Newsweek Touts an Eisenhower for Obama

As I mentioned earlier today, Newsweek's Richard Wolffe has an article on Republicans for Obama. This is a little like Vegetarians for McDonald's. The star of this piece is "dedicated" Republican Susan Eisenhower, a granddaughter to the distinctly non-ideological president of the Fifties. There are two problems. First, she's not much of a Republican. Second, this is the second time she's starred in an anti-GOP Newsweek piece in this election cycle. Wolffe began: 

Susan Eisenhower is more than just another disappointed Republican. She is also Ike's granddaughter and a dedicated member of the party who has urged her fellow Republicans in the past to stick with the GOP. But now Eisenhower, who runs an international consulting firm, is endorsing Barack Obama. She has no plans to officially leave the Republican Party. But in Eisenhower's view, Obama is the only candidate who can build a national consensus on the issues most important to her—energy, global warming, an aging population and America's standing in the world. "Barack Obama will really be in a singular position to attract moderate Republicans," she told NEWSWEEK. "I wanted to do what many people did for my grandfather in 1952. He was hugely aided in his quest for the presidency by Democrats for Eisenhower. There's a long and fine tradition of crossover voters."

But Richard Wolffe (the frequent guest of Keith Olbermann) is having a little problem with definitions. Isn't it contradictory to be both a "dedicated" Republican and a "crossover voter"? In fact, Susan Eisenhower is not really a "dedicated" Republican, if that means someone who always stands by her party. From the golden-oldies file, from the Los Angeles Times (October 26, 1986), a story by Marylouise Oates reported that Ike's granddaughter supported California ultraliberal Rep. Mel Levine. (His ACU scores at the time: 1985, zero, and 1986, five percent out of 100.)

The congressman, a former Republican who once campaigned for Nelson A. Rockefeller, has set up a committee of GOP voters to support his reelection bid, headed by honorary chairs Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of the late President, and Wickes Co. Chairman Sanford Sigiloff of television commercial fame.The Republicans for Levine committee includes several City Council and school board members from Inglewood, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach and other cities, along with former county Supervisor James Hayes, former Los Angeles Police Chief Tom Reddin and former Sheriff Peter J. Pitchess.

This is not even the first time in this presidential election cycle that Newsweek touted Susan Eisenhower as proof the Republicans were tanking. From the May 14, 2007 Newsweek, an article by Michael Hirsh began: 

Susan Eisenhower is an accomplished professional, the president of an international consulting firm. She also happens to be Ike's granddaughter--and in that role, she's the humble torchbearer for moderate "Eisenhower Republicans." Increasingly, however, she says that the partisanship and free spending of the Bush presidency--and the takeover of the party by single-issue voters, especially pro-lifers--is driving these pragmatic, fiscally conservative voters out of the GOP. Eisenhower says she could vote Democratic in 2008, but she's still intent on saving her party. "I made a pact with a number of people," she tells NEWSWEEK. "I said, 'Please don't leave the party without calling me first.' For a while, there weren't too many calls. And then suddenly, there was a flurry of them. I found myself watching them slip away one by one."

It ended with Eisenhower, too:

Even so, Eisenhower and other lifelong Republicans say they haven't heard much yet from the leading Democratic candidates that persuades them. "I can't tell you how many Republicans I've talked to who are thinking along radical lines" about deserting in '08 if they hear the right message, says Eisenhower. "It's a buyer's market. Make my day."

As long as Hirsh mentioned the "international consulting firm," it should also be noted that Eisenhower was married in 1990 to Roald Sagdeev, an aide and space-program adviser to Soviet dictator/reformer Mikhail Gorbachev. If you're nerdy enough to want to see this "lifelong Republican" kvetch from the left in 1994 against Yeltsin and Clinton and about how Russia's fallen apart now that Gorby was gone, see an old PBS transcript here.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis