Tuesday, October 2, 1928

Shelby, N.C.

C. J. Mabry .. President

J. Nelson Callahan .. Business Manager

W. J. Cash .. Managing Editor

Subscription .. $2.00 Per Year

Site Editor's Note: For a look at all the major Democratic Party players in the 1928 election, see Time article of April 30, 1928.

Mr. Work was inclined to defend the indefensible Virginia Committeewoman until he heard that Mr. Hoover had repudiated her. Then Dr. Work waxed morally indignant that anybody should even consider anti-Catholicism an issue.

Dr. Work says he hasn't been reading Mrs. Willebrandt's Snappy Stories. Franklin Roosevelt says that Al didn't raise the Prohibition issue. They hanged the gentleman in the Bible for talking like that.


The New York Times nominates these two and Chairman Newton, of the Republican Speakers' Committee, whose claim to immortality rests on the assertion that some of Mrs. Willebrandt's speeches are official and some ain't, for "The Woodcock Arousers Club" as founded by the redoubtable Munchausen. Out of respect for the honored baron, we roll out the fur-lined blackball.

* * * * * *

Last week Republicans of Buncombe County held a rally. A Methodist preacher opened the session with a prayer after this manner: "Oh Lord, we ask Thee to give victory to our candidates. We know they are Protestants, Oh Lord, and deserve Thy support." The chairman of the Buncombe County Republican Committee did not rebuke that spirit--not he--but was moved to applaud with much enthusiasm.

We heard that it is said that the religious issue is one which Al Smith has deliberately raised as a smoke screen. We heard that the Republicans had nothing to do with it. Turn back and read.

* * * * * *

Some readers deny our independence simply because we hold and say that Max Gardner will make a better Governor than Herbert Seawell, that the election of Governor Smith is highly desirable.

The idea seems to be that we ought to straddle the fence or come out for Republican candidates. We beg leave to disagree. An independent, we submit, is not properly a jelly-fish. Nor is he, ipso facto, a Republican. To begin without bias, to discover the facts to weight, to decide, to take a stand--that is independence. We have sought, at least, to follow that course.

Reasons for a stand are explicit enough. Gardner, we think, has the equipment, the training, to make a good Governor.

Candidate Smith has had eight years in governing the greatest State, one-tenth of the population of the nation. Against that candidate Hoover can muster eight years as chief of a bureau, a department, which deals almost exclusively with Big Business.

Candidate Smith sees Government in terms of humanity. We agree. Candidate Hoover sees it as a matter of economics. We disagree.

Candidate Smith is a Liberal. We take Mr. Roosevelt, who a few years ago was warning people that the power trust must not be allowed to rob them of water power resources, as the best example of a Liberal the Republicans have produced. We find candidate Hoover on the other side. We find him training with the Reactionary Coolidge crowd. We therefore assume that he, too, has descended from his estate of 1920 to that of Reactionary. We haven't the slightest fear that, if he is elected, his Administration will be marred by such scoundrelly proceedings as marked that of Harding. Nevertheless, we considered it a dangerous precedent to allow the party which produced the thieving Fall and the silent Mellon to go unpunished. And we consider Plutocracy, next to Theocracy, the most offensive form of government.

Candidate Smith is explicit on liquor, whether his solution of the intolerable conditions brought about by the Prohibition laws and the breakdown of enforcement is best or not remains to be seen. The essential thing is that he tears away the mask of hypocrisy, hates the pussyfooting, which has so long disgraced the land. If he is President, Congress cannot escape consideration of the question. If candidate Hoover becomes President and Mellon remains Secretary of the Treasury, as he is commonly expected to do, there's no reason to suppose that he would change the present system. It is time, we think, that the nation left off playing the ostrich of legend.

Finally there is the question of religion which has thrust itself into politics. The man who fashioned the First Amendment meant to rule religion completely out of politics is obvious to anyone who has a reasonable knowledge of their beliefs. To bring it in is to flout the whole spirit of the Constitution. We emphatically object to a Catholic Government. There is no danger of that, as every man informed in history and the present status of the Vatican is well aware. We as emphatically object to a Protestant Government. There is danger of that. The Cannons, the Mousons, the Bargains, the Anti-Saloon Leagues deliberately aim at that. We insist that this ought to be a Free Government which takes no account of any religion save to see that all flourish without penalty.

Mr. Hoover probably had nothing to do with making this issue.

How much the Republican Party had do with it is an open question. Certainly the Willebrandt person was fostered by it. Certainly, State bureaus of the party have promoted the prejudice. Probably, a greater part of the blame lies upon certain organizations, which have allied themselves with the Republican party. It would be nonsense to suggest that only intolerant people would vote for Mr. Hoover. Yet--such is the unfortunate state of affairs--every such vote is one for setting up the precedent that a Catholic may not be President of the United States.

Therefore, our stand. Without apologies.

* * * * * *

Two distinguished European men of letters, Andre Maurois and Emil Ludwig, have lately astonished readers of magazines with their opinion on America, following a visit to the fabulous land of European dreams and execration. Both men have been extremely favorably impressed. One wonders if the same would have been true if both men had not produced books that became best sellers in the United States. M. Maurois is so excessive in his praise of America that it sounds at times like bland flattery. In Die Weltbuenne of Berlin, Emil Ludwig answers an imaginary acquaintance who questions him on his impressions. "And you mean to tell me," so says the acquaintance at one point, "that there are no dissatisfied and discontent people in America?" "That would indeed be terrible," replies Herr Ludwig, "if there were no dissatisfaction, there would be little incentive to that remarkable state of mind that never leaves well enough alone. How is it that you expect a paradise in a land that simply has more means and fewer people than we?" I mean what can he say in Europe in criticism of America, considering that we could not prevent our utter ruination a few years ago? In spite of its contradictions, America offers us still the spectacle of oneness, wealth and intelligence. In everyday life most of the criticism of America would simply be classified as jealousy. "Do not think," says Dr. Ludwig elsewhere, "that America does not occupy itself with anything but chasing dollars. The big fortunes were not gathered in any more Christian manner than with us, but neither in a more brutal manner. Thirst for money in America is no bigger than in Germany, but generosity is."

* * * * * *

Mr. Hoover repudiates religious intolerance, declares that he wants the vote of no bigot. It comes late. Two months ago--and it might have become one of the priceless traditions of all that is truly American. Now, on November 6, Mr. Hoover will receive, whether he wishes it or not, the vote of every man who, in these two months, has read such lie-freighted sheets as the Fellowship Forum--and believed.

Now, Mr. Hoover's stand is susceptible of political interpretation. For it is true beyond cavil that the anti-Catholic program has been literally driving thousands of intelligent Protestant Republicans to the Smith banner. Nor does Mr. Hoover go far enough. He does not repudiate the Willebrandt, the Ohio Methodist Conference, the Cannons, Mouzons and Bartons.

Puny rhetoric is a weakness of the man. Either he is not master of words or he elects the Coolidge Cross Word Puzzle School. That was the fault with his declaration for intolerance in his acceptance speech. Nevertheless, much credit is due him for even that rickety performance.

These are the externals. Judgment must be conditional since we cannot know his motive.

Nevertheless, in the face of much damning evidence, our private reaction is that Mr. Hoover's statement is thoroughly honest. We suspect also that such a statement would have been forthcoming long before had it not been for the advice of such gentry as Fess and Moses--men honorable enough in private life--who carry complete cynicism into politics. Such men, not the Hoovers, are responsible for such phenomena as the "Ohio Gang." We honor Mr. Hoover for the stand. We question that his party is so blameless as himself. We doubt that Mr. Hoover can call a halt to intolerance now. For, as we see it, the dragon's teeth are at harvest.

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