An Eisenhower Republican

Or, at least, a Republican who speaks perfect Eisenhowerese. Romney on the specifics of his Magical Tax Plan: “Well, the specifics are these which is those principles I described are the heart of my policy.”

No, Mitt Romney can’t match Ike’s record of service, his moderation, his conservatism in the proper sense of that term, or his decency in discourse. But he has the word-salad part down pat. In refusing to give any specifics about his Magical Tax Plan, Romney said:

Well, the specifics are these which is those principles I described are the heart of my policy.

“The specifics are the principles” is hardly good logic, and the entire thing is hardly good English.  Eisenhower, to a T. Except for all the good parts.

Oh, and Eisenhower wasn’t a sociopathic liar. But that’s a detail, I guess.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

7 thoughts on “An Eisenhower Republican”

  1. I know Eisenhower had a reputation as a word salad chef, but how accurate is that assessment? Can you, for example, point to anything nearly as garbled as Mitt’s mendacity?

  2. Ike was a very clear thinker and writer, if you look at any of his military memos, or his famous “military-industrial complex” speech. He could also spin a word salad when needed, to nourish the voters.
    If Ike had only realized the significance of the civil rights movement, he might have gone down with the greats. I can’t think of any other major blunders on his watch, and not too many minor ones.

    1. No, he wasn’t a profile of courage in confronting McCarthy. But McCarthy was destroyed anyway. Ike always preferred winning to looking good.

      Yes, he boosted the career of Nixon. He did it to placate the right wing of his party. He never treated Nixon very well, as long as Nixon held the vice-presidency.

      1. You’re right on both points. Maybe everybody here remembers his reply to a question about a “major idea” from Nixon that Eisenhower had adopted: “If you give me a week I might think of one.”

        Apropos of Mark’s posting, there’s also DDE’s supposed remark to his press secretary, who was worried about a delicate matter involving the Chinese: “Don’t worry, Jim, if that question comes up, I’ll just confuse them.”

        1. I recall MAD magazine making great satiric hay in Eisenhower’s day with his garbled statements. Since I was a kid at the time, not the student of political science and law that I later became, I recall MAD’s satires and not the President’s originals. But I assume that the satire had to refer to something recognizable in the real world.

          But MAD never suggested that the syntax intended to cover sin…

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