Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics

Who the f**k was Wendell Wilkie?

Posted by Jason O on Jan 29, 2009 in Just stuff |

A liberal Republican? Huh?I know, I know, talk about obscure subjects for a post, but bear with me. This guy was fascinating.

Wendell Wilkie was an American businessman who, having never held elected office, won the Republican nomination in 1940 through sheer force of personality, having performed brilliantly in a series of radio debates.  He opposed parts of the New Deal because he felt that it was unfair for business to have to compete directly with government, but on balance was liberal, progressive, believed in desegregation way before it became fashionable (Addressing the NAACP in 1942), where he declared that ” The desire to deprive some of our citizens of their rights—economic, civic or political—has the same basic motivation as actuates the Fascist mind when it seeks to dominate whole peoples and nations. It is essential that we eliminate it at home as well as abroad.”

He supported a world government, writing a best selling book about it, One World, and even allegedly bedded the wife of the dictator of China Chiang Kai Shek!
He eventually founded Freedom House with Eleanor Roosevelt.

Watch this. With a slight hint of Jed Bartlet about him, imagine if more Republicans sounded like this.  


Dan Sullivan
Jan 29, 2009 at 11:30 am

I’m almost certain that Wendell Wilkie has been used for alternate history PODs wasn’t he somewhat isolationist too?

Jason O
Jan 29, 2009 at 11:35 am

Actually, he was pro-Roosevelt once the war started, and supported the war effort. He’s in Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America, which is a very good example of sensible, believable AH. It’s quite chilling that way, actually, about how Charles Lindbergh becomes president and starts a simmering move to the far right.



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