THE PRESIDENCY: The Molder

Franklin D. Roosevelt, master politician, liked to meddle in party primaries, particularly to purge Democrats who obstructed the presidential will, and sometimes (e.g., 1938) he got his fingers burned. Dwight Eisenhower has gone to the opposite extreme, bringing to the presidency a conception of aloofness toward his role as party leader. If his program was good, he thought, people would vote for it, and his party would win.

Last fall the President learned that politics is not that simple. In the close congressional election, the President's program was not repudiated, but his...

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