Wednesday, January 21, 2004

In Praise of Bosses

The old machines which were so much a part of Democratic politics do not enjoy a good reputation. And there is not doubt that they were corrupt and small-minded throughout their history.

But they once did this country and the world a great service. In 1944 they forced FDR to drop Henry Wallace as his VP and put Truman on the ticket.

Wallace was a flake of the first order. But even worse, he was dangerously pro-Stalin. Among his closest advisors were men like Harry Dexter White who were Soviet spies.

It is hard to imagine what the post-war world would have looked like if Wallace had succeeded FDR in 1945. We can be sure that Wallace would not have taken the hard-line Truman did and that Stalin would have made even more gains than he did.

So hats off to the old-line bosses. For all their faults, they were right on the most important question in the world in 1944.

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