This post was originally posted at FRS Daily Times on Blogger
The State of the Union from 1948 is a very entertaining and very funny movie with an excellent cast. Spencer Tracy as the presidential candidate, Catherine Hepburn as his wife, who’s somewhat reluctant to get into politics. But who’s more than capable of taking care of herself. Van Johnson as the political strategist, Angela Lansbury as Washington political insider. A Leader in I’m guessing the Republican Party. And some other great people as well and the Spencer Tracy character a private businessman from New York.
Who basically up till this point never considered running for any public office gets recruited by these party insiders. To be their presidential candidate, because he’s a very successful and wealthy outsider. Who does seem to have an interest in current affairs and has an independent streak, but never gets around to running for public office. The Tracy character reminds me a little of Ross Perot and Tom Dewey. But charming and likable and someone who these insiders believe can beat the incumbent President.
And I believe they even mentioned Harry Truman as the President. This movie came out in 1948. The year of that famous election between President Truman and Governor Tom Dewey of New York. And the Tracy character reminds me of Tom Dewey, even though Governor Dewey had some experience in public service at this point. As a prosecutor as well as Governor of New York, but politically the Tracy character reminds me of Dewey. Progressive on social issues and foreign policy and a believer in fiscal responsibility as well.
Spencer Tracy plays the outsider of outsiders running for President of the United States. Not just because of the fact he lived outside of Washington, never served in public office or Public Service. Never even active in politics or current affairs, but also someone who was an outsider with his politics as well. He was farther to the left than Woodrow Wilson on foreign policy, calling for a world government. That would go past the United Nations. But someone who was also an anti-Communist and believed America should be tough with Russia.
In that sense this character reminds me a little of Tom Dewey. This character was a strong Progressive on economic policy. In favor of very high tax rates. Even as a very wealthy businessman, to be used to pay for social insurance programs and public services. Like health care, health insurance, education and other things. But also a strong believer in fiscal responsibility as well. That tax revenue shouldn’t be wasted and spent very wisely as well. Again reminding me of Tom Dewey and Ross Perot. And a presidential candidate like this today I believe could be very successful in appealing to Independent voters as an independent. Because of their broad reach.
State of the Union was a great political movie back in 1948. And is still a great movie today over sixty years later. Because it’s very relevant to the politics back then. Third-party candidates like Henry Wallace of the Progressive Party and Strom Thurmond of the Dixiecrat Party. Candidates who could actually have an effect on the presidential election. And that the Democratic Party and Republican Party actually had to take seriously. And try to appeal to some of their supporters in order to get elected or reelected. And it would be nice if these third-parties were more of a force today. And give American voters more choices in who they can vote for.