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Do you remember Eleanor Roosevelt vs. Margaret Chase Smith.....


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I don't, but thanks for the link! Great video.

Interesting to read about Margaret Chase Smith. She seems to have jumped the shark on nuking the Soviets, but she did take some principled positions.

She said McCarthyism had "debased" the Senate to "the level of a forum of hate and character assassination." She defended every American's "right to criticize...right to hold unpopular beliefs...right to protest; the right of independent thought." While acknowledging her desire for Republicans' political success, she said, "I don't want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the four horseman of calumny -- fear, ignorance, bigotry, and smear.

Thanks again. http://www.maleescortreview.com/forum/public/style_emoticons/default/thumbsup.png

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Thank you for this link and for reminding me about two women who lived and worked in the world of politics and retained moral integrity and principles.

As an aside---when I was in my last year of college Mrs. Roosevelt came and spoke to us about the dangers of Communism in the world (this was 1962). She was in her late 70s and near the end of her life but after her speech when some of us had an opportunity to inter-act with her, she was one of the most approachable and personable people I had ever met. It was hard to believe that here was the woman who had been at the very centre of political power for twelve years while FDR was President and the woman who had worked tirelessly in the United Nations for Human Rights. She listened to our questions and comments as if she had never heard them before and made us feel that we were going to play an important role in the future, all without condescension or cliches. An amazing person and one I have obviously not forgotten.

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Senator Margaret Chase Smith

 

Margaret Chase Smith also deserves our appreciation (though Eleanor Roosevelt is truly in a special place, as one of the greatest Americans in our history, and as a member of our larger "family" in all likelihood).

 

Smith was a first-term senator from Maine (elected 1948) when she made her brave "Conscience of the Senate" speech denouncing McCarthy, the vile junior senator from Wisconsin and a GOP power-player who could make trouble for her in Maine when she faced the voters again in 1954. Many historians credit her speech as a turning point in McCarthy's fortunes. His bullying and hysterical crusades continued (with the fulsome aid of Robert Kennedy as the new Caro book documents), but he became increasingly isolated, as others questioned the factual and moral bases for his charges against many good people.

 

Smith, in contrast, sailed to reelection in 1954, 1960, 1966. She was a key supporter for civil rights and social welfare legislation (but also, alas, a supporter of the Vietnam War, as she was quite the hawk on issues of national defense), until her defeat in the 1972 election after she had been weakened by a primary challenge from a rich conservative in the 1972 GOP primary. Her loss after a right-wing smear campaign may have been on Olympia Snowe's mind when she decided to retire this year. (Smith's seat by the way is now held by Susan Collins, another brainy Maine GOP senator, and the legislator most responsible for the repeal of Dont Ask Dont Tell. BRAVA.)

 

Great memories of great leaders.

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Sen. Smith made those comments in 1950 on the Senate floor, the first senator of either party to take on McCarthy.

 

My own memories of Smith were her winning battles with Pres. Nixon over Supreme Court nominees. As part of his southern strategy, Nixon nominated Clement Haynesworth to the court. Haynesworth had documented hostility to labor and civil rights and other problems. Smith's opposition gave cover to less senior Republican senators to also vote against Haynesworth.

 

Nixon immediately nominated another southerner, Howard Carswell. Carswell was a racist and consider a mediocre lower court judge. This time the White House courted Smith; Nixon invited her in for a chat. On the eve of the vote, Smith announced her opposition, and Carswell lost by three votes. I remember a breaking news alert on the radio when Smith declared against Carswell. Even as late as 1969, Smith was the only woman in the senate.

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Down Memory Lane with Harrold Carswell and Margaret Chase Smith

 

Harrold (not Howard) Carswell was President Nixon's nominee to the Supreme Court when Clement Haynsworth (not Haynesworth) was rejected by the Senate (including Senator Smith as a no vote). Carswell was blatantly unqualified to serve on the Supreme Court, but was defended by one GOP Senator on the ground that average/mediocre people ought to be "represented" on the Court; Carswell was also on record in support of apartheid, surely a disqualifying stance after the 1950s and 1960s. Yet he only lost by six votes (not three votes) in the Senate (again, Smith voting no).

 

The deeper irony is that Carswell, like Eleanor Roosevelt, was possibly "family," albeit something of a black sheep in our family. Although married, he was caught soliciting sex from men on at least two occasions after his failed nomination to the Court. In 1976, Carswell was arrested for lascivious conduct toward a male undercover officer in a Florida shopping mall. Holy Larry Craig, Batman!!

 

Carswell was probably not the first "homosexual" nominee to the Court. Justice Frank Murphy (1940-49) was almost certainly gay; he never married and lived with another man most of his adult life. He was a great liberal who died relatively young (age 59).

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For the record, I did get Carswell's first name wrong. But all the other information in my post, except for the breaking news alert, is from No Place for a Woman: A Life of Senator Margaret Chase Smith by Janann Sherman (Rutgers University Press, 2000).

 

Smith was the first woman to be elected to the senate on her own (not after the death of a husband), and the first woman to run for a major party presidential nomination (1964). The saddest thing about Smith was her strong support for the war in Vietnam as a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Also, Smith seemed to never have forgotten what she believed was a slight. She detested Robert McNamara and disliked John Kennedy & many others for that reason.

 

By 1972, she was defeated for reelection in Maine for a 5th term, because people felt she was out of touch. There was a happy ending. She lived to age 97, by then her querulous old woman status was forgotten, replaced as a living legend who represented all that was good about Maine.

 

She did replace her husband in the House upon his death. But the great love of her life was her chief aide in the Senate, William Lewis, who may have been gay.

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