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But now there was Harry Truman, who has no gift for badinage with movie stars and playwrights. ICCASP was divided. The primaries had indicated that the G.O.P. trend, noteworthy in other off-year elections, was as strong or stronger than ever. The Democrats would be on the defensive to hold what they have. ICCASP, as usual, would spend 99% of its energy for Democratic candidates, but not with quite the same high heart.
Many a Democratic politician, whose eyes glistened greedily at sight of ICCASP's shoals of talent, felt similarly hesitant. For in some states and cities ICCASP support, because of its vehemence and its leftist tinge, was a handicap. Some candidates would definitely welcome ICCASP money but not ICCASP noise. Said ICCASP: no covert endorsements.
ICCASP had proved its ability to pull crowds into huge New York and Los Angeles rallies, to lure money-heavy political angels into glittering banquet rooms. A bright, diminutive 35-year-old ex-newspaperwoman named Hannah Dorner, who affectionately calls ICCASP members "glamor pusses," handled most of its promotion stunts with a hardheaded competency in Manhattan's Astor Hotel, overlooking Broadway. Nevertheless, the committee could still be expected to cut didoes.
The Last Head-Hunter. In one sense ICCASP was the by-product of a profound foreboding which gripped Jo Davidson during the presidential election year of 1944. As a sculptor he had been almost as much a historian as an artisthe is a portraitist rather than a creator. Will Rogers had called him the "last of the savage head-hunters." He had met and modeled almost all the significant figures of modern times. Foch, Balfour, Lloyd George, Benes, Litvinoff, John D. Rockefeller the elder, Andrew Mellon, Sinclair Lewis, Sidney Hillman, Clemenceau, Mussolini, Gandhi and Aldous Huxley were only a few of his trophies. He was convinced that Franklin Roosevelt was the greatest of them all.
The intensity of his convictions stemmed, in part, from memories of his own early struggles, from the feeling that Roosevelt's New Deal had blessed the lives of the masses. Davidson was born on Manhattan's lower East Side, of Russian Jewish immigrants. He was forced to leave school in his teens, toiled as a locksmith's apprentice, a messenger, a leatherworker. His battle for existence went on for many years after the day when he accidentally picked up a piece of modeling clay, felt his heart jump, knew that whatever stood in his way he would be a sculptor.
Famous and successful, he felt a sense of personal duty to Roosevelt. One night after the 1944 national conventions, he opened his lofty, cavernous Manhattan studio to a crowd of fourscore friends who shared his sympathies. The result was an Independent Voters' Committee of the Arts & Sciences for Roosevelt, the forerunner of ICCASP. The founders, among them Helen Keller, Thomas Benton, Ethel Barrymore, Van Wyck Brooks, Quentin Reynolds, excitedly made Davidson chairmanlargely because he had let his studio be used for the first meeting.