It would be impossible to imagine someone like Dwight Eisenhower being around today, unthinkable in our current state to even remotely consider him as Republican Presidential material.
But even during his time as President, he was often criticized as being out of touch, certainly within his own party. It did earn him the nickname of "old bubblehead" among the Press corps. And maybe he was the first of what eventually became a long line of "Figurehead Presidents" - those who knowingly or unknowingly left the back door open and paid little attention to the real culprits in the administration and his party, slowly dismantling democracy, one seemingly innocuous department at a time.
It was said he was at loggerheads with his own administration - coming from a Military and not a political background, not understanding why being Commander-in-Chief didn't afford him the same leadership platform as Supreme Allied Commander. That in the end he expressed a level of sadness and frustration that much of what he tried to accomplish was thwarted by political interests and undermining.
But in 1954 he was still looking at it all rather optimistically and on May 31st he delivered an address he called "Man's Right To Knowledge And It's Free Use Thereof".
President Eisenhower: “Amid such alarms and uncertainties, doubters begin to lose faith in themselves, in their country, in their convictions. They begin to fear other people’s ideas, every new idea. They begin to talk about censoring the sources and the communication of ideas. They forget that truth is the bulwark of freedom, as suppression of truth is the weapon of dictatorship. We know that when censorship goes beyond the observance of common decency, or the protection of the nation’s obvious interests, it quickly becomes for us a deadly danger. It means conformity by compulsion in educational institutions. It means a controlled instead of a free press. It means the loss of human freedom. The honest men and women among these would-be censors and regulators may merely forget that the price of their success would be the destruction of that way of life they want to preserve. But the dishonest and the disloyal know exactly what they are attempting to do; perverting and undermining a free society while falsely swearing allegiance to it. Whenever, and for whatever alleged reason people attempt to crush ideas to mask their convictions, to view every neighbor as a possible enemy, to seek some kind of divining rod by which to test for conformity, a free society is in danger. Whenever mans right to knowledge and the use thereof is restricted, man’s freedom, in the same measure disappears.
Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit, from revolutionaries and rebels, men and women who dared to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, may we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.”
By today's standards, radical Left-Wing stuff. It's interesting how often Eisenhower is now quoted on the Internet, even during a recent rally at Occupy Los Angeles, to cheers and loud applause.
A former Republican President, lumped in with "those bongo-playing weed-heads" - the mind fairly reels.
But I think Ike may have gotten it.