The Quest to Become a Delegate to the 1968 G.O.P. Convention — Part II

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This is Page 1 from a speech my dad gave in April of 1968 in favor of Nelson Rockefeller. More explanation about this is in the previous two posts. The other five pages are also below. (Click on image to enlarge.)

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Happy and Nelson Rockefeller. (From a page in my dad’s scrapbook. Otherwise…source unknown.)

As promised in Part 1, here is my dad’s (Deane Gunderson) speech given to his “Fellow Republicans” at Iowa’s state Republican convention in April 1968. The purposes of the speech: 1) to be selected as a delegate to the national convention held later that year and 2) to promote Nelson Rockefeller, the G.O.P.’s candidate in the 1968 presidential election. (For those of you perhaps too young to recall, Richard Nixon won the nomination and the election, and later, under duress, resigned from the presidency.)

In the spring of 1968 when my dad gave this speech, I was in 7th grade. I remember nothing from that time pertaining to this speech or to my dad attending the convention (as an alternate delegate) in Florida. I do, however, remember in later years (late ’70s? early ’80s?) sitting with my mom at the round oak kitchen table as my dad (on the school board at the time) presented to us, his “school board” audience, at least one persuasive speech. To some of you readers, the topic might ring a bell. It had to do with the then Rolfe school’s superintendent named John Harrington. Remembering my dad’s passion to get that speech perfected in order to convince the school board, I can only imagine the drive and passion he put into his G.O.P. “delegate” speech.

To see a photo of Iowa’s 1968 delegation, including my dad as an alternate delegate, click here. In that same post is an audio clip of my dad briefly telling about his involvement in politics.

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To enlarge the thumbnails below and/or to view them in slideshow view, click on any one of them. After clicking on any thumbnail, to enlarge it even further, click on the “View Full Size” link.

I think what my dad says about the press on Page 5 and continued into Page 6 is particularly interesting.

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(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

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3 Responses to “The Quest to Become a Delegate to the 1968 G.O.P. Convention — Part II”

  1. cghoover Says:

    Thanks for posting this speech. Although I have a mental image of attending that district meeting in the lower level of Vets Auditorium, I had no recollection of the content of the speech. After reading Daddy’s speech today, I have a better understanding of why he was elected an alternate delegate instead of a delegate.

    Daddy read his speech, which was unfortunate. He could be a great story teller and speak with enthusiasm; however, his true personality didn’t come through when he read his speech that day. He was not convincing. In addition, Daddy wasn’t as high up the totem pole as far as position within the Republican party. Other people, because of their official and unofficial roles within the party had “first dibs,” you might say. And now I realize his preference (not commitment!) for Nelson Rockefeller might have worked against Daddy. At least he was forthright about his feelings.

    After the 1964 Presidential election Daddy had business cards printed that said, “I didn’t vote for Goldwater, either.”

  2. Peg Says:

    Reading this speech elicits so much feeling in me–not for politics so much or the ’68 race so much, but for Daddy and some qualities that made him . . . so him: his due diligence many, many times over before making a big decision; his determination to do his absolute personal best for whatever it was he was working on; and his need and willingness to speak the truth as he saw it, even if it wasn’t popular, and even if at personal cost. I don’t want to put him on too much of a pedestal; he was as human as the rest of us, but I am very fortunate to have breathed in these qualities–often without even realizing it. I remember Daddy practicing this speech in the living room–he or Mother asked me (and someone else–maybe you, Louise) to be his “audience.” It is strange to me that I was nearly 17 years old but had virtually no grasp of what he was talking about. Or even much interest. I hope for so much more of today’s 17-year-olds! I think Daddy was nervous. Like Clara said, public speaking didn’t come naturally to him. But it’s probably true that he was elected an alternate because he spoke for Rockefeller instead of Nixon. In hindsight, if we could pretend Nixon’s cover-up never happened, I wonder who truly would have been the better candidate. All that said, I’m really glad Daddy did get to go to the convention. ❤

  3. Marti Gunderson Carlson Says:

    I can just “hear” Daddy reading the speech, even though I wasn’t there. While it is true, he wasn’t perfect, this speech says a lot about who he was as a man, and the example he set. Louise, thanks so much for sharing this.

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