AUGUST 6, 1951
HYDE PARK, Sunday—On Friday I spent the night in New York City with my daughter and her younger son preparatory to their leaving for San Francisco. We had a family dinner with her older son and his wife, and also our old friend, Major Henry S. Hooker, and on Saturday morning we took Anna and Johnny to the plane at eight o'clock. I hated to see her go off, but I must admit that life in San Francisco probably is simpler and calmer for her than the busy beehive in which we live in Hyde Park. I think she needs another period of rest and so I am glad she had made the decision to stay in California at least for a time. The three of us who were left behind when the plane departed went back and caught a train for Hyde Park.
We have quite a family here now. My niece, Mrs. Edward Elliott, with her husband and baby, arrived on Wednesday. Yesterday her mother brought their three small boys, who had been visiting her, to spend the rest of the month, here with me. I always enjoy having this young family, and I think my son John's younger daughter is going to have a wonderful time taking care of the year and a half old baby. So far she has been the youngest member of the family, and it is always wonderful to find someone younger than you are, whom you can order around.
I have two most interesting letters from a gentleman in Cincinnati. He is the perfect type of dyed-in-the-wool Republican conservative. He took me to task for saying that everyone had to consider themselves responsible for both the good and the bad in their government. One paragraph in his letter, especially, shows to what lengths complete conservatism will carry one.
My correspondent says: "What, then, of an individual's, much less an opposition party's organizational responsibility under our elective system?" (Just before, he had said the past elections had been bought.) "Is it not, at least, the case of the degree of responsibility? Admittedly, Willkie and Dewey with their 'me-too-ism' were as fully and possibly more responsible than any New Dealer (right now Dewey may be performing a Truman directive with his junket to the Far East); and yet, even Willkie and Dewey were campaigning under almost impossible handicaps. So, it is downright laughable to include Hoover and Taft with them."
I would agree that in this group of four, Willkie stood head and shoulders above all the others. If his party had permitted him to act independently, he might possibly even have rivalled my husband's New Deal, or President Truman's Fair Deal, in an effort to give the people what he felt they were entitled to have. His defeat, I believe, was largely due to the fact that many people realized how well organized and conservative was the backbone of the Republican party and did not dare trust him at that time to meet the complicated problems arising which might call for the courage to use new and untried methods.