George Aiken

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George D. Aiken
GeorgeAiken.jpg
Former U.S. Senator from Vermont
From: January 10, 1941 – January 3, 1975
Predecessor Ernest W. Gibson, Jr.
Successor Patrick Leahy
Former Governor of Vermont
From: January 7, 1937 – January 9, 1941
Lieutenant William H. Wills
Predecessor Charles Manley Smith
Successor William H. Wills
Former Lieutenant Governor of Vermont
From: January 9, 1935 – January 6, 1937
Governor Charles Manley Smith
Predecessor Charles Manley Smith
Successor William H. Wills
Former Speaker of the Vermont House of Representatives
From: January 4, 1933 – January 8, 1935
Predecessor Edward H. Deavitt
Successor Ernest E. Moore
Former State Representative from Vermont
From: January 7, 1931 – January 7, 1935
Predecessor Robert Goodyear Loomis
Successor William Hinds Darrow
Information
Party Republican
Spouse(s) Beatrice Howard (died 1966)
Lola Pierotti
Religion Protestant[1]

George David Aiken (August 20, 1892 – November 19, 1984) was a farmer, horticulturist,[2] and Moderate Republican[3] from Vermont who served as the state's lieutenant governor, governor and U.S. senator from the 1930s to the 1970s. He previously represented the town of Putney in the state legislature.

Throughout his long political career, Aiken championed rural interests.[4]

Political career

U.S. Senate

After incumbent Republican senator Ernest W. Gibson died in office on June 20, 1940, Gov. Aiken appointed Gibson's son as an interm to the seat. After the younger Gibson decided against running in the special election that year, Aiken ran and easily won by over twenty percentage points.[5] Aiken continued to be re-elected before retiring in the 1974 midterms.[6]

Part of the progressive[7]/Moderate Republican wing of the GOP, Aiken opposed conservative Tennessee congressman B. Carroll Reece when the latter was the chair of the RNC.[8][9] He was liberal on a number of issues and, along with his more moderately conservative colleague Ralph Flanders, voted for the censure of Joseph McCarthy,[4][10][11] who had exposed communist infiltration of the U.S. government. According to an analysis on his voting record up until 1950, he was considerably liberal.[12] Aiken also backed rural electrification programs, price supports to aid farmers,[4] and was the chief architect of the 1965 food stamp program.[13]

Aiken opposed U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, saying in 1966:[4][14]

Aiken in 1974.
The United States should declare victory and get out.

Civil rights

Aiken voted for the Civil Rights Acts of 1957,[15] 1964,[16] 1968,[17] the Voting Rights Act of 1965,[18] as well as the 24th Amendment which banned poll taxes in federal elections.[19] He opposed amendments during the debate on the 1964 bill which would have weakened the landmark legislation.[20]

Along with Democrat Clinton Anderson of New Mexico, the two senators introduced the Anderson-Aiken amendment which removed Title III from the 1957 Civil Rights Act.[21] The provisions under the section would have given the United States Attorney General privileges to intervene in civil rights cases and seek preventative relief.

While initially backing fellow liberal Northeastern senator Margaret Chase Smith in the 1964 presidential election, Aiken soon endorsed the party's conservative nominee Barry Goldwater.[22][23] He previously stated in early January that Goldwater's odds depended on "whether he is able to dissociate himself from his weird and vulgar supporters."[24]

According to a GovTrack ranking in 1974, Aiken overall held a moderately liberal voting record.[25]

Legacy

Aiken, who criticized the conservative wing of the GOP in his day as supposedly being remote from the principles of Abraham Lincoln,[26] can be considered a forerunner to the current establishment wing of the party which frequently smears conservatives as "extremists", among numerous false charges.

References

  1. Aiken. The Political Graveyard. Retrieved August 13, 2021.
  2. New Bio Explores Life of Sen. George Aiken. The University of Vermont. Retrieved June 5, 2021.
  3. FascinatingPolitics (October 21, 2020). The Rockefeller Republicans. Mad Politics: The Bizarre, Fascinating, and Unknown of American Political History. Retrieved June 5, 2021.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Smith, J.Y. (November 20, 1984). Ex-Senator George Aiken, 92. Washington Post. Retrieved June 5, 2021.
  5. VT US Senate - Special Election Race - Nov 05, 1940. Our Campaigns. Retrieved June 5, 2021.
  6. Candidate - George D. Aiken. Our Campaigns. Retrieved June 5, 2021.
  7. FascinatingPolitics (May 23, 2018). The Bizarre Political Transformation of Vermont. Mad Politics: The Bizarre, Fascinating, and Unknown of American Political History. Retrieved June 5, 2021.
  8. November 27, 1947. AIKEN ASKS REECE TO QUIT GOP HELM; Lays Failure to Win Confidence of Voters to Chairman, Who Is Also Attacked by Tobey. The New York Times. Retrieved August 13, 2021.
  9. Krock, Arthur (December 3, 1947). Futility in Aiken's Call; Move to Oust Reece as GOP Chairman Doomed by Senator's Party Irregularity. The New York Times. Retrieved August 13, 2021.
  10. S. RES. 301. PASSAGE.. GovTrack.us. Retrieved June 5, 2021.
  11. Censured McCarthy plans new investigation. UPI. Retrieved June 5, 2021.
  12. FascinatingPolitics (January 6, 2019). Ideology and Civil Rights, 1950 Edition. Mad Politics: The Bizarre, Fascinating, and Unknown of American Political History. Retrieved June 5, 2021.
  13. Krebs, Albin (November 20, 1984). GEORGE AIKEN, LONGTIME SENATOR AND G.O.P. MAVERICK, DIES AT 92. The New York Times. Retrieved June 5, 2021.
  14. Bushnell, Mark (August 16, 2020). Then Again: The real story of George Aiken’s oft-quoted advice on Vietnam. VTDigger. Retrieved June 5, 2021.
  15. HR. 6127. CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1957.. GovTrack.us. Retrieved June 5, 2021.
  16. HR. 7152. PASSAGE.. GovTrack.us. Retrieved June 5, 2021.
  17. TO PASS H.R. 2516, A BILL TO PROHIBIT DISCRIMINATION IN SALE OR RENTAL OF HOUSING, AND TO PROHIBIT RACIALLY MOTIVATED INTERFERENCE WITH A PERSON EXERCISING HIS CIVIL RIGHTS, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.. GovTrack.us. Retrieved June 5, 2021.
  18. TO PASS S. 1564, THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT OF 1965.. GovTrack.us. Retrieved June 5, 2021.
  19. S.J. RES. 29. APPROVAL OF RESOLUTION BANNING THE POLL TAX AS PREREQUISITE FOR VOTING IN FEDERAL ELECTIONS.. GovTrack.us. Retrieved June 5, 2021.
  20. FascinatingPolitics (December 9, 2018). The Most Comprehensive Civil Rights Debate: The Civil Rights Act of 1964. Mad Politics: The Bizarre, Fascinating, and Unknown of American Political History. Retrieved June 5, 2021.
  21. Caro, Robert A. (2003). Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson (pp. 910–43). Retrieved September 24, 2021
  22. Stetson, Fred (February 13, 2005). George Aiken in his own words. Rutland Herald. Retrieved June 5, 2021.
  23. GOLDWATER GAINS IN MODERATE WING; Some Middle‐Road G.O.P. Congressmen Now Give Him Nominal Support. The New York Times. Retrieved June 5, 2021.
  24. REPUBLICANS HAIL GOLDWATER MOVE; Miller ‘Delighted,’ but A.D.A. Aide Assails Candidacy. The New York Times. Retrieved June 5, 2021.
  25. Sen. George Aiken. GovTrack.us. Retrieved June 5, 2021.
  26. O'Connor, Kevin (November 30, 2019). Vt. Sen. George D. Aiken’s unorthodox Republicanism recounted in new biography. Valley News. Retrieved June 5, 2021.

External links

  • Profile at United States Senate
  • Profile at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  • Biography at The University of Vermont