The Charlotte News

Monday, November 8, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that HUAC chairman during the 80th Congress, J. Parnell Thomas, had been indicted for fraud against the Government for taking salary kickbacks from bogus staff members, hired to do little or nothing but receive paychecks, which they then turned over to Mr. Thomas through his secretary. The scam was uncovered by Drew Pearson. Mr. Thomas was called before the grand jury to testify, having originally insisted upon his right to be heard, but then declined. The indictment also charged his former secretary with participation in the conspiracy by knowingly receiving the kickbacks and turning them over to Mr. Thomas, plus aiding in the preparation of tax returns to substantiate the bogus payments.

Mr. Thomas told the press that he had nothing to say.

Eleanor Roosevelt said in an ABC broadcast originating from Paris, "Eleanor and Anna Roosevelt", that she would like to see the "permanent ousting" of the Dixiecrats from the Democratic Party for their lack of loyalty to the President during the election. The Dixiecrats, she said, now wanted back into the party because it controlled both houses of Congress and the White House. Congressman John Rankin of Mississippi would lose a committee chairmanship on the Veterans Committee if he were not allowed to qualify as a Democrat. Senator Olin Johnston of South Carolina, she continued, had campaigned against Mr. Truman but was one of the first to congratulate him. She said that there were only two major political factions in the United States, Liberal and Conservative, and that she believed it would make more sense if the parties were so aligned, a process made more easy by the detachment of the Dixiecrats from the Democratic Party. She remarked that President Roosevelt had sought to purge reactionary Southerners during the 1938 mid-term campaign for sabotaging liberal legislation he had urged to the Congress. He had failed, but now the Dixiecrats had chosen on their own to walk out, and "the Democrats should insist that they stay out."

Ye Fala?

In Paris, the U.N. political committee voted 47-0, with the six Slav nations and El Salvador abstaining, while four members were not present, to condemn Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and Albania for aiding the Communist guerrillas in Greece. The veto of the Security Council was inapplicable in the case.

In France, nearly complete election returns for the upper house of the Parliament, the Council of the Republic, showed General Charles De Gaulle's anti-Communist party, the RPF, to be the winner. The Communists lost more than four-fifths of their 94 seats, and were thus reduced to a small minority, with only 16 seats. The RPF did not gain a majority of the Council seats, as it was nearly impossible to do so in France for its large number of parties. General De Gaulle, himself, was not a candidate.

The Supreme Court accepted a case challenging the constitutionality of the provision of Taft-Hartley requiring either affidavits from union officers that they were not affiliated with the Communist Party or that the union would lose the ability to engage in collective bargaining before the NLRB.

The High Court also agreed to hear the case of Gerhard Eisler, convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions before HUAC regarding whether he had ever been a Communist. He claimed that HUAC had no authority to compel witnesses to testify.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of Maj. General Bennett Meyers for suborning perjury before the Senate Investigating Committee, regarding his work as the Army's war contracts procuring officer. He had been in jail since March, serving a sentence of 18 months to five years.

In Canton, O., the woman who the previous January had undergone what was deemed miraculous new surgery to repair a heart valve damaged by rheumatic fever, performed in Charleston, S.C., died at age 22, just ten days after the death of the surgeon, a professor at the Medical College of South Carolina, who performed the operation. He was afflicted with the same heart ailment. He had performed similar operations on six other patients, two of whom had since died, while the other four were doing well.

In Raleigh, the Advisory Budget Commission heard a recommendation by the State's Medical Care Commission that the State assume nearly all of the cost of building the four-year medical school teaching hospital at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

In Gastonia, a 21-year old paroled convict had engaged in a gun battle the previous day with 50 policemen, wounding four men, including two police officers and two onlookers. He was being held without bond, pending the outcome of the victims' injuries, some of which were deemed critical. The suspect said to a reporter that he did not recall what had happened during the two and a half hour gun battle. He claimed that a "goof ball", a pill stimulant, mixed with whiskey during a drinking bout had been the cause of the trouble.

An estimated crowd of 3,000 men, women, and children had gathered to observe the shootout at the home of the suspect's parents. Among the spectators was the suspect's father who prayed during the shootout. He said that his son had become angry when he would not allow him to borrow the family car the previous day, then obtained a gun, frightening the family.

Whether peanuts and popcorn were sold at the scene was not indicated.

Emery Wister of The News tells of Adele Mara, star of Republic Pictures, most notably "The Blue Lady", coming to town for the Christmas Festival on November 17. She would attend a high school football game, address a luncheon at the Hotel Charlotte, ride in a parade, and be the special guest of honor of the Charlotte Variety Club. She was recognized as one of Hollywood's principal pin-up girls. She had 36 bathing suits and had posed in each one, posing 2,400 hours for 5,000 leg art photos. She had also made 28 movies, taking 1,140 hours. She received 6,000 fan letters per week. Thousands of veterans knew her as "Miss Company B" or "Miss What We Fight For". But she said that she was done with cheesecake and wanted her fans now to know her by her face, not just as the "lassie with the classy chassis", as one sailor had described her. She had just completed "The Wake of the Red Witch", with John Wayne.

In San Francisco, a Powell Street bookstore offered for free a $2.50 book, How to Predict Elections.

That is not very far, incidentally, from where the Hungry i would be on Jackson Street.

The News tells of its new modern typeface being used to aid readability, including Metro Medium, Erbar, Memphis Medium, Karnak and Tempo, with Erbar Medium Condensed for headlines and Metro Light for picture captions, all typical of great metropolitan newspapers. Memphis Medium and Karnak would hold down the society pages. These types had replaced the Bodoni family type, who disappeared mysteriously in some concrete stories.

On the editorial page, "Davidson's Future at Stake" tells of inflation having hit the hardest those who could least afford it, such as the privately endowed colleges and universities of the country. Davidson College had never depended solely on tuition to pay for its operations. It could raise tuition to levels prohibiting attendance to all except the sons of the wealthy. But the Presbyterian Church and the Duke Endowment, as well as generous friends, had enabled it to sustain without doing so.

But with inflation having reduced its investments and costs running higher, it had resorted to a campaign to raise 2.5 million dollars for new facilities. It had made considerable improvements in the previous decade, including a new library, dormitory, and science building. The planned facilities, a new church, a new dormitory, student center, additional landscaping, and fine arts center would enhance the campus the more.

"In Our Finest Tradition" finds New York to have upheld the finest American tradition by welcoming a boatload of 813 displaced persons from Europe. When the passengers of the General William Black, an Army transport, heard the welcoming whistles, they became, according to the New York Times reporter on the scene, "a little tearful, very polite and quite stunned..."

They were welcomed warmly by Attorney General Tom Clark, Mayor William O'Dwyer and Cardinal Spellman.

Two of the immigrants, a Polish farmer and his young son, intended to settle in Kinston, N.C., where businessmen and farmers had promised jobs for 22 of the families, 150 people.

Demagogues, it says, had often made political capital by inflaming racial and religious prejudice against immigrants, in derogation of this finest of traditions in the country. They were deniers that the country was its brother's keeper and by so being could not help but kill something in the American spirit. When large numbers of Americans would begin to believe in such a notion, the country would begin to lose some of its greatness.

It might have added that no one but hard line Communists were considering building any wall around their country.

"Time Gallops Withal" quotes from Shakespeare's As You Like It, and proceeds to inform that the Naval Observatory had stated that the earth's rotation was about one twenty-millionth of a second faster in 1929 than in 1909, but in the previous twenty years had slowed down ever so slightly.

An engineer at G.E. had said that the frequency of radio waves, timed by the earth's slightly erratic rotation, could be in error by one one-millionth of a part.

The piece posits that the variation could account for missing trains or other tardiness.

"If we can't count on the spinning of this orb, on what can we count? Gad!"

It doesn't matter. Time, insofar as its supposed linearity as opposed to circularity, is an illusion created by man. Ask any animal of the forest.

A piece from the Baltimore Evening Sun, titled "Tax Prospects", tells of Congressman John Dingell of Michigan preparing to present in the new Congress in January a proposal for an excess profits tax, as urged by the President during the July special session as part of his 11-point legislative package.

The editorial suggests that it would not occur without a fight, as fiscally conservative Representative Robert Doughton of North Carolina would again be chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee and Senator Walter George of Georgia—one of those members of Congress whom FDR had sought to purge in 1938—would chair the Senate Finance Committee.

Drew Pearson relates of a conversation with his wife in which she chastised him for being too hard on Harry Truman during the campaign, saying that she loved "cute little Harry" and wanted Mr. Pearson to say the nice things he had to say about the President on the radio when they were censored from his column by the Republican editors.

Mr. Pearson, she reminded, was chairman of "Be Kind to Pussy Week" and she wanted him also to chair "Be Kind to Harry Week", with the slogan, "Don't Hamper Harry, Help Him".

Mr. Pearson had told her that he had predicted the Democratic Senate, had praised the President for many things, including the proposed mission to Moscow by Chief Justice Vinson, almost universally otherwise condemned, and his war record in World War I, his courage in dropping the atomic bombs on Japan to end the war, among other things.

Still, "Mrs. P" was not satisfied. And so he presents a letter of contrition to the President, saying that he would rather eat humble pie before him than anyone else and tells him that he truly now had a mandate from the people, no longer needed the glad-handers around him who were nowhere to be found when the chips were down. He encourages a cleansing of "Government-by-cronies". And, he vows to encourage the notion of a united nation pledging to "help Harry, not hamper him".

He then relates some campaign notes, that Henry Wallace had received the bulk of his 1.1 million votes in only eight states, regardless of his extensive touring of the country.

Among Cabinet members, only Attorney General Tom Clark, soon to be named to the Supreme Court upon the death the following summer of Justice Frank Murphy, along with Secretary of Agriculture Charles Brannan and Secretary of Labor Maurice Tobin, had actively campaigned for the President.

Once and now future Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn believed that the House might not tolerate Congressman J. Parnell Thomas much longer, even if he were to be acquitted of the charges of receiving salary kickbacks from bogus staff, a fraud against the Government—of which he would be convicted and sentenced to prison.

Mennen Williams had defeated Governor Kim Sigler in the gubernatorial race in Michigan. He believes that Mr. Williams, heir to the Williams and Mennen toiletries business and protege of Justice Murphy when he was Attorney General, would be a comer in Government.

He asserts that the shrewdest move made by the President during the campaign was to call the 80th Congress back into session in July after the conventions. When they did nothing on housing, inflation control, teacher pay and other such bread and butter issues, he won more votes than with any other single act.

Col. Jake Arvey, Democratic boss of Chicago and a vigorous opponent of Mr. Truman in 1944 for the vice-presidential nomination, arranged for the President the largest crowd of the entire campaign.

Marquis Childs tells of the opportunity of the President to bring in new personnel to the Administration, selected only for their merit. He had no political debts to fat cats, who had given their money to the Republicans. He owed his allegiance only to the farmers and labor.

Secretary of State Marshall, Secretary of Defense Forrestal and Undersecretary of State Robert Lovett had long indicated their desire to return to private life, and thus would likely resign. Others had remained out of a sense of loyalty to the President.

The President therefore could now obtain people of merit as replacements, as he could not a few months earlier because of the general belief that he could not win re-election and for concern of being raked over the coals by the GOP Congress. Now, the Congress was again Democratic and the confirmation process would go more smoothly.

The universities and several associations had good talent which was untapped. Such people would come to Washington out of a sense of service, not in search of the trappings of power.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of the President, since his re-election, having adopted a new, more self-assured demeanor, replacing his formerly humble approach to governance. He had often been strong on words and short on action. But the word circulating around the White House since the previous week was "mandate", and rightly so. And from that mandate, the President intended to push his agenda, including civil rights, repeal of Taft-Hartley, housing, education, and welfare legislation, as well as expansion of Social Security benefits.

The President was pledging to "do his damnedest" to get his legislative agenda passed and he likely would now be persistent and use the tools afforded by the Presidency to get things done, whereas in the past he had merely gone to Congress with a laundry list of legislative proposals and then not backed them up with action.

He would have ample support from within his party, even if Southerners would still oppose the domestic program, especially civil rights. From the South, only Senator Lister Hill of Alabama and newly elected Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee would be in his corner. Such Senate newcomers as Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota and Paul Douglas of Illinois would provide him strong liberal support. And progressive Republicans would likely also adapt their behavior to the election results.

While Senator Scott Lucas of Illinois would be nominally Majority Leader, the real task of organizing the floor would fall to Vice-President Barkley, who had been Majority Leader prior to the 80th Congress. The President had remained aloof from Senator Barkley since entering the office in 1945, but they had developed a strong bond during the campaign, and Vice-President Barkley would now be a dependable ally presiding over the Senate.

Nor would the President rely any longer on the sole guidance in foreign relations of the State and Defense Departments, as during the first three and a half years. He had only ventured out on his own regarding foreign policy with respect to Palestine and in the withdrawn recent Moscow mission proposed for Chief Justice Fred Vinson.

James Marlow tells the 48 million eligible voters of the country who had not voted the previous Tuesday that they had allowed a relatively small minority of the population, 24.2 million in the case of the presidential majority, to select the Government for them.

He notes that if Henry Wallace had received a scattered 100,000 more votes than his 1.1 million total, he might have thrown the election in some close states to Governor Dewey and given the latter the presidency.

California, with 25 electoral votes, was determined by a mere 18,000 votes for the President, and Illinois, with 28 electoral votes, had gone to the President by a majority of only 33,000. Had those two states instead gone to Governor Dewey, the election would have been thrown into the House for determination as neither candidate would have achieved the requisite 266 electoral votes, Mr. Truman having garnered 304 votes (less one in the final tally) to Mr. Dewey's 189. Adding Ohio's 25 electoral votes, decided for the President by just 7,000 votes, to a switched column, and the scenario posited by Mr. Marlow is complete by a single electoral vote to Governor Dewey, even though the latter would have still lost the popular vote by nearly two million.

Mr. Wallace, he notes, was not on the ballot in Ohio, and if he had been, that state's results might have been different.

And he reminds that in such a scenario, the wishes of 72 million people would have gone aglimmering, trumped by the stated wishes of only 22 million, those who voted for Mr. Dewey.

Samuel Grafton, no longer carried by The News, suggests that the recent defeat by the Chinese Communists of Chiang Kai-Shek's forces had punched holes in the notion that it was fine to back anti-Communists even if they were reactionaries. The problem was that reactionaries lost. Even if the country did not care if such a Government was by reactionaries, those on the ground who were fighting the battles in their own lands did.

It might be difficult for Americans to face, but they would have to realize the deep-seated prejudice held everywhere in favor of decent government. The Russians understood this principle and sold "the new democracy", which, while perhaps cynical, was at least not selling the likes of Chiang. It did matter what kind of government existed in the foreign lands which the U.S. was supporting. The country did not have unlimited manpower and resources to waste on unpopular, repressive regimes.

The country could not prop up a reactionary indefinitely by throwing money at him. That was not a bad discovery for the country to make. The converse would not have been such a good discovery.

A short piece from the Wall Street Journal, titled "Taft to the Fore Again", suggests that Senator Robert Taft, with the defeat of Governor Dewey, was again in the forefront of the Republican Party, as he did not share the blame for the defeat as had Governor Earl Warren, as the vice-presidential candidate, and stump surrogate Harold Stassen.

If the country were to swing left with the President, as some observers contended it would, then the Republicans would likely turn to either Mr. Stassen or Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., in 1952.

A letter writer opines that the reason the polls and political pundits were so off the mark on the election was that they had underestimated the intelligence of the American people, able to reach decisions unaided by propaganda and campaign rhetoric. The voters had voted for the President based on evidence, not promises. She favors now supporting him in his increased stature. She also suggests stopping the smear tactics undertaken by some of Mr. Dewey's supporters, as they had obviously failed.

She slightly overestimates, incidentally, the President's majority, in saying that his 24.2 million votes were more than the other three candidates combined. Based on final counts, Mr. Dewey received not quite 22 million votes and Messrs. Thurmond and Wallace received 1.1 million each. So, the President's majority was about equal to the votes of the other three. About half the electorate therefore were not misunderestimated.

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