Is this 1948 or 2012? Mitt Romney vs Thomas Dewey
“We propose to install in Washington an administration which has faith in the American people, a warm understanding of their needs and the competence to meet them.” If I told you to guess which GOP presidential candidate said that you would probably guess Mitt Romney, but you would be wrong. That is a quote spoken by Thomas Dewey, the GOP presidential candidate in the 1948 election. And even though we still have five months before the election there seem to be a lot of similarities between the ’48 election and the coming 2012 election.
In the 1946 congressional races the GOP took over congress, mostly running on the campaign slogan “Had enough?” Similarly in 2010 the Tea Party won many seats in congress running on mostly anti-Obama stumps, feeding off of the anger of rural America. In ’48 Dewey, who was running against the incumbent and Democratic presidential nominee Harry Truman, tried to win over the American electorate by running opposite what Truman said or did. He didn’t offer his own remedies or solutions, simply saying what Truman did was wrong and that he would do it different. Does that sound familiar?
It looks as if history may be repeating itself, with Romney employing the same tactics used by Dewey in ’48. There is one main difference between the ’48 and ’12 elections and that is how partisan the country is this year opposed to ’48. In 1948 the country was still reaping the benefits of the New Deal, and Roosevelt was still hugely popular, even after his death in 1945. So the GOP couldn’t rely heavily on a running anti-liberal agenda. Whereas in 2012 you have a GOP, and their backers, that is sliding farther and farther right and a Democratic party that is historically unable to coalesce into a solid formidable party, as well as becoming more and more liberal, not progressive. Each side seems to be fighting for exactly opposite things and even when one side comes up with a good partisan solution it gets shot down.
Clearly Dewey’s tactic of vagueness didn’t work, and Truman scored a surprising upset for the Democratic party, but can Romney manage to win a upset with the same strategy? If I could answer that question I wouldn’t be writing this article. It is just funny sometimes how history appears to be repeating itself.