Election 1944: Letters from readers (post-convention)

‘Bought’ vote not so sure

To the editor: Apropos Frank Kent’s article on “the bought vote” and a pair of communications from Government employe readers commenting thereupon, it may not be amiss to suggest that Mr. Kent was and is rather more discouraged than he should have been. The fact is that there are thousands of employes of the Federal Government who, having lived in close communion with the New Dealers for 11 long years, have become the most zealous of all Republicans. They cannot speak publicly; indeed, many of them speak privately with great caution. Yet their most earnest prayers and hopes are centered upon Mr. Dewey and Mr. Bricker. Their convictions are the product of, first, knowledge of what has gone on in the Government during the New Deal administration; second, recollection of more competent administrations preceding the New Deal; third, intense patriotic feeling and loyalty to the Nation; and, fourth, sincere concern for the future of the country. Mr. Kent and his readers should appreciate, of course, that these are the people whose abilities are such that their livings could be had within or without Government employment. That thousands of them will vote for Mr. Dewey and Mr. Bricker there is no slightest doubt.


The Pittsburgh Press (August 16, 1944)

‘Nagging’ the President wrong, reader says

To the editor: Recently you published a rather strong editorial chiding the Hearst newspapers for publishing matter that, in your view, gave aid and comfort to the enemies of our country.

But you need to guard your own pen a little, too. You are pecking at and nagging the President of the United States a little too much yourself in these times of dreadful war. The President has made mistakes, as he admits himself, being an honest man. But I am certain that the editor of The Pittsburgh Press would rather live here under Mr. Roosevelt with all his mistakes than in any other country in the world.

It is good natural ethics as well as good Christian ethics to put the most charitable construction on our neighbor’s words and actions. But if we reverse this policy as relating to the President of the United States in these war times, we are at least running the risk of giving comfort to Adolf Hitler. He is no lover of Mr. Roosevelt.

Rd 1, Freeport, PA

Democrats and well-paid executives criticized

To the editor: I have just been reading where the Democratic Party claims to be the friend of the working man of the U.S.A. has a few more friends like the Democratic Party he will be working for his board.

I wonder who passed the Smith-Connally bill or tried to put through the notorious Austin-Wadsworth bill or the Brewster-Bailey bill, and then, not getting the Austin-Wadsworth bill through, had Mr. McNutt issue the ruling freezing every man to his job. Also freezing wages for the working man and at the same time letting food prices get out of control.

If the Democratic Party is the friend of the laboring class, we only hope they never get mad at the working man. I wonder if they think as Barnum stated years ago that the American public likes to be bunked.

I wonder why they did not freeze the wages of the high salaried executive. The July 17 Treasury release of part of the list of high-salaried employees shows that Mr. Eugene Grace for the year of 1942 received $537,724. Just imagine the sacrifices Mr. Grace had to make to make ends meet or where the rent money was coming from. Also Mr. Thomas Watson did not fare so well – he had to make ends meet on a mere $425,549. What terrible sacrifices these men made is beyond me.

They ought to see the take-home pay of some of the defense workers in the steel industry. Then they would know why the men are dissatisfied.

We have a chance on Nov. 7 to vote some of these men out of office.


The Pittsburgh Press (August 17, 1944)

President opposed social security, he says

To the editor: The question of leadership and accomplishments are questions which should be of vital concern to every American in the forthcoming presidential election. That the Democratic verbal virtuosi are going to attempt to take entire credit for their party for any social gains that have been made during the past 12 years, of course, goes without saying. But let us see what happened to the Social Security Act.

It is generally believed by honest but ill-informed people that Mr. Roosevelt is responsible for this reform, but actually the Social Security Act was demanded by the people, as a result of the depression, and the record shows that Mr. Roosevelt attempted to postpone it. The first act, introduced by Senator Wagner, he refused to support.

In 1934, about 15 months after he took office, a committee called on the President to urge action. The Republicans denounced him for doing nothing about social security, and the campaign of 1934 was approaching. He then named a committee to study the subject and then after election he again did nothing. Then another group of men called on him and he told them, “The time is not ripe for old-age pensions yet.” What he meant by this I’ll let you figure out. Not only was there no opposition but there was a clamorous and universal demand for this.

And finally, a bill was passed in 1935 and in it was one of the most amazing fiscal monstrosities in the history of government finance. It made the rates charged the working people and their employers twice as high as they should be in order to bring in enough to pay for the benefits to the workers and, in addition, provide billions of dollars to pay the ordinary costs of government.

The fact is that the President had to be driven to this great reform. What brand of leadership was that?

1430 Barnsdale St.

CIO’s political course of action endorsed

To the editor: Seeing as you had an editorial in a recent issue of The Press on the collection of money by the CIO Political Action Committee, I readily assumed you could answer a few questions for me.

Could it be that the GOP is now facing the weapon which was instrumental in seeing that the “right” people were at the head or in control of the nation since the death of Lincoln? By the weapon, of course, I mean the money raised by soliciting from the persons who are going to benefit by it. In the Democratic Party the lower income class will benefit and in the Republican Party the opposite will take place. What difference does it make if the Democrats get theirs a dollar at a time from millions of people? Do they not have the same right to do this as the Republicans have to get theirs from corporations and men like Pew and Grundy?

In November, there will be an election and despite the editorials of newspapers like the ones in Pittsburgh, the people of America will again show that they do not wish to relinquish the gains they have amassed in the last 12 years.

25 N Emily St., Crafton

The Pittsburgh Press (August 18, 1944)

To register and vote is your duty

To the editor: When Patrick Henry said, “I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience; I know of no way of judging the future but by the past,” he gave a very great reason why all people should study history, instead of current, confusing propaganda.

In democratic countries all eligible citizens should register and vote, so there will be what Abraham Lincoln called “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

Democratic countries are supposed to have majority rule, but if only 50 percent register and vote, and the election is carried 60 to 40, then we do not have majority rule, but government of the people by 30 percent of the people.

Register and vote, as that is your duty in a democratic nation. Vote as you please – but be sure to vote. See that your neighbor registers and votes.

Rd 1, Ford City, PA

One man can’t be blamed for Depression

To the editor: During the last few weeks much mudslinging has been smeared over the pages of the daily newspapers. A great deal of this smear was aimed at the Republican Party and its leaders, especially Herbert Hoover. He has been blamed for the depression, bank failure and many other things which were not of his making. Those who place the blame on a certain individual or party for the calamity which swept this nation at the time are people who cannot think for themselves.

These people were not aware of the fact that despite the super-human efforts of our esteemed President Roosevelt we would still be in the midst of a depression if it were not for the war.

Speaking of bank failures, I am certain that most people do not understand the banking business. To those who are ignorant of the liquidation of the failed banks, the large sums lost convey the impression of losses to the customer. There is or was a distinction between deposits involved and deposits lost.

For instance: If 800 million dollars in deposits were involved in the 1930 bank failures, this includes three large banks which account for almost half of the total sum. At least two of these banks were reorganized and the third paid 100 cents on the dollar. A study of bank failures and subsequent liquidation since the Civil War reveals the fact that the depositors on the average recovered about 90 cents on the dollar.

We have but to study each issue during the campaign to know whether it is fact or just plain “muck-raking.”

One thing is certain: we cannot blame any one man or party for the depression and its consequences.

53 S 17th St., Pittsburgh, PA

The Evening Star (August 21, 1944)

Wants CIO-PAC studied

To the editor: There seems to be considerable confusion in the thinking of some of your correspondents and columnists concerning the CIO Political Action Committee, its head, Sidney Hillman, and Communism. A recent writer to this column accused Mr. Hillman of Communism because he seems to be in agreement with the present “party line,” although, as Lowell Mellett demonstrated, that was not the case a few years ago. Use of this criterion would make all those who now favor an all-out war effort Communists, since this seems to be the present Communist position. Likewise, it would apply the same label to the 1940 “isolationists,” since their attitude on the war at that time rather closely resembled the Communist thought of that period.

It seems to me that a more valuable procedure for all concerned would be an examination and discussion of the assumption and aims of the CIO-PAC rather than an indiscriminate application of vague political labels.


The Evening Star (August 22, 1944)

Prefers Republican nominee

To the editor: In answer to the recent letter of Marguerite Parks, I offer the following comments with regard to a Roosevelt-Willkie coalition:

Being a Texas Democrat by choice and not a New Dealer, it is rather difficult to see how this could be accomplished. True, Wendell Willkie is an exact prototype of Mr. Roosevelt and that is the probable reason that he withdrew from the presidential race. The handwriting was on the wall and Mr. Willkie knew it.

And speaking of “liberalism,” whoever heard of a Republican being liberal? Perhaps the lady meant liberal, as is practiced by the New Deal – liberal with everybody else’s money.

There is nothing, in my opinion, which would be more repulsive. The very thought is nauseating.

Why not do the right thing next November? Shelve the New Deal with all of its CIO, Sidney Hillman. Kelly machine, lame-duck bureaucratic bunglers, substitute a real red-blooded American party, and elect to office a man who believes in government “of, by and for the people.”


The Evening Star (August 23, 1944)

President’s trip to Pacific considered ‘political’

To the editor: Referring to the President’s recent trip to Honolulu and the Aleutians, as a plain citizen and a voter, I confess that I am confused as to the purposes of his visits.

Was he all the time acting as commander in chief of the armed forces? Or was he part of the time acting as candidate in chief of the Democratic party? Insofar as he commandeered a warship of the Pacific Fleet for his trip, he certainly exercised powers belonging to no one other than the commander in chief of the Navy. While he was accompanied by his daughter and others not connected with the military services, Admiral King and Gen. Marshall were left behind; hence the inference arises that such plans concerning the Pacific campaign as were discussed with Admiral Nimitz and Gen. MacArthur must have been known to Admiral King and Gen. Marshall, and it did not require a presidential trip to communicate them to those Pacific commanders.

But suppose we admit that the trip to Hawaii was necessary, and made as commander in chief; How about the trip to the Aleutians? The only evidence of the action of a commander in chief on that trip seems to have been the use of the warship to transport the presidential party.

I understand that a commander in chief does not usually, when not in the field, mess with the enlisted men. But a political candidate does Just that kind of thing; he mingles with the electorate, talks and jokes with them and endeavors to make himself popular with them, even if he makes no political speech at that time. It seems to me, therefore, that hobnobbing with the enlisted men in the Aleutians was more the action of the candidate in chief than of the commander in chief. Of course, I may be mistaken.


Soldiers’ ballots easily obtained

To the editor: I am an American citizen residing in New York City. From time to time I pass through Washington and see a copy of The Star, my favorite paper in your city.

Recently, I have been outraged several times by the specious propaganda for the New Deal which Lowell Mellett is selling you under the guise of a column called On the Other Hand. But I have failed to protest against his absurdities, inaccuracies and sins of commission or omission.

However, I cannot let his column of August 17 pass without branding it a falsehood, when he states that: “Mr. Dewey has simply made voting so hard for any New York citizen serving his country overseas that very few of them are expected to vote.”

Ballots for the use of servicemen can be obtained with the greatest ease by any relative or friend. I sent my son one so long ago that I can’t remember even what month it was. If the serviceman doesn’t use his ballot, is that Mr. Dewey’s fault? How about the millions of citizens living in the United States who fail every election to exercise their right to vote? Is that also Dewey’s fault?

I, following my ancestors, voted the Democratic ticket year after year, but this year, as Mr. Dewey stands for most of the things which my old Democratic party used to stand for, I shall take pleasure in adding my humble ballot to the millions who once more will elect an American, and chase all the foreign political theorists of the New Deal back where they came from.


Raises question of politics

To the editor: The President’s announcement at this time that Allied troops will occupy Germany even after she surrenders unconditionally seems designed to increase the desperation of the Germans and to prolong the war. The slogan of “unconditional surrender” tends in the same direction, could it be that the New Deal is hoping to prolong the German resistance until after the election in order to insure a fourth term for Mr. Roosevelt? In the last war President Wilson offered his fourteen points and the Germans were glad to surrender as soon as they were convinced that they were losing the war. In this war politics seems to be of more importance than American lives.


Compares Dewey and Welles

To the editor: The writer thought that “Mr. Dewey and the Peace” was very well put, sanely written, without hysteria.

There is no reason for any Democrat to fly off the handle when some Republican speaks. Mr. Dewey’s well-chosen remarks of a few days ago, it would seem, are not very far from those of Sumner Welles in his “Time for Decision.”

This might be a good time for the Democrats to stand by Mr. Welles, lest the more erudite opposition, generally mentally more alert than the Democratic brethren, start standing with Mr. Welles – hand in hand!

J. G.

The Evening Star (August 24, 1944)

‘Futile’ campaign for suffrage commended by soldier

To the editor: I have never forgotten, nor do I think I ever will, your futile but stirring cartoons and editorials lamenting the politically impotent state of native Washingtonians and demanding the just rights due them under section 1 of the 14th amendment. The inclosed card merely echoes your cry.

May the future generations of our Capital city echo louder and louder the same cry until the plea becomes as overwhelming an issue to the American people as the current political controversy.

Somewhere in the Southwest Pacific

EDITOR’S NOTE: The enclosure which Cpl. Jacobs refers is his official election war ballot, futilely mailed to the “Secretary of State of the District of Columbia.”

A word to the columnists

To the editor: It is very interesting to note how many of the columnists, known to be anti-New Deal, are able to interpret with such authority the intent and meaning of New Deal policies and legislation passed by the Congress. But, when certain Government agencies make interpretations or rulings on laws passed by Congress, these same columnists take the attitude that the person responsible for the interpretation is a fool or is making the interpretation to further the administration’s chances of success in the forthcoming election. If these gentlemen did not practice this procedure so consistently, their motives might not be so apparent to American voters.


The Pittsburgh Press (August 26, 1944)

Two-party system vital to democracy

To the editor: A young man recently wrote a letter to you endorsing the CIO Political Action Committee as a fine way to elect our next President in preference to the Pew and Grundy and other kindred methods. First, as this is the young man’s first opportunity to vote for a President of the United States, he is to be commended for his interest in the coming election.

I take no issue with this young man as to whether the PAC is better or worse than any of the various ways used to finance political campaigns. As long as the American voter is free to vote for whomever he chooses and fears not intimidation or coercion from any one in making this choice, we shall continue to “elect” our President in spite of all slush fund collection methods.

But the thought occurred to me as I read the last paragraph of this young man’s letter, that the millions of young men and women voting for the first time for President are in a position never before experienced by first-time voters for this high office. We have had the same President since they were nine or 10 years of age. To them the name Roosevelt is synonymous with the word President. The only other President they can possibly recollect was a man named Hoover, and rarely do they hear anyone say a good word about him. Their task of deciding how to vote is fat more difficult than that of their elders.

So young voter, in your zeal not “to relinquish the gains amassed in the last 12 years,” be certain you do not toss away those gains of the previous 156 years. Even in 1932, we had come a good part of the way since 1776. Many of your elders, because of present individual political or financial advantages gained during the past 12 years, will be loathe to part with them and certainly can be expected to place personal again ahead of country. They know how to vote and how to tell others.

Death comes daily to many American men on all the battlefronts throughout the world. For what are they fighting and sacrificing their lives? Certainly, we shall hang our heads in shame if it is for anything less than the complete preservation of our American democracy. Not just a part of it, but all of it. For our forefathers too, deserve some credit. They fought wars, pioneered, experienced good times and bad, and worked to build a strong and secure America for their children. Under the inept tutelage of Presidents of both parties, who never served for more than eight years, America became the greatest nation on earth and the mecca of all the oppressed throughout the world.

Our two-party system is the surest way of keeping our democratic way of life. But when one-man rule becomes more powerful than either party, the balance-wheel is useless and democracy itself is threatened. America will vote again for its President in November in spite of being in the midst of a terrible war. We must make sure it really is an election and not a sham. We must keep faith with those who are fighting and dying for us. We must forget what our personal greed dictates. And we must, on election day, permit our intellects to be served by what Washington called “that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.”

103 Heathmore Ave., Pittsburgh, PA

There’ll be no parole for Hitler’s gang

To the editor: The Republicans at their convention in Chicago were for a lasting peace, as were the Democrats. The men who are dighting and giving their lives are also thinking of a lasting peace. The mothers, fathers, brothers and siters are hoping and praying for it.

The best way to get it is to make Hitler and his gang pay with their lives for the thousands of our boys’ lives they are responsible for. No parole this time for that gang.

417 N Graham St., Pittsburgh, PA

The Pittsburgh Press (August 28, 1944)

GOP forgets ‘hungry years,’ he contends

To the editor: The Republican press and the Republican soapbox orators are kept so busy defending the innocents of the Republican Party that today that party has all the symptoms of a scarecrow that has just been hit by an old-fashioned Kansas cyclone. The ideologies of the Republican spellbinders are as elusive as the winning card in a three-card monte game, and as balmy and as full of imagination as the leading character in a “nut house” mutiny.

Republican spellbinders are constantly attacking the New Deal. They seem to forget the hungry years prior to the advent of the New Deal when we had the most tragic depression this country had ever experienced – and under a Republican administration. Poverty and destitution were the uninvited guests in the homes of 40 million American citizens; a bottomless market and thousands of banks with closed doors; breadlines and soup houses were about the only enterprises open for business. And yet Republican spellbinders have the nerve to say to the American people: “Let us do it.”

Then along came the New Deal and saved our system of private enterprise, stabilized industry and finance, paralyzed the arm of poverty and strengthened the arm of plenty, fed the hungry and clothed the poor. And we have had prosperity ever since, regardless of the whining of the anti-New Dealers and Republican spellbinders.

It is quite a distance from Washington to Hawaii, but Roosevelt covered the distance with a hop, step and jump. Page Dewey.

735 N Highland Ave., Pittsburgh, PA

Campaign poster draws protest

To the editor: On my way to work the other say I was slightly shocked at the sight of a political campaign poster which proclaimed as follows: “This is your country. Why let Sidney hillman run it? Vote for Dewey and Bricker.”

This warning brought back the memories of the 1928 campaign in which we were presented with that “grass-will-grow-in-the-streets” masterpiece. As between the two samples of political advertising. I think I prefer the 1928 installment because, although vicious, it was a direct attack, whereas the 1944 election has all the earmarks of a stab in the back. And not Mr. Hillman’s back, either.

I doubt whether Mr. Dewey was consulted on the above poster. I cannot believe that either he or the responsible Republican leaders would stoop to such cheap trickery. If, however, this is in line with the Republican campaign policy, then the poster betrays defeatism because a fighter does not usually resort to a foul if he is confident of victory.

It is not the purpose of this letter to praise or condemn Mr. Hillman and the type of organization he heads. There undoubtedly exists a difference of opinion on the role of labor in politics. But on one subject the American people are unanimous and that is in their aversion to hitting below the belt.

2108 Murray Ave., Pittsburgh, PA

Socialism theories won’t work, he says

To the editor: A number of Socialists, parlor pinks, and just plain Reds have been yelling, “Down with capitalism,” in the Letters Column.

There is only one question in my mind concerning the scheme of production for use but without any profit: How are the leaders of industry to be selected? Will they be elected or appointed? What kind of industrial efficiency would be obtained by an industrialist elected in Hague-controlled Jersey City? Or would Madame Perkins be appointed president of U.S. Steel?

Capitalism is a plan by which the industrious and diligent members of society are automatically rewarded by society, each in accordance with his just due. Capitalism supports but does not pamper the laggards. Capitalism produces greater efficiency in industry, with more and better goods for the use of all, as we all well know. Capitalism has a 150-year record of success in this country. Socialism has often been tried but always wound up as a dictatorship.

If Socialism can offer anything more than catchphrases to excuse its poor past record, let’s hear the details of the plan.

6418 Jackson St., Pittsburgh, PA