The Charlotte News

Thursday, November 7, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President had stated categorically through White House officials that he would not even deign to consider Democratic Senator William Fulbright's suggestion that he appoint a Republican Secretary of State and then resign so that the Secretary could then succeed him as President. The President also rebuffed the suggestion of two Congressmen that he call a lameduck session of Congress as it would serve no purpose, the Congress having failed to enact his reconversion program the previous spring.

The President returned from Missouri with a cold and would not hold a press conference before the following week.

Privately, it was intimated that the words of the President, while not repeatable verbatim, were that he would leave the first presidential resignation to one of the new freshmen Republicans coming into Congress, that they had campaigned so vigorously on such reprehensibly false issues, as branding all Democrats Reds, that one was bound someday to become President and then get himself into a pile of trouble, having become inured to the sewer as a way of life, that the flood of mud was so thickened that the dam mill house was bound to give way somewhere along the line. At least that was what they thought he said. His head cold made it somewhat difficult to understand the chief executive.

Republicans, elated over their wresting control of Congress from the Democrats for the first time since 1931, began mapping their legislative plan for the 80th Congress. Representative Harold Knutson of Minnesota, slated to become chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, proposed legislation to slash income taxes by 20 percent. Also to be considered quickly by the new Congress would be whether to scrap remaining price controls and end the life of OPA and the means by which the budget would be balanced, if not the means, the way. Which is no doubt why, if there was going to be a 20 percent tax cut, they were going to open every session with a prayer.

Two House races remained up in the air. The Republicans now controlled 246 seats, Democrats, 186, and American-Labor, one, a net loss of 49 seats for the Democrats.

Representative Bob Doughton of North Carolina, outgoing Ways and Means chairman, celebrating his 83rd birthday, said he was neither bitter nor surprised at his party's loss of control. He had no feeling about losing the chairmanship as he was confident of maintaining a major role in the committee as the ranking minority member.

Two Senate races, in West Virginia and Maryland, remained undecided. The Maryland race was led by Democratic Governor Herbert O'Conor, but by less than 1,900 votes with eight critical precincts still to be tallied. Senator Dennis Chavez of New Mexico had finally won his race for re-election, bringing the number of Democrats in the new Senate to at least 43, a net loss of thirteen seats.

The big city machines in Kansas City, Chicago, Jersey City, and New York, respectively, Pendergast, Kelly, Hague and Tammany, all took major hits in the election. Only Boss Ed Crump in Memphis was able to come out of it with victories, a Democratic Senator and Governor. Mr. Crump declared that it would be foolish for President Truman to seek re-election and that the Republicans would likely elect the next President in 1948—and, of course, they would, in Chicago.

The GOP hoped to be able to end Mayor Ed Kelly's reign in Chicago in the spring election there. He had suffered four Democratic Congressional losses in Cook County and lost the major county contests as well. In New York, five of six picked up Republican seats came from New York City. In Missouri, the Pendergast machine failed to achieve a victory for either Senator Frank Briggs or the President's personally backed Congressional candidate, Enos Axtell. In Jersey City, Boss Frank Hague suffered his worst setback in twenty years, losing control of the governor's office. Philadelphia also gave up six Democratic seats of the nine lost in Pennsylvania.

From Jerusalem, it was reported that a land mine exploded beneath a train bound for Haifa, derailing three coaches and killing three British soldiers. It was the fourth incident of violence directed at trains in Palestine in ten days.

The price of cotton dropped the $10 per bale limit in New York for the second straight day.

In Charlotte, a member of the County Board of Commissioners spoke in favor of consolidation of the City and County Governments, to eliminate duplication of services and improve efficiency.

Dick Young reports on the inequities of municipal business taxes, limited or exempted by state law. Sandwich shops could be charged but $2.50 per annum to do business, while radio dealers could not be charged more than $5. All professions were exempted along with a plethora of other occupations, leaving the remainder to bear the brunt of the revenue raising.

In Hilversum, Holland, musicians of the Hilversum Radio Orchestra struck because of the dismissal of three conductors, based on their not having delivered "something new" to listeners.

On the editorial page, "Opportunity—and Responsibility" comments on the victory for the GOP being one for conservativism and dismay for liberals and Democrats. Herbert Hoover had said, "The people have chosen the road that leads to the right."


The public could look forward to two years of rancor in which each party would be seeking to hamper the other, both with an eye on 1948.

Yet, says the editorial, it still appeared that it would be salutary to have the GOP now faced with the responsibility of leading rather than simply criticizing the Democrats. The campaign had insulted the country's intelligence for its vapidity, especially among Republican candidates, charging the opponents with Communism as the Democrats cried "Blind Reaction". Underneath the vitriol lay the pertinent issue: Big Government versus Laissez-Faire.

The New Deal had met each crisis in ad hoc manner, never cohesively, but also was not socialist, collectivist, or communist, as its opponents had charged. The intent had been to control free enterprise, not destroy it, and the editorial believes that FDR would be written up historically as a great conservative. The people supported the program until the death of Mr. Roosevelt, then no longer placed confidence in it under the leadership of Mr. Truman. The election had signaled the final death knell to the New Deal.

The Republicans now wanted to take the country in an entirely different direction, without a controlled economy. The piece believes that eventually, the Republicans would find the going in that direction too tough and have to exert some measure of control. But, nevertheless, for the moment, the mood of the country was plainly desirous of that course, even if most Americans were voting against the Truman Administration rather than for Republicans. Similarly, FDR had received his initial mandate in 1932 in reaction to Republican rule and laissez-faire for twelve years, leading to depression.

There was room for two competing theories of government in the country, but if the Republicans used the opportunity to try to turn back the clock, they would soon destroy themselves. If they sought to preserve capitalism with positive action in a world hostile to it, they might achieve their campaign promises.

"A Cure for Schizophrenia" supports Senator William Fulbright's proposal for an amendment to the Constitution permitting Congress to call for a special election whenever a midterm election produced a majority of Congress of a different party from that of the President.

It finds the suggestion that President Truman resign, while not illogical, certainly not practical or conceivable. But the fact was that in the 27 times the condition of split government had taken place during the country's history, there had been often disastrous results in consequence, the most recent being the last two years of the Wilson Administration and the last two years of the Hoover Administration.

So, it suggests that Senator Fulbright's proposal ought be adopted.

It, of course, never was. And it is highly doubtful, upon reflection more than in any given moment, that either major party would ever actually desire such a thing, as it would cut both ways and render the American system a cripple, subjecting the President essentially to recall every two years, and leading finally to a stalemated system virtually all the time.

Mr. Fulbright, normally astute, on this one may have, himself, become a little schizophrenic and spoken from frustration before adequate cogitation.

"Life in a Political Bag" suggests that whether right or wrong, America, en masse, in every region save the South, had risen up on its hind legs and expressed dissatisfaction with the direction of the country, throwing the rascals out. Yet, the South maintained its one-party discipline, despite its having registered disapproval with the Administration a year before the election by siding with the Republicans on nearly every major domestic issue.

It suggests that rather than shifting principles within a single party, it would be better to have viable Republican candidates in the South. It produced such anomalies as Robert Doughton, who had voted against the Truman Administration, appearing in ads flanked by pictures of Woodrow Wilson and FDR, of Senator Clyde Hoey, likewise with an anti-Administration record, committing to party loyalty in October.

Such mercurial temperament in the region's politicians prevented the Southern voters from being able to exercise their franchise freely in the manner contemplated by the Constitution. The Southern accent had been lacking from the vox populi expressed on Tuesday.

A piece from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, titled "Back to the Bullrushes", listens despairingly to Dr. William McCarty of the Mayo Clinic coming forth to provide eclaircissement to medical argot. But when getting to cases, he explained that oligodendroglima should in fact be called ependymoblastomia.

The piece suggests that Dr. McCarty could return to the bullrushes, that medical double-talk appeared an occupational disease.

You could call it medicolingualanalogiadigitalis.

A piece from The Congressional Quarterly, titled "Who's a Lobbyist?" examines the Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act passed by the 79th Congress the previous August. Even its supporters had branded it a farce for leaving too many loopholes in its definition of who qualified as a lobbyist subject to its regulatory scheme. Thus far, few of the 4,000 lobbyists in the country had registered under its provisions. The likely reason was that Congress adjourned for the elections shortly after passing the Act and no one seemed to know to whom it applied, whether only to organized efforts to influence legislation or to all such persons who sought to influence legislation, no matter the form of activity.

The Act expressly did not curtail freedom of speech, did not embrace the press or persons testifying before Congress, persons appearing without compensation, and other expressly exempted classes. It did cover those who initiated "propaganda" in the form of mailed writings and both hidden and open lobbyists who, as their principal purpose, sought to influence legislation.

The Act required registration and quarterly reports of finances, as well as stating the names of publications in which they had published material. Penalties for violations included up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine, plus a three-year bar from appearing before committees of Congress.

Most of the 30-odd groups registering so far represented labor or veterans. Some 500 lobbying organizations had offices in Washington.

Drew Pearson tells of the change coming in Democratic patronage at the Congress, with guards, stenographers, pages, clerks, ushers, and the rest of the 600 employees now to be appointed by Republicans. More important, the chairmanships of committees would now be chosen by the Republican majority come January. He provides the likely successors to the chairmanships of each committee and a brief biography of each.

House Foreign Affairs would go to Representative Charles Eaton of New Jersey, who could be counted on to continue the Roosevelt-Truman foreign policy.

Harold Knutson would chair Ways and Means. He had been an early admirer of Hitler prior to Pearl Harbor and voted against nearly all defense measures prior to the attack. He even said that he could not see much difference between the New Deal and the Nazi program in Norway. Congresswoman Clare Boothe Luce had recited in his honor Kipling's "Fuzzy Wuzzy" after her husband's Time had termed him "fuzzy". He did not like it. Mr. Knutson would be a friend to the wealthy, not the ordinary taxpayer.

The Appropriations Committee would be headed by John Taber of New York, a bank director and head of a water company. He was miserly on spending, so boisterous on the floor that his bomb-blast had once caused the late Congressman Leonard Shuetz of Chicago to cease employment of his ear trumpet, but also had supported lend-lease actively.

HUAC would be chaired by J. Thomas Parnell of New Jersey, a Wall Street broker once named "Feeney". He would "out-Rankin Rankin" and would likely target anti-American activities investigations against labor leaders. Former New York Congressman Ham Fish would be happy.

The Rules Committee would be chaired by Leo Allen of Illinois, a moderate conservative, friend of the presumed new Speaker, Joe Martin, and did as Mr. Martin directed.

The Agriculture Committee would be chaired by Cliff Hope of Garden City, Kansas, "probably the ablest member of Congress in either party" regarding agriculture. He had drafted most of Wendell Willkie's speeches on agriculture during the 1940 campaign, would have been Mr. Willkie's Secretary of Agriculture had he been elected. He believed that farm surpluses had to be addressed and the solution lay in quick-freezing.

Newly elected Congressman Nixon of California might lend some helpful advice in that direction on what not to do, at least insofar as concentrated orange juice was concerned. He might also instruct on cranberries.

The Veterans Committee would be chaired by Edith Nourse Rogers of Lowell, Mass., rather than John Rankin of Miss. She was one of the most senior members of the body, having succeeded her husband in 1925, had been in government for 25 years, was 64 years old.

Marquis Childs suggests that, with the Foreign Ministers Council beginning talks in New York, the results of the midterm election would receive unusual scrutiny abroad, for any impact on foreign policy. He points out that America was the only major power whose Administration could be repudiated by the voters and remain in office. It was an anomalous situation to foreign observers.

It had happened in recent history, with divided government under the last two years of President Wilson's term and the last half of President Hoover's single term. Both were "prisoners of despair" in those years, caught in the "'rat trap rigidity of the Constitution'". The dream of the League of Nations had faded during President Wilson's last two years, as the country retreated to isolationism.

Foreign observers would keep a steady eye on the agreement on foreign policy thus far between Secretary of State Byrnes and Senator Arthur Vandenberg. The Nazis had banked on the country being so divided that it could never come together to join the war effort in Europe. They directed their propaganda accordingly.

Following Munich, in October, 1938, Bernard Baruch returned to the country advising military build-up to send a strong message of preparedness to the Germans. Goebbels then launched a propaganda attack against him, calling him a warmonger. Nazi sympathizers in the United States took up the cry.

The Soviets might react similarly in the wake of the election. Soviet propaganda had recently attacked Mr. Baruch's plan for atomic control. Foreign Commissar Molotov did likewise before the General Assembly.

The expression of disunity in the country and the perception during an election cycle that it represented a major body of opinion presented to foreign perception a dangerous illusion which could cause another drift toward war as in 1938.

Samuel Grafton comments that some appeared gleefully awaiting hard times, a hard thing to comprehend for its insensitivity to the mass of workers. It was a time of mirth which likely would not appear very funny when actually manifested. The New York Sun, the Hearst-owned New York Journal-American, (not to be confused with the World-Telegram), both presented such columns.

The argument ran that a recession would allow adjustments in prices, but it was a hard method of achieving adjustment. Labor and management ought be collaborating on ways to avoid it. Instead, they were still at odds, prompting inevitably the new Congress to draft new labor restrictive legislation.

One had the feeling of entering a room too filled with emotion to enable mollification. "It is a room in which nightmares have become jokes, and in which the jokes are nightmares."

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