Election 1944: Pre-convention news

The Pittsburgh Press (January 22, 1944)

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In Washington –
Soldier vote scheduled for House debate

Rules committee approves controversial states’ rights measure

Washington (UP) –
The House Rules Committee today gave the go-ahead for floor consideration next week of controversial legislation that would leave control of soldier voting with the states, and the Senate arranged to decide Monday whether it will act then on a compromise version of its previously-approved state’s rights measure.

The prospect that the Senate will vote twice on the same subject before the House even takes initial action drew a protest from Senator Robert A. Taft (R-OH), who said he considered it “an extraordinary parliamentary procedure.” Senate Democratic Leader Alben W. Barkley (D-KY) said it was not at all unusual.

This was the situation:

Last December, the Senate approved a substitute measure giving states control over soldier voting. The measure was sent to the House, but the Christmas recess blocked House consideration. Now, the Senate is preparing to act on a compromise which calls for federal distribution and collection of the ballots and leaves with local election boards the counting of the ballots and determination of their validity.

This week, a Republican-Democrat coalition forced House Elections Committee approval of a bill similar to the original Senate state’s rights measure, Committee chairman Eugene Worley (D-TX) was in the minority. He backed a bill similar to the compromise measure now pending in the Senate.

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Hannegan made new chairman of Democrats

Unanimously elected to succeed Walker as head of party
By Lyle C. Wilson, United Press staff writer

Washington –
The Democratic National Committee today unanimously elected Robert E. Hannegan of St. Louis as the party’s new chairman to lead the anticipated fourth-term campaign for President Roosevelt.

Mr. Hannegan, now Commissioner of Internal Revenue, was chosen by acclamation after James P. Aylward, Democratic national committeeman from Missouri, had placed him in nomination in a speech which roused the committee to a burst of applause when he referred to Mr. Roosevelt’s election to a fourth term.

Mr. Hannegan succeeds Postmaster General Frank C. Walker in the national chairmanship.

Resigns revenue post

Mr. Aylward began:

When the history of the next campaign is written and we win another presidential election with President Roosevelt for a fourth term–

…when he was interrupted by the committee’s enthusiastic response.

In a brief talk following his election, Mr. Hannegan did not mention the fourth term, but said the party could win this year if members all pulled together.

Hannegan continued:

I am a plain, ordinary, everyday, 100%, straight organization Democrat. I’m not angry at any Democrat. I am very proud to have worked under Jim Farley for years and I don’t think we will ever had another chairman as able as he.

I’m frightened up here, this is the big league for me. I am used to the bush leagues out in the Ozarks.

Immediately after his election, the White House announced Mr. Hannegan’s resignation as Commissioner of Internal Revenue.

Practiced law 15 years

Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau Jr. appointed Assistant Commissioner Harold N. Groves as acting chief of the Internal Revenue Bureau.

Mr. Aylward, in proposing Mr. Hannegan as Mr. Walker’s successor, said that Mr. Hannegan said practiced law for 15 years in St. Louis, had served as chairman of the Democratic City Committee in that city for four years and “under his leadership the Democrats regained control of the city.”

He described Mr. Hannegan as an active, aggressive and progressive” man who “knows politics from the bottom up.”

Tribute paid Walker

Mr. Aylward told fellow committeemen:

You may be sure that he will deal with your problems with honesty and in a very practical way.

While a committee sought Mr. Hannegan to escort him to the platform, members paid tribute to Mr. Walker’s service. Mayor Edward Kelly of Chicago said that he was regretful that Mr. Walker was leaving his post because “I think he is perfectly competent to again lead this party to victory.”

Mrs. Mary T. Norton of New Jersey said that no man was more loyal, patriotic and sincere than Mr. Walker.

Calling the New Deal administration period the “glorious decade,” Mr. Walker said the future demanded the election in 1944 of a President and a Congress who will fearlessly lead the country to victory in war and victory in peace.

Resigning with regret

Democratic leaders here for the meeting generally agreed on making President Roosevelt their nominee again.

Mr. Walker told the committee he was resigning the chairmanship “with genuine regret.” War, he said, had brought fresh problems and a constantly growing volume to the Post Office Department which now requires “the full attention and energy of the Postmaster General.” He asked that there be “no misunderstanding” as to his attitude.

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GOP gains send Democrats rushing back to Roosevelt

Willing to forgive and forget, they concede President is only hope of November success

Washington –
The effect of a fear psychosis is illustrated in the attitude of Democratic leaders who have gathered here to plan their National Convention and to celebrate Jackson Day at dinner tonight.

They are somberly reflecting the constant succession of Republican by-election victories. Gone is the buoyancy of old.

In their fear they are rushing pell-mell to President Roosevelt as their only possible hope of success in November, with a “Save u “ gesture. They are ready to forget and forgive.

Glibly they predict that the President will run again.

‘Revolution’ fizzles

The lion-to-lamb transformation was symbolized in the fizzle of the one-man revolution plotted by National Committeeman James C. Quigley when he faced reporters who had listened to him blowing hot and heavy for several days about the revolt he was engineering among Midwestern members – about Secretary of Agriculture Wickard and farm policy, about lack of recognition in patronage for the regular organization.

He sat at the head of the table, among the remains of the luncheon consumed by the supposed “revolters” from a dozen Midwestern and Northwestern states. Chagrin overspread his round face. The fire was gone from his eyes.

Meeting in complete unity

This committee, Mr. Quigley said, had been delegated to–

Eyes were alert. Pencils poised.

“– meet the press.”

Anti-climax.

The meeting, he said, was “in complete unity.”

Pencils dropped.

They had adopted a resolution unanimously.

Once more attention.

Mr. Quigley read it.

It declared for a fourth term for President Roosevelt and for the election of Robert E. Hannegan of Missouri as new national chairman to succeed Frank C. Walker, who is retiring.

Still against Wickard

Several questions were popped at once. All right, but what had happened to the advertised revolt? How about Secretary Wickard?

Lamely, Mr. Quigley said he was still against him personally, wanted his ousted from the Cabinet, but this question was not before the conference. It was learned later that Mr. Wickard had not even been mentioned at the closed luncheon session.

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Editorial: Still on guard

From the Philadelphia Bulletin

Republican National Committeeman G. Mason Owlett, in a letter to The Evening Bulletin, insists his warning against the “post-war return of American-made, government-owned war merchandise to this country at bargain prices and duty free” has nothing to do with the repayment of war debts, our gold supply or Lend-Lease. It is Mr. Owlett’s opinion that the influx of such distressed merchandise after the last war “helped create a depression which ran six years.”

But Mr. Owlett himself in his letter worries about:

…the amount of goods and material of foreign origin which is apt to find its way into this market following the close of the war.

In capital letter phrases, he warns against such economic cooperation with the rest of the world as may make “American enterprise a decadent, retrogressive victim of low-cost foreign competition.”

It is clear that Mr. Owlett looks upon the import of foreign goods into this country with an unfriendly eye, as though they were a menace to be guarded against and not an asset.

Such an attitude does concern the repayment of Lend-Lease and the future of our foreign trade markets. For we cannot be repaid or expand our sales abroad unless we are willing to accept the goods of other nations in greater volume than before the war. Foreign trade is not a one-way street.

The Pittsburgh Press (January 23, 1944)

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Chicago chosen for convention –
Democratic leaders back fourth term for Roosevelt

Approve resolution asking President to continue as ‘our great humanitarian leader’
By Arthur F. Degreve, United Press staff writer

Washington – (Jan. 22)
The Democratic National Committee, in a thinly-veiled appeal to President Roosevelt to seek a fourth term, today unanimously approved a resolution calling on him to continue as “our great world humanitarian leader” and declaring his liberalism “must be imprinted in the peace.”

The resolution, the last of 12 approved without dissent, said:

We pledge full and unflinching confidence in President Roosevelt’s leadership at home and abroad.

The action came after Robert E. Hannegan of St. Louis, a 40-year-old lawyer-politician, had been named national party chairman as successor to Postmaster General Frank C. Walker, who resigned to devote his entire time to his federal post.

Coincident with his election, the White House announced Mr. Hannegan’s resignation as Commissioner of Internal Revenue. In accepting Mr. Hannegan’s resignation, Mr. Roosevelt avoided all mention of politics, but said Mr. Hannegan had “my continued good wishes and confidence.”

The committee chose Chicago as the site of the forthcoming national convention – when, if the delegates’ wishes are followed, Mr. Roosevelt apparently will be named the party’s standard-bearer for the fourth time – but left to Mr. Hannegan’s discretion the time. The Republican National Convention will be held in Chicago beginning June 26, and the Democratic meeting is expected to be late in July.

Show of sentiment

The first show of delegate sentiment on a fourth term came early in the meeting when James P. Aylward, Missouri national committeeman, recommended Mr. Hannegan as Mr. Walker’s successor.

He began:

When the history of the next campaign is written and we win another presidential election with President Roosevelt for a fourth term–

He was interrupted by cheering delegates.

In accepting the post, Mr. Hannegan described himself as a “plain, everyday, 100%, straight organization Democrat.” He said he was “frightened up here – this is the big league for me and I’m used to the bush leagues out in the Ozarks.”

To avoid party feuds

Mr. Hannegan made it plain that he would remain aloof from party feuds. He paid tribute to James A. Farley, former national chairman who managed the first two Roosevelt campaigns and then broke with his political partner over a third term, and said he would seek advice from him.

At the same time, however, he emphasized he would also consult with Mr. Walker and with Edward J. Flynn of New York, who succeeded Mr. Farley to the chairmanship.

Mr. Walker left the chairmanship expressing confidence in a Democratic victory and warning that the nation must elect a President and a Congress in November who “will fearlessly lead America to victory in war and to victory in peace…”

Green reports resolution

The resolution soliciting the President to “continue as our great world humanitarian leader” was reported by a committee headed by Senator Theodore F. Green (D-RI), a strong administration supporter and fourth-term proponent. On the group were also other fourth-term supporters as Mayor Edward J. Kelly of Chicago.

The Democratic chieftains will leave for home as much in doubt about the President’s fourth-term plans as they were when they came here. Mr. Roosevelt gave them no hint of his intentions at a tea given in their honor at the White House Friday.

There was general agreement that the party could not win in 1944 unless the President headed the ticket. But one committeeman described the feeling of his colleagues toward a fourth term as one of acquiescence rather than appeal.

Wants two-thirds rule

Former Governor E. D. Rivers of Georgia protested against the view “that this party will go by the boards with the passage of time and unavailability of the President.”

He said:

We know that any two men nominated and backed by the sincere support of the party, including Mr. Roosevelt and Jim Farley.

He precipitated a brief skirmish by proposing that the party readopt the two-thirds rule under which it nominated presidential and vice presidential candidates until 1936. The delegates tabled Mr. Rivers’ proposal.

Anti-New Dealers out to stop Roosevelt

Omaha, Nebraska (UP) – (Jan. 22)
Anti-administration Democrats will open a drive Feb. 4 at Chicago against a fourth term for President Roosevelt, Robert O’Brien of Des Moines, president of Tabor College, said today.

The drive will be spearheaded by a speech of former Secretary of War Harry Woodring of Kansas before the Chicago Executives Club, Mr. O’Brien said.

Mr. O’Brien, former Iowa Secretary of State, added:

Mr. Woodring’s speech will be the initial move of anti-administration Democrats to prevent the President from running for a fourth term. We must eliminate from the Democratic Party all terms of New Dealism.

Mr. O’Brien said he expected attendance from all parts of the country at the Chicago meeting.

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In Washington –
Stimson opposes soldier-vote bill offered in House

Regular state ballots would cut space for servicemen’s mail and hurt morale, War Secretary says

Washington (UP) –
Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson feels the soldier-vote bill approved by the House Elections Committee would “interfere with the prosecution of the war” because distribution of regular ballots to servicemen overseas would cut into space available for mail and thus lower morale.

A letter from Mr. Stimson expressing these views was made public by Committee Chairman Eugene Worley (D-TX), who is leading a fight for House approval of federal ballot legislation instead of the so-called states’-rights bill approved by his committee.

The tangled and controversial issue is scheduled for House consideration next week. It also may come up in the Senate, which last month rejected a bill providing for federal control over balloting by servicemen and women and passed a measure urging the states to make special provisions for absentee voting by members of the Armed Forces.

House, Senate bills similar

The bill brought out by the House Elections Committee is similar to that passed by the Senate. But the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee in the meantime was sent to the Senate a “compromise” bill which would call for creation of a war ballot commission which would supervise distribution of special federal ballots, collect them and then turn them over to the states.

This compromise may be called up for Senate consideration Monday. Thus, the hotly-debated issue was headed for a showdown and final decision.

Mr. Stimson’s letter to Mr. Worley took issue particularly with a clause of the House committee’s bill which would give transportation priority – over all other communication, official and unofficial, except those whose delay would interfere with the war effort – to state ballots and election material.

Amendment planned

Mr. Worley said he would offer on the floor of the House an amendment to follow out Mr. Stimson’s suggestion that a “simply, uniform” federal ballot be adopted. He said it would not replace he regular state ballot in all cases, but would be used only when it was impossible to transport the bulky state ballots with sufficient speed.

Meanwhile, CIO president Philip Murray wrote letters to all members of Congress urging them “to provide federal machinery for placing ballots in the hands of every qualified soldier and sailor and for guaranteeing that his vote when cast will be counted in accordance with the law of the land.”

He said the bill passed by the Senate was a “grievous affront to the nation’s fighting forces.”

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New Democratic leader –
Hurd: Hannegan has habit of getting things done

Left flourishing law practice to enter federal service
By Carlos F. Hurd, St. Louis Post-Dispatch staff writer

St. Louis, Missouri – (Jan. 22)
When black-haired, square-jawed Bob Hannegan takes over as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, some visitors to Washington headquarters are likely to ask how Hollywood came to overlook him.

Had he taken a scree test instead of the bar exams, Joel McCrea and Gary Cooper might have had competition for some of their best roles, and the 21st Ward precinct organization in St. Louis might have had to get along with a less dynamic leadership.

As it was, the boys in his ward, and the friends whom he made at City Hall, gave him a lively short term and a later, longer and less disturbed term in the St. Louis city chairmanship. There he learned to add and balance the items of urban voting strength in somewhat the way that he will have to figure the electoral trends of New York, Indiana and California next summer when, three years after conducting a losing municipal campaign, he will direct his party in a crucial contest for the Presidency of the United States.

Financial loss

Mr. Hannegan, now in Washington a little more than three months as Commissioner of Internal Revenue, is 40. Lawyers who know the extent of his practice say he took not only the $6,500-a-year job of Collector for the Eastern Missouri District, but also the $10,000 Washington job, at a financial sacrifice, and might have decided, after making good in the Washington post, to resign and return to St. Louis.

Now, however, as National Committee chairman, he is on the path that leads, in the event of party victory this year, to the President’s Cabinet, as Postmaster General, an office which has been combined with the committee chairmanship under presidents both Democratic and Republican.

Washington reports that Mr. Hannegan, since his appointment as commissioner, has been working like a beaver. He has bachelor quarters at the swank Shoreham Hotel, his family having remained in St. Louis.

Holds pep meetings

Weekends he has made train or air trips to hold pep meetings of regional collectors. Mr. Hannegan reads all papers and documents requiring his signature and has taught his immediate subordinates to do the same. This was after he found an order signed by seven sub-executives and was unable to get an outline of it from some of them.

The social swirl does not interest him, and though he finds himself in some convivial groups, he has not abandoned the no-liquor, no-tobacco rule which he adopted in St. Louis several years ago. While others lament the scarcity of their favorite beverages, he takes ginger ale.

Golf is his recreation; he plays frequently with Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox, who cites an age handicap of 29 years as a sufficient reason why Mr. Hannegan beats him.

Politicians say Hannegan tends to regard political maters in a professional and impersonal light, just as he would look at a law case; that he seldom permits himself to be drawn into heated political arguments, and will grin and walk away when others become unduly excited.

Helps his workers

Up to a year and a half ago, when he took the St. Louis collectorship, Mr. Hannegan knew about as much of its problems of accounting as any lawyer might learn from handling estates in Probate Court. He found the office bookkeeping being supervised by two men, past middle age, who were doing capably and were not complaining although they had received no adequate pay increase in a period when the work of the office had multiplied.

He got handsome pay raises for the two elderly men and kept them at their former work, with increased authority. For others, as their competency was shown, he obtained increases and promotions, he made an able clerk a department head.

By the time income-tax returns were due, at the beginning of 1943, he streamlined the procedure considerably.

Goes to Washington

About the time he was ready to plan new methods for handling the 1944 taxpayers’ rush, Mr. Hannegan was called to Washington. The administration had decided that the important national office of Commissioner of Internal Revenue, about to become vacant, should be filled from the ranks of the district collectors. Four names were considered, and Mr. Hannegan, backed by Missouri’s two Senators, was selected.

In the brief time since his appointment and confirmation in the first week of October, Mr. Hannegan extended throughout the country his rules for courtesy in forms of correspondence with taxpayers and took up a pressing problem outside income tax matters – a drive on the black market in liquor.

Mr. Hannegan is the son of Police Capt. John P. Hannegan, in St. Louis. As a student in St. Louis University, he played football and went for a time into minor-league professional baseball. He took his law degree in 1925, and in 1933, at the beginning of Mayor Bernard F. Dickmann’s first administration, was appointed by Governor Guy B. Park to the Democratic City Committee.

Named chairman

Elected chairman of the committee in August 1934, he was soon in the thick of a fight for the Mayor against his opponents in the committee and in the Board of Aldermen. He represented the city administration, at the 1935 legislative session, as city lobbyist, receiving $3,000 and expenses. One of his duties, on the Mayor’s order, was to oppose the Hess horse-dog racetrack betting bill, which the Senate defeated after it has passed the House.

In June 1935, the anti-Dickmann faction turned Mr. Hannegan out of the chairmanship. Mayor Dickmann went all-out for Mr. Hannegan with city patronage, firing adherents of anti-Hannegan men right and left. Turmoil at City Hall reached its height when, on Sept. 11, 1935, factional fighters shot up the new chairman’s office and the adjacent City Hall lawn, wounding four persons and piercing English’s coat with a bullet.

The patronage purge was effective, and in the August 1936 primary, which served as the quadrennial election of committee members, the Mayor regained control and Mr. Hannegan was reelected chairman.

In midst of probe

The 1936 primary was held in the midst of an investigation of city-wide registration frauds, instituted by The Post-Dispatch and resulting in the later removal of the entire Election Board by Governor Park “for the good of the public service.” The Mayor and Mr. Hannegan, it was learned, sought to dissuade the Governor from this action on the ground of party welfare.

Between November 1940 and April 1941 came the attempt of the Democratic majority in the Legislature to overturn the result of the state’s vote for Governor, the Republicans having elected Forrest C. Donnell by a small lead. Lawrence McDaniel, Democratic candidate, had the right to file a legal contest, but some of the party leaders decided that the Legislature should block the seating of Mr. Donnell and should then “investigate” the election. This plan, worked out chiefly by the then state chairman, C. Marion Hulen, followed a preliminary discussion at a meeting in St. Louis, called by Mr. Hannegan, at which the Mayor was present. At Jefferson City, Republican State Chairman Charles Ferguson charged that Mr. Hannegan was “riding herd” on the St. Louis Democratic legislators to keep them in line for the program. A Supreme Court decision wrecked the conspiracy.

Doubt remains

Just how far Mr. Hannegan, and the Mayor approved the Hulen scheme has been in some doubt ever since.

Some Democrats did object, and the attitude of the Mayor and chairman, in contrast, caused them to be castigated by Republican campaign speakers and contributed to the defeat of Mr. Dickmann for a third term and the election of the late Judge William Dee Becker.

Mr. Hannegan resigned from the city committee chairmanship after the election but remained as a member until his federal position made resignation mandatory. His appointment to the collectorship was opposed by The Post-Dispatch because of the governorship episode.

He and Mrs. Hannegan, formerly Miss Irma Protzmann, daughter of a late North St. Louis banker and real estate dealer, have two sons and two daughters.

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Rayburn joins in endorsement of Roosevelt

$100-a-plate diners hear Speaker and Wallace laud New Deal

Washington (UP) – (Jan. 22)
House Speaker Sam Rayburn and Vice President Henry A. Wallace, either of whom may be selected as President Roosevelt’s running mate if he makes the race in the coming election, tonight vigorously defended his leadership at home and abroad in what appeared to be endorsements of a fourth term.

Neither actually mentioned a fourth term possibility, however, in their speeches before the $100-a-plate Jackson Day Dinner here. And the President, in line with his expressed desire to keep politics out of the war effort, sent no message to the gathering which was held to raise funds for the 1944 presidential campaign.

No ‘shooting Thomas’

Mr. Rayburn, who made the main address, linked Secretary of State Cordell Hull with the President in describing them as two heroic figures “Who would bring the light of satisfaction into the eyes of our forefathers.” But when he described the kind of a candidate the Democrats will name at their convention in Chicago late in July, the picture he painted greatly resembled Mr. Roosevelt.

The Speaker said the Democrats would not palm off on the American people an imitation liberal and that the people would not entrust the Presidency to one who has no proved ability in the field of foreign policy. The Democrats, he said will offer no “shouting Thomas” and the party is not “shopping around for symbols whether they are Main Street or Wall Street.”

New Deal alive

Mr. Wallace said the New Deal is not dead and has yet to attain its full strength. The statement recalled President Roosevelt’s recent press conference declaration that the New Deal had served its purpose during the domestic crisis and was being replaced by a “win-the-war” policy.

He said:

One man more than any other in all history has given dynamic power and economic expression to the ageless New Deal. That man is Roosevelt. Roosevelt has never denied the principles of the New Deal and he never will. They are part of his very being.

Roosevelt, God willing, will in the future give the New Deal a firmer foundation than it has ever had before. So, on with the New Deal, on with winning the war and forward march for peace, justice and jobs.

Why we are here

Mr. Wallace said that the diners, as individuals, were present:

…because the people, suffering from the Hoover-Mellon-Wall Street collapse, demanded a New Deal.

The people believed in Roosevelt, the Democratic Party and the New Deal in 1932 because they felt that the New Deal stood for human rights first and property rights second. The people confirmed their faith in Roosevelt and the New Deal in 1936 and 1940.

Mr. Rayburn asserted that many economic reforms achieved by the Roosevelt regime would not be junked after the war. He slapped at the “small minority of hecklers” who still complain of administration policies; pointed to the nation’s outstanding production record since Pearl Harbor, and declared America went to war under a caliber of leadership that has proved that it was worthy of the high trust placed in it.

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Lawrence and Guffey hope for harmony at Harrisburg

Washington meeting ends in ‘progress’ report as state ticket remains a mystery

Washington – (Jan. 22)
Ten Pennsylvania Democrats, at their semi-final slate making conference here tonight issued a non-committal report of “progress” toward selection of a candidate for the party nomination for U.S. Senator and other statewide offices.

State Chairman David L. Lawrence, spokesman for the group, said, however, that “everything was harmonious and we are very sanguine about having a harmonious meeting of the state committee.”

Avoidance of an open fight in the state committee meeting, scheduled for Feb. 4 at Harrisburg to recommend candidates for the April 25 primary, will depend on whether Mr. Lawrence and U.S. Senator Joseph F. Guffey, recently-reconciled party leaders, can agree.

Guffey favors Black

Mr. Guffey was represented as favoring Ramsey S. Black of Harrisburg, third assistant postmaster general, for the Senate nomination, while the Lawrence group was considering other possible candidates.

Among those discussed in a series of meetings with county leaders which preceded today’s conference are Auditor General F. Clair Ross (Lawrence-supported candidate for Governor in 1942), State Treasurer G. Harold Wagner, former Philadelphia city chairman John B. Kelly, and former Auditor General Warren R. Roberts.

Already in the senatorial race, independently of the two leaders, is have sizeable backing from labor organizations.

Mr. Lawrence admitted that candidates were discussed at tonight’s meeting, which followed a meeting of the Democratic National Committee, but refused to say who had been proposed for the Democratic slate.

One man is sure

One candidate was definitely endorsed by the group – Judge Chester H. Rhodes of the Superior Court, who will seek reelection to another ten-year term.

The state committee will designate candidates for auditor general, state treasurer, two Superior Court places and one judgeship on the Supreme Court. Candidacies in these offices will depend upon selection of a candidate to run for the place now held by Republican Senator James J. Davis.

Attending tonight’s meeting, in addition to Mr. Lawrence and Mr. Guffey, were Allegheny County Commissioner John J. Kane, Irwin D. Wolf (Pittsburgh department store executive) and county leaders from Philadelphia, Luzerne, Lackawanna and Berks Counties.

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Ex-Governor of Michigan, now 84, supports Dewey

Poulan, Georgia (UP) – (Jan. 22)
Chase S. Osborn today observed his 84th birthday anniversary quietly at his winter camp, Possum Poke in Possum Lane.

Blind and with his physical powers impaired by two strokes, Michigan’s oldest living former governor, said that while he asks nothing more of life, he would enjoy living to see Tokyo “made the Carthage of modern times, and Tom Dewey in the President’s chair.”

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Editorial: Non-Democratic unity

Shortly before his death, Thomas Jefferson, founder of the Democratic Party, wrote: “Four Presidents voluntarily retiring at the end of their eighth year” [Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe] established a precedent so strongly that:

…should a President consent to be a candidate for a third election, I trust he would be rejected on this demonstration of ambitious views.

The principle that two terms are enough for any man was not challenged until near the end of President Grant’s second term. And that challenge was rebuffed when the House of Representatives passed a resolution that:

…any departure from this time-honored custom would be unwise, unpatriotic and fraught with peril to our free institutions.

The vote was 234–18 – the Democrats voting unanimously.

In 1928, when some feared that President Coolidge might be drafted for a third-term nomination despite his “I do not choose” statement, the Senate adopted (56–26) a similar resolution offered by Senator La Follette – the Democrats voting 40–4.

The Democratic National Committee met in Washington yesterday to ratify a choice already made for a new party chairman, and to ratify a choice already made as to the time and place of the party’s next nominating convention, and among the committeemen and committeewomen there seems to be unanimity of opinion that the party at its convention will have only one man to offer – that he who served a third term must be drafted for a fourth.

Did somebody say a leopard couldn’t change its spots? Or is this some other party that now carries the Democratic label?

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Taylor: Don’t get excited

By Robert Taylor, Press Washington correspondent

Washington –
The first Congressional elections of 1944 provided two morsels which the members of the House of Representatives have been chewing on for days, what with the entire membership facing a test at the polls next November and the political weather being cloudy.

The elections were held in pivotal Pennsylvania – one in Philadelphia and the other in Montgomery County – to fill vacancies, and resulted in two Republican victories, which were promptly hailed as a trend.

Rep. Charles A. Halleck (R-IN) called the election returns “proof that the New Deal is withering at the grassroots,” and a definite indication that the Republican march to victory in 1944 is picking up speed.

Mr. Halleck is no expert on Pennsylvania politics or he would have excluded Montgomery County, at least, from the scope of his remarks. Montgomery County is referred to proudly by its residents as the wealthiest county in the state and its population makes up a major part of Philadelphia’s swanky “Main Line.”

It is, moreover, the home county of Joseph N. Pew Jr., the Republican leader with apparently inexhaustible patience and campaign funds, as well as other hearty contributors to the GOP cause. It has been Republican as long as anybody can remember. If Montgomery County is a grassroots area, you can bet the grass was carefully tended by a skilled Republican gardener. The chief significance of the special election there is that the Republican organization picked Samuel K. McConnell to fill the seat of J. William Ditter, killed in a plane crash last year.

There is more substance to the claim that the special election in the 2nd District (Philadelphia) represented a Republican advance, but it’s still not an outstanding victory for the GOP.

The district has been represented since 1936 by Democrat James P. McGranery, who resigned from Congress to become assistant to Attorney General Francis Biddle and a potential candidate for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senator.

Republicans carried it last week by more than 5,500 votes for Joseph M. Pratt, who polled 24,910 votes to 19,329 for Democrat William A. Barrett.

That’s a clear gain for the Republicans, but subject to some analysis. For instance, Mr. McGranery’s hold on his district – despite his prominence in Congress and in party affairs – has never been too secure in the off years.

When President Roosevelt runs, the Democrats do well in the 2nd District. In 1936, the total vote for Congressional candidates was 107,046 and the Democratic majority was 24,512. In 1938, the vote dropped to 97,813 and the majority to 5,317.

In 1940, the turnout of voters rose again to 102,333 and the majority to 23,355, but in 1942, when only 71,803 ballots were cast in the Congressional race, Mr. McGranery squeaked through by a majority of 713. In last week’s special election, about 45,000 voters cast ballots and Philadelphia’s Republican machine workers carried the election.

Democrats need a large turnout of voters to win in Philadelphia, especially when they are competing against an organization which has just succeeded in winning the mayoralty for another four years and retaining its City Hall patronage.

It’s a fairly academic point, at any rate, because the city’s Congressional districts were reapportioned by the 1943 Legislature and the November election is going to be held in a revised, and more safely Republican, district.

But in the halls of Congress, you can hear dialogs like this:

Republican:

You saw what happened in McGranery’s district. Well, that shows you what to expect in November.

Democrat:

There wasn’t any incentive to vote in this election. Wait until November when the President runs and the voters turn out.

The Pittsburgh Press (January 24, 1944)

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South barred in preparing 4th term plea

Guffey backed resolution urging President to run again
By Lyle C. Wilson, United Press staff writer

Washington (UP) –
Democratic National Committee records showed today that the South was not represented on the Resolutions Committee which proposed at the meeting here a surprise solicitation that President Roosevelt seek a fourth term.

The National Committee adopted the resolution unanimously.

There is no Democratic Party rule that the South must be recognized in allocating such positions of responsibility at party meetings but it has uniformly been the practice to include Southerners on any such group authorized to propose party policy.

Feeds ill feeling

Exclusion of Southerners from the Resolutions Committee will probably aggravate further the ill feeling between the old-line party members and the newcomers among Mr. Roosevelt’s associates whom they term “New Dealers.”

The Resolutions Committee, six men and one woman, was heavily weighted with fourth-term sentiment. The big industrial states and notably the Democratic machines of Mayor Edward J. Kelly of Chicago, Mayor Frank Hague of Jersey City, and Senator Joseph F. Guffey in Pennsylvania were well represented.

Senator Guffey, the most active advocate of the fourth term, is not a National Committee member and therefore could not have been on the Resolutions Committee. But his Pennsylvania organization was well represented with two of the seven members by his sister, Mrs. Emma Guffey Miller and David L. Lawrence.

Other members

Resolutions Committee chairman was Senator Theodore F. Green (D-RI). Mayor Hague was not a member, but was represented by Rep. Mary T. Norton (D-NJ). The other members were Mr. Kelly, boss of the Illinois Democratic machine, former Governor Keen Johnson of Kentucky, a member of the Roosevelt faction, and O. S. Warden from Montana.

The National Committee adopted the fourth-term resolution with neither debate not dissent. Veteran political observers ascribed the actions in part to the belief that the President is the only Democrat who would have even a remote chance of being elected this year.

Willkie won’t run in California

New York (UP) –
Wendell L. Willkie, who announced yesterday that he would not enter the California presidential preference primary in May, was expected today to place his name before Republican primary voters in four and possibly five other states.

His name definitely will be entered in Wisconsin, Nebraska, Oregon and Pennsylvania, his associates said, and possibly in New Hampshire.

Mr. Willkie announced his decision after a telephone conversation with California Governor Earl Warren.

He issued a statement saying:

In the last few days, I have discussed this situation fully by telephone with Governor Warren. He assures me that he is not and will not be a candidate for the presidential nomination and that he has no agreement, arrangement or understanding with any candidate or potential candidate that he is not and will not become associated with any Stop-Willkie movement.

4th term support pledged by CIO

New York (UP) –
Calling upon President Roosevelt to seek reelection, 2,500 CIO leaders were on record today with a formal pledge to support a fourth term.

Meeting under the auspices of the Greater New York CIO Council, the officials also adopted a resolution endorsing the President’s five-point home front program, including passing of a national service act.

The conference also adopted a resolution demanding that the War Labor Board permit wage increases of 20%.

americavotes1944

Slav group refuses to endorse 4th term

Full endorsement was given President Roosevelt’s war policies at the closing session of state presidents and secretaries of the American Slav Congress, but delegates declined to adopt a resolution favoring a fourth term.

Announcing the action of the congress, Judge Blair F. Gunther, chairman, said that although “the American Slav Congress tries to avoid European politics as much as possible,” sometimes some of the issues cannot be ignored.

One of these was the solution of the Polish-Russian boundary problem, which delegates said could not be solved by Russia alone, but must be settled by a conference of British, American and Polish government-in-exile leaders.

americavotes1944

Soldier vote speeded

Washington (UP) –
Administration forces in the Senate today defeated a Republican attempt to prevent immediate consideration of soldier-vote legislation.

The decision to take up the legislation ahead of food subsidies was reached by Democratic Party leaders in caucus. When the Senate convened, Senator Robert A. Taft (R-OH), an opponent of the administration-sponsored bill, tried to upset the Democratic program by moving to consider subsidies first, but the Senate rejected his motion 38–33.

Five Democrats voted with Senator Taft.

Democratic Leader Alben W. Barkley (D-KY) said the committee discussed only the legislative program – the order in which the two issues would be taken up – and did not try to bind party members to any particular side on either question.

Democratic ranks are split on both subjects. Southern Senators have resisted the administration-favored soldier-vote bill on the ground that the federal ballot it provides amounts to an invasion of state’s rights. Democrats are also split on the subsidy issue, with farm state Senators leading a fight to outlaw the present food subsidy program.

The Pittsburgh Press (January 25, 1944)

americavotes1944

In Washington –
‘State’s rights’ supporters outfox federal vote leaders

By Thomas L. Stokes, Scripps-Howard staff writer

Washington –
Even if the fighting men could watch the show Congress is putting on in connection with the soldier-vote bill, they probably couldn’t understand it. Parliamentary maneuvers, filibustering and tricky amendments are being used by the coalition of Republicans and Southern Democrats trying to defeat the Green-Lucas-Worley Bill with its simple ballot.

Some members themselves are not clear about what is going on, beyond observing that the coalition backing the Eastland-Rankin “states’-rights” bill seems to have the advantage in slick maneuvers. Administration leaders appear inept.

To add to the confusion, a race has started between House and Senate to pass a bill first.

Adjournment of the Senate today out of respect to the memory of Senator Frederick Van Nuys (D-IN), who died last night, delayed its showdown vote on the bills.

The Senate took up the new Green-Lucas Bill yesterday. Immediately, Republicans led by Senator Taft (R-OH), with the connivance of Southern Democrats, started a filibuster to hold up passage until the House acts first on the states’-rights bill sponsored by two Mississippians, Senator Eastland and Rep. Rankin.

The House took up that measure today, operating under a special rule, framed by the coalition, which bars a record vote on the Worley Bill for a federal ballot, which Rep. Worley (D-TX) will offer as a substitute.

This was designed so that constituents of Republicans cannot find out how their Congressmen voted on this issue of giving servicemen an opportunity to vote easily. Southern supporters of the Eastland-Rankin Bill do not care who knows how they vote, but they are helping their Republican allies to keep their votes secret.

The coalition hopes to rush through this measure, which Secretaries Stimson and Knox say cannot be administered effectively since it is complicated by 48 state laws, in an effort to confuse the legislative situation in the Senate so that it will be difficult to act on the Green-Lucas Bill for a federal ballot.

The Senate situation is confused by the fact that the Senate itself once passed, a few weeks ago, the Eastland “states’-rights” bill.

Sponsors of the new Green-Lucas Bill, Senators Lucas (D-IL) and Green (D-RI), are anxious to get their measure passed first in the Senate, with the hope of a psychological effect in the House, but the coalition filibuster will apparently prevent that.

Republicans in the Senate revealed their new strategy, which is to insist that ballots for state as well as federal offices must be distributed to every soldier, even though Secretaries Stimson and Knox say the services can guarantee delivery and return only of a simplified ballot for President, Vice President and members of Congress.

The new Green-Lucas Bill provides that transportation shall be provided for these state ballots, as well as the simple ballot, as far as may be possible, but with priority given to the simple ballot.

The Republican spleen against the two Republican Cabinet members broke into the open yesterday when Senator Taft accused them of “running for a fourth term” so they could continue in office, and said he did not believe what they said about delivering state ballots.


Governor Bricker to address Spanish War veterans

Bricker

United Spanish War Veterans of Western Pennsylvania will have John W. Bricker, Governor of Ohio and Republican presidential candidate, as guest speaker at the annual McKinley Day dinner Thursday night in the William Penn Hotel.

John F. Barry, national inspector general of the USWV, announced the dinner is a sellout.

Other guests will include County Commissioner John J. Kane, Col. Robert G. Woodside (past national commander of the VPW), Guy V. Boyle of Indianapolis (national head of the USWV), Charles I. Shaffer of Somerset (department president), Hattie B. Frazenfield (national president of the Auxiliary), County Legion Commander Michael A. Fisher and Dr. William A. Knoer (Allegheny County commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars).

Edward S. Mathias, judge of the Ohio Supreme Court and a past commander of the USWV, will accompany Governor Bricker here for the dinner.

americavotes1944

Editorial: A ‘simple, uniform’ ballot

Secretary Stimson gives every evidence of being sincerely concerned about the problem of providing members of the Armed Forces with a vote in the 1944 elections.

He also gives every evidence of being wholly non-political in his interest.

Mr. Stimson, along with Secretary of the Navy Knox, has presented to Congress a specific outline of the problems involved in the job of getting ballots to the Armed Forces and back to the proper election boards for counting.

The two secretaries have pledged the Army and Navy to exert every effort to do the job as speedily and efficiently as circumstances permit.

But Mr. Stimson says the so-called “states’ rights” compromise bill which is now before the House will “interfere with the prosecution of the war” and he requests Congress to provide a “simple, uniform” ballot.

And that is exactly what Congress ought to do.

And the states ought to cooperate with it, even to the extent of calling special sessions of their legislatures if necessary.

The sooner Congress acts, the sooner the states will know what changes in procedure, if any are necessary, and the sooner they will be able to make them.

Obviously, there are some complex problems, legal and mechanical, in providing the Armed Forces with a vote. But they are not problems which cannot be surmounted if Congress, the Army and the Navy and state administrations will put their brains to them.

Any failure in giving the Armed Forces the utmost opportunity to vote is a breach of the right to suffrage – the highest privilege of an American citizen. That is like saying to the Armed Forces:

You may fight and die, if need be, for the right to vote; but you may not participate in that right.

americavotes1944

Background of news –
The South and the Democrats

By Bertram Benedict, editorial research reports

Talk of a Southern anti-New Deal candidate – like Senator Byrd of Virginia – for the 1944 presidential nomination got exactly nowhere at Saturday’s Democratic National Committee gathering in Washington, at which President Roosevelt was endorsed for a fourth term.

The Civil War and secession may have died out as political issues, but the Negro question has not, and the Democratic Party will need to retain in 1944 as many Negro votes as it can. Also, the party will need to retain as much of the labor vote as possible, and most Southern Democrats have records which do not sit well with the trade unions.

Also, the party can count upon the South without nominating a Southerner. Only when it named Al Smith in 1928 did the party lose states in the “Solid South” – Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Texas. And only in out-and-out Republican landslides do the Democrats lose Southern states outside of the Solid South – Kentucky in 1924 and 1928, Oklahoma and Tennessee in 1920 and 1928.

No Southerners since Civil War

The Democrats have not nominated a Southerner for President since the Civil War, although Woodrow Wilson was born in Virginia. In fact, even before the Civil War, the party had deemed it best, to minimize sectional feeling, to name a non-Southerner – in 1860 Douglas of Illinois (a rump convention named Breckinridge of Kentucky), in 1856 Buchanan of Pennsylvania, in 1852 Pierce of New Hampshire, in 1848 Cass of Michigan.

On the other hand, five of the seven Democratic nominees prior to 1848 had come from the South, and in 1824, John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts was a minority choice, with a majority of the Democratic electoral votes split among three Southerners, while Van Buren in 1836 and 1840 was the faithful lieutenant of Andrew Jackson of Tennessee.

Even the Democratic vice presidential nomination did not go to a Southerner until more than 60 years after the Civil War – Robinson in 1928, Garner in 1932 and 1936.

In 1936, the Democratic convention in Philadelphia abolished the two-thirds rule, which up to that time had governed all Democratic national conventions (the Republicans have never used it). The two-thirds rule had in effect given a veto power over the nominations to the 13 Southern states, which accounted, on the average, for about 25% of the delegates to the national conventions. In 1944, the 13 Southern states will have 27%.

Wouldn’t support Wallace

In 1940, most Southern delegates rebelled against the administration command to nominate Henry A. Wallace for Vice President, and got behind Speaker Bankhead. The Southern states gave 224 votes to Mr. Bankhead, 66 to Mr. Wallace, 8½ to other candidates. Mr. Wallace was nominated with 627 votes. If the two-thirds rule had been in effect, he would have needed 734.

In 1940, to compensate the South for the abrogation of the two-thirds rule, the Democratic convention voted to give two additional delegates to every state which went Democratic in the preceding elections. That will really decrease the proportionate Southern strength in the 1944 convention, because in 1940, Mr. Roosevelt carried 25 non-Southern states, 13 Southern ones. The new system will benefit the Southern states in conventions following Republican victories, when the Democratic ticket probably will do better in the South than elsewhere.

As a result of the midterm elections in 1942, the South held slightly less than half (25 out of 57) of the Democratic seats in the Senate, more than half (116 out of 219) of those in the House. The 13 Southern states have 28% of the votes in the Electoral College.

The Pittsburgh Press (January 26, 1944)

americavotes1944

ROOSEVELT URGES FEDERAL SERVICE VOTE
State ballot called fraud by President

Special message demands Congressmen stand up, be counted

Washington –
President Roosevelt today assailed as a “fraud” on service personnel the so-called states’ rights soldier-vote legislation. He called upon Congress to provide a single federal ballot, which he said would enable all members of the Armed Forces to vote for federal officials this November.

In a special message to Congress, the President specifically endorsed a compromise bill now pending in the Senate which would provide for distribution of federal ballots to servicemen and women, with states retaining the right to determine whether the voters are qualified and whether their votes are valid.

Wants a record vote

Mr. Roosevelt also noted that Congress might act on the matter without a record vote.

That, he said, is entirely a legislative matter, but he added that:

I think that most Americans will agree with me that every member of the two Houses of Congress ought to be willing in justice “to stand up and be counted”!

The bill passed by the Senate on Dec. 3, Mr. Roosevelt said, was a “fraud on the soldiers and sailors and Marines now training and fighting.”

Senator Robert A. Taft (R-OH) arose immediately after the President’s message was read in the Senate to protest against what he termed the Chief Executive’s “insult.”

Senator Taft objects

Senator Taft said:

It is most unfortunate that the President should again see fit to inject himself into legislative matters. It is an insult to the members of Congress.

The existing soldier-vote law enacted in 1942 would permit soldiers to vote, Senator Taft said, and the Senate-approved bill pending in the House would enable soldiers to vote.

He introduced a substitute bill which would retain state ballots but set up federal machinery for their distribution and collection, and promised that he would later discuss the President’s message on the grounds that Mr. Roosevelt’s arguments were “untrue and unsound.”

Mr. Roosevelt in his message said the bill passed by the Senate was a fraud upon the people as well as on service personnel.

He continued:

It would not enable any soldier to vote with any greater facility than was provided by Public Law 712 under which only a negligible number of soldier’s votes were cast.

The bill condemned by Mr. Roosevelt called upon the states to enact legislation to facilitate absentee balloting by members of the Armed Forces.

On House calendar

It was adopted by the Senate in place of a bill which had been approved by the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee and which would have provided for voting by members of the Armed Forces on federal ballots under direction of a War Ballot Commission.

The bill is now on the House calendar, after being slightly revised by the House Elections Committee.

The Senate, meanwhile, is considering the soldier vote issue anew. Pending on the floor is a compromise bill sponsored by Senators Scott Lucas (D-IL) and Theodore F. Green (D-RI), which would provide for distribution of federal ballots on which service personnel would write in the name of their choices for President, Vice President, Senator and Representative.

Lucas bill favored

Mr. Roosevelt endorsed the pending Lucas-Green Senate bill – which has been introduced in the House by Elections Committee Chairman Eugene Worley (D-TX) – because, he said, it “seems to me” that it would furnish to service personnel an opportunity to vote.

The new Lucas-Green and Worley bills set up proper and efficient machinery for absentee balloting, Mr. Roosevelt said.

Each state, under the bills, would determine for itself whether or not the voter is qualified to vote under the laws of his state.

The President said:

There is nothing in such a proposed statute which violates the rights of the states. The federal government merely provides quick machinery for getting the ballots to the troops and back again.

He said that he spoke as the Commander-in-Chief of the men in the armed services and that:

I am sure that I can express their wishes in this matter and their resentment against the discrimination which is being practiced against them.

The nation’s fighting men, Mr. Roosevelt asserted, do not have a lobby or pressure group on Capitol Hill “to see that justice is done for them.”

Can’t use ads

He added:

They are not ordinarily permitted to write their Congressman on pending legislation, nor do they put ads in the papers or stimulate editorial writers or columnists to make special appeals for them.

It certainly would appear unnecessary that our soldiers and sailors and Merchant Marine have to make a special effort to retain their right to vote.

The President said that he has been informed that it would be possible, under Congressional parliamentary rules, for a soldier’s vote bill to be rejected or passed without a roll call. He said he had hesitated to say anything to the Congress on this matter because the making of these rules is closely within the discretion of the two Houses.

But he added:

I think that there would be widespread resentment on the part of the people of the nation if they were unable to find out how their individual representatives had expressed themselves on this legislation – which goes to the root of citizenship.

The President said there will be more than five million Americans outside the United States in our Armed Forces and Merchant Marine when the 194 elections are held. He noted that they, and millions more who will be stationed within the country awaiting shipment overseas, will be subject to frequent, rapid and unpredictable transfer to other points outside the inside the United States.

‘Tongues in cheek’

The President said:

Some people – I am sure with their tongues in their cheeks – say that the solution to this problem is simply that the respective states improve their own absentee ballot machinery.

In fact, there is now pending before the House of Representatives a meaningless bill, passed by the Senate Dec. 3, 1943, which presumes to meet this complicated and difficult situation by some futile language which recommends to the several states the immediate enactment of appropriate legislation…

This recommendation is itself a proof of the unworkability of existing state laws. I consider such proposed legislation a fraud on the soldiers and sailors and Marines now training and fighting for us and for our sacred rights.

The recommendation in that bill, Mr. Roosevelt said, may be heeded by a few states but will not and cannot be carried out by all the states.

The President said that he was convinced that if all the states tried to carry out the recommendations contained in the bill passed by the Senate, the most practical method would be to authorize the Army and Navy to distribute and collect ballots prepared by the states in response to post card requests from servicemen.

But this very procedure, he added, is set forth in Public Law 712 which he said “has been such a failure.”

The law to which he referred was enacted in 1942 to facilitate absentee voting by servicemen, but even opponents of federal balloting legislation have conceded that it was adequate.

americavotes1944

Eberharter urges genuine vote bill

Washington –
Presidential candidates ought to inform the public whether they favor “the enactment of a genuine soldiers’ vote bill or the “innocuous and spurious Rankin-Eastland bill,” Rep. Herman P. Eberharter (D-PA) told the House of Representatives.

Mr. Eberharter noted that Wendell Willkie, Republican presidential possibility, had declared for a full soldier vote and had said it was impracticable to poll the soldier vote under laws of individual states.

The Congressman added:

Also, the soldiers and sailors and Marines will want to know, and they will remember in the future, how each member of Congress votes as between the genuine and the counterfeit.