ELEANOR ROOSEVELT'S HISTORY-MAKING LIE | 1999-01-30
When people complain about Clinton lying, liberals look at them with a bemused expression. When was lying not a legitimate thing to do for any Liberal Cause? Clinton is a piker, an amateur.
We all know that Nixon taped people in the Oval Office. We know that Lyndon Johnson taped people in the Oval Office, and that the god of Modern Politics, John F. Kennedy Himself, taped conversations in the Oval Office.
As for extramarital affairs, Clinton is once again a piker compared to our popular god, John F. Kennedy.
No respectable conservative is going to complain about John F. Kennedy! Every respectable conservative will join in the attack on the Evil Nixon for taping! In a couple of decades, every respectable conservative will be worshipping Clinton, and we all know it.
If a conservative is to be respectable, he has to worship and praise the liberals of yesterday. He must have nothing but praise for Kennedy, Truman, Roosevelt, and all the rest. Liberal programs of the past were good, liberal leaders of the past were good. If your favorite politician of the past was not a liberal, you cannot be a respectable conservative.
By the same token, no respectable Southerner can object to integration. No respectable Southerner can do anything but worship those who imposed it. The result is that both respectable conservatives and Southerners look silly objecting to what liberals are doing to them today. They yell and scream at what liberals are doing, but everybody knows that tomorrow they and their successors will declare they were wrong and the liberals were right. What everyone can see is that they are doing a ritual dance, a dance they get paid to do.
One leading example of this ritual worship of liberal icons is the case of Eleanor Roosevelt. She was pushing racial integration long before other liberals even considered it. So now she is Saint Eleanor, and no one will light more candles to her than a respectable conservative Southerner.
If he doesn't, he won't stay respectable long.
Just a couple of weeks ago I saw a clip of Saint Eleanor on television, presented by the host of Meet The Press. She was criticizing Nixon in the 1950s. Eleanor the Beloved, you see, was being presented by this supposedly neutral host as the judge of True Veracity.
Actually, when it came to brazen lying, Saint Eleanor outdid both Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton! With one big lie, she destroyed the presidential prospects of South Carolina's James F. Byrnes, and made Harry Truman president!
James F. Byrnes of South Carolina gave up a lifetime seat on the United States Supreme Court at Franklin Roosevelt's request in 1942. Roosevelt asked Byrnes to resign so that he could keep Byrnes with him at all times. Roosevelt did not even give Byrnes a cabinet post. He made him "Assistant President."
Nobody, but nobody, gives up his lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court for anything that is not enormous. Everybody knew that Roosevelt was grooming Byrnes to be his successor.
All this, oddly enough, has been ignored by historians.
But in 1944, when he was desperately ill, Roosevelt informed the Democratic Convention, through his wife, that he wanted Harry Truman for his vice presidential nominee. As Truman pointed out later, he had scarcely met Roosevelt.
In his autobiography, the former Doorkeeper William "Fishbait" Miller, who knew ALL the secrets, tells us what happened in 1944
"But what the public doesn't know is that it was Eleanor Roosevelt who changed the course of history..." Miller explains that several liberals had called Eleanor and told her how upset they were by the fact -- WHICH EVERYBODY KNEW -- that Roosevelt wanted Byrnes as his Vice President in 1944.
Eleanor asked who they liked, and they said Truman might do, being not too obviously liberal and being "from an acceptable state," i.e., not South Carolina. "Without waking up the President, the first lady gave the word to the powers that be at the convention that FDR HAD CHANGED HIS MIND and wanted Harry Truman." I capitalized those words to make it clear that everybody knew Byrnes was to be nominated.
"When FDR found out what his wife had done, he almost had a stroke then and there."
Truman was stunned by this nomination out of the blue. He had come to the convention to support Byrnes. There has never been any explanation of how this person, whom Roosevelt had scarcely met, was chosen by him to be vice president. Every other decision of this sort has been discussed in detail, all the maneuvering over the nomination for president and vice president. Especially when the vice presidential candidate chosen went on to become president. When the choice of the vice presidential nominee determined the next president, you would think a detailed discussion would have taken place, and everybody would know the answer.
But in Truman's case, nobody knew nothin'. Have you ever seen a discussion in the general media about how Truman got the nomination that made him president?
And why did Eleanor's lie work? Why was FDR justified in violating the promise by which he had lured Byrnes from his lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court? Because Roosevelt could not repudiate Truman and declare publicly that his wife was a bald-faced liar.
In other words, his situation was a lot like that of Democrats today in dealing with Clinton. Any liberal today would have done just what Saint Eleanor did. But he will also deny that she did it. He knows better, of course. But, as I said, truth is not what liberalism is all about.