassador under JFK and played a major role in the Cuban Missile Crisis. In the movie 13 Days JFK and Bobby Kennedy have serious doubts that Stevenson would be able to confront the Soviet ambassador about the installation of nuclear missiles in Cuba.

The "Until Hell Freezes Over" confrontation went famously like this:



Adlai's political fortune is sometimes said to be tied to this famous photo of his shoes in disrepair while on the campaign trail in 1956. Could a candidate be taken seriously with holes in their shoes?

I noticed this photo also during the last presidential election:


President Bush had his own issues with shoes:


One last thing to note is that Peter Sellers portrayal of President Merkin Muffley in Dr. Strangelove was based on his interpretation of Adlai Stevenson. The resemblance is uncanny.

"How do you think I feel about it Demitri?"



Thanks again Michel.

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