Saturday, May 31, 2008

End Game

As the Clintons face the inevitable in the Rules and Bylaws Committee today and the last primaries next Tuesday, they may want to look back half a century at the Democrat who set the standard for losing gracefully.

"I'm too old to cry, and it hurts too much to laugh," Adlai Stevenson said after his defeat in the 1952 presidential election by Dwight Eisenhower. He was quoting Lincoln, but the grownup grace was all his own.

Stevenson lost again four years later but in 1960 some of the party elders still backed him for the nomination, notably Eleanor Roosevelt and Harry Truman, who deemed JFK "too inexperienced."

But Kennedy won them over, and the rest is history. At the '60 Convention, Stevenson closed ranks by introducing the nominee for his acceptance speech, and Kennedy responded in kind:

"I want to express my thanks to Governor Stevenson for his generous and heart-warming introduction. It was my great honor to place his name in nomination at the 1956 Democratic Convention, and I am delighted to have his support and his counsel and his advice in the coming months ahead."

Note to Hillary, Bill, Barack et al: The Democrats won the White House that year, and JFK appointed Stevenson US Ambassador to the UN, where he played a critical role during the Cuban Missile Crisis two years later.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Adlai Stevenson must have ultimately found that there are more important things in this life than being president.