Dean Manion, Consistent Conservative, Couldn’t Endorse Nixon

Dean Clarence Manion, host of the popular and influential “Manion Forum,” could not bring himself to endorse the moderate GOP presidential nominee Richard Nixon in 1960, a recent New York Times article reminds readers.

The Times article compares Nixon’s problems shoring up conservative support with that of 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Manion, the former dean of the Notre Dame law school, briefly worked for the Eisenhower administration, but quit in protest when he felt Ike was not sufficiently conservative. He started “The Manion Forum” radio program, which became highly influential in the conservative movement and was the force behind Barry Goldwater’s eventual rise as the standard bearer of the GOP and conservatism.

After William F. Buckley withheld his endorsement of Nixon that year, “Clarence Manion, host of the ‘The Manion Forum’ radio program, agreed. ‘Like you,’ he wrote Buckley, ‘my first 1960 objective is to beat Nixon. He is an unpredictable, supremely self-interested trimmer and has never been anything else,'” the Times story says.

“So solid was the resistance to a Nixon candidacy that in 1960, no conservative media outlet endorsed the vice-president either in the primaries or in the general election. Instead, they threw their energies into last-minute long-shot candidates and third-party alternatives,” the article continues. “Manion began organizing a Draft Goldwater movement on behalf of ‘the courageous leader of conscientious American conservatism.'”

You can learn more about Manion in Chapter 3 of The Right Frequency, to be released in August. You can pre-order a copy signed by the author at a 30% discount now.

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