Election 1944: Willkie raps both parties as ‘cowards’ (9-8-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (September 8, 1944)


Willkie raps both parties as ‘cowards’

Foreign policy plans assailed
By Lyle C. Wilson, United Press staff writer

Washington –
Wendell L. Willkie today charged President Roosevelt and Governor Thomas E. Dewey equally with political cowardice for their share of responsibility in shaping the foreign relations planks of the Democratic and Republican platforms.

In an article timed to hit the newsstands as Republican presidential candidate Dewey undertakes his first major campaign swing, Mr. Willkie begins in the current issue of Collier’s a series of discussions on the party platforms. He calls them “Our Recent Mockeries.”

‘Cowardice at Chicago’

The article is entitled “Cowardice at Chicago.” Mr. Willkie charged that Mr. Dewey alone had adequate foreknowledge of what GOP platform makers would produce and that “the Democratic platform under President Roosevelt, was in all of its essential provisions drafted in advance of the convention.”

Towards the end, Mr. Willkie states that “I am a Republican,” but he writes like an independent who has not yet decided for whom to vote.

And he warns that it is the “independent voter – the man who does not vote automatically for any candidate his party may nominate – who has determined most presidential elections in the past generation.”

Many included

That phraseology, no doubt carefully chosen, does not limit independents to voters without party affiliation but includes within the term those who do belong to a political party – as Mr. Willkie does – but who refuse to go along with their party candidates without question.

Mr. Willkie’s basic charge is that both parties framed platforms designed to “conciliate and win all elements of the population without offending others within or without the party.”

Lacking courage to face the issue of post-war foreign policy, Mr. Willkie wrote, the platform makers – with knowledge of Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Dewey – “borrowed from the past the timidities, the outworn doctrines and mistakes long since rejected by history.”

Secrecy assailed

Mr. Willkie wrote:

At the Republican Convention, the conclusions of the Platform Committee were so closely guarded, except from the leading candidate [Dewey], that even Republican governors who were delegates could not get copies of the proposed plank to study.

There is not much comfort in his article either for Republicans who hoped for an early and enthusiastic endorsement of Dewey’s candidacy or for those who may have thought Willkie would bolt his party to support Mr. Roosevelt for a fourth term.

Mr. Willkie said that on the general question of foreign policy, the Democratic plank is better than the Republican plank. He found the Democratic plank more forthright and concrete on the use of armed force to maintain the peace.

Willkie in hospital

New York –
Wendell L. Willkie has entered a hospital for “a rest and a checkup,” his physician, Dr. Benjamin Salzer, disclosed today.