The 34th president of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and his vice president, Richard Nixon, can be seen as one of the country’s all time odd couples. One was a war hero who seemed guileless, the other, secretive to the point of paranoia.
In Ike and Dick: Portrait of a Strange Political Marriage. author Jeffrey Frank takes the reader through the complex relationship between two ill-matched yet mutually dependent people. “They brought out the best in each other,” Jeffrey Frank discussed during Monday’s show. “Eisenhower did make Nixon unhappy. Nixon was constantly feeling dissed. He felt he wasn’t being treated well. He wasn’t being respected for all he could bring to the ticket, for all he could bring to the country.”
However, what Nixon didn’t necessarily understand was that “Eisenhower didn’t think much of professional politicians,” Jeffrey says, “He was much happier with business men and his former military pals and people he could play golf with at the Augusta National Golf Club. Nixon wasn’t that sort, but he had lots of respect for Nixon. He had lots of respect for Nixon’s intelligence and his loyalty. What he didn’t have was a belief that Nixon really had the maturity to be president.”
Eisenhower included Nixon in his decision-making and Nixon was sent to more than 50 countries as goodwill emissary. Jeffrey Frank pointed out that “Nixon at this period he wasn’t yet the desecrated former president. He was a very intelligent, very ambitious, very controversial senator and then a president. He was not the Nixon we know today, he was someone quite different.”