Breaking: The Pink Lady (Helen Gahagan Douglas, Nixon's Early Nemesis) Was Really Pink!


From a review of a new bio about Helen Gahagan Douglas, the wife of actor Melvyn, an early Nixon foe, and anti-anti-communist martyr whose 1950 loss to Tricky Dick is often used to illustrate the disgraced president's wicked, wicked ways:

[Biographer Sally] Denton claims that the former ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy contributed a large sum of money to Nixon, but doesn't mention that his son Jack publicly expressed his own pleasure in the victory of Tricky Dick. (The nickname is Douglas's admittedly immortal contribution to political nomenclature.) Denton's previous books, including "The Bluegrass Conspiracy" and "The Money and the Power" (written with Roger Morris), have sometimes concerned organized crime and cabals, and here she shapes an unconvincing theory that Douglas's campaign may have been sabotaged when Mob associates "embedded" the lawyer Paul Ziffren in its finance operations. But, as Denton notes, it was Douglas's primary opponent who had first called her the "Pink Lady," and it was the defection of voters from her own party that defeated her in the general election. Truman quite reasonably refused to campaign for her. The essential reason for Douglas's loss would be most clearly offered by the congresswoman herself, on plain white paper, in her memoirs. "There was the United States fighting Communism, and I was the person who said we should limit the power of the military and try to disarm the world and get along with Russia."

Whole thing here, well worth reading for those interested in the battles of the last century.

Hat tip: Alan Vanneman.

For Nixon red-baiting completists, I highly recommend tracking down a copy of Jerry Vorhis's The Strange Case of Richard Nixon. Voorhis' The Strange Case of Richard Nixon. Written by the incumbent congressman Nixon beat in his first campaign, the attempted takedown led the one Amazon reviewer to date to write, "If you have not fallen in love with Richard Nixon before reading this book, you will absolutely make him your favorite president after reading this one."

NEXT: Tobacco Truth Gets Smoked

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  1. We stand by our endorsement of Helen Gahagan Douglas.

  2. The NY Times finally gets around to acknowledging that yet another progressive myth was exaggerated. Of course, they waited until their concession would not have any practical effect.

    1. Wait, I thought the NY Times was “The Pink Lady”???

  3. What do you have against Pink Lady?

    1. Maybe he’s still jealous of Jeff Altman.

    2. Nothing.

      But I prefer Shonen Knife.

  4. Whole thing here, well worth reading for those interested in the battles of the last century.

    Thanks for the warning.

  5. Hahaha wow that is so cool!


    1. He He. That’s far out, dude!

  6. The campaign against Douglas in 1950 has always resonated less for its red-baiting than its blatant sexism and anti-Semitism (Douglas’ husband was Jewish, and she was an early and passionate supporter of Israel). Her primary opponent, Manchester Boddy, was a Dixiecrat, and her defeat of him was almost entirely the result of African-American support. In any event, 1950 was a terrible year for Democrats, and a lot of the justifiable scorn that has been heaped on Nixon over the years came from the belief that his tactics in that campaign were unnecessary to his achieving a victory.

    Whether she actually wore pink underwear, as Mr. Gillespie implies, is not known, but Nixon wrote years after the fact that Vito Marcantonio, the actual Communist Congressman from New York, told him that he was pulling for Nixon to win that race over that “bitch.”

  7. I read “The Strange Case of Richard Nixon” in early 1973, and it was a good read. Jerry Vorhis was a veteran of the socialist EPIC movement, but as a Congressman he was more moderate, combining support for the New Deal with an anti-totalitarian viewpoint.

    In the book, he notes Richard Nixon’s fondness for associating with dictators, including Brezhnev, Mao, Ceausescu, along with Pakistan strongman Zia ul-Haq. He even quotes Congressman John Schmitz as a critic of Nixon’s moves toward a police state.

    Helen Douglas was involved with the National Citizen’s Political Action Committee in 1944, the same year that she was first elected to Congress. NCPAC was the predecessor of the Progressive Party. Douglas remained a Democrat because she believed a third party would throw the election to the Republicans, not because she disagreed with Henry Wallace on the issues.

  8. The Amazon reviewer who praised Nixon in his one sentence on “The Strange Case of Richard Nixon” also has positive reviews of two books by Nixon, so I think we can put his pan of Vorhis down to Trickydickophilia.

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