Interview With Senator Everett M. Dirksen

An interview with Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen, Republican from Illinois, first broadcast on May 7, 1952.  One of the great orators of his day, he was known by supporters and detractors as “The Wizard of Ooze”.  A World War I veteran, serving as a Second Lieutenant in an artillery battery, he got his start in politics in his hometown of Pekin, Illinois as commissioner of public finance.  He won a Congressional seat in 1932, a very bad year for Republicans, and entered the House, serving there until 1950, when he was elected to the Senate, where he served until his death in 1969.

Dirksen was a reliable conservative on economic issues and a strong advocate for civil rights for blacks.  He was a hawk on foreign policy.  When the Supreme Court banned prayer in schools, he sponsored a constitutional amendment to overturn the decision. 

Beyond his political stances he was a notable “character” in the Senate.  He would give speeches supporting the marigold as the national flower.  He would fleck his speeches with poetry and occasional song.  He recorded four albums, one of which won a Grammy in 1968.  The Senate, and the country, was poorer for his death on September 7, 1969.  He was an Illinois original.

 

Published in: on September 16, 2019 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Interview With Senator Everett M. Dirksen  
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