The Charlotte News

Tuesday, September 3, 1940


Site Ed. Note: It's back to silver standards and...back to when the poor were poor and rich were rich...

And President of the United States of Love...

Last night, we were watching the Republican convention. We heard former Senator Fred Thompson say that Senator Obama was the most liberal, least experienced person ever to be nominated for the presidency. Upon momentary reflection, we had to disagree. We need not search far into the history books for obscure figures to refute it.

Three, two of whom were Republicans, immediately come to mind:

1) Horace Greeley, for instance, one of the founders of the Republican Party, an early abolitionist editor who founded the New York Tribune, probably the leading newspaper of the mid-nineteenth century, was a noted liberal, often accused of being a radical. He was a proponent in 1862, for instance, of the Emancipation Proclamation, urging, from within the columns of his newspaper, Lincoln to issue it. A few months later, Lincoln did. Greeley, an early and consistent supporter of Lincoln, disliked the grip, however, on the Republican Party which the patronage and spoils system had acquired by the end of the first term of Ulysses Grant, and so threw his hat in the ring in 1872, was nominated as both a Liberal Republican and Democrat, attracting both Republican and Democratic support to his cause of clean government. He lost badly, however, 56% to 44%, to Grant in the general election and died a few weeks later. His only government service prior to that campaign was four months in Congress in 1847-48.

But, of course, since his presidency never came to be, we don't know whether he would have cleaned up the graft and corruption besetting the Grant years. We therefore set him aside.

2) Abraham Lincoln, however, did become President. Prior to being nominated by the Republican Party in 1860, he had served but one term in Congress and seven years in the Illinois Legislature--Illinois being the same state, you will note, from which Senator Obama comes and havng the same Legislature in which Senator Obama served for eight years. Mr. Lincoln was also a lawyer in Springfield, you will likewise recall. He ran for the Senate unsuccessfully against Stephen Douglas in 1858, prompting, however, the Great Debates which still ring throughout the land as symbolic of the early and continued tension besetting the country since its founding: freedom under the Constitution versus slavery through semantic chicanery applied to that same document to limit the plain words of the English language.

3) And, of course, Franklin Roosevelt, as we have just mentioned a couple of days ago in regard to his vice-presidential nomination in 1920, was, when nominated to run for the presidency by the Democrats in 1932, a one-term Governor of New York since 1929, a term served not in time of war but in time of depression. He had been before that a one-term state senator for two years and for eight years Assistant Secretary of the Navy during World War I.

Both Lincoln and Roosevelt are usually considered to have been pretty fair presidents. But fairness is always in the eye of the beholder. We ourselves consider both to have been representative of what has preserved the country so far for over two hundred years--embodiments of the spirit of fair play and democracy, of union under a Constitution. Neither were perfect; both were mortal men, replete with the flaws of mortal men. But, they executed their great responsibilities faithfully in accordance with the Constitution and each preserved in his own time the nation from destruction, both from within and without.

We might also note, in further refutation of the notion of lack of experience, that there is a catch in it, which is unexpressed: that is that no African-American save one, Edward Brooke of Massachusetts who served from 1967 until 1979, had ever served in the United States Senate since Reconstruction prior to the election of Carol Moseley Braun, also from Illinois, in 1992, the first and only African-American woman ever to have done so. Senator Obama is only the third African-American since Reconstruction to have so served his country in the Senate. Only 97 African-Americans have served in the House since Reconstructon.

Since Reconstruction, only two African-Americans have been elected as Governor of a state, Douglas Wilder of Virgina, elected in 1990, and Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, in 2006. New York's present Governor, David Paterson, is African-American, but of course he acceded to the position from the post of Lieutenant Governor upon the resignation earlier this year of Eliot Spitzer amid the call-girl scandal.

We mention that exiguity because the Republicans' continual harping on lack of experience might be interpreted as having a racial component, a euphemism, with a wink and nod, for White Only in the White House. We don't accuse all of those who preach this Republican mantra this time consciously of practicing racism in so doing, but the effect is just that, isn't it?

For if we discount life experience generally, and discount the history of discrimination in this country, discount overall personal qualifications for the position of President, uppermost of which are character, intelligence, and ability to relate to the American people, and suggest that the 47-year old Senator Obama, four years older than John F. Kennedy when he ran for the office in 1960, is just a "bright young man with a promising future" as Senator Lieberman, the new-found friend of the Republican Party, (formerly known to the Republicans as LIE-berman in the year 2000, in case some Republicans don't recognize the name), described him last night in his Zell Miller moment before the Republican convention, then the glass ceiling of which the woman now being selected as the vice-presidential nominee of the Republicans talked a few days ago, would be fairly intractably resistant for some time to come to any African-American seeking one of the top two positions in the Executive Branch: that being so if he must first prove his road-worthiness of several years experience in some governorship, or what have you, to be acceptable in such an office, at least acceptable to Republicans.

But again, just as with Senator Thompson, we do not mean to imply for a moment that Senator Lieberman is a racist. He participated in the Freedom Rides in the South of the early sixties, and against the threat of very real brickbats and torches, and thus no one could accuse him of being a racist.

But we do accuse both gentlemen of unthinking remarks last night, not fully taking into account the racial insensitivity of these remarks when "lack of experience" suitable to the office of President could quite easily be interpreted as more of the same thing we heard as a country from sure-enough racists, as well as from many moderates, across the country in the 1950's and 1960's, with regard to integration of public schools: Not now. Wait, with all deliberate speed. We'll get there. Just not yet.

So also could one interpret Senator Lieberman's remark suggesting that this was no ordinary election and implying that somehow the fate of the world hung in the balance when he, himself, indicated that the troops were on the way home with honor from Iraq after the "surge" proved successful, the surge which Senator McCain supported. (Somehow we missed all of that news and have heard only of a tentative, very tentative, scheduling for pull-outs from the countryside of Iraq by next April, and the full pull-out from the cities by 2010, (or is it 2011? 12? 13?), all contingent upon how well things go. In other words, Senator Lieberman's remarks suggest another expression of "Mission Accomplished" without much accomplishment to show for it other than saving face for a crippled and pathetic war. We agree, however, that the fate of the world may well be in the balance insofar as global warming issues are concerned.)

Regardless, at least Senator Lieberman did not resort to spitball comments. He did, however, to our astonishment, obtain the smiling applause of the entire Republican Convention for President Clinton's tenure in office. That's a switch worth noting. The Republicans now like Bill Clinton. We suppose, therefore, if Senator Lieberman had sought their applause for Jane Fonda as an outstanding patriot-actress, he would have gotten that, too. The hall seemed rather willing to applaud about anything as long as it sounded good and came from within that hall. "U.S.A!, U.S.A!"

"Country First" is their theme this time. It is a phrase eerily reminiscent of "America First", the name of the group which under the leadership of Charles Lindbergh, Father Coughlin and Senators Wheeler, Nye, Reynolds, Borah, and a few others, led rallies throughout the country in 1940-41 and nearly crippled the ability of the British to stand up to the onslaught of the Nazis in the Battle of Britain which was now beginning in this very period of September, 1940. But banish the thought that a Party such as this which advocates "Country First" and, by implication therefore we presume, "God second, and the rest of the world can go hang, you suckers who thought we were the Party of God and Country and Family Values", would ever so stoop, with its obvious penchant for finding a war where there was none, inventing weapons of mass destruction which did not exist, and generally inducing as much paranoia in the land as possible to insure that they may stay in power by scaring uninformed minds to cower before them--which they continue still to do unabashedly, quite inconsistent with their rhetoric otherwise claiming a successful result in Iraq.

Oh well. Senator Lieberman seemed to have entranced them. Who knows? Maybe, after eight years of lies from within their own party they no longer view him, all things being relative, as LIE-berman.

Oh, we know, he's a friend of John McCain (an FM) and was just doing his old friend a favor. That's okay.

But we do suggest strongly to the Republicans that they rethink this rhetoric on "lack of experience" of Senator Obama, lest it backfire by November, as more people begin to catch on to the notion that the Republican Party remains the Republican Party, and that it is highly unlikely that Senator McCain or any other individual politician can do much about it anytime soon, regardless of experience.

Are You Experienced?

It will likely take some further decades of adjustment. For it is a Party which has attracted to itself virtually every nutball in the country since 1964. And, it gets worse with age, not better. Until the Party chieftains decide not to appeal cheaply for votes to these nutballs, it will not change its constituency. The selection as vice-presidential nominee the grossly unqualified Sarah Palin--unqualified by her out-of-step, anachronistic views, not so much by her lack of experience, even if that too is grossly deficient--to run with the oldest man in history ever to seek the office of the presidency, suggests this very cheap trolling for votes among the dim-witted who cannot see beyond their own emotions. Country First.

The following colloquy came to us two years ago and we stuck it in the can and held onto it rather than post it or the below pieces then dictated, per our usual habit when we draft it. We didn't think it quite made the grade then and so left it out. Sometimes, however, things improve some with age. Whether this one did or not is up to the reader. But the fact that two years later we are still involved in some of the same issues and arguments with regard to Iraq might give it some quality acquired from the oaken cask of time which it didn't have two years ago. So, even if sounding a bit out of date at first, think on it a little and it still connotes the same old rut into which we have been driven by seven years of doing nothing but waging a war with no end, accomplishing little, while ignoring, insofar as any cohesive policy, with the same resolve behind it with which the war has been insistently and daily waged, the domestically soluble killer driving the engine of war in the first place--that is, anent that, see the little piece from the Richmond County Journal, to the right of the editorial column, echoing almost verbatim a sentiment often expressed by The News. No, we do not refer to gas trucks per se, whether off the Wadesboro Road near the Pee Dee or elsewhere; rather, their contents, the issue of the dangerous trucks being one loaded now with more metaphor than practical danger. Anyway, you can row on up the river there and think about it some. Just remember in so doing that the San Francisco Bay connects with the Pee Dee River and all of its tributaries, from the Lumber to the Yadkin--and then you're on your way to understanding that it is never just a matter of "Country First".

So, for what you paid for it:

"Whatcha think about that ol' Kerry feller accusin' the troops of bein' dummies and slackers?"

"Auh, now, don't think he meant that."

"Well just what in hell do you think he meant then, feller? You some kinda liberal?"

"Now look, let's examine the language some. 'Get stuck' is the operative phrase, Mr. Barber,--or should I just call you 'Caddy'? --Do we have discord on that preliminary point?"

"Not at all. I concur. 'Caddy' to you, please. Just don't call me 'Escalade' like that last feller who was in here. Hate that. Just hate it. Coupe de Ville, okay, but not Escalade. No tradition there."

"Thank you. Alright, let's look at that phrase then. Where's your dictionary, Cad?"

"Dictionary? When the new shampoo machine was put in over in the corner there three years ago, they threw out the Funk & Wagnalls."

"Oh, for pity's sake, I've one in my pocket. Small, but it'll suffice for this one point.

"Alright, here we are. Can you read that?"




TRANSITIVE VERB: 1. To pierce, puncture, or penetrate with a pointed instrument. 2. To kill by piercing. 3. To thrust or push (a pointed instrument) into or through another object. 4. To fasten into place by forcing an end or point into something: stick a hook on the wall. 5. To fasten or attach with or as if with pins, nails, or similar devices. 6. To fasten or attach with an adhesive material, such as glue or tape. 7. To cover or decorate with objects piercing the surface. 8. To fix, impale, or transfix on a pointed object: stick an olive on a toothpick. 9. To put, thrust, or push: stuck a flower in his buttonhole. 10. To detain or delay. 11. Inflected forms: past tense and past participle sticked. To prop (a plant) with sticks or brush on which to grow. 12. Inflected forms: past tense and past participle sticked
Printing To set (type) in a composing stick. 13. Informal To confuse, baffle, or puzzle: Sometimes even simple questions stick me. 14. To cover or smear with something sticky. 15. Informal To put blame or responsibility on; burden: stuck me with the bill. 16. Slang To defraud or cheat: The dealer stuck me with shoddy merchandise.

INTRANSITIVE VERB: 1. To be or become fixed or embedded in place by having the point thrust in. 2. To become or remain attached or in close association by or as if by adhesion; cling: stick together in a crowd. 3a. To remain firm, determined, or resolute: stuck to basic principles. b. To remain loyal or faithful: stuck by her through hard times. c. To persist or endure: a bad name that has stuck. 4. To scruple or hesitate: She sticks at nothing--no matter how difficult. 5. To become fixed, blocked, checked, or obstructed: The drawer stuck and would not open. 6. To project or protrude: hair sticking out on his head. 7. Sports To throw a jab in boxing.

"So, you see immediately the issue?"

"Why, I most certainly do, certainly I do. The issue is that when the mud flies, she sticks in place, especially if you are embedded in Iraq."

"No, no, no, no. You're missing the point entirely, Cad. The point is that there is no such proper usage of 'stuck' as to convey 'sticking' someone in some country like that, like Iraq. That's the nonce usage, but not proper English. The proper usage could convey in this context one and only one meaning: stuck, as in the mud. The Senator is a Yale man, Caddy, and so could have only meant one thing: as he said, that his fellow Skuller got us stuck over there in Iraq after not sticking enough to his studies of the issues before sticking us in there. Now, do you understand?"

"Can't say. I really cannot say. I believe we're stuck on a point--and you have a hair sticking out of your head right there. Got ye, you good for nothin'..."

"Ouch, watch the durned scissors on the ear, Cad. That was deliberate."


A Note Inspired by a Convention in the City

What do barbers talk about at their conventions? We don't know, though probably the reporters do. Anyhow, the odds are 100 to 1 that it is more interesting than you hear at most conventions.

The barber is a pleasant fellow whose reputation for agreeable chit-chat is not recently come by but which stretches all the way back to classical literature. There has been a lot said about his talkativeness, and some people have even insinuated that he talks too much. But that is mainly a libel. We have, indeed, encountered a few barbers who kept on talking when we didn't want to talk. But the percentage of such pests among barbers is probably smaller than among other groups.

The barber by and large is simply a polite fellow who believes that the dull business of having your whiskers cut can be made more agreeable by casual and pleasant words. And he is entirely right. We can think of nothing better calculated to upset us than having a glum and silent fellow with a razor at our throat. One would inevitably take to recalling all the gruesome tales of sudden murder one had heard and to wondering what was going on in that gloomy head, might well have to be taken out of the place in a strait-jacket and deposited in the booby-hatch.

We like the barber and his bright gossip. The world is a more pleasing place for it.

Site Ed. Note: For more on barbers, read this note. Cash received a pleasing haircut, fashioned in the form of a widow's peak, at the Reforma Hotel in Mexico City in the latter days of his life, in June, 1941.

Powder Keg

Rumanian Uprising May Mean Big Trouble for Nazis

The Nazis have good reason to be angry about the popular uproar in Rumania.

For one thing it plainly testifies that the belief in the irresistibility of the Nazis is waning among the people of the Balkan lands. That has already been testified to by the stiff-necked resistance of Greece to efforts to make her throw over the English protection.

The Nazis cannot afford to have that idea getting established. It might spread to France, Belgium, Holland, Norway, Poland and Czechoslovakia. And concerted disorders in these lands would probably seal the doom of German hopes in short order.

But what is more immediately important is that the disorders in Rumania may force the Nazis to invade and occupy the whole country--what they now threaten. That is last thing they want for the present. They do not want to extend their lines further. But far more important than that is the fact that Russia might not tolerate the advance, would almost certainly not tolerate it.

For the possession of Rumania would place Germany on the Black Sea, between Russia and the Dardanelles. And if Germany ever gets there and makes good her hold, the Dardanelles will be Germany's in record time.

War with Russia is of course just the thing Germany wants most to avoid now. Nevertheless, if the Rumanian authorities cannot halt the popular uprising, the Nazis may have to act in order to safeguard both their prestige and their oil supply. And what will Russia do then?


For His Death, Regret, but For His Record, No Tolerance

Nullis mortuis nisi bonum, runs the old injunction. And far be it from us to speak ill of Senator Lundeen of Minnesota now that the poor fellow has met with sudden and awful death.

At the same time, his Congressional career lives after him, and the inconsistency upon which it ended should be all the more striking to his colleagues because of the tragic circumstance which throws it into relief.

For Senator Lundeen, according to the lights of the people, was first and last an obstructionist. Without calling his patriotism into account, it may be fairly said that his noticeable pro-German attitude in the pre-World War House had a sequel in his attitude in the Senate of the 76th Congress.

Since Hitler appeared, he had steadily defended him, not so much directly as by cooking up schemes which would certainly have landed us in bitter dispute, and maybe a state of hostility, with the Allies.

He had voted against virtually every defense measure offered in that Congress. Only last Friday, day before his death, he cast the sole vote in the Senate against the new national defense appropriation bill.

His explanation of that vote was not in accord with his record. He laid it to convictions of economy, whereas he was not an economy man at all.

Apart from national defense, the 76th Congress took up sixteen principal bills or amendments which had to do with spending less or spending more. On every last one of these measures to increase spending, the late Senator Lundeen voted yea. On every last one to reduce spending he voted nay.

For Lundeen the man, we have only a feeling of sadness and the wish that he may rest in peace. For the record of Lundeen the Senator, it would be insincere to affect the slightest approval.

No. 1 Debate*

Mr. Willkie Would've Liked To Be at Chicamauga Monday

Chicamauga would have been the perfect place for the President and Mr. Willkie to have held one of those joint debates that the Republican nominee has been teasing for. In the Tennessee Valley Authority lies the perfect illustration of the difference in their conceptions of this democratic Government's proper function.

Mr. Roosevelt had yesterday at Chicamauga all to himself, and relished it. This was precisely the occasion he adores--of playing Lord Bountiful and dedicating a great public work that the poor unrecognized taxpayers have stood security for. No matter the hundreds of millions of borrowed money that went into it, no matter the juggling of cost figures that Government engineers had to practice to make it look feasible as a business project, even on paper.

The mere sight of the vast TVA undertaking set the President to rhapsodizing, and undoubtedly, in all sincerity, he could--

"... glory in it as one of the great social and economic achievements of our time."

Mr. Willkie could have piled into him on the strength of that statement. For Mr. Willkie has a pretty clear idea of what the power-producing facilities of TVA ought to have cost without the device of charging up so inordinate a percentage of the total to flood control and navigation.

And Mr. Willkie knows how the Government, not content with using the taxpayers' money to drive power companies out of business, actually handed out emergency relief finds (PWA) to municipalities to inveigle them into building their own distribution systems and thus complete the rout of private enterprise in that phase over the whole TVA area.

So Mr. Willkie had to sell out to the Government--"no one can compete with that kind of competition"--and Tennessee Electric Power Company--"it was a good company and never had any trouble with its customers, and it had a real future in the development of Tennessee"--became a part of TVA, a Federal corporation.

And as Mr. Willkie sees TVA, it is not, as in the happy Roosevelt view, "one of the great social and economic achievements of our time," but a token of the displacement of "a free private enterprise in favor of a business managed by bureaus in Washington."

That is an essential difference between the two candidates, and one which the people must take into consideration in making their choice.

The Champ*

A Celebrated Gentleman And His New Rival

The man with the obvious hangover was quite positive about it.

"The devil," he said with conviction, "is going to get that Hitler one of these days."

But the man with a glass of wine only grinned.

"Naw," he said, "the devil wouldn't think of it. He'd be afraid. He knows when he's beat at his game. That fellow Hitler would take over hell ten minutes after he moved in!"

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