THE CLEVELAND PRESS
THE SHELBY PUBLISHING COMPANY
Friday, November 9, 1928
C. J. Mabry ….. President
J. Nelson Callahan ….. Business Manager
W. J. Cash ….. Managing Editor
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Site Editor's Note: In his Moving Row article of this date, after six weeks of feverish editorial opposition, Cash magnanimously concedes the spoils of victory to Herbert Hoover. Hoover won North Carolina by 63,000 votes, compared to Shelby Democrat O. Max Gardner who won the Governor's race by 70,000. Maybe Cash's youthful spunk had some local effect; Cleveland County went for Smith by 200 votes. But despite all the contra indications of the day, Cash optimistically insists that "the Liberal cause" of the imperfect Smith campaign "shall live". Aided by Hoover's laissez-faire approach to governing an already faltering economy, it would--and for decades, virtually uninterrupted, to come. Erase the date on this article and substitute some appropriate names and one might just as well be at November 9, 1988 or--well, November 9--that is, December 13, 2000. Yet, at this date in early April, 2001, there is plenty of time for the result to be different from the earlier two occasions--this time. We shall see.
Site Editor's Note: In his Moving Row article of this date, after six weeks of feverish editorial opposition, Cash magnanimously concedes the spoils of victory to Herbert Hoover. Hoover won North Carolina by 63,000 votes, compared to Shelby Democrat O. Max Gardner who won the Governor's race by 70,000. Maybe Cash's youthful spunk had some local effect; Cleveland County went for Smith by 200 votes.
But despite all the contra indications of the day, Cash optimistically insists that "the Liberal cause" of the imperfect Smith campaign "shall live". Aided by Hoover's laissez-faire approach to governing an already faltering economy, it would--and for decades, virtually uninterrupted, to come.
Erase the date on this article and substitute some appropriate names and one might just as well be at November 9, 1988 or--well, November 9--that is, December 13, 2000. Yet, at this date in early April, 2001, there is plenty of time for the result to be different from the earlier two occasions--this time. We shall see.
TWO LIBERAL GOVERNMENTS
It is interesting to note that at the same moment that America is deciding for Conservative government during the next four years, a Conservative Government is being overthrown in France and another of the same kind is toppling in England.
Resignation of three Socialist members overthrows the Government dominated since 1924 by the arch-chauvinist, Poincaire. That the new Government, even though Poincaire may form it, will have a much more Liberal tone is inevitable. That is fortunate for the peace of Europe.
In England, it seems but a matter of weeks until the Torres step down and out. Lloyd George is likely to find it up to him to form a new cabinet by the coalition of Liberal and Labor forces, though there is some evidence that Ramsey MacDonald, one-time Labor Premiere, may get the call instead of the Welshman. English confidence in Lloyd George is none too high. He is given to casting aside principles to play to the gallery. And one can never be quite sure whether he is going to out-Liberal MacDonald or out-Tory Baldwin. Nevertheless, he seems the best chance to form a Liberal Government in that country.
A LAND DEFEAT.
Al Smith takes his defeat like the "Happy Warrior" that he is.
And Al is right. However much we may dislike to see Hoover made President, the fact remains that the majority has spoken. It is often said that majorities are always wrong. In terms of absolute Right and absolute Truth, that is probably correct. Nevertheless, majorities are probably right concerning their own capacity to receive, to assimilate, to make use of new ideas. And in a democracy that must be the criterion. And, recognizing all its faults, regretting its unhappy tendency to glorify the mediocre, we still, like Al Smith, believe that democracy is the best system of government yet devised by men.
And democracy means more than the mere right to vote, to hold office. It means that the government belongs to the people. Al Smith pointed that out when, in answering Hughes' argument that the people may do nothing about Prohibition, he declared that the people may do anything under Heaven that they please to do. It is true. They may destroy the Constitution. They may set up masters for themselves. They may abandon every idea and ideal of the Founding Fathers. They may destroy Liberty, every guarantee of Freedom gained in the past thousand years. They may establish precedents against the election of Catholics--as they irrevocably have done. They may set up plutocracy, aristocracy, theocracy as a governing class. They may, in short, destroy democracy. That has nothing to do with his right or wrong. It is a matter of human rights. It is democracy--until it is destroyed.
A FORTUNATE CIRCUMSTANCE.
However unpalatable it may be to the Democrats, it is a fortunate circumstance for all concerned that Mr. Hoover is to have a Congress which is deftly and regularly Republican. With majorities of regular Republicans in both houses, responsibility will be squarely placed.
For two years Mr. Hoover will have a free hand. If he fails to meet the problems he is facing--those of farm relief, Prohibition, unemployment, the misuse of the injunction in labor disputes, the establishment of the "national origins" basis for immigration, Muscle Shoals, if he fails to bring the prosperity he has promised to all as a result of Henry Clay's "American system," if the "Home Market" and "Farm Tariffs" failed to do those things, then the blame will be squarely on Mr. Hoover and the Republican party. There will be no alibis that Norris or Borah or some other insurgent balked Mr. Hoover. The Democratic party is relieved of all responsibility save that of guarding the interest of its own people. It may fold its hands--and wait.
If Mr. Hoover succeeds in doing all the things he has promised either directly or by suggestion, if Mr. Hoover's American system works to benefit the farmer without making the consumer pay double for what he buys, if industry thrives, if unemployment is reduced to the irreducible minimum, if Mr. Hoover settles the immigration problem, then the glory and the credit will quite properly be his and that of the Republican party.
That is as it should be. It is a grave misfortune when the President fails to secure a Congress from his own party.
THE SIMMONS MENACE
From the campaign just closed emerges one very real danger to the Democratic Party in North Carolina. That is the possibility that Simmons will again seize the leadership.
The man has thoroughly discredited himself. For his selfish ambition he has stabbed the Democratic party in North Carolina in the back. Now he rushes into print with a declaration that he has saved the party. That is nothing new for him. He has been saving the party from imaginary bogeys for the past 35 years. He says, his head is among the stars, but we observe a vast eagerness on his part to get his hoof in the trough again.
If we know the temper of Smith Democrats in North Carolina--and we think we do know it--one thing is certain. Simmons and Frank McNinch, who have steadfastly branded them as hoodlums and bums, may not have their votes. Marion Butler is preferable.
The Republicans of the State are openly boasting that they intend to go to the primaries in 1930 and see that Simmons gets the Democratic nomination. The Democratic Party will do well to change the rules so as to bar them out. For, though the Republican Party may be willing enough to withhold a candidate from the field in order to elect the Mugwump Simmons, it would, we believe, prefer to send a thorough-going Republican to the Senate. And if Simmons or his successor is nominated in Democratic primaries, the Republican party will have that chance by a combine with this Smith-Democrat vote. For the latter, it will be simply a matter of choosing the least unpleasant of unpleasant alternatives.
AN EXPLODED FANTASY.
For months the gullible in all sections of the country have been trusted to the astonishing story that, if Al Smith was elected, the Pope would come over to Washington and assume direction of the government. A corollary to this statement was that every Catholic voter in the country was sworn to vote for Smith and that every good Protestant owed it to God and Humanity to vote, therefore, for Herb.
It turns out that the Catholic voters paid almost no attention to religious lines. Those few who did seem to have voted for Hoover because of a curious circular circulated at the last minute which made the comical claim that the Republican candidate had been endorsed by the Pope! And--Mr. Hoover seems to have secured a major part of the Catholic vote of the country. Will the Fellowship Forum, the Ku Klux Klan and all other forces of indecency and medieval bigotry explain?
It is inconceivable, in the first place, that humanity can sink to such degraded levels as to pass such dangerous lies, such explosive hatreds into the hands of the ignorant. It is true, nevertheless. It is inconceivable, in the second place, that there should be anyone so credulous, so ignorant as to believe such fantastic fabrications. It is true, nevertheless.
The purveyor of such garbage is, of course, a criminal. He strikes at the confidence which is the basis of modern society. As a criminal, he should be subject to the same sort of penalties meted out to traitors, plotters against the State, and inciters of riots.
The degree of ignorance necessary to the belief of such lurid tales is criminal also. For it truly threatens the very basis of society. But punishment of it is clearly out of the question. How to deal with it--that is a problem which require serious attention. For there is grave danger that such notions may come to dominate the ballot in the nation. That, of course, means a rapid end to democracy.
THE MOVING ROW
"We are no more than a moving row
of fantastic shapes that come and go."
BY J. W. CASH
Herbert Hoover is elected President.
I expect him to be a strong President. An active President. I do not subscribe to the superman myth concerning him. But I am convinced that he possesses executive ability of a high order. I am confident of his honesty--as he conceives honesty to be constituted. I have no fear that, in his time, we shall witness the cynical thievery which is the prime boast and glory of the Harding dynasty. I wish him, as the properly constituted President, good health and luck to the end of his reign.
That is as far as I can go. I opposed him before election. I shall oppose him. With that, the name of his party has nothing at all to do. Rather I conceive him to be the apostle of Reaction. And, because I believe that, I regard even his strength with regret. Harding and Coolidge were mere pawns, static and negative, in the hands of their masters. Hoover, as I see him, promises to be a crusader, a positive fighting force to elevate Big Business to the sacrosanct status of a major deity. With his whole scheme of things, his philosophy, I am at odds.
Rather, I think I am. For what his philosophy is yet remains a question. Throughout the campaign, he resolutely refused to face an issue. In that very dodging lies some hope that he may prove to be President of the whole American people instead of a half dozen members of the Republican Party. But against that is his cry for the doctrine of do-as-you please in business, his training with the Coolidge pack. And I haven't much hope.
The campaign had its comedies and its ironies. There was, for example, the fine buffoonery of Hoover winning the East with the ancient cant about the "full dinner pail." That, I submit, is no great compliment to the intelligence of the Republic. It suggests that the United States will remain a fertile field for all the Barnums to be born in the next ten thousand years or so. And there was the exquisite irony of farmers and mill workers in the South voting almost en masse for Mr. Hoover, who, as nearly as I can make them out, has about as much sympathy or even comprehension of them as any lord strolling in Picadilly or any Forsythe to be found about Temple Bar.
The tragic thing about it was the tidal wave proportions of the Black Reaction. And a Black Reaction it was, compounded of many hates and fears and little sanity or reason. It is a depressing spectacle to see North Carolina stampeded into the Republican column by such boob-bouncers as Simmons and McNinch--and Cannon and Mouzon, on the ground of religious intolerance. I do not consider the mere presence of North Carolina in the Republican column as a calamity in itself. Indeed, it might be for the best interests of the State. But that it should go there because of religious bigotry is a cause for sorrow.
That, of course, is the element which cannot be reckoned with before hand. No one, I suppose, actually thought that Al Smith stood to win. The victory at Houston was that most eagerly sought. Moreover, the odds were overwhelmingly against the candidate from the start. Economic conditions make for conservatism at present. The average citizen has his radio, his automobile, himself , his wife, and their sons and daughters, and, to be frank about it, that's about all the average citizen is interested in just now. Mention the infamous crimes of the Harding regime and all one hears from the average is the half-serious, half-joking wish that "I had a chance!" Reaction was in the saddle to begin with. Those Liberal causes championed by Smith meant battle and battle is about the last thing that the comfortable average wants now.
Smith's banner was raised too soon. Eventually, it will triumph. Eventually, indeed, it will be far passed. Smith himself bore it right gallantly. For once, the American people retreated to the political anomaly of an honest candidate and campaign. That they ran away from it like frightened cattle does not prove that they will not eventually come to relish it. It doesn't particularly matter about the fate of Alfred E. Smith, save as the fate of any brave and honorable man matters. It doesn't even matter a great deal whether or not the party called Democratic shall continue as it is. What does matter is that the Liberal cause, as represented-- too imperfectly--by that party in this campaign, shall live. It will.
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