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FDR-esque qualities in gubernatorial candidate Drew Edmondson

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- In Jim Bishop’s 1974 book FDR’S Last Year: April 1944-April 1945, the late author wrote a fascinating account of how an ill Roosevelt sought to maintain his strength as his health was declining and victory in World War II was in site.

And while our current 24-hour  news cycle may provide us with too much information about our national leaders, it is made clear that Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt was not a well man when he ran for reelection in 1944 and much of official Washington was aware of that fact and that it was kept secret from the American public.

But Bishop documents the courage that FDR displayed despite his condition and that his formidable political skills remained intact as dealt with world leaders Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill at the Yalta Conference that was held in the USSR in February of 1945.

The poignant details of Roosevelt’s relationship with Lucy Mercer Rutherford, that had begun decades earlier when she had served as his wife’s social secretary is also documented. In his preface the dogged Bishop tells of how he paid a visit to then elderly Roman Catholic priest who was a confidant of Ms. Rutherford who politely refused to reveal anything to him about his knowledge of her relationship with Roosevelt.

When the book was first published over 40 years ago, reviewers praised Bishop for revealing a humane Roosevelt who despite his medical condition and responsibilities often found time to be thoughtful and considerate to his staff.

When FDR boarded the train in Washington D.C on March 29, 1945 that would take him to his retreat in Warm Springs, Georgia, where he would die on April 12 , Bishop details how he summoned the three members of his staff who were adherents of the Roman Catholic Church.

The president reminded them that the following day was Good Friday, and that if they wanted to attend a Catholic Mass in recognition of that holy day the train could stop in Atlanta, Georgia where there were several Catholic churches.

It has been said that public men of different eras often have similar traits that account in part for the loyalty that is displayed by those who serve them.

Former Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson showed a loyalty to members of his staff while he held that post that even in the face of criticism of their actions by others.

In addition, Edmondson also exhibited a thoughtfulness for them that was similar to FDR’s even in difficult times. On the morning following Edmondson’s defeat in the Democratic Gubernatorial Primary on July 27, 2010 by Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor Jari Askins, his office staff awaited his arrival and wondered how he was dealing with his loss.

When the defeated candidate entered the building it was noted that he did not immediately go to his office, and the members of his personal staff wondered where he was. It was subsequently revealed that Edmondson had chosen to first go to the office of a member of the support staff who had been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness several days previously to personally express his sympathy and concern for her.

And now, Drew Edmondson is running for governor once again. His FDR-esque qualities are something to consider in the coming months.

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About the Author

Bill O'Brien

Bill O'Brien is an attorney based in Oklahoma City.

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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