NOVEMBER 13, 1956
SCHENECTADY, N.Y.—It is interesting to read the various columnists' opinions on the meaning of the Presidential and Congressional elections.
All agree that the President won an overwhelming personal triumph and that the Republican party suffered defeat. I was interested, however, to note the comment that the President planned this victory and that he has a way of getting what he wants.
Somehow I don't think he really wanted to struggle with a completely Democratic Congress.
There is something to the argument, however, that now he will be able to hold over the heads of the reactionary Republicans the facts that they were defeated and that he ran for reelection to have four more years in which to prepare them for victory by making over the party into his own brand of "middle-of-the-road conservatism" or "Eisenhower Republicanism." I am not quite sure that it will work out this way, although I see the logic of the argument.
Those who do not agree with the President's type of Republicanism will say that they were defeated in the Congressional elections because he would not allow them to develop what they consider real Republicanism. And, since under the Constitution he cannot run for another term, he faces a hard struggle to build a winning party and to develop leadership which would give his party greater power in 1960.
My feeling is that it is going to be very difficult to get anything done in Congress in the next four years, because when the present division of party control of the government exists, the setup is wonderful for "passing the buck."
What the President wants and does not get, he will attribute to the Democratic opposition. If the Democrats are criticized for not doing certain things, they will reply that it is impossible to act in opposition to the President's popularity.
There may be more unity in foreign affairs, because the gravity of the situation may make it apparent that we have to do something and cannot drift and hope for the best.
President Eisenhower's personal power all over the world undoubtedly will strengthen his handling of foreign affairs, but he will almost have to be his own Secretary of State, for the trust in him will not be reflected in his subordinates.
The four years ahead are going to be interesting to watch—perhaps frustrating at times—for the struggles for leadership within both parties will be intense.
Both parties will have to develop candidates for President in 1960 and it may well be that neither party will have accomplished much to point to as a record.
And even in the field of foreign affairs we may be coming to a period when we are going to have to depend upon the United Nations and the leadership of the U.N. Secretary General more than on individual leadership of member countries. This will strengthen the United Nations but will be a surprise to the big nations concerned.