Gil Smart of the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal gives us a refresher course (relatively painless reg. required) on politics during wartime:
[T]he fact is that President Roosevelt was pretty much roundly bashed by Republicans during the entirety of the war. And during the presidential campaign of 1944, things got as nasty as ever.
Indeed, our local Lancaster New Era noted in an editorial on the eve of the election, Nov. 6, 1944, that "The surprising thing about this war-time presidential campaign is that it was no different from all the others." Thomas Dewey, Roosevelt's opponent that year, spent much of the campaign deriding FDR as a "tired old man." The Roosevelt administration, Dewey said the week before the election, was "the most wasteful, extravagant and incompetent administration in the history of the nation." Dewey, in fact, spent that fall all but calling Roosevelt a communist, insisting that FDR was intent on selling the nation down the river to the reds.
But at least Dewey didn't criticize FDR on the war effort, right? To have done that in the wake of the failed Market Garden operation, just before the Battle of the Bulge, would have been grossly unpatriotic, right?
Judge for yourself:
"American fighting men were paying in blood through a prolongation of the battle of Germany for the 'improvised meddling' of the Democratic administration and the 'confused incompetence' of President Roosevelt."
That's from an Associated Press article that ran in this very newspaper on Sunday, Nov. 5, 1944 [?]
Claremont McKenna College professor Jack Pitney, a former Republican National Committee official who once worked for Dick Cheney, told Salon.com last year that Dewey even came close to blaming FDR for Pearl Harbor.
"There's a myth," said Pitney, "that politics was adjourned for the duration of the Second World War."