Election 1944: Dewey called ‘just common politician’ (10-16-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (October 17, 1944)


Dewey called ‘just common politician’

‘Rabid isolationists’ assailed by Ickes

Newark, New Jersey (UP) –
Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes characterized Governor Thomas E. Dewey as a “machine politician of the common garden variety” last night and charged that the Republican presidential candidate proposes to take into the White House a collection of “rabid isolationists” to help write the peace.

In an address before an Independent Committee for Roosevelt rally, Mr. Ickes asserted that an “unspeakable rabble of isolationist and reactionaries” have climbed into Dewey’s “Trojan Horse” and that their influence would be felt if the Republican were elected.

He cited as Dewey supporters “Gerald L. K. Smith… America’s nearest replica of Adolf Hitler;” United Mine Workers chief John L. Lewis, “the only labor leader in the United States who has failed to set his face against wartime strikes,” and Rep. Hamilton Fish (R-NY), who Ickes denounced as an isolationist and labor baiter.”

‘Honesty’ questioned

Mr. Ickes challenged Governor Dewey’s personal honesty as well as his record of achievement. With regard to Governor Dewey’s speech at St. Louis the Interior Secretary said:

I am glad that Governor Dewey is going to follow me on the air. I understand that he proposes to talk about “honesty in government.” This will be a double adventure into the unknown for Mr. Dewey. He does not know anything about the government and judging by his campaign speeches, he is totally unfamiliar with honesty.

Contribution held ‘zero’

Mr. Ickes accused Governor Dewey of hindering, instead of helping, the war effort during the past three years.

He said:

I suggest to you that the humblest private on the field of battle has made a greater contribution [than Dewey].

The fact of the matter is that during the past three years of bitter warfare Mr. Dewey’s contribution to the prosecution of the war has been exactly zero.

Mr. Ickes said that Governor Dewey’s chief accomplishment during the campaign was the endorsement of “policies which President Roosevelt himself has advocated.”