60 years ago today - Late August, 1960

At Presidential candidate Richard Nixon's urging, U.S. President Eisenhower agreed to absent his divisive Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson from the unfolding political drama by sending him on several trade missions in exchange for which Nixon would not publicly disavow either Benson or his farm policy. At first, Benson apparently did not comprehend that he was being deliberately sidelined, for he returned from Europe and the Middle East in late August 1960 itching for partisan battle. He publicly charged Kennedy with "flip-flopping" on agriculture, proclaimed the Nixon ticket as "the nation's best hope," and even asserted—despite some private misgivings—that Nixon would be a "great and beloved President."

Later that fall, however, when asked to spearhead a second overseas mission, Benson realized that party leaders were intentionally snubbing him. Benson then quietly withdrew from active politicking and instead focused on his department affairs.

[Gary James Bergera, "Weak-Kneed Republicans and Socialist Democrats": Ezra Taft Benson as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, 1953-61, Part 2, Dialogue : A Journal of Mormon Thought, (Winter 2008, vol 41)]

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please Enter your Comment: