What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight – it’s the size of the fight in the dog

fight in the dog

Man versus poodle

Now, our immediate interest is the Congressional contest that lies ahead this year. We all know that the political prophets have already got out their sharp pencils and made a lot of mathematical calculations about the odds the Republicans are up against in various states and districts.

But these calculations overlook the decisive element: what counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight–it’s the size of the fight in the dog.

Of course, you as seasoned workers know that there are no secret weapons in politics.

Today, as always, the three ingredients of success are:

  1. Good candidates.

  2. Faith in a good cause.

  3. Hard work.

When we have all three, we have the formula for victory.

by Dwight D. Eisenhower (October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969)
from Excerpts From Remarks at Republican National Committee Breakfast
January 31, 1958
image – Living in Monrovia


This is October 14th, the birthday of Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States, in office from 1953 until 1961. Though I was only about two years old when he left office, I can just barely remember seeing President “Ike” on TV. As a I recall, my impression was of a trustworthy person, comfortable with power. That could have something to do with my family’s long tradition of military service – Eisenhower was Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe. He was the guy in charge of liberating France from the Nazis, and Germany from Hitler. Oddly, I also remember a sense of loyalty towards Truman, Eisenhower’s predecessor in the Oval Office.

When Obama took office, I did some reading about transitions between recent presidents with different ideologies. I leaned that Truman thought Eisenhower had sold his soul when he wouldn’t denounce Senator Joseph McCarthy during the 1952 presidential campaign. I have a hard time forgiving tolerance for McCarthy, but I do remember being a child during the Cold War. I wonder if Eisenhower felt that not coming down hard against McCarthy would help to move our nervous nation to a more moderate “Modern Republicanism.”

I don’t know if today’s quote is a common saying, or something unique to Eisenhower, but it has come to be identified with Ike, so here it sits. Sometimes a quote is not from a powerful speech or a great book, or even an important event, but it has a charm that we relate to as if it’s our own. A friend uses it in the signature area of his forum posts. Every day that I see it, I’m reminded to be determined and hopeful.

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