Might he have ben president?
MIGHT HE HAVE BEEN PRESIDENT? By John F. McManus A great deal has been written about Alger Hiss in the aftermath of his death on November 15th, 1996 at the age of 92. Let’s consider for a moment the possibility that, had he not been exposed, this convicted and adamantly unrepentant traitor could have become President of the United States.
While we’re doing so, let’s consider the equally likely possibility that, if my grandmother had wheels, she might very well have been a carriage. Better yet – Abraham Lincoln – if he were still alive today (at approx. 190 years old), would he still be popular enough to have beaten Bill Clinton in ‘96? Would Mary Todd Lincoln have accumulated enough negative press in the intervening 130 years to prevent his renomination? Richard "Enquiring readers want to know … apparantly" Nimz
MIGHT HE HAVE BEEN PRESIDENT? By John F. McManus A great deal has been written about Alger Hiss in the aftermath of his death on November 15th, 1996 at the age of 92. Let’s consider for a moment the possibility that, had he not been exposed, this convicted and adamantly unrepentant traitor could have become President of the United States. With a knockout resume that lacked only his holding an elected political office, Hiss was still only 45 years old when he was exposed as a communist in 1949. He was certainly young enough to run for office. With all the contacts he had made, he would have been a for midable candidate for a seat in the U.S. Senate or the office of governor in one of several eastern states he could have claimed for residence. Had he won either office, it could have served as a springboard to nomination from either major party and election to the highest office in the land. Hiss earned his law degree from Harvard in 1929 under the mentorship of liberal professor Felix Frankfurter. It was Frankfurter who arranged for Hiss to become a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. In 1933 at the urging of Frankfurter — who would soon be tapped for the Supreme Court by President Roosevelt — Hiss acquired his first executive branch post as an assistant general counsel of the Agricultural Adjustment Adminstration. In 1935, he served briefly on the legal staff of a Senate committee and, less than a year later, entered the State Department. For three years, he functioned as an aide to Assistant Secretary of State Francis B. Sayre, Woodrow Wilson’s son in law. It was during this period that his Communist Party Affliations were first brought to the attention of his superiors. Protected by a growing array of friends and ideological bedfellows, there were to be no bumps in the road for Hiss. Hiss spent five years in the state Department’s far Eastern Affairs section and in 1944 was appointed to the Office of special Political Affairs, becoming its director in 1945. This office had responsibility for all postwar planning much of which focused on the creation of the United Nations (UN). In 1944, Hiss served as executive secretary of the highly secretive Dumbarton oaks conference, at which most of the critical decisions regarding the formation of the UN were hammered out. In February 1945, Hiss traveled to Yalta with an ailing President Roosevelt to meet with Churchill and Stalin and seal the fate of China and Eastern Europe. When the United Nations was created in 1945 in San Francisco, Hiss was there, acting as Secretary-General of that founding conference. The key role played by Hiss in the UN’s founding, something that liberals an UN partisans tried to downplay in the wake of his later exposure as a communist agent, was described by Chesly Manly in his book THE UN RECORD: "Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin were the founders of the UN but its architect, the man who designed it, launched it, and set its ideological course on the Voyage to One Socialist World, was Alger Hiss." In 1945, Alger Hiss was welcomed into the creme de la creme of the Establishment, the Council on Foreign Relations. He left the State Department in 1946 to become president of the internationalist Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. it was while leading this pro-world-government foundation that he was finally confronted by the House Committee on UN-American Activities with accusations that he was a communist agent. His conviction on charges of lying about his communist connections doomed Hiss’ future. But for a small glimpse of the support he had gained, consider that two sitting Supreme Court justices, Stanely Reed and Felix Frankfurter, testified as character witnesses at the trial. When told of the verdict, Secretary of State Dean Acheson stated: "I will not turn my back on Alger Hiss." Nor did the many friends and allies Hiss had brought into government service — a number of whom Henry Kissinger would later appoint — turn their backs on him. Could Hiss have achieved a needed political base on his way to a presidential nomination and election? Consider a similarly inclined individual who did win elections. New York’s Jacob Javits was never identified as a communist, but Dr. Bella Dodd, a former member of the National Committee of the Communist Party USA, gave sworn testimony indicating that the party and its members gave direct support to Javits in his quest for office and that he had numerous associations with communists. A liberal Republican, Javits served four terms before being elected to the Senate in 1956. he was welcomed into the Council On Foreign Relations in 1960. Had he never been exposed as a communist, Alger Hiss, like Javits, could have been elected to a high political office. And with the combination of enormously impressive credentials and powerfully situated friends, it would have been hard to stop him had the conspiracy he served wanted him in the White House.
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