Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Prichard Tapes

Sometimes in politics you can only say what you really wanted to say after you are dead and gone. That seems to be what New Deal activist and political commentator, Edward F. Prichard Jr., was thinking when he made candid tapes criticizing education in Kentucky and lambasting Supreme Court Justice and Maysville notable Stanley Reed as well as FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, President Harry S. Truman, President Jimmy Carter, and others. After recording these criticism, he locked them away with the stipulation that they weren't to be released until he and his wife had passed away.

The tapes were released to the Kentucky Oral History Commission after the death of Prichard's wife in June.

Some of the commentary is downright entertaining. For example, when describing a visit to the White House to dine with President Roosevelt, he recalls:

The Frankfurters took me to the White House to dinner (in 1939). There wasn't anybody there but the President and Mrs. Roosevelt and the Frankfurters and me. And we ate in the family dining room.

I spilled some of the green beans on the floor.

Well, I was horribly embarrassed, particularly at the thought that when the president was wheeled out in his wheelchair he would go right by my little mess of green beans. And this kept me in a tizzy all during the dinner, but I was saved by his dog who cuddled up to my chair and licked the green beans and left not a trace of 'em.

I never was a man so grateful to a dog.

Of Maysville's beloved Stanley Reed, he said:

Reed was not an intellectual heavyweight. He was rather a dull person, you know, perfectly decent, tried hard, worked hard, although Phil Graham (Prichard's friend who later became publisher of The Washington Post) and I used to say the motto on Reed's crest was "Anything for a free meal." He went to every party in Washington to which he was invited.

That's not a very flattering portrayal. I guess some things really should be said posthumously.

Read the full story here.

posted at 6:49 PM by Jeremy Parnell

3 Comments:

Ken Downing said...

If he was alive, I don't think he'd be getting any Christmas cards from some of those folks

10:17 AM
Jeremy said...

He definitely seems to have been the blogging type. I'm kind of curious what the people who are still alive and were criticized in the tapes think of them.

2:18 AM
Robert said...

I remember when he would talk of the future of agriculture and I always agreed with him on this one subject.

I bet if he were alive today he would have a blog.

Here is what he said about the future of Agriculture.

We're in serious trouble for the loss of our agricultural land.

We're more and more eating up and chewing up and turning over to development and subdivisions and other commercial and industrial uses, the best land we've got instead of guiding development to the land that isn't so good from an agricultural standpoint.

Prichard also recognized that Kentucky's cash crop, tobacco, was in trouble.

We ought to be developing new agricultural alternatives.

We're an importer of meat in Kentucky; we're an importer of fruits and vegetables.

We're an importer of all kinds of things that people eat in this state, and we're not doing very much to stimulate that.

5:19 AM