William Rusher Interview: Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

The Conservative Movement: Conversation with William A. Rusher, former publisher of the National Review; 4/25/90 by Harry Kreisler

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The Eisenhower Presidency

Eisenhower was a disappointment for you, with regard to his dealing with [communism], right?

With regard to a great many things, including that issue. Originally I was very much for him. I was for Eisenhower and, therefore, against Taft, in the battle of 1952 for the Republican nomination. But I was deeply disappointed in his kind of, one would almost have to say, "do-nothing" presidency -- "preside over it, but don't touch it" kind of presidency. They called the White House, in those days, the "tomb of the well-known soldier."

But our historians now, and political scientists, are taking a different view of Eisenhower. Do you still hold to your analysis?

I think it's true that Eisenhower was a craftier man than he was depicted as being at the time. The liberals, with their domination of the media, immediately moved in to depict him as a fool. And I suppose even the conservative critics of Eisenhower saw nothing wrong with going along with that idea. I don't think he was a fool. But, on the other hand, I don't think that he had any deep understanding of where America could be led, or should be led. I think he was an attempt, by the Republicans, to hold the office without doing much with it.

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