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1956 Convention

June 01, 1988

I would like to point out an error in Tom Bethell's otherwise informative column on "the No. 2 slot" (Op-Ed Page, April 21). He stated that "(Sen. Albert) Gore's position in the party is now in many respects comparable to that of Sen. John F. Kennedy in 1956, when he ran unsuccessfully against Adlai Stevenson."

This is certainly news to me! As a Stevenson delegate from Washington state that year, I recall voting on Kennedy's candidacy for vice president in his losing race with Sen. Estes Kefauver of Tennessee for the chance to be Stevenson's running mate. Al Gore, ironically, now holds the very same Senate seat once held by Kefauver. As the second-youngest delegate at that Chicago convention, it was exciting to be part of Adlai's precedent-shattering decision to allow the delegates themselves to select the vice presidential nominee. In retrospect, however, I believe this to have been a mistake on Stevenson's part. It should always remain a one-time happening. The presidential nominee should always select his own running mate. He must take into consideration such factors as competence, experience, geography, and personal compatibility.

I am confident, Gov. Michael Dukakis, assuming his nomination, will not select a running mate on the basis of his charismatic-demagogic ability to stir populist emotions or to mesmerize those casual voters with a People magazine mentality. Such a person would certainly repel more voters than he or she would attract.

Despite his 1956 mistake, Stevenson has always epitomized my ideal of an American statesman.

As a delegate to Los Angeles in 1960, I gladly voted for him again--this time over Jack Kennedy.

DARYL BROTMAN

Huntington Beach

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