Wednesday, July 19, 2017

William W. Scranton: Born 100 Years Ago



William W. Scranton, a former governor of Pennsylvania and one of the now extinct moderate national Republicans, would have been 100 years old today.  He died in 2013.  Scranton, a rising political star less than two years into his governorship, unsuccessfully challenged Barry Goldwater for the 1964 presidential nomination.

Scranton was young, attractive, wealthy and had an appealing family.  As a one-term congressman, 1961-1963, he voted for some of JFK’s social programs.  The same age as the president, he was sometimes called a “Kennedy Republican.” 

Prohibited by the then state constitution to one term, Scranton left elective politics in 1967.  He subsequently served as chair of the commission investigating Kent State and campus unrest in 1970, which issued the “Scranton Report,” and also was U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.  I remember when he entertained United Nations delegates at his home near Scranton, Pennsylvania.  He also took on troubleshooting roles for several presidents.

Although his bid against Goldwater was doomed from the outset, he was probably the only serious presidential aspirant from Pennsylvania in the past century.  Bill Scranton believed in public service and was committed to his hometown, where his family had deep political and economic roots to the northeastern Pennsylvania city that they helped found



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