Thursday, November 1, 2007

Head Iowan in Charge

Whoever you may think is running the country, there is always an Iowan in charge:

1868 to 1914 - Buffalo Bill Cody – He closed the frontier and helped start the conservation movement.

1914 to 1933 - Secretary of Commerce and then President Herbert Hoover. “We could use a man like Herbert Hoover again.” During World War I, as head of the CRB, he saved Belgium from starvation. And I’ll bet you didn’t know that FDR’s bank holiday that restored confidence in the US banking system was actually planned by the Hoover administration.

1933 to 1948 - Secretary of Agriculture and then Vice President Henry Wallace. His hybrid seed corn revolutionized agriculture. He was the New Deal. Had he become President in 1945 or 1948, he might have avoided the Cold War.

1948 to 1962 - Actor John Wayne. These years mark his career from Red River to The Searchers to The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, but it could be argued his hickdom extends into the 1970s. His 1969 movie True Grit ushered in the post-feminist era with the seminal line “she reminds me of me.”

1962 to 1981 - CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite – After Cronkite broadcast that he thought the Vietnam War was unwinnable, President Lyndon Johnson is reported to have said, "If I've lost Walter Cronkite, I've lost Middle America."

1981 to present - Senator Charles Grassley. On the Senate Finance Committee, he saved Social Security as we know it in the 1980s by raising taxes and again in the 2000s by burying private accounts. And in the 1990s he helped Bill Clinton balance the federal budget.

Note: There is a school of thought that Johnny Carson as host of The Tonight Show was the hick from 1962 to 1992. Some maintain that Mamie Eisenhower was the hick from 1941 to 1960, I just don’t know how much influence she actually had. George Gallup is also sometimes mentioned as the hick from 1936 to 1984.

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