Election 1944: Thomas L. Stokes columns

The Pittsburgh Press (August 16, 1944)


Stokes: Initiate told facts of life about GOP House control

Martin tells Rowe such things just aren’t being done despite Democrats’ weakness
By Thomas L. Stokes, Scripps-Howard staff writer

Washington –
Sometimes it takes an initiate, still fresh in the order but with a naïve sort of insight, to rise up and tell the old hands what’s what.

Ed Rowe, freshman Republican Congress from Akron, did that for the House, and for the Senate, too.

Observing how things are working at the Capitol, with Republicans and Southern Democrats actually running the show, big Ed Rowe wondered why House Republicans just didn’t take over control, put their man in the speakership, seize control of the committees and assume responsibility.

Alarmed Republicans

He alarmed his fellow Republicans, particularly Boss Man Joe Martin, Minority House Leader, by his bright thought.

Joe Martin, of course, called in Mr. Rowe and explained the facts of life, how such a thing just isn’t done. Republicans don’t want to take over responsibility yet. They were nervous for a day or two after the 1942 elections when it seemed they might win the House and have to run it. With a Democratic administration in power, that would have put them on the spit continually.

Republicans don’t have an actual majority. But neither do the Democrats. Republicans have 212 members. Democrats 216 members. A majority is 218. There are four members of other parties, and three vacancies.

GOP in actual control

There’s no question that the Republicans exercise actual control, with the help of conservative Southern Democrats, on most domestic issues. A showdown over organization of the House would be very close. But on the issue of control the Democrats, even rabid anti-New Dealers, would be found standing with their party because nice plums are involved, such as committee chairmanships.

So Congressman Rowe’s one-man revolution won’t come off. But he did frighten the Republicans for a moment, and he contributed the strange situation in Congress, in both branches.

The truth is, no party controls either House or Senate for practical purposes.

Democrats split

A coalition of Republicans and conservative Democrats, largely Southern, now controls on most any matter of domestic policy, as in the soldier vote bill a few months back, and in reconversion bill a few days ago in the Senate.

The Democratic Party in Congress is split wide open.

The only appearance of unity comes on war measures, which have the support of all factions, though this is about over as the work of Congress moves toward post-war problems.

The Pittsburgh Press (August 17, 1944)


War front observers believe –
Stokes: Big soldier vote likely to upset election polls

Taft irked by War Department’s efficiency in distributing ballots
By Thomas L. Stokes, Scripps-Howard staff writer

Washington –
There is likely to be a rather sizable soldier vote, larger perhaps than generally expected.

This is indicated by the efficiency of the War Department system for distributing ballots, as observed by some who have returned from abroad. Voting is being made easy for the soldiers, much easier, in fact, than it is for civilians here at home.

Consequently, current election polls must be considered conditionally. They do not include the soldier vote, for they have no way to gauge it. President Roosevelt is generally conceded the edge among the soldiers, and the soldier vote may be decisive in a number of large states now counted for Governor Dewey.

Many applications received

The War Department has about completed distribution of postcard applications for ballots, which the soldiers fill out and send back. The Army’s deadline for this job was Aug. 15. Many thousands of postcard applications have been received and distributed through secretaries of state. A third of the states have already begun to mail ballots to the soldiers.

One competent observer who has lived with troops since the invasion of Africa offers an interesting analysis. Although there is no apparently burning political interest among troops, he said, the ease with which they can vote will lead many to fill out their ballots who otherwise would not take the trouble.

Filling out their ballots will be just something else to do something about which they can gossip and joke as soldiers will.

Too perfect for Taft

Senator Robert Taft (R-OH), who led the successful fight for use of state ballots rather than a short federal ballot, seems to be convinced now that there is going to be a substantial soldier vote.

Now that the War Department has worked out an efficient system, Mr. Taft is apparently not happy about it. It seems to be too perfect; one would judge from the tenor of his remarks in the Senate. He harked back to charge that War Department representatives “cooperated 100 percent with the extreme New Dealers and the CIO Political Action Committee in support of a clearly unconstitutional federal ballot carrying no names except those of the candidates for President.”

He said:

The Department has now set up an organization to get out the vote, extending to the smaller units, on a scale which no political organization could possibly duplicate among the civilian population.

Senator’s dander aroused

The Senator’s dander was up, perhaps because he was in the process of eating a little crow. He made his remarks while the Senate was passing legislation relaxing censorship restrictions on books, magazines and moving pictures for soldiers, placed in the soldier vote bill at his instigation.

The zealous effort of Republicans, led by Senator Taft, to keep anything that smacked of propaganda from the troops may turn out, in the end, to their disadvantage.

In trying to bar anything favorable to President Roosevelt, they also barred anything favorable to Governor Dewey.

President Roosevelt is known to every soldier. The Republican candidate is not so well known.

The Pittsburgh Press (August 18, 1944)


Stokes: Dewey realizing interest of voters in foreign policy

Opposition to ‘Big Four’ alliances believed first step in presenting definite stand
By Thomas L. Stokes, Scripps-Howard staff writer

Washington –
Governor Thomas E. Dewey’s statement on post-war foreign policy, deploring any continuing “Big Four” military alliance that would dominate the small nations, aroused considerable political interest here.

For the Republican presidential candidate thus far has been sparring with his views on an issue of which millions of voters are seemingly predominantly conscious this year and upon which they expect full, free and frank discussion.

It is assumed here that this is merely a beginning, and that Governor Dewey will later elaborate so the public may get a clear picture of how he would handle foreign policy, if elected. This initial statement, in advance of his major campaign speeches, indicates that the Republican candidate realizes the public interest in this issue.

Dewey urged to speak out

Governor Dewey’s advisers have been urging that he had better speak out or President Roosevelt would run away with the ball, being in the favored position of creating policy day by day.

Some Republican strategists think there is a substantial bloc of voters, for example those who feel warmly toward Wendell Willkie, who will be swayed to one party or the other largely on the issue of international collaboration. This includes many persons normally Republican who may be inclined to support the President on this score alone, if Governor Dewey does not satisfy them.

Governor Dewey has quite a job to do in the field of foreign policy. Republicans are on the defensive. The burden of proof is upon them. They must dispel the doubts in many minds, which Democrats are trying to nourish, hanging over from what the Democrats call the “betrayal” by Republicans of the League of Nations after the last war.

And doubts that arise currently about some figures high in Republican councils, include the vice-presidential candidate Governor John W. Bricker, Senators Robert Taft and Arthur H. Vandenberg, and former isolationists such as James S. Kemper (chairman of the Republican Finance Committee) and Werner W. Schroeder of Illinois (a newly-elected vice chairman of the Republican National Committee).

Struck at vulnerable spot

Governor Dewey appropriately seized the occasion of the conference beginning here next week among representatives of this country, Great Britain, Russia and China to issue his statement warning of “Big Four” military domination and “power politics.”

Governor Dewey did strike at a vulnerable point – “power politics.” Many others have been critical of the secret meetings of Allied leaders, at Cairo and Tehran, suspicious of the mystery about decisions that concern all the people.

Secretary of State Cordell Hull quickly denied any thought of a continuing “Big Four” military alliance as Governor Dewey had suggested. The Secretary is naturally sensitive and seriously concerned. He has been working for months on the plans for international organization, carefully, solely, particularly, and it is not all as simple as it might look.

Aside from whatever political motives are involved, the Republican candidate has made a timely contribution in his warning against a “power politics” solution of post-war world organization. And he has whetted curiosity about the complete outline of his post-war international views.

The Pittsburgh Press (August 29, 1944)


Stokes: Congressmen rudely awakened by Hillman’s testimony on PAC

They learn workers are taking interest; Communism charge angrily denied
By Thomas L. Stokes, Scripps-Howard staff writer

Washington –
Sidney Hillman tried hard in a day’s session with several Congressmen to break down some conceptions about the CIO’s political activities he directs as head of the CIO Political Action Committee and the recently-created National Citizens Political Action Committee.

He seemed to have had some success.

A definite impression from his examination by the House Campaign Investigating Committee is that it is difficult for the average Congressman to understand how a worker in some factory, in his own district or elsewhere, can get really interested in what goes on in Washington and want to do something about it.

An ogre in overalls

The average Congressman is waking up suddenly – and a little resentfully, it appears – to the new political consciousness of workers and its outlet in organized political activity. He doesn’t exactly like it, perhaps because he can’t quite understand it. So, uncomprehending, Mr. Average Congressman strikes back or, in his imagination, creates some sort of ogre that is not at all like the constituent he knew in overalls, Frank or Joe or Bill.

Some Investigating Committee members, particularly Rep. Ralph Church (R-IL), tried to draw a picture of some vast sort of conspiracy by Mr. Hillman and a few others which they are imposing on millions of workers who are following along like sheep.

Hillman’s reply angry

An accusation by Mr. Church that the CIO-PAC indulged in “Communistic records” provoked an angry outburst from Mr. Hillman.

He shouted:

You are trying to prejudice the public mind against us. You have no facts, no facts whatsoever, and that’s what I resent. I will put my record fighting Communism against yours any time. I have always opposed totalitarianism in any form. I am opposed to it in industry.

Mr. Hillman challenged Mr. Church to accompany him before any local union in Chicago and “see whom they support, you or me.”

Case of Dock Williams

Mr. Church questioned Mr. Hillman about the case of Dock J. Williams, a Negro who was removed from the presidency of Local 25 of the United Packing House Workers at Chicago. He said Mr. Williams blamed his removal on his refusal to authorize a union assessment for a $1,000 contribution to the CIO-PAC while it was still accepting funds from union treasuries. He said the case was the basis of a suit now in Superior Court at Chicago.

Mr. Hillman said he knew nothing of the case and suggested it be left to the courts. But he added that he thought it “inconceivable” that Mr. Williams was removed from office because of a controversy over the PAC.

And that Utah resignation

Mr. Church also asked about the resignation of two members of a Utah PAC in connection with political contributions.

Mr. Hillman said the two officials had disagreed with PAC objectives and that Utah PAC leaders “in their excitement” asked them to resign. He said the importance of the case had been magnified by an “organized campaign in some publications to malign the CIO.”

Mr. Church repeatedly referred to a potential PAC fund of $2,500,000 which the committee may receive if all CIO members contribute the requested $1, of which 50 cents would go to the national committee.

All very ‘democratic’

Mr. Hillman replied that “all this talk about millions is propaganda,” and added that the PAC thus far has received only $17,000 from the $1 contributions.

Mr. Hillman explained that the idea of organized political activity, local and national, was outlined by him over several months in visits to 40 states, to workers and representatives of workers, including 300 called together in Mr. Church’s own state. The unions then discussed it themselves and the plan was ratified at a national convention and the expenditure of funds approved. Mr. Hillman thought it all followed the democratic process.

Money in 18 contests

The records of activity and the expenditure of funds in primaries presented by Mr. Hillman should serve to take some of the fright out of Congressmen. The National PAC organization contributed in only 18 Congressional primary contests and did not win in all these. Locally, of course, the CIO was active elsewhere.

PAC spent no money in some contests cited for CIO activity and influence. None was spent in three Alabama contests in which the CIO was given credit for working against sitting Congressmen, including that in which Rep. Joseph Starnes, a member of the Dies Committee, was defeated. The National PAC spent none in the contest against Rep. Richard Kleberg (D-TX), who was defeated.

Fund partly frozen

The Smith-Connally Act, implemented by amendments to the Hatch Act, forbidding contributions to political campaigns by labor unions, has curtailed CIO activities, the House members learned. The PAC had a fund of $671,214 contributed by CIO unions. It had spent $371,086 up to the end of the national political conventions, when it ordered that, except for the remaining primaries, no more of this fund should be spent since union funds are barred in regular election campaigns.

House members also learned these contributions from union members, which Mr. Hillman insisted are purely voluntary, are not swelling in any golden wave. Loans and contributions from union members from July 23, when union contributions were frozen, to Aug. 15 totaled $56,922. Of this amount, $36,983 has been spent which, with the $371,086 previously spent from funds contributed by unions, makes a total of $408,080 spent for political activity.

Lucky to get $3 million

This sum, Mr. Hillman said, was equal to what two families had contributed to the Republican campaign in 1940. He decried stories of many millions to be spent by PAC and NCPAC, which he attributed to propaganda.

NCPAC, which thus far has contributions from the general public of $78,569, has set a goal of $1,500,000 for the campaign, Mr., Hillman thought PAC would be lucky to get that much, which would make a total of $3 million. The Republican National Committee spent $17 million in 1940.

Mr. Hillman told the committee that his union, the Amalgamated Clothing Workers, had contributed $5,000 to the campaign for District Attorney by Thomas E. Dewey in 1938. The Dewey organization asked for me, and so obtained contributions from other unions, Mr. Hillman said.

The Pittsburgh Press (September 1, 1944)


Stokes: NAM active politically, but doesn’t go out on limb

It has little love for New Deal, but learned hard way not to endorse anyone
By Thomas L. Stokes, Scripps-Howard stand writer

Washington –
Much on the controversy about group or class activity in politics, now agitated over CIO’s Political Action Committee, resolves itself down to definitions, primarily of “political activity,” and there are interesting distinctions without much difference in some cases.

This is illustrated in the parallels that can be drawn between PAC, representing one big segment of labor, and NAM – National Association of Manufacturers – representing some substantial business interests. Officials of each have been examined by the House Campaign Investigating Committee.

How ‘voluntary’

Sidney Hillman’s PAC is seeking “voluntary contributions” from union members. The question has been raised about how “voluntary” these might be in some cases, union discipline being what it is.

The money goes into a fund which is to be used for what Mr. Hillman calls “educational purposes,” to pay for publications stating issues and instructing voters how to register and how to be effective politically. And to employ men and women to work along the same general lines.

Balance frozen

Up to Aug. 15, PAC had spent some $408,000, of which $371,000 came from a fund of $670,200 contributed by unions, and the rest from contributions by individual union members on the voluntary basis since July 23. On that date, the balance of the $670,200 was frozen until after the election because of the legal ban on union contributions for political activity.

PAC hopes to raise $1,500,000 by voluntary contributions for the campaign. And the National Citizens Political Action Committee. recently created, of which Mr. Hillman is also chairman, is to raise $1,500,000 in contributions from the public. This would make a total of $3 million – if they can get it.

NAM has an annual budget of about $3 million which is raised about half and half by dues and by voluntary contributions, according to president Robert M. Gaylord, in testimony before the House Committee. About $1,385,000 of this amount will be spent this year by the “National Industrial Information Committee” for “educational purposes,” as Mr. Gaylord described it.

Sends out voting record

The Information Committee, which is described as “charged with the responsibility of promoting a better public understanding of industry and the way it operates,” sponsors meetings with business groups, church groups, women’s groups to present issues affecting business. It has been created since President Roosevelt took office.

Mr. Gaylord conceded that national legislation might be discussed at these meetings, but he did not think individual members of Congress were. He said NAM’s Washington office occasionally sends out the voting record of Congressmen on bills affecting business. NAM also maintains a lobby here, he said, to present the viewpoint of business. Labor has similar lobbies.

A difference, Mr. Gaylord pointed out, is that NAM has not pledged itself to a candidate for President, as has PAC, nor has NAM engaged in activity in primary campaigns or election campaigns, as has PAC.

Keeps head down politically

Although Mr. Gaylord said that both Democrats and Republicans belong to his organization and it could not take sides, it is only realistic to point out that no one who knows anything about the organization expects anything very favorable to the New Deal to come from it, judging from past performance, nor many of its prominent members to be on the Roosevelt side in the election.

The inference from Mr. Gaylord’s testimony was that NAM has learned, from experience and hard knocks, to keep its head down politically. He said NAM would not contribute as an organization to a political candidate, even if the legal ban did not exist, as this would only defeat its purpose.

“You can’t tell Americans how to vote,” he declared.

He thought it was all right for members of one family to contribute large amounts to a political campaign “if within the law.” This is where NAM influence is effective politically, individually as members, as has been demonstrated in the past, aside from such activities as those of its Information Committee in the propaganda way.

The Pittsburgh Press (September 2, 1944)


Stokes: Ghostwriters

By Thomas L. Stokes

Washington –
Every now and then a frank sort of fellow turns up in politics who won’t play by the old rules and who shows up the pretenses and synthetic practices such as, for example, speeches prepared by ghostwriters.

It’s an old custom, this business of making speeches written by someone else, practices by men of both parties, even including Presidents. Many a contribution by those earnestly interested in the election this year will find its way into the pockets of men smart with words who sit in backrooms at campaign headquarters and pound out on loose-limbed phrases and bright quips.

This is not to say they get rich at it. Far from that. But there are so many of them in campaign years. Their reward is in thinking up the stuff, in imagining how they’ve caught the other side off-guard or on a vulnerable point. Their despair comes when they are sitting at the radio at night with the family and hear their product butchered, words mispronounced, emphasis in the wrong place, and they mutter: “Why, the so-and-so can’t even read!”

Governor Warren incident

The latest ghostwriting scandal is amusing. It was ferreted out by shrewd little Senator Joe O’Mahoney of Wyoming, who is in charge of the Democratic senatorial campaign.

He said flatly the three Republican governors who started off the gubernatorial phase of the campaign didn’t like the speeches written for them by National Chairman Brownell’s ghostwriting squad in New York headquarters and had changed them before delivery.

One of the three, Governor Earl Warren of California, spoke up promptly. Yes, he had changed his.

Californian is frank

Republicans probably learned another lesson, too, from this episode, which is to be careful with Governor Warren.

They got burned on him once before when he refused to accept the vice-presidential nomination at Chicago, a minor sensation. It is a sensation when a fellow turns down a vice-presidential nomination, for you always see so many hopefuls around national conventions.

Governor Warren is a frank gentleman, and it seems to take Republicans a long time to find that out. Long before the convention, he kept saying he couldn’t accept the nomination. But Republicans wouldn’t believe him. He was not sure the Republicans could win this year, nor that they could carry California.

The ghostwriting incident indicates he’s not so sure yet about California. He showed this in the changes in his speech. The original sent him from New York bore down heavy on the CIO and its PAC. He toned that down considerably.

The CIO is strong in California, and presumably has done a good job of registering its voters. Governor Warren is taking no chances.

The Pittsburgh Press (September 4, 1944)


Stokes: Even conservatives rap House reconversion bill

Roosevelt’s refusal to take part in fight indicates he is playing politics on issue
By Thomas L. Stokes, Scripps-Howard staff writer

Washington –
The interpretation generally read into Senator Harry S. Truman’s speech accepting the vice-presidential nomination – that Democrats will make the war and foreign policy the dominant issue in the campaign – rings painfully accurate to groups in Congress who battled in vain to provide more cushions for unemployment on the home front in the so-called “reconversion” bill.

For President Roosevelt offered no help whatever in this fight. It was just the sort he would mix into in the days before he asked that the “New Deal” name be dropped in favor of “Win the War.” That was regarded then as a political gesture to hold as many conservatives on his side as possible for the election. Mr. Roosevelt still seems to be playing the same game.

Refuses to join fight

Despite his preoccupation with the war, the President had ample opportunity to step into this situation. When queried at his press conferences, he would reply that he had not followed the bill, or had not examined the amendments, and thus casually pass off the matter. He let the Republican-Southern Democratic coalition have its head without challenge.

What this has all come to is now seen in the bill passed by the House which whittled away at the Senate measure, itself certainly a conservative bill.

Conservatives have now joined critics of this House bill. Bernard M. Baruch, White House consultant on reconversion plans, said he does not feel this measure is adequate. Senator Walter F. George (D-GA), who sponsored the Senate bill as chairman of the Finance Committee, got very much aroused while the bill was before the House and appealed for moderation in the cutting process.

Appeal unheeded

He went unheeded. He is concerned over the House’s refusal to include federal employees in unemployment compensation and the striking out of another Senate bill proviso for travel pay for stranded war workers.

War Mobilization Director James F. Byrnes pleaded with the Ways and Means Committee to provide a nationwide minimum of $20 a week for 26 weeks for unemployment compensation, with the federal government to advance funds for such payments to states where rates are lower. But the committee refused, and the House batted down such an amendment by an overwhelming vote. This would mean meager unemployment aid in some localities, particularly in the South.

These three men are all conservatives which demonstrates how far the House went.

Their influence may be effective in revising the measure in conferences between the two beaches, the next stage. Senator George will be chairman of Senate conferees.

Organized labor tried to get a much more liberal measure. It put up a united front behind the Murray-Kilgore Bill in the Senate and a similar measure in the House. These were hopelessly defeated.

President Roosevelt did not come to their rescue, nor did House Democratic leaders. The fight in the House was directed by second-stringers. The President has taken labor’s support for granted in this campaign, which indicates some of the weakness in labor’s political strategy.

The Pittsburgh Press (September 6, 1944)


Stokes: Peace force

By Thomas L. Stokes

Washington –
Deliberations of the Dumbarton Oaks Conference and a preview of the Senate’s forthcoming debate indicate that discussion of an international organization to keep the peace has reached a stage where skill is needed to keep it from becoming a political issue that isolationists can exploit.

Delegates of this country, Great Britain and Russia, having agreed on the use of force by an international organization to quash future aggressors, now apparently are in the delicate phase of deciding just how this force shall be applied.

The questions pertinent to this country, so far as a political issue is concerned, is whether the use of force must be approved in every individual instance by Congress. The American plan, for what has leaked out, presumably calls for submission to the Senate of the general terms and conditions under which force may be used but, once those have been approved, the American government, as an entity in the council, would act without coming back to Congress.

This was seized upon by Senator Harlan J. Bushfield (R-SD) and embroidered with extravagant fears in a Senate speech full od political implications. He attacked President Roosevelt, suggesting that under this proposal the President would become “the absolute despot of the American people: a true dictator in all sense of the word.”

It sounded like the opening gun of the isolationists.

Brassy political note obvious

The brassy political note was obvious in the South Dakota Senator’s question:

Do you, Mr. President, base the campaign for a fourth term upon this despotic power outlined in this so-called American plan?

Senator Arthur Vandenberg (R-MI), who joined the debate, seemed to be backing away from the forthcoming position he took a few days ago when he pledged his support to an international organization. He fervently proclaimed that he would never stand for an American delegate making a declaration of war without the approval of Congress. He made it sound rather horrendous.

The Senator argued that force might never be necessary, that other persuasive means might do the trick. Disarming of the aggressors, he contended, would take care of them, and he certainly did not suspect any of our Allies would kick up trouble.

This was too much for Senator Tom Connally (D-TX), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, who asked the Michigan Senator how it would have done to send “nice homilies” to Hitler asking him not to bother the Poles and the Czechs, or asking Hirohito to desist.

Gentleness won’t stop aggression

You can’t stop such aggressors, he said, by “sending them Sunday school tracts, by reading them the Ten Commandments and the Lord’s Prayer.” Nor, he added, could you always wait to call Congress together, members might be out campaigning and, after you got them here, some fellow might speak for two weeks. If the United States had acted quickly, in concert with England and France, this war might have been stopped.

When Senator Bushfield launched into his political tirade, Senator Connally saw the danger signals. He pulled out a long list of cases in which Presidents had sent troops to put down disturbances, uprisings, minor wars, and the like, without the approval of Congress. He did not recall that it was just such use of Marines by President Coolidge in Nicaragua that raised such a howl of “imperialism” from Democrats, shouts of “dollar diplomacy” and the like.

It will take more than such arguments.

What is needed, apparently, is a bold and frank pronouncement of a new concept in the world – that the nations must get together for their mutual interest, as a union of nations, not as jealous individuals, and they must keep a policeman constantly on the beat who can be summoned at moment’s notice.

The Pittsburgh Press (September 7, 1944)


Stokes: Reconversion

By Thomas L. Stokes

Washington –
There’s considerable speculation here as to whether Congress, in handling reconversion legislation, has played into President Roosevelt’s hands and furnished him a possible political issue.

A joint Senate-House conference committee now is struggling with the different measures, passed by each branch, in an effort to reach a compromise which Senate leaders hope will more closely approximate an adequate solution than the House bill.

The latter measure has been criticized as inadequately Bernard M. Baruch, White House consultant on reconversion programs, as well as Senator Walter George (D-GA), chairman of the Finance Committee which sponsored the Senate will. War Mobilization Director James F. Byrnes tried in vain to get the House Ways and Means Committee to provide higher nationwide unemployment compensation rates – at least a $20 per week minimum for 26 weeks. That would be higher than is allowed under some state laws.

All are conservatives

In view of the criticism of these men, all recognized conservatives, it is not likely that President Roosevelt is satisfied with what Congress has done; nor does it seem possible that the conference committee, within the latitude of the two measures, can make the ultimate bill satisfactory to him. Conferees must stay within the two bills. They cannot insert new provisions.

This raises the questions as to whether the President might veto the bill, or, if not that, sign it under protest, perhaps with a stiff message to Congress criticizing what it has done. He might also suggest that additional legislation will be necessary to provide sufficient cushions for the unemployed during the changeover from war to peace production, which is already beginning.

President Roosevelt refrained from mixing into the situation while the bills were before Congress, which disappointed some New Dealers at the Capitol, a dwindling army. Although they felt that he withheld his help at a critical time, it is also true that Mr. Roosevelt has been criticized repeatedly for interfering with Congress. Republicans used to say “rubberstamp” Congress, an epithet no longer accurate.

Congress had its opportunity

Congress wanted to write legislation, itself, and it had full opportunity in the reconversion bill.

Senator Harry S. Truman (D-MO), Democratic vice-presidential candidate, obviously reflected President Roosevelt’s dissatisfaction with reconversion legislation in his own criticism of the course it was taking.

With the backing of conservatives such as Messrs. Baruch, George and Byrnes, President Roosevelt has an opportunity to take Congress to task. This will give him, at the same time, a chance to assuage the New Deal wing of the party which did not like either the Senate or House bills, but which was unable to do anything about it.

Observers at the Capitol are also commenting on what a beautiful opportunity the Republicans missed by not presenting a constructive reconversion program of their own that might have offered a middle way between the warring extremes of the Democratic Party in Congress.

With Democrats divided as they are, Republicans might be able to sail into the widening gulf and make some political capital for themselves.

They seem, instead, to prefer to follow the leadership of the Southern Democratic conservatives – they are almost beginning to talk with a Southern accent. Governor Dewey prodded the administration recently on his Midwestern tour to St. Louis for the sluggishness of its reconversion plans, but it did not seem to stir up his own flock in Congress.

The Pittsburgh Press (September 8, 1944)


Stokes: League foes

By Thomas L. Stokes

Washington –
The first faint evidences of a cabal against the proposed international peace organization are beginning to appear in the Senate which must ratify a treaty providing the necessary machinery.

It has similarities, in its vague preliminary stages, to the gradually developed plot which kept the United States out of the League of Nations 25 years ago, both in its origin, which is isolationism or “nationalism” as it is now being called, and in its method, which is sabotage by sniping and piecemeal attack.

It will bear close watching and a constant check by the public if this country is not to lose the peace as it did 25 years ago.

Although representatives of this country, Great Britain and Russia are formulating the general outlines of an international organization here at Dumbarton Oaks, the real fight, as far as the United States is concerned, will come in the Senate, as it did before.

First sign of attack

The first sign was the attack delivered this week by Senator Harlan J. Bushfield (R-SD) against the reported American plan insofar as it would not require American representatives on the council to come back to Congress for approval every time for the use of force against an aggressor.

Though the Dumbarton Oaks Conference is only preliminary, with no power to approve anything finally, the point raised by the South Dakota Senator has been seized to begin an undermining attack, and obviously with political intent as well, as was plain from the Senator’s direct attack on President Roosevelt. The terms and conditions for the use of force are still only in the discussions stage and will not be settled for some time. They must await the general conference later and a treaty embodying them.

The Senator’s object seems to be to stir up the latent fires of isolationism and feed them for political purposes, for the campaign and later.

It has been learned since that he is by no means alone, that something approaching a general understanding among isolationists in the Senate – largely Republican but with some stray Democrats – is in the making. At least that is the word from Senate Democrats interested in the international organization.

Plot hard to combat

This sort of plot is hard to combat. It was done that way 25 years ago. The tactics are the same – to pick out one phase, now another, for attack, and thus to draw together as many dissident elements as possible in a common front of opposition.

Two such centers of opposition have already been suggested, that raised by Senator Bushfield, and the argument that creation of an international organization should await a general peace treaty covering terms of settlemen of all issues raised in the war, territorial arrangements included.

Republicans may find themselves in a mixed role in this campaign on the international issue.

Governor Dewey has taken a stand for an international organization and his representative, John Foster Dulles, conferred here with Secretary of State Cordell Hull recently, with the upshot that they agreed to remove the international organization from partisan political debate during the campaign, through leaving it open to general discussion.

Now, if Republican Senators meanwhile are going to indulge in such sharpshooting as that of Senator Bushfield, it gives the appearance of a species of doubletalk, especially since he is not alone among Republicans.

The Pittsburgh Press (September 12, 1944)


Stokes: Farmers, sore at New Deal, hope Dewey will ‘free’ them

GOP candidate doesn’t have to sell them; they’re fed up with Washington policies
By Thomas L. Stokes, Scripps-Howard staff writer

With Governor Dewey’s party –
Governor Dewey today took his presidential campaign cavalcade into Nebraska on what amounted to a carrying-coals-to-Newcastle expedition.

Both Iowa and Nebraska are staunchly Republican. There’s no doubt about that. The people decided some time ago.

Out here, Governor Dewey met an intriguing political paradox, best illustrated by the contrast between today and 1932.

Then there were poverty on the farms and hardship in the towns here. Angry farmers armed themselves with pitchforks to keep the sheriff from foreclosing their acres. The desperate farmers swept up behind Franklin D. Roosevelt as their deliverer, and admittedly his New Deal program helped put them back on their feet.

Farmers ‘rich and sore’

Today, the farmers are prosperous. The war is making many of them rich. They are paying off their mortgages. They are, in the local idiom, “rich and sore.” The majority has deserted President Roosevelt.

What has happened is that the farmer, an individualist by nature – except when he is desperate, as in the depression years – again has become a capitalist in psychology, now that he is again a capitalist in fact. He swings naturally back to political and economic conservatism.

The farmers wrap up all the evils, of which they see themselves victims, in OPA, although this is really just a general term for virtually every agency in Washington which issues regulations for them.

Hot about labor policies

They complain about price restrictions, although prices are good and they are making plenty of money. They have a problem in the shortage of labor, for which they blame the wages for labor at war plants and the draft. They resent gasoline rationing.

Most of all, perhaps, they resent New Deal labor policies, complaining that the New Deal has been weighted heavily for labor and against the farmers. Today, the divisions between farmers and labor in this country is wide and deep and any attack on Sidney Hillman’s CIO and its Political Action Committee is relished.

So, Governor Dewey didn’t have to sell anything here. It was already sold.

But Governor Dewey kept busy consulting with representatives of farmers, business and labor, and politicians. He is making valuable political contacts in this section, not so necessary now, but which will be helpful if he is elected, and, perhaps, even if he is not. For there are some who think the young man, if he fails this time, will try to get control of the party organizations for four years hence.

Nobody has done that successfully in recent years, but he did it in New York, being the only defeated candidate for governor in our time who was renominated.

The Pittsburgh Press (September 13, 1944)


Like all presidential candidates –
Stokes: Dewey visits Wild West and meets an Indian chief

But he scorns Coolidge, Smith precedent and passes up chance to don war bonnet
By Thomas L. Stokes, Scripps-Howard staff writer

Valentine, Nebraska –
Every presidential candidate must have his day or two in a Wild West atmosphere.

He must mingle with Indians adorned in headdress and painted faces, with cowboys in gay silk shorts, with ranchers stiff and uncomfortable in store clothes which last from year to year with only occasional wear, for they do not deign to replenish them, even though in this neighborhood they now casually flash great rolls of folding money.

The Indians were on hand to welcome Governor Dewey when his train rolled into this little town in Nebraska’s sand hills. A solemn rank of Sioux on horseback, looking ghastly and fierce from the colors splashed across their wizened faces, for most of them were old. The cowboys were there, too, to escort the Republican candidate and his wife in a parade through the center of town.

He plays it straight

Then his car and those of his party were turned across the rolling plains to the ranch of former Governor Sam McKelvie 20 miles away, where the Governor and Mrs. Dewey were guests overnight.

Governor Dewey took it all straight like a New Yorker and a gentleman, with none of the pretensions of the dude rancher. And he took it all smiling, amiable and properly inquisitive.

He did not don Indian headdress, as another New Yorker, Al Smith, once did, in mingling with the Blackfeet in Montana. He did not put on a cowboy hat or get into chaps and spurs as Cal Coolidge did some years ago in South Dakota, making a sight in the moving pictures, mincing anxiously down the steps, that was better for laughs than anything Charlie Chaplin ever did.

Meets Indian chief

Governor Dewey, of course, being a politician, could not avoid a chat with an Indian chieftain. Spotted Crow was supplied for this purpose by local Republicans. He pledged his support to the Republican candidate, as some chief always does for one candidate or the other every four years.

Spotted Crow expressed the opinion that Republicans would treat the Indians better than the Democrats, for all that Secretary Harold Ickes and Indian Commissioner John Collier have been able to do.

The Governor took part in the ceremony of digging up the barbecued beef, which had been cooking for hours underground, but he refused to pose for photographers in this role.

No points needed

He stood in line afterward with Mrs. Dewey, in a big tent to have his plate filled with the succulent meat, potato salad, coleslaw and potato chips. It was utility beef no ration points – it was explained.

Even miles away from the big world outside, the Governor gave careful attention to politics, conferring by the hour with delegations from Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming, listening to complaints against the New Deal on behalf of the cattlemen who, from evidence of those there, are doing nicely and achieving rotund figures.

The Pittsburgh Press (September 14, 1944)


Stokes: Farmers

By Thomas L. Stokes

Valentine, Nebraska –
We were sitting in front of the hotel on Main Street, our chairs on the sidewalk against the big front window, and I was learning from the farmer who sat at my side how it is with the farmers out this way.

They don’t seem to like what’s going on in Washington, judging by the man who was talking.

An auto with big loudspeaker horns blossoming out in every direction passed slowly by, and the voice rang all up and down the street, saying there were only 90 grandstand seats and seven boxes left for the rodeo in the afternoon which Governor Thomas E. Dewey was to attend. Tickets were available at the courthouse, the voice said. It was then 11:00 a.m.

Autos rolled down the street, bringing visitors from miles around. Some were crowded with big families, the kids sticking out at the edges. This was the big day. They all wanted to see the Republican presidential candidate, who do a day and a half, after a brief appearance here the day before, had been virtually in hiding at the ranch of former Governor Sam McKelvie, 20 miles away. Governor Dewey’s picture beamed all along Main Street, and his name was on banners which fluttered overhead.

Nobody very hilarious

Little knots of men stood along the street – stolid Sioux Indians with wrinkled, leathery faces, ranchers, brown and squint-eyed with the sun, farmers in overalls, cowboys, and just plain hands. Nobody was very hilarious. These people are not just that way, there was an occasional drunk, waddling and grinning.

My friend had come from his quarter-section farm, 150 miles to the southeast. He was a wiry fellow, slight of build. He wore a big hat. His tanned face was unwrinkled and did not look as if it had seen 50 years, but that was his age.

“If Roosevelt’s reelected, I’ll sell out my farm.”

A blunt statement thrown into the conversation. What would be do then?

Oh, I don’t know. I’m not worrying much. I beat around for years, working with rodeos, working on ranches and farms. I never had any trouble getting a job. I might go down to old Mexico. I’ve been down there before.

What’s the trouble?

He repeated the story you hear so often. Too many regulations from Washington. He’s a cattle feeder, said he feeds about a thousand or 1,500 head a year. The cost of corn is too high, the ceiling price too low for feeders. He lost $450 this year on hiss cattle. He raises hay and soybeans. The prices have been good for them.

They don’t like ‘this rationing’

He said dolefully:

But they won’t let them go up anymore.

Folks down our way don’t like all this rationing. They could give us our gasoline and sugar. They could have just told us what we could have, without all this rationing business. We wouldn’t have hoarded. There was a ration official down our way who was just as mean as he could be, wouldn’t let anybody have anything. His house caught fire one day, and the fireman found all kinds of things hoarded away in his attic.

He was particularly irate about high wages in war plants.

And they aren’t saving a thing. Living high, buying liquor, getting drunk, it’s bad for our young folks.

He had a stern morale strain, characteristic of lots of folks in the farm country.

How bad off was he really? Not so bad when he let out the facts, gradually. He bought his farm in 1931. It had a $7,500 mortgage on it. He borrowed some from a neighbor. Later he got a loan from the Federal Land Bank. That’s nearly all paid off now.

I had a big year two years ago. I could pay off the rest now easy, but they told me it’s better to have a mortgage on if I want to sell.

He was very bitter about President Roosevelt.

“We’ve got to get rid of one-man government,” he said.

He added, as I got up to go:

And I wish if you see Dewey, you’d tell him not to let Hoover or Willkie make any speeches in this campaign. Hoover’s bad stuff among our folks. Willkie could have been elected two days after he was nominated – but he talked too much.

And that’s how it is with the folks out this way.

The Pittsburgh Press (September 15, 1944)


Stokes: Dewey strategy

By Thomas L. Stokes

With Dewey party –
The “hideaway” phase of Governor Dewey’s presidential campaign this week, which has taken him into Nebraska’s sand hills and the mountain fastnesses of Wyoming, has aroused speculation.

Examination shows that it was very cleverly contrived.

He has made no speeches other than occasional and brief “Howdy-dos.” But through the forum of his press conferences, the Republican candidate has capitalized upon the antipathy to the New Deal and to war restrictions that is most emphatic among the independent-type folks who live on farms, ranches and in the small towns in the territory which he has covered. This is transmitted in turn to such folks in other parts of the country through the medium of the 50-odd newspaper correspondents on this trip.

This small town-rural element is the basis of Dewey strength.

He laid the foundation for his sort of campaign in his first speech at Philadelphia in which he advocated that the boys overseas be brought home as soon as possible after the war, and in which he declared that the Roosevelt administration was afraid of peace. This tack obviously had its seductive appeal to women – mothers, wives, and sweethearts.

MacArthur made an issue

Along this same general line, he sought to create suspicion of political motives in President Roosevelt’s management of the war when he said this week that now that Gen. Douglas MacArthur is no longer “a political threat” to the President, his magnificent talents should be given greater scope and recognition, insinuating also that adequate supplies had been withheld from the general during the Philippine campaign.

He did not suggest specifically that Gen. MacArthur be named overall commander in the Pacific. But his remarks were in connection with the Québec Conference where it was first reported that a Pacific commander was to be selected by President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill. Gen. MacArthur, a popular figure, has been a sort of symbol and rallying point for Republicans who have raised him to the role of martyr.

When his campaign trip carried him into the farm and cattle country, Governor Dewey began to emphasize government war restrictions and regulations, which still seem to be onerous to people in this area.

At Des Moines, he said there is no doubt there will be large surpluses of food when the war is over, and he declared that this required efficient handling. He said the New Deal is not capable to prevent release of this food in a way that would be “a catastrophe” to the farmers.

Cites cattle surplus

At Valentine, Nebraska, in the heart of the cattle beyond the needs of the country, raising the question of a large surplus before housewives who have had trouble getting meat for their table. He criticized OPA’s handling of the problem.

That this type of campaign may be effective is indicated by the sharp outcries from Democrats, who are attacking this sort of appeal to win votes and are charging misrepresentation by the Republican candidate.

Experienced political correspondents on this train have recognized the general import and significance of this kind of campaign in a nation now growing war weary and, from past observation, they see how it may be effective in the psychological condition of the voters.

It begins to appear, too, that President Roosevelt himself will be forced to make a campaign to meet the Dewey thrusts. Smaller-fry spokesmen cannot get the hearing nationally that may be required.

Democratic leaders, by the charge of “misrepresentation” have laid the way for the President’s entry, for he said he did not plan to make a campaign except to answer “misrepresentations.”

The Pittsburgh Press (September 16, 1944)


Stokes: Dewey’s skill

By Thomas L. Stokes

With Dewey party –
Governor Thomas E. Dewey completed the farm and cattle-ranch and mining stage of his Western campaign, heading today into the Pacific Coast states, without getting into the trouble that lurks there for presidential candidates and more than once has tripped previous aspirants.

He proved a cagey and skillful campaigner so far as the explosive issues in that area are concerned. His technique was carefully devised. He gathered information in conferences with all sorts of groups and then made himself the spokesman for their grievances against the New Deal through his press conferences.

But he always explained he was telling what they told him, and he took no responsibility for their appraisal of their problems and their proposed solutions.

He raised issues, but did not offer solutions. That must await later major speeches. But, at the same time, he spread criticism of the New Deal, the restless under war restrictions, far and wide for its effect among the voters, so that a bill of indictment was drawn up just as effectively perhaps as if he had said all these harsh things on his own. Some few times he did speak out for himself, seizing whatever occasion offered to strike out at what he bundles up as “general incompetency” in Washington.

Voices farmers’ complaints

He gave voice to the farmers and their chafing under price regulations and their fear of a surplus of food after the war that will give them competition unless wisely handled; to the cattlemen who likewise are restive under OPA and who are afraid of the present large surplus of beef cattle on the hoof, to wool growers who complain about the surplus of wool built up for war purposes; to sugar beet growers who are restless under production quotas.

It was a one-sided story naturally, this being a political campaign. But anyone who has even a smattering of these problems knows it is not all so simple, and Governor Dewey recognized this by not attempting to solve these problems, himself, with suddenly offered cures.

The men who filed in to see the candidate with their complaints were prosperous and well fed and represented prosperous people on the farms and ranches. They want to make more money, if possible; if not, to hold their present prosperous own. They want to shake off controls, some of them without taking account of consequences.

Once demanded controls

Hanging over their heads is that familiar old surplus problem. That is now their fear, as they enjoy prosperity. This problem, if past experience is any guide, does require certain controls. A few years ago, the farmers were demanding them, and loudly. Governor Dewey is conscious of the complications.

The other side of the argument – for continued efforts under the New Deal – is championed by some of the smaller farmers in the states through which Governor Dewey has passed, a minority which clings to President Roosevelt. They want a guarantee of some kind. In Montana, this element is particularly active politically and there, too, the CIO Political Action Committee is active, especially with the miners.

These are the forces that are boiling around and creating the ferment that is stirring underneath today in the farm and ranch country.

Governor Dewey must resolve these all into a design. He is smart to find out all about them first. For the farm problems, overall, have as many potential danger points as a porcupine has quills.

The Pittsburgh Press (September 18, 1944)


Stokes: Dewey’s strategy

By Thomas L. Stokes

With Dewey party –
Governor Dewey is taking on a progressive Republican coloration as he begins his campaign to win the three Pacific Coast states.

Almost simultaneously with the Republican presidential candidate’s arrival in the state of Washington a Gallup Poll was released giving President Roosevelt the edge in the Coast states as of August, with slight percentage gains since an earlier survey.

Governor Dewey, who pins much faith in the Gallup Poll, was well aware of the task confronting him as he prepared to open his Pacific Coast campaign with the third of his major speeches scheduled for tonight at Seattle. He went to Seattle from Spokane where he spent the weekend.

At the outset of his Pacific Coast tour, which takes him later to Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles, he selected as his theme the need for an expanding economy as the hope for both industry and labor.

Buoyancy in the air

He chose well.

For expansion fits the optimistic mood of these people out here in the Pacific Northwest, a bustling, lively land. They are moving forward rapidly and their progress has been accelerated by the great war industries which dot a countryside for which nature has provided so lavishly.

There’s buoyancy in the air.

Governor Dewey is trying to tack on to the New Deal the label of a static economy. He quoted from a speech made by President Roosevelt at San Francisco in 1932 to the effect that our industrial plant is built and distribution was the problem. Repeatedly he raised this quotation and scoffed at it.

On the political side he recognized the cry here for representation of the West in the high councils at Washington. He promised, if elected, a Cabinet post for the West, as well as representation in other high policymaking jobs.

On the economic side he recognized the need of these people for power and water in a region which pioneered in public power, against a heavily entrenched private utility interest, and which has made great advances in public power through the help of the New Deal.

New Deal strength

He said he always had believed that great natural resources should be developed by the federal government for the benefit of all the people.

But he stopped short on distribution of power by the federal government. He took the middle course that while the federal government should produce the power, it should be distributed according to the wishes of local communities:

The chief New Deal strength in this region is that the New Deal under President Roosevelt gave the people such magnificent benefactors as the Grand Coulee project in Washington and Bonneville in Oregon after four years of Republican resistance in Washington.

This counts heavily with average folks in this section who do not take seriously Governor Dewey’s charge that the West has been deserted by the New Deal.

Governor Dewey tried to make up for the past lack of interest among Republicans in such great projects as Grand Coulee and Bonneville by expressing his own interest and his familiarity with them. He visited both four years ago when he was campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination. But he did not dramatize them on this trip by visiting them.

The Republican presidential candidate encounters one continuous demand from people in the Pacific Coast area, which is to retain the war industries which have been located here. This was emphasized when one local newspaper reporter told the Governor that Democrats are spreading the word through the coast area that if he was elected the war industries would be turned over to “eastern monopolists,” which Governor Dewey labeled as “one of the most astonishing misrepresentations of the campaign.”

The Pittsburgh Press (September 19, 1944)


Stokes: Dewey on labor

By Thomas L. Stokes

With Dewey party, Seattle, Washington –
Governor Dewey made a bold bid in his Seattle speech for labor votes, a major factor in the election, on the theory that enough of labor, particularly of the conservative type undoubtedly enlarged by war prosperity, is ready to break away from the New Deal if approached with a sound progressive program.

That is what he offered. He talked in New Deal accents. Right-wingers could get no comfort from his speech, nor could extreme left-wingers.

He proposed to take nothing from labor that it now has in guarantees written in law by the New Deal. He promised better and more direct administration of these laws. He offered labor higher wages in an expanding economy, which has become his major theme.

Two aspects of New Deal labor administration and policy are vulnerable for indictment. The Republican presidential candidate seized them and made a bill of particulars to which realistic New Dealers themselves must subscribe privately.

One is the multiplicity of agencies through which labor cases have to go, often, as Governor Dewey so strikingly illustrated, creating confusion doubly confounded, and causing delay from which labor groups suffer.

Favoritism for CIO

The other is the obviously political complexion of some New Deal labor decisions, with favoritism for the CIO, illustrated by the CIO plump for President Roosevelt, taken so far in advance that that section of labor lost some of its political effectiveness.

This was shown by two defeats – the dumping of Vice President Wallace at Chicago, and the passage of a reconversion bill in Congress which it finds most unsatisfactory.

Very cleverly the Republican candidate exploited the controversy and delay in the steel case before the War Labor Board, centering about the attempt to break down the “Little Steel” formula.

“The strategy of delay,” he said, “sets the stage for a great gesture – a big favor to labor before Election Day,” but he added pointedly this is something to which “labor is justly entitled” without representing it as “a special gift from on high from the New Deal.”

When he went on record against the Smith-Connally Act, which labor so detests, he neglected to mention that President Roosevelt had vetoed it, only to have Congress pass it over his veto.

The difficulty that Governor Dewey faces in trying to win labor over to the Republican side was revealed in his speech. All he could find of labor reforms in the last 30 years which he could credit to Republicans was President Taft’s creation of a Cabinet post for labor and the Railway Mediation Act of 1926.

Filibuster recalled

And the latter was sponsored first by Alben Barkley, present Senate Democratic leader, then a House member. The Republican leadership of the House fought it.

The writer recalls sitting in the House Press Gallery through one night when a Republican filibuster, engineered by then Speaker Longworth, scuttled that measure for the time being.

Republican difficulties have been further emphasized on this transcontinental tour. To his labor conferences held at every stop, the Republican candidate has been able to attract only small-fry figures. Everywhere, too, his aides have received reports of effective registration by CIO’s PAC in the cities.

It was significant that Governor Dewey did not even mention the PAC. Lesser Republican lights will do that job.

The Republican Party was once the party of labor. The exodus to the Democratic Party began in 1916.

After that, the Democrats slowly improved their standing with labor and it was ready for its big parade to the Democrats when President Roosevelt capitalized the lack of attention to labor by Republicans during the ‘20s and created the New Deal party.

Governor Dewey thus has a handicap in party heritage. But he could not have gone much further in trying to overcome it.

The Pittsburgh Press (September 20, 1944)


Stokes: Cooperation

By Thomas L. Stokes

With Dewey’s party –
Republicans expect to make much capital out of a point stressed by Governor Thomas E. Dewey in his Portland speech about the troubles that President Roosevelt has with Congress.

It may be effective. The Republican presidential candidate put it very persuasively last night:

Every step we take in these critical years ahead must have the joint support of the Congress and the President. Can any such joint action and harmonious relationship be achieved under this administration?

And again:

We need an administration that wants to work with the elected representatives of the people and that knows how to do it. We can get such an administration only by getting a new Chief Executive.

Governor Dewey put his finger on a very vulnerable spot. He dramatized the wide rift in the Democratic Party between the New Dealers and left-wingers. on the one hand, and on the other, the conservative Southern Democrats who go traipsing off with Republicans on virtually every domestic issue to form an anti-administration coalition that makes it so hard for Mr. Roosevelt to do business with Congress on any liberal measure.

Both sides vulnerable

The President has let them alone lately. But it is a real dilemma that has spread gloom through the progressive political forces of the country.

They do not like to look ahead to such a situation in what Governor Dewey termed “these critical years ahead.” Nor do they get any encouragement from anticipating a Republican Congress if it is going to follow the general course of the Republican minority in recent years on both domestic and foreign policy.

Governor Dewey must prove, as in the case with his progressive labor program, that he can carry his party and Congress along with him. The record of his party in Congress is his highest hurdle, and is the vulnerable spot on his side.

He must convince progressives that it is going to be different with him. or they will take a chance with President Roosevelt and the possibility that, if he is elected, he will be able to carry a Democratic Congress in with him which for a time will go along with him,

Democratic split cited

The Republican candidate dramatized, likewise, a Democratic Party, once fairly closely knit, that is now beginning to shake loose at the joints. This was clearly demonstrated at the Chicago convention when the Southerners were emitting rebel yells of dissatisfaction over the new power in the party assumed by New Dealers and CIO labor.

Republicans have capitalized upon this. In Congress, Republicans are egging on the Southern conservatives, fraternizing with them sweetly, throwing their support to them at every opportunity, often accepting without question the leadership the Southerners exercise so effectively through their committee chairmanships and other posts of power and influence.

In the campaign the second-string performers, not Governor Dewey himself, are exploiting the CIO’s PAC at every opportunity to frighten off middle-class voters and tempt them into the Republican camp.

The whole tone of the Dewey presidential campaign has been to stress his ability to work with political leaders and his Legislature.

Since his nomination, Governor Dewey has worked hard at it, in the Governors’ Conference in St. Louis and on this trip. He has spent hours with local politicians on this trip, getting acquainted, listening to their troubles and making a fine impression, according to reports.

The Pittsburgh Press (September 21, 1944)


Stokes: Dewey technique

By Thomas L. Stokes

With Dewey party –
Governor Dewey has been long enough on the stump and has exercised sufficiently his talents as a political craftsman to provide some basis for judgment of his performance.

His technique becomes important because he is pitted against the master politician in the White House who enjoys that psychological advantage inherent in long-time winners, whether in politics, in sports or otherwise.

Polish, precision, perfection and attention to detail describe the Dewey technique.

On the platform, the Republican presidential candidate gives a studied performance. Every gesture, each emphasis, every tone is plotted in advance. He’s an actor who prepares himself deliberately for the role of the streamlined orator of the new school, always conscious of his radio audience, and attentive to it.

Offhand it might be supposed that this would result in a brittle performance, but the reaction he brings from his audiences does not substantiate this. They rise to the occasion with those sudden outbursts that delight the heart of the speaker, not an emotional frenzy such as a Roosevelt or a Willkie draws from a crowd, but in a spontaneous tribute to what he says.

A competent man

He stands here, a personable young man, looking under the lights somewhat younger than his 42 years, and you get the impression that the audience feels that here is an earnest and competent young man who wants to get ahead, and of whom they wish well.

People who gather at his meetings are those who for some years now have been seeking a match for the man in the White House, who want very much to see Mr. Roosevelt out of Washington. And this young man seems to have the energy and the confidence that may do the job.

It is a pleasant surprise, too, when he suddenly shows a light touch, a quick change of pace to penetrating irony, such as his enumeration in his Seattle speech of all the agencies in Washington through which labor cases must go.

That passage was cut short by a tumult of laughter before he got through telling them in a mock solemn tone, like calling railroad stations.

He has also the occasional climaxes of the blunt question, such as his repeated “is a fourth term indispensable to that?” in his Portland speech. Every time he asked the question his audience answered a boisterous “No.”

An affable listener

The Episcopal Bishop who delivered the invocation at Portland spoke of his campaign as “a crusade.” It is not exactly that in the frenzied meaning that Wendell Willkie gave to his 1940 campaign, but it is in an earnest sort of way, judging from the sober determination that he seems to arouse.

His public appearances are only a part of the job that he has cut out for himself.

The other part is the contact that Governor Dewey is making with local politicians, and representatives of various groups – business, labor, farmers.

He has seen the inside of more hotel rooms and less scenery than probably any other presidential candidate who took the required “Grand Tour” through the West.

Here he has shown himself an affable listener and more successful at easy and amiable small talk than one would suppose.

The young man has learned a lot, and there is nothing amateurish about him.

The Pittsburgh Press (September 22, 1944)


Stokes: A new GOP

By Thomas L. Stokes

With Dewey party –
Those crusty antiquarians President Roosevelt once described as “the gentlemen who sit in their well-stocked clubs” must have had something akin to morning-after jitters when they opened their newspapers and read what the newest champion of the Republican Party is telling the folks.

Governor Dewey broke cleanly with old-fashioned Republicanism in his San Francisco speech. He frankly accepted basic New Deal doctrines that the national government must concern itself actively with the welfare of the people, ready to step in with help when the highly delicate economic mechanism of today gets out of gear.

Taking this stand, he proposed – as Wendell Willkie did in 1940 – to do it better, and with careful consideration to democratic principles.

He proposed to breathe new life into this basic philosophy by substituting a fresh, vigorous administration of public affairs for what he pictures as a confused and tired administration that is carelessly letting the nation slip into totalitarianism as it gets bogged down in the tangles of bureaucracy.

It was significant that it was in San Francisco, where 12 years ago Franklin D. Roosevelt first outlined the still-vague tenets of the New Deal in his Commonwealth Club speech, that Governor Dewey moved himself up to an almost parallel position. The test henceforth would seem to be one of performance in realizing common ideals.

Expanding economy

It was also in the Commonwealth Club speech here that President Roosevelt said that America’s industrial plant was finished, that the problem thereafter was one of distribution. Governor Dewey has recalled that statement frequently and taken issue with it.

Governor Dewey thinks he has much to offer here, promising an expanding, rather than a static economy.

His break with the past is graphically revealed by excerpts from his speech.

No man can be free when he stands in constant danger of hunger… certain government measures to influence broad economic conditions are both desirable and inevitable… if at any time there are no sufficient jobs in private employment to go around, then government can and must create additional job opportunities… the savage, old cutthroat adjustments are gone for good… the prices of major farm crops must be supported against the menace of disastrous collapse… in many directions the free market which old-time economists talked about is gone… the industrial worker, however capable and energetic he may be, cannot in modern society assure himself by his own unaided efforts con tenuity of employment… even the largest industrial corporation cannot maintain employment, if the country as a whole is undergoing depression.

‘Dog-eat-dog’ is gone

Repeatedly he said the old “dog-eat-dog” economy is gone forever.

The Republican candidate’s appeal represented a desperate effort to win California and the coast states away from President Roosevelt. The President was reported well ahead today in California.

Here is the state, so favored by nature, which was hit so hard in the last depression.

Its people flocked to President Roosevelt in 1932. Here the Okies streamed across the border from the dust bowl and the worn-out cotton lands. They created a new problem.

Here, since the war, they have come in new hordes to work in the war plants which have given California a new industrial empire, of which she is proud and jealous.

But Californians, old and new, who work in the fields and the factories, are still conscious of the past. They want no more depressions. They want no more Okie camps. Their hope is in the new war industries. They want to keep them, and keep people at work.

Southern California is the haven of old folks who came here to live on incomes from farms which they had left to their children in Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska and Illinois, and who suddenly found the remittances stopped. They trooped in desperation to meetings where old Doc Townsend talked about old-age pensions. New evangels promised $30 every Thursday in the not-distant past.

Governor Dewey, conscious of this, speaks tonight in Los Angeles on social security. He is leaving nothing undone.