Sunday, September 23, 2012

Checkers Day... and Dogs in Politics Day?

A clear majority of the Usual Suspects declare today to be Checkers Day, that is, a day to commemorate the board game that pretty near everyone has played at one time or another.

And while Hallmark agrees with the others about Checkers Day, Hallmark also claims that today is National Dogs in Politics Day, a day to recognize "the famous dogs owned by famous politicians."

You see right away where this is going, don't you?

You don't?

Well, don't feel bad. We had to explain it to our crack research staff, too.

The most famous political dog of all time was Richard Nixon's dog, Checkers.

And today just happens to be the 60th anniversary of Nixon's Checkers speech.

California Sen. Richard Nixon the Republican nominee for Vice President in 1952 (Dwight D. Eisenhower was the presidential nominee). A controversy erupted in September of that year when it was disclosed that Nixon supporters had established a fund which reimbursed Nixon for travel expenses, telephone bills, postage for political mailings, and similar expenses. The Wikipedia article on the subject stresses that the fund was not illegal under the law at that time "but it exposed Senator Nixon, who had made a point of attacking government corruption, to charges he might be giving special favors to the contributors."

There was serious talk about dumping Nixon from the national ticket. Eisenhower expected Nixon to resign.

Nixon flew home to California and bought radio and TV time to address the nation. He talked about the fund, and about his family finances, and about his wife not having a mink coat (only 'an honest Republican cloth coat') and then he wheeled out the big gun:
One other thing I probably should tell you because if we don't they'll probably be saying this about me too, we did get something —- a gift -— after the election. A man down in Texas heard Pat on the radio mention the fact that our two youngsters would like to have a dog. And, believe it or not, the day before we left on this campaign trip we got a message from Union Station in Baltimore saying they had a package for us. We went down to get it. You know what it was?

It was a little cocker spaniel dog in a crate that he'd sent all the way from Texas. Black and white spotted. And our little girl—Tricia, the 6-year-old—named it Checkers. And you know, the kids, like all kids, love the dog and I just want to say this right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we're gonna keep it.
Nixon closed with a request for viewers to tell the Republican National Committee whether he should stay on the ticket. The resulting support persuaded Eisenhower to keep Nixon on the ticket. You should know the story from there.

But well played, Hallmark. Well played.


Anonymous said...

Is this image copyrighted? If so, may I have permission to use this image in my media arts class. Thanks,

The Curmudgeon said...

I hope it isn't copyrighted -- it's rather generic so I don't know that it could be -- but, no, it's not my image.