I Dare Say -- Writing on the wall (2-24-43)

The Pittsburgh Press (February 24, 1943)


Writing on the wall

By Florence Fisher Parry

Vice President Wallace calls it the new brotherhood.

Clare Boothe Luce calls it globaloney.

Between must lie the blueprint for the future that is to be.

Most of us are growing more and more importunate in our demand that we know whether we are going.

Is it to be peace without victory, or peace with victory? An armistice between World War II and World War III, or abiding freedom?

Are we to be a Republic after this war, or is the New Democracy to be fashioned out of a fourth term for our President, and a fifth?

Whatever is to come, it is now on the way. This is 1943. In another year, there will be a nomination for presidential candidates. Then an election. This is moving up furiously.

And sone of us are scared. Not just about the war.

Three times is enough

I saw in a motion picture theater in St. Louis, for a third time in one month, a government-sponsored, people-paid-for film: what is technically known as a “short.” It lasted about 15 minutes, a long short. It was a carefully, expensively produced picture will all the trimmings and fanfare of a feature picture: a handsome background of atmospheric “montage” shots, a lavish musical score, some very expert photography. It had been rehearsed AND rehearsed – but there was just one actor in it, the star. It was one of the most ambitious and “important” shorts I can remember ever having seen.

It was of Vice President Wallace, in a recitation of his now famous free world speech. It was a monologue deluxe.

It was the most effective piece of presidential grooming of a favorite candidate ever fashioned out of the tax money of the American people.

Now I may see more movies than the average moviegoer, although I doubt it. My consumption is about one movie a week. Yet I have seen this same picture of vice President Wallace three times within a month.

And the question assails me: At what point, in wartime, does acceptance let off, and challenge begin?

When President Roosevelt crammed his own candidate for Vice President down our throats at the last Democratic Convention, his staunchest supporters gagged. Mr. Wallace is the same man today.

Is this disunity?

I rise to testify: I’m afraid of the Wallace campaign. The President may be President so long as he lives.

But I believe that Vice President Wallace is being deliberately groomed by the President to be his heir.

Is this prediction out of order? Is it evidence of the “disunity” we are forbidden? Surely not. It is supported by every action of the President himself, who has never relaxed an assiduous eye upon the machinations of his party.

Now the President has been a great war President, the combined population of all the Allied countries testify. he has accomplished miracles in international neighborliness. but even in his most magnificent moments of statesmanship, he has not been able to dissolve the doubts of those who sense the politician’s genius directing a collateral but nonetheless important show.

We want to make up our own minds who’s to be President and who, if anyone, is to take Mr. Roosevelt’s place in the White House. We don’t want any movies made with our taxes, boosting the stock of any President’s favorite, I don’t care who he is.

This is a very good article that is as applicable today as it was in 1943.


I am of the opinion that Wallace would have been an excellent president of the USA, and Truman was, by comparison, a mediocre choice bordering on incompetence. I do sympathize with critics of Roosevelt like F.F. Parry who feel that he stayed in power for far too long however, and while FDR may have cemented the USA’s rise to superpower status in the 20th Century more than any other single person, it is a good thing that the USA now has a 2 term limit on presidents imo. Not every president is an FDR after all, and most since have fallen far short of his caliber.