The Polite World of William Scranton
From MURRAY KEMPTON
NEW YORK 'THERE had not. until three weeks ago, seemed 1 any reasonable way that Senator Goldwater could be the Republican nominee for President. There has not since seemed any reasonable way that he could not be.
Ten days ago, in Cleveland, the Republican Governors slumped despondent and disarmed, and there arose among them the wildly im- probable vision of Richard Nixon heaving the last cutlass against Barry Goldwater. It had fallen to Mr. Nixon, of all men, to stand alone and show the other Republican captains how a Marshal of France dies.
In Washington, Senator Goldwater himself spoke only to call out his 'aye' to various de- bilitating amendments, mostly unsuccessful, to the Civil Rights Bill and to insert into the record —as the full expression of his own views— General Eisenhower's speech to the Republican Governors. Richard Nixon had raised his stan- dard against the menace, and the menace was a charming man whose indifference to public affairs extends so far even to his personal for- tunes that, three hours later, he did not even know what Nixon had said. Goldwater stood there, talking to reporters, pink and friendly, with a mimeographed booklet labelled 'Towards Cold War Victory' under his arm, the picture, as always, of the man who means to begin reading this stuff tonight at the latest. One of his interro- gators read back to him Nixon's warning that his views must be repudiated. Barry Goldwater turned a blush pinker and not a suspicion less amiable and said: 'I don't think he knows my views. I got most of them from him.' But the Nixons and the Eisenhowers used the slogans about Democratic betrayal when they were out of office and forgot them when they were in. Goldwater's views in office were learned from Nixon on campaign.
And then, three days later, there stood up Governor William Scranton of Pennsylvania as the newest member of the Republican moderate family of Feeble to announce himself as Sir Forcible.
The day after the California primary, Scranton and President Eisenhower had been the only
points around which the rearguard could make a stand. General Eisenhower had shown his nature the day after California by growling at the photographers who came to see him at his home in Gettysburg. Governor Scranton had shown his by calling a press conference, from which he emerged with his little boy's smile troubled to find that he had said that he and Goldwater had very few differences, and without even refusing outright to run for Vice-President on the Goldwater ticket. The last hope had turned out a Dauphin waiting for a Joan of Arc.
That weekend, General Eisenhower appeared for a' moment as liberator. His brother Milton called him, troubled, and the General caught his spirit and invited Scranton down to Gettysburg to discuss the resistance. The General came out saying that he wanted an open Republican con- vention and the Governor saying that he would be available if the delegates wanted him. So Governor Scranton sat up that night preparing statements of varying degrees of passion to declare his candidacy. General Eisenhower slept on his determination and awoke with it dissi- pated. The next day, he called Scranton in Cleveland to tell him that he himself wanted to join no anti-Goldwater cabal and hoped Scran- ton wouldn't either, and Scranton swept away his statements of declaration and went off to express on television no opinions on the Gold- water candidacy that would have been inappro- priate for an uncommitted delegate from South Dakota. There followed four days in which Scranton writhed, and Governor Rockefeller stood apart with the dignity of a wounded man who would commit the few rewards of his wounds to none but combat soldiers, and General Eisenhower seemed only to join the winner.
In Washington, Senator Hugh Scott of Penn- sylvania, a captain of the losing' side, sat, in his own words, 'bloody but bowed.' All the heroes have fled,' he said. 'Only the cowards are left.'
And then, on a Thursday night, Scranton called Scott to his office and told him that he would run and descended on the Maryland Republican convention to announce that Goldwater's views were 'a wild parody of our real beliefs,' and on the Connecticut Republican convention to say that Goldwater is 'spreading havoc on our national landscape.' Having said too little too long, the Governor had suddenly begun crying out too much too late.
William Scranton is the son of Mrs. Worthing- ton Scranton, the late doyen of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania and the most majestically rigged of the flagships who sailed with the Republicans through their disasters in the Thirties. He seems to have been a successful Governor of Pennsylvania, which is almost an extension of the family property, but it has been a success controlled by the lessons learned through being well brought up by. a strong mother. He brings to his elders in Pennsylvania ' new ideas as though he were bringing them home from Yale and can be trusted to outgrow them. He talks, of course, one way when he comes downstairs to shake hands with grown-ups, and quite another when he is by himself with his friends. But he is too well brought up to think that his friends could really be right and his mother's friends entirely wrong.
Scranton is rather indolent, because it is grace- ful to be indolent, and he has trouble doing anything unless he is told. He seems genuinely not to have wanted to run for President. He seems never, in fact, to have wanted to run for any office, having been drafted to run first for Congress and then for Governor. He is proud of how far he sits above mean personal am- bition, and it is part of his charm that he is the sort of man who would have spoken of Goldwater with the courtesy demanded for a guest whom one might have to entertain this fall and, in private, have talked about him with despa ir.
But what is manners to Scranton seems only weakness to harder men. His friends could offer no explanation for Scranton's sudden rouse- ment from his chains, except that Mrs. Scranton had been shaken by the poor figure he had cut and cried out that he must do something better. Now that he was here, he could be expected to fight with the passion, courage and even arro- gance he always brings to any fight once someone has told him he belongs there. But he would fight in the fashion of an heir claiming his estate, unconscious that it had long ago passed to Barry Goldwater.