Men, not issues, are the vital factors in the presidential campaign, according to Arthur N. Holcombe '06, Eaton Professor of the Science of Government. But, as yet, he has been unable to make up his mind between the two candidates.
"We are not conducting a referendum on issues," he said. "We're picking a man to be president. Nobody knows what the issues will be in the next four years."
Holcombe said that under the laws of Massachusetts he is a Republican and that he supported Eisenhower for the GOP nomination in the primary last spring.
Although "naturally pleased" at the general's nomination, Holcombe has found his subsequent campaign "disappointing." "I am not sure that he will be able to give the party the positive leadership which the times demand."
He feels that Eisenhower and Stevenson are not really very far apart as far as issues are concerned. He thinks that the important difference between them is their abilities to "give effective leadership to their parties and to the nation."
Wait for Evidence
"I shall wait for further evidence concerning their respective capacities for leadership before deciding for which of the two candidates I will east my vote," he said.
Holcombe sees both candidates "in danger of losing their leadership to more dynamic campaigners." He cities Nixon and Taft as more effective campaigners than Eisenhower and thinks they have "diverted attention from like's views." Truman, he said, is "stealing headlines from Stevenson."
Agreeing that "it is time for a change." Holcombe said the question is "what kind of a change and how much." "Both candidates promise to bring about a change, but their ability to do so depends on their practical capacity to lead their parties."
Holcombe does not consider domestic issues as important as foreign issues.
He cited Stevenson's attitude of "patience" in dealing with "our greatest problem how to bring the Korean war to a satisfactory end." "I won't say that Ike represents impatience in dealing with this problem," he said, "but it is clear that there is need for more information concerning the manner in which the two candidates would handle this problem if elected."
He scoffed at corruption as a take issue. "We always have scandals and rascals, not in government alone, but also in business. Newspapers have said a lot about crooked internal revenue collectors, but little about dishonest bank clerks, it is a perennial problem in any administration."