"To Make a Good Society"
(TIME, July 5, 1948) -- The face of the Republican Party, as shown by its candidates, had never appeared so photogenic, so confident, so politically winning. Gazing out from the front pages of the nation's press, it smoothly combined the cool self-assurance of Thomas Edmund Dewey, 46, with the genial Western affability of smiling Earl Warren, 57.
Political Bull's-Eye. The exhausted, sweating convention delegates had known and got almost exactly what they wanted. The real battle was never over issues. The Republican Party from the outset wanted someone like Arthur Vandenberg or Harold Stassen or Tom Dewey -- all men who believed that the U.S. must accept its leadership in the world. The nomination of Tom Dewey conclusively routed the corporal's guard of Republican isolationists. They had rallied behind Robert Taft, even though he himself said that "isolationism" was a dead issue.
The nomination of Earl Warren was a political bull's-eye. He gave the ticket a psychological lift; he would unquestionably attract millions of "independent voters." Democrats had hoped to make hay out of Republican failure to push through reclamation projects in the West. But it would be futile to play that game against Republican Earl Warren, one of the foremost spokesmen of the eager-beaver West.
Barring a political miracle, it was the kind of ticket that could not fail to sweep the Republican Party back into power. What kind of an administration would it bring with it?
Go Slow, More Surely. In large part it would reflect the careful personality of Tom Dewey himself. It was just that thought which had caused the real opposition to his nomination. Though nearly all Republicans respected him for his administrative skill, and admired him for his ability to command the loyalty of topnotch aides, a variety of Republicans felt he was not the kind of man they could cotton to. Old Guardists could love John Bricker, young folks could idealize Harold Stassen, others could be devoted to Statesman Vandenberg. Dewey, it was variously said, was too mechanically precise to be liked, too watchfully unbending to be confided in, too coldly ambitious to be loved.
Few if any Republicans doubted that Dewey's administration could be counted on to get things done with competence and tidy dispatch. It would move surely, after poring over all the facts. It would be alert, but would avoid any sudden changes of policy. It might be short on imagination, but it would certainly be long on efficiency.
"Proof to Come." In the critical year of 1948, would that be good enough? On the night he accepted his nomination Tom Dewey showed his own realization that more was needed. Said he: "Our people yearn to move to higher ground, to find a common purpose in the finer things which unite us . . . The unity we seek is more than material. Our problem is within ourselves. We have found the means to blow the world, physically, apart. Spiritually, we have yet to find the means to put together the world's broken pieces, to bind up its wounds, to make a good society, a community of men of good will that fits our dreams."
Those, as Manhattan's stubbornly anti-Republican Star headlined them, were "NOBLE WORDS, PROOF TO COME." Proof was what the U.S. people would want to see. Tom Dewey had already shown that he could mature and grow in political stature, that he could learn political lessons. Would he now demonstrate to a hopeful nation and a watching world that he could match his efficiency with imagination and his genius for teamwork with bold leadership?
The Voices of the Land
The hulking building with the pink neon sign -- it might have been a sports arena, a warehouse or a hangar for tomorrow's giant rocket bomber -- stood in the greyer part of grey Philadelphia. Along its long corridors and empty galleries, janitors toiled glumly amid drifts of paper cups, candy wrappers, newspapers and stale buns. As a band blurted out the first brassy music of the morning, the great main floor was only half filled.
But as the first speaker of the day -- of any of the five convention days -- advanced to the microphone, floor and galleries began filling up, and the convention came alive. Photographers jostled in belligerent knots, each holding a camera to his eye like a unicorn adjusting his horn. Heat and humidity rose. Coats came off and the face of the crowd moved with the urgent fluttering of thousands of cardboard fans. Within minutes it was hot enough to grow orchids.
Shirtsleeves & Galluses. The jumbled roaring which came through the loudspeakers boomed so loudly and with such a passionate rise & fall of voice that it was applauded as if it were an announcement of the final collapse of the Soviet Union. Of the men & women who made purely partisan speeches, Columnist Lippman wrote: "Never did they admit that they had ever been wrong, less than wise, less than the only true defenders of the faith, or that one trace of humility or magnanimity could be allowed to mitigate their absolute self-righteousness."
But there were other speakers. On the convention floor before them, under the relentlessly glaring spotlights, sat America in its shirtsleeves and galluses, yelling and singing and being judged not only by the folks back home, but also by the folks in foreign parts whom America must lead toward peace.
The orators realized it too. Remarkably little was said about the good opinion of the corner drugstore. Remarkably much was said about the unknown corner of unknown streets in a foreign land, where unknown people would read their papers.
Lobbies & Elevators. The whole show was not in Convention Hall. It overflowed into the streets of downtown Philadelphia and eddied through hotel lobbies, was dammed up in frantically clogged elevators and stairways. It was given direction by the politicking in hotel rooms; it was given the air of a prizefight by the numberless press conferences.
Kansas, Kentucky & Maine. But the most significant part of the gargantuan spectacle was on the steamy floor of Convention Hall. It was dramatized in the round, sugary superlatives of the nominating speeches, in the carefully staged demonstrations for the candidates, in the hoots and cheers from the galleries.
When the balloting began, America was heard and seen in microcosm. No one could hear the roll call of the states without feeling, consciously or not, that this was poetry, and of an epic sort: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado . . . Kansas, Kentucky and Maine . . . Nebraska, Ohio, the Dakotas . . . Vermont and Wisconsin and Wyoming. The voices from the floor were rich with flavor of the broad land. They spoke with local pride: Georgia, the empire state of the South . . . the great, free state of Maryland . . . Virginia, the cradle of democracy . . Hawaii, standing on the threshold of statehood.
Skyscrapers & Speed. Was this democracy in action? In its outward manifestations it was a combination of a movies premiere, a World Series, a congressional debate and the Kentucky Derby. But it reflected the character and stirred the emotions of a people who boo umpires, love lodge rituals, build skyscrapers and worship speed and spectacles. Democracy is largely composed of people who like drum majorettes and brass bands.
The show -- like democracy itself -- was neither smooth, nor particularly dignified, nor comfortable. But its core was the people -- the thousands of upturned faces, pink, living, moving constantly, arranged in disorderly and unmilitary rows. The convention had not only good lung power. It had a good heart.
How He Did It
The year was 1925. In a Manhattan office a very young lawyer, who had only recently abandoned his ambition to become an opera star, looked up from a brief he was studying and inquired of a colleague: "How do you get into politics?" On that day, at that hour, Thomas E. Dewey's campaign for the presidency began.
Early last week Tom Dewey found himself in Philadelphia for his most critical battle. He had already been beaten once before. (Dewey is a comeback man. He was beaten for governor in 1938, won in 1942 and 1946. He was beaten for the presidential nomination in 1940, won it in 1944. He was beaten in the presidential election in 1944. Coming up: 1948.) If he lost this time, he was through. He had no intention of losing.
After his defeat in 1944, he told friends that he would never again seek the office; the office could seek him if it wanted to. But his staff had carried on an assiduous underground operation, their eyes always on 1948. They cultivated contacts in key states, formed alliances which would be useful later, collected intelligence reports on local problems, local people. The Wisconsin and Nebraska primaries almost made all this work useless. Tom Dewey looked like a gone goose. He was told that if he wanted the nomination, he would have to go after it -- and hard. He did. In Oregon's rainy spring he made 92 speeches in 20 days, made obeisance to every traditional ritual of the successful campaigner. He won the primary. That was turning point.
When he came to Philadelphia last week, he had in his pocket the almost certain votes of some 350 delegates. To win, he needed 200 more. That was the last salient. He was ready to take it.
Nerve Center. The Dewey machine was a complex affair. The front which it turned to the public in Philadelphia was the Bellevue-Stratford ballroom. There on the stage a gigantic photograph of the candidate, tinted somewhat too vividly, gazed steadily out over the throngs. Around the balcony hung other photographs: the Dewey family playing with their Great Dane; the Dewey family at the circus; Dewey on the farm. Dewey infantrymen passed out soft drinks and small favors to gawking visitors and gave every 200th visitor a door prize. WIlliam Horne, a Philadelphia bank employee, was clocked in as the 45,000th visitor and got a sterling silver carving aid.
But the nerve center was on the hotel's eighth floor. There Dewey's large and highly competent staff operated. There were John Foster Dulles, adviser on foreign affairs, and Elliott Bell, state superintendent of banks and adviser on national policies. In charge of campaign fund-raising was Harold E. Talbott, onetime polo player, director of the Chrysler Corp. In charge of influencing fellow Senators: Senator Irving Ives. In charge of intelligence and publicity: Paul Lockwood, Dewey's secretary, and James C. Hagerty, onetime political reporter on the New York Times, now Dewey's press secretary. In charge of practical politics and the panzer divisions: three of New York's smartest politicians -- Lawyer Herbert Brownell Jr., National Committeeman J. Russel Sprague and Edwin F. Jaeckie, onetime state chairman. All of his staff had one thing in common: complete loyalty to Tom Dewey.
The Blitz. The blitz, which got under way as soon as the first delegate hit the city, would go down in political history. It was as quiet as a snowfall and, like a snowfall, it covered everything. On Monday, handful os reporters on Dewey's eighth floor saw little to report except serenity. But if they had listened carefully they might have heard the hum of wheels.
The panzer divisions were moving through the hotels. Typical of the way they operated was the story of Ohio's Delegate Chester Gillespie, who had been sent to the convention to vote for Stassen. Delegate Gillespie is a Cleveland Negro and an old friend of New York's most prominent Negro Republican, City Judge Francis E. Rivers. This information was on file.
On opening day, Judge Rivers called on Gillespie. They talked. It was pointed out to Gillespie that Tom Dewey had put an anti-discrimination law -- a sort of state FEPC -- through New York's legislature. Gillespie was flattered to be invited to meet the governor, who granted him a midnight audience. It lasted a full half hour. Gillespie recalled later: "I told him he had done more for Negroes than any other public figure in America. Mr. Dewey asked me, 'More than Lincoln?' I told him, 'Yes, Lincoln did his part in another way.'" Gillespie departed, pledged to support Tom Dewey on the second ballot. Every day after that, Judge Rivers met Gillespie at breakfast and stayed with him all day.
The War of Nerves. Even less audibly, a rumor machine began to grind. Rumor is an ancient contrivance of political conventions, but it had seldom been used more efficiently. Whispering stories of rebellions in opposition camps cropped up, stories of desertions, stories of growing Dewey strength. Newsmen, picking each other's brains, sped the rumors along. Philadelphia hotel lobbies, rooms and bars were suddenly filled with startling and unverified stories:
Governor Dwight Green was going to deliver a wad of Illinois' 56 votes to Dewey in return for the vice-presidency. Governor Alfred Driscoll, who was originally for Vandenberg, was going to deliver himself and at least a part of New Jersey to Dewey for the same reward. Congressman Charlie Halleck was going to deliver Indiana for the same reason. The effect of the stories was always the same. Delegates were assailed with doubts about their candidates and growing panicky over their own political hides. Were they missing a bandwagon? Would they go unrewarded when the patronage was dealt out?
First Blow. On Tuesday, the Dewey machine stepped up its power. It jolted the opposition with the first real blow. Pennsylvania's Senator Ed Martin announced that he had withdrawn as a favorite-son candidate and would not only vote for Dewey on the first ballot but make the nominating speech for him.
Martin's support of Dewey was well known. But he had agreed in open caucus with his Pennsylvania rival, Governor Jim Duff, who was an anti-Dewey and pro-Vandenberg man, to hold the state's delegates together indefinitely and wait for some strategic moment to make their bargain. Now Ed Martin posed, sitting on a sofa, with his arm snugly around a smiling Tom Dewey. Dewey aides announced a press conference for later in the day; the rumor spread that not only Ed Martin but New Jersey's Governor Driscoll would be there. The wise guys said: "There goes the ball game."
Downstairs in the ballroom, the Dewey camp continued to present its bland and beckoning front to the world. While the opposition gnashed its teeth, the Dewey camp staged a fashion show. Delegates' wives sat on gilt chairs, an orchestra played lively airs and a squad of models paraded summer and fall clothes. Crooned Mrs. Edwar J. MacMullan, arbiter of Philadelphia society and mistress of ceremonies: "Here you may feast your eyes on the world of fashion . . . Her bathing suit is white Lastex which fits like a second skin . . . This delectable creature is wearing the sort of dress of which we ask, 'Do we have a good time in it?' Get it?"
"No Deals." Sixteen floors up in the Rose Room, some 400 photographers, radiomen, television men and newsmen assembled for the Dewey press conference. Dewey walked in -- a small, compact, aggressive man. For the space of five solid minutes, while photographers shot him, radiomen adjusted microphones, moviemen flapped their arms around his head in signals, he held his mouth in a radiant, frozen smile. "How do you feel, Governor Dewey?" In an emphatic baritone, pausing after each word, he said: "I feel swell."
Dewey told newsmen little they wanted to know. He used the moment for its psychological effect on the enemy. He exuded victory. Delegations had been calling on him all day. He rolled off a list: Oklahoma, Maine, Alabama, Indiana, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Oregon, Wyoming, Rhode Island. It was probably the high point of the war of nerves. "I have no understandings, arrangements, bargains or deals with anyone in the United States for anything," he said.
On Wednesday four more blows fell on the bewildered opposition. Halleck announced that he would indeed deliver Indiana. Driscoll announced for Dewey, although his delegation was split. Senator James P. Kem came out of the Missouri woods, rushing for the Dewey camp. And right at his heels was Governor Robert Bradford of Massachusetts.
That night, having done all he could, Tom Dewey and his handsome wife, the former Frances Hutt of Sapulpa, Okla., settled down in their dignified hotel room, with its mulberry walls and rose drapes, to listen to the nominating speeches on television. The Governor was quite composed.
Companions in Distress. What, through all this, was happening to the opposition? As early as Monday, Candidate Robert Taft had phoned Jim Duff -- who was trying to hold the fort for Arthur Vandenberg -- and invited him to a conference. They met at the Drake Hotel, in the penthouse apartment of John D.M. Hamilton, who was national chairman of the G.O.P. when Alf Landon was its candidate.
Taft and Duff agreed that something had to be done. They decided to call in Harold Stassen and meet again the following night at Hamilton's other apartment at 2031 Locust Street. That night Stassen and Taft -- old political enemies -- confronted each other and sat down as allies. With Duff they reviewed the whole situation. In anguish they reported to each other that the Dewey camp was spreading stories so fast that by the time one was checked another had cropped up. Delegates were being stampeded. They compared notes. Taft's and Stassen's figures on the estimated strength of each were amazingly similar. Taft and Stassen, companions in distress, began to warm toward each other. But there was no talk of agreeing on a coalition candidate. They were merely appraising their positions. They decided to meet again.
Rooted in Concrete. Next morning, they did, and agreed to expand the coalition. At a meeting the next afternoon (again at 2031 Locust), Duff, Taft and Stassen sat down with Connecticut's national committeeman, Harold Mitchell (representing favorite son Ray Baldwin), and Kim Sigler, governor of Michigan, leader of the Vandenberg forces. California's Earl Warren was represented by a close friend, Preston Hotchkiss. They figured that the coalition could count on 630 votes -- more than enough to stop Dewey.
When the meeting broke up, Taft rushed to a press conference at the Benjamin Franklin hotel. His stride was determined; his face bore a look of hope. In confident tones he said: "The Dewey blitz has been stopped."
But it should have been obvious by now that the only way they could stop the Dewey stampede was with another candidate. Who? Taft was willing to compromise -- on Taft. Vandenberg's Sigler was willing to compromise -- on Vandenberg. Stassen wanted -- Stassen. Earlier, Stassen had been willing to throw his strength to Vandenberg. But now the coalition strategy was for each man to stand firm. Each maintained that he could never hold certain states pledged to him if he threw his support to some other man. What about Warren? Said Duff, who was living in a suite at the Hotel Warwick across from Warren: "The governor of California seems to be rooted in concrete."
"The Greatest Honor." This was the state of things that night as Tom Dewey watched his television set, as the perspiring delegates streamed out to Convention Hall to hear the candidates placed in nomination. Just before the session opened, Pennsylvania caucused. The vote: Dewey, 41; Taft, 27; Vandenberg, 1; Stassen, 1; three not voting. Jim Duff, now backing Taft, had lost some of his strength.
Some time after 9 o'clock, Ed Martin, in white suit and white shoes, rose in the great hall. He was drowned out by boos, some of which came from Pennsylvania's split delegation. But he went doggedly on to his conclusion: "It is the greatest honor of my life to present to this convention . . . Thomas Edmund Dewey."
New York's delegation started the symbolic march along the aisles, blowing tin whistles. It took a long time working up steam, but it was not until 32 minutes later that Joe Martin, barking like the neighbor's old dog to whom no one ever pays any attention, restored order. The seconding speeches began.
The other nominating speeches, the other demonstrations, the other seconding calls lasted far into the morning -- until 4:03 a.m. Back at his hotel, Tom Dewey had long since gone to bed.
First Ballot. He was up early for his big day, ate some bacon & eggs and began seeing the people who were already streaming up to the eighth floor. Charlie Halleck dropped by to see Herb Brownell. News came that Senator Leverett Saltonstall was releasing the Massachusetts votes which he controlled.
The report was being spread that Michigan was about to break up and desert Vandenberg. The story, under an eight-column headline in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, confronted delegates hurrying out to Convention Hall. Water Hallanan, national committeeman from West Virginia and a staunch Taft man, announced that he would vote for Dewey instead.
Dewey had a chicken sandwich and a glass of milk and sat down again before the television set. Across the land, listening at radios, people sat with their score cards, waiting to play the game of Presidential Bingo.
There was a short delay. An angry Sigler, in shirtsleeves and plastic suspenders, got up to deny the truth of the Michigan rumor. Michigan had not deserted Vandenberg, he said. The voting began. The score on the first ballot: Dewey, 434; Taft, 224; Stassen, 157; Vandenberg, 62; Warren, 59. Dewey had not made it. Bingo was 548.
Second Ballot. The second ballot began. This was when favorite sons would drop out and the real business of voting would begin. Taft got 50 of the 56 Illinois votes which had gone to Favorite Son Green. Dewey got 24 of the 35 New Jersey votes which had gone to Driscoll. Most of Dewey's gain was in dribs & drabs -- a vote here, a vote there, demonstrating the value of the Dewey camp's attention to details.
Before the count was announced by the chair the convention knew full well what had happened. Dewey had 515 votes, 33 short of the nomination. But the coalitionists, desperate as they were, would not give in yet. They had agreed to ask for a recess after the second ballot. But now, while the official count was being tallied, there was confusion on the floor. Restless delegates from the coalition states saw the Dewey bandwagon rolling right past their door. Should they switch now?
The blitz continued to work right on the floor. It manifested itself in a hundred hurried, private conferences -- New Jersey's Driscoll arguing with Delegate Horace Tantum, Charlie Halleck bending an ear to Kansas Chairman Harry Darby, Ed Jaeckle giving friendly advice to Connecticut's Governor James C. Shannon.
Ordeal of Mr. Sigler. The Michigan delegation sat in indecision and suspense, looking to Sigler and National Committeeman Arthur Summerfield for advice. They began waving their hands at Sigler, who stood like a man transfixed. He had only minutes to make up his mind. Connecticut was ready to break for Dewey. Where the hell was Baldwin, so Sigler could talk to him? Trapped in a pack of sweating pages, newsmen, photographers and delegates crowding the aisles, Sigler could not move. James Powers, a Michigan delegate and Detroit auto dealer, grabbed Sigler's arm and shouted: "Go on, go on, don't be a fool."
Pennsylvania's beefy Jim Duff heaved his bulk through the crowd. In all loyalty, Sigler wanted Duff and the rest of the coalition boys to give their O.K. before he released Michigan. He tried to explain to Duff, who stood stony-faced, fanning himself in the heat. Taft's campaign manager, Clarence Brown, oozed through the crowd. New York's Senator Irving Ives came up to underline the futility of further resistance. "What's the point?" he said amiably. "There's no sense to it."
Suddenly, Sigler seemed to make up his mind. He fought his way toward the platform. Connecticut's Baldwin finally showed up from somewhere in the pack around the Michigan delegation. "I don't want to do it," he was saying. "But there's a strong feeling in my delegation for Dewey." The floor was in a minor uproar.
Up on the platform Sigler had grabbed a telephone and was talking to Vandenberg, getting the final word to jump. Other coalition bosses looked for California's Bill Knowland, who in all conscience should also be given the chance to say aye or nay. But Knowland could not be found. Then the chair announced the count, which formally closed the second ballot. It was too late to make any changes.
But obviously it was all over. Jim Duff moved for the recess, seconded by Bill Knowland. The coalition could pull itself together and, if not stave off defeat, arrange things for an orderly surrender.
Bingo! That was what happened some three hours later, although the surrender was more disorderly than planned. Knowland had hoped to put Dewey over when California was called. He called the delegation into a floor caucus, which looked like a football huddle, and told them that Warren had released them. But before the balloting began, Knowland saw John Bricker lumbering up to the rostrum. With none of his usual forensics, John Bricker announced simply that he had a statement from Taft. "I release my delegates," he read form notes, "and ask them to vote for Dewey." Knowland was right behind Bricker, pushing aside Stassen, who wanted to be next, Knowland surrendered for Warren, Stassen got his chance, stepped forward and surrendered for himself. He got a great cheer. The weary and unhappy Sigler finally got to the rostrum and surrendered for Vandenberg.
The third ballot was a mere formality. The result: unanimous nomination of Thomas E. Dewey.
"If Dewey Gets Elected." Governor Dewey had spent a very pleasant afternoon, wandering around in shirtsleeves, whistling airs from Oklahoma!. Since early afternoon his limousine had been parked across from his hotel, ready to take him to the hall the moment the word came.
The word came, at last. Dewey opened his door and faced the throng of newsmen in the hall. They asked him what he had to say. "I am humbly grateful for the confidence of the elected representatives of the Republican Party," he said solemnly, "and hope God gives me the strength to merit it." The blitz was over.
Outside, a summer thunderstorm had drenched Philadelphia. A rainbow had appeared. But it was still raining when the Deweys went down to their limousine. Through cheering crowds, the Dewey motorcade swept to Convention Hall.
Awaiting him was the Republican Party which had quoted a challenging phrase from Lincoln in its platform: "We must think anew and act anew."
In the hall for the first time since the convention opened, Tom Dewey declared: "I come to you unfettered by a single obligation or promise to any living person." he referred to the convention as "an honorable contest" and warmly praised his adversaries. "We are a united party," he said. "Our nation stands tragically in need of that same unity."
What happened to Arthur Vandenberg? Only two days before the delegates streamed into Philadelphia, a poll of 815 U.S. editors had shown him as a lengths ahead favorite for the nomination. Why did his boom collapse?
The clear, cold fact was that Arthur Vandenberg could not make up his mind. He was "available" for the nomination -- on his own terms -- but discouraged his followers by refusing to give them any help. He had allowed his candidacy to be stated, but he had declared that no candidate was ever chosen without "conniving," and he seemed determined not to connive.
"Nothing to Say." When he arrived with his wife at a secluded hideaway at 250 South 18th Street, he told newsmen: "My personal attitude toward the nomination remains the same as always. I shall have nothing further to say upon the subject."
His followers were encouraged when he appeared at Convention Hall on opening night, strode to the end of the platform and waved to the crowd. They thought -- and hoped -- that it would set offthe first of many public demonstrations which would set in motion an irresistible Vandenberg boom -- a la Willkie in 1940. The demonstration was a dismal flop.
After that, Van locked himself up in his apartment, emerged briefly for a session of picture-taking with Mrs. Vandenberg in nearby Rittenhouse Square. Swiftly his campaign came to a stop, despite the devoted, if amateurish, efforts of son Arthur Jr., Michigan's National Committeeman Arthur Summerfield and Governor Kim Sigler. Without some help, there was nothing more they could do. Admitted Sigler glumly: "Senator Vandenberg refuses even to talk with candidates and delegates. The only thing he will talk about is the platform."
The result was a rumble of disgruntled protests from the very men who had been counted on to put Vandenberg over. New Jersey's Governor Alfred Driscoll was brusquely rebuffed when he tried to talk with Van about delegate strength. He hinted that he could not keep chasing a will o' the wisp forever. Connecticut's Senator Raymond Baldwin grew increasingly restless. Pennsylvania's Governor Jim Duff could no longer hold a majority of his action-torn delegation.
Mrs. Vandenberg did not help matters when she admitted at a press conference that "I have said forty-eleven times that I do not want him nominated." On his first and only appearance at Michigan headquarters, Arthur Vandenberg said: "I know I am a problem child for you but I set my course a year ago and must steer it to the finish."
No Choice. Then he switched his course again at the last minute, and permitted Governor Sigler to present his name formally to the convention. But by that time it was too late. New Jersey had already swung to Dewey. Senator Leverett Saltonstall had stolen the bulk of Massachusetts' delegates from under Henry Cabot Lodge's nose. Connecticut was looking for a bandwagon. The rush to Dewey was on.
Arthur Vandenberg had deliberately frittered away his chances. Why? The Presidency is an honor few men would willingly forgo. It was an honor Vandenberg himself had hoped for in 1936 and in 1940, when his chances of winning the election were considerably less. But his own position in history was now secure, his age (64) and his health (a "slow heart") might be severely tried by the burdens of the White House. It was a choice he could not bring himself to make.
No Regrets. On the final night, as he sat before a television screen with his family and the New York Times's James Reston, he said: "I don't suppose anybody will believe me now, but the truth is I'm pleased and relieved. Right now I'm drawing my first really relaxed breath in a year."
The decision which he would not make himself had been taken out of his hands. Said he reflectively: "Before I go, let's look at my assets. I'm happy and I've made a little dough." Then, with a grin, he added: "Four years ago in Chicago, George Allen (Harry Truman's ex-White House jester) bet me $100 I'd be nominated. Six months ago (the New York Times's) Arthur Krock bet me $10 I'd be nominated and accept the nomination. don't let me forget to collect on those guys."
Later that night, cool and resplendent in a crisp straw hat and double-breasted suit, bit, grey Arthur Vandenberg ambled contentedly over to the Bellevue-Stratford to congratulate Tom Dewey.
It was near midnight. In the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel, far above the bedlam on the street below, a waiter picked his way past tired newsmen and rapped on the door of Room 808. On his tray were six slices of cantaloupe and seven of watermelon.
The men that gathered over the melon in Room 808 had been summoned by Tom Dewey to select a Vice President. Some were old Dewey partisans -- Congressman Leonard Hall of New York; Dewey's John Foster Dulles; National Committeeman Lew Wentz of Oklahoma; Barak Mattingly of Missouri and Mason Owlett of Pennsylvania. Others were days-old allies, men who had thrown their weight behind the Dewey bandwagon when that weight counted most -- New Jersey's Governor Alfred Driscoll, Pennsylvania' Senator Ed Marign, Massachusetts' Governor Robert F. Bradford, Senator Leverett Saltonstall, and the Kansas City Star's Roy Roberts. Vandenberg had accepted Dewey's invitation to sit in.
Lost License. Sitting at a desk flanked by his top aides, Dewey and his "committee" canvassed the possibilities one by one. Said Dewey: "The longer we talked, the longer became the list of possible Vice Presidents. I listened to all of them, but I never expressed an opinion at any time."
In the lobbies, where rumors flickered through the delegates like wind in tall grass, the word had been that Indiana's Charlie Halleck was the choice. But if Halleck had been promised anything, it had been only a hunting license. In Room 808, the license was promptly torn up. Neither Arthur Vandenberg nor Dulles could accept Halleck's isolationist record as House Majority Leader. Other politicians looked in. Ohio's Governor Thomas Herbert came to plead the case of Senator John Bricker. New Jersey's Senator H. Alexander Smith (backed by Driscoll) urged the cause of Harold Stassen.
No Smoke. The corridor outside became a shambles of broken glasses and beer bottles. Reporters squatted or sprawled in complete exhaustion. Drawn by news of free drinks, swarms of drunks and doxies mobbed the celebrities as they emerged, asked silly and insulting questions.
Some time after 2 a.m. the conferees sent out for seven pints of milk. Pachydermatous Roy Roberts lumbered out, denied indignantly that Room 808 was a "smoke-filled room." Said he: "The only thing in there was this cigar and it wasn't lit." Shortly after 4, the meeting broke up. Dewey called the man who had been his personal choice all along -- California's Governor Earl Warren.
When the phone rang, big Earl Warren was asleep. He got up, dressed and hustled over to Room 808. For an hour and a half, he conferred with Dewey over the position he had refused in 1944. He laid down a condition: the job must have more responsibilities than simply presiding over the Senate; it must have authority. As the father of five, he was concerned about income. As governor of California, he gets the equivalent of $50,000 a year, including a free residence, cars and plane. As Vice President, his salary would be only $20,000 -- with $32,385 expense money (for his office) and $5,000 for a car, but no official residence.
The sun was up by the time Warren returned to his hotel. Still unshaven, he talked briefly with the California delegation. Out at Convention Hall, the delegates idled in confusion, sweat and irritation, while the conference went on in Room 808. At 11:30 Dewey called Warren, told him he was the almost unanimous choice. His conditions would be met. The decision was relayed to the convention floor.
Brief Revolt. Delegates were confused. Ohio had been nursing hopes for Bricker. Started by Arizona, a movement to nominate Harold Stassen rippled across the floor. Halleck rushed over to Arizona, warned: "You're sticking your necks in a buzz saw." The ripple died. Warren was nominated by acclamation.
Watching on television in his hotel room, Warren grinned his broadest grin, and headed for Convention Hall. Said he: "Mrs. Warren is out there watching what she thought was going to be a quiet performance this morning. Those kids of mine are going to be surprised." At the entrance to the hall, his three young daughters excitedly flung themselves on him, smeared his long upper lip and cheek with lipstick. He rushed on to the rostrum. Said Earl Warren: "I know what it feels like to get hit by a streetcar."
Added Warmth. A longtime internationalist, Warren's domestic views are more liberal than those of almost any other prominent G.O.P candidate. Dewey indicated that Warren would get the job of reorganizing the nation's executive departments, take on a large share of administrative work. His big, easy Scandinavian charm and gift of homy, off-the-cuff phrases make him an extremely effective campaigner, would add needed warmth and folksiness to the ticket.
At week's end, Warren headed for New York to keep a long- standing promise to his daughters. They would see the sights and "take in some shows." He ruled out some ("They might not meet with the platform," said Warren with a laugh), decided on Finian's Rainbow. Sunday night, he and his family attended services at Calvary Baptist Church. This week, before returning to California, he would go to Pawling to discuss campaign plans.
Man in Charge
After the last gavel fell, Tom Dewey slipped back to his Bellevue-Stratford suite for an afternoon nap. In half an hour he was up again. Dressed in a fresh blue suit, he briskly took charge of all that remained to be done in Philadelphia. First, there was a group picture with the Warrens. Outside Room 808 were dozens of cameramen. Tom Dewey gave his orders: let the still- picture men come in first, then the moviemen, then the color cameramen.
Grey-suited Earl Warren, his wife Nina and their three daughters arrived. Tom Dewey pointed to chairs, said: "Earl, sit there . . . Nina, sit there . . . Frances, sit there." As he sat down himself, he told photographers: "I hope I never look this awful again, I have dark circles under my eyes, and it is the first time in my life I have had them."
"Use Your Judgment." The picture-taking went off like clockwork. Each photographer got his one shot in turn; there was no scrambling for position, no request for "just one more." Between the still pictures and movies, Dewey remembered that it was time to order dinner. He asked Paul Lockwood, his burly secretary, to do it. "Use your own judgment, Paul," he called. "Get three lamb chops and three steaks, six double V-8 cocktails, salad, corn, string beans, and chocolate ice cream."
Next day Tom Dewey took charge of the Republican National Committee. In as chairman, succeeding B. Carroll Reece, went 47- year-old Hugh Scott Jr., a three-term Congressman from a suburban Philadelphia "silk-stocking" district. (Virginia-born Hugh Scott, a Navy commander during the war, saw service in Iceland, Europe and the Pacific, also did a wartime stint as an ordinary seaman on a merchant marine tanker. He was defeated for re-election in 1944, after rousing Democrats to cries of "snobbery" and angering many of his own party with his definition of Republicans: "We are the best stock. We are the people who represent the real grit, brains and backbone of America.") Scott, a follower of old Joe Grundy, was recommended by Pennsylvania's Senator Ed Martin, to whom Dewey owed much. But that did not mean that Grundymen were going to run Tom Dewey's campaign. That would remain in the hands of precise, able Herbert Brownell Jr.
Affable & Neighborly. That afternoon the Dewey family left on a special train for their farm near Pawling, N.Y. En route, Tom Dewey chatted with newsmen; they had never seen him so affable. At Pawling (pop. 1,400), to a crowd of 3,000, he said: "This village is my home . . . Here we have the charity and open-mindedness . . . that I earnestly hope to bring to our Government . . . You are the most wonderful neighbors."
On Sunday morning the Deweys attended services at interdenominational Christ Church, located in an old Victorian meeting hall. They heard the Rev. Dr. Ralph C. Lankler, a Presbyterian, preach: "We do not have the right to be smug. We cannot cure evil by ourselves, but we can by . . . working with God."
This week Dewey awaited a visit from Earl Warren to plan campaign strategy. He also hoped to get some rest and look over his herd of 51 Guernseys (he knows each by number). He might also get some milking done. Said he: "You know, I'm just a hired man around here."
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