The Charlotte News

Wednesday, July 9, 1952


Site Ed. Note: The front page—which has a rare "extra" edition, albeit with only two small differences between the front pages, those being an extra paragraph in the regular "final" edition in one story and an additional paragraph beginning the lead story in the "extra"—reports, via Jack Bell, that at the Republican convention in Chicago, in its third day, a surprise strategy move by Senator Taft's backers had taken place, when the Taft-dominated credentials committee voted unanimously, following more than 12 hours of deliberation the previous day, to seat a heavily pro-Eisenhower delegation from Louisiana, undercutting the charges by the Eisenhower camp of a Taft steamroller at the convention. The action, giving 13 of the delegates to the General and only two to the Senator, gave General Eisenhower a net gain of 11 delegate votes and prevented the Louisiana delegation battle from reaching the convention floor, where General Eisenhower's backers had hoped to stage a three-state contest, including the delegations contested from Georgia and Texas. The proposal to accept the Eisenhower-dominated delegation had been made by a pro-Taft person on the committee, indicating that he had been impressed by the charges of the Eisenhower group that the Taft group had "stolen" the Louisiana delegate elections.

If the action were followed by a similar compromise on the Texas delegation, as some members of the credentials committee believed was likely, it would leave the Eisenhower supporters in a weakened position to press their floor fight, with only 17-vote Georgia then remaining in limbo. The credentials committee had seated the pro-Taft Georgia delegation the previous day. It was considered likely that the credentials committee would favor the Taft-Hoover-proposed compromise of giving 22 votes to the Senator and 16 to the General in the Texas dispute. But Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., the General's campaign manager, stated that the battle would go on regardless of the concession on Louisiana. (The "extra" indicates that the Texas compromise had been adopted by the credentials committee by a vote of 27 to 24.)

Besides Louisiana, the credentials committee the previous day had decided six other disputed cases on the same basis as decided by the RNC, giving 43 delegates to Senator Taft and two to General Eisenhower, in Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, Kansas and Missouri.

Senator Taft said that he would not appeal to the full convention any decisions of the credentials committee unless they were "outrageous". He said that he did not believe any such decision should be carried to the floor of the convention and suggested that those who talked of fair play and justice ought abide by a fair and impartial decision of the committee or give up all talk of "fraud and everything else", an obvious reference to the Eisenhower supporters. He told the Wisconsin delegation after his press conference that the crucial contest on the floor regarding the Georgia delegation would be a "bare-faced attempt to steal 17 votes", to which he was entitled. He raised no issue with the loss of his own votes in Louisiana, saying it was a rightful decision by the committee. He still maintained that he could win on the first ballot, claiming a current total of around 607 or 608 votes, with 604 needed to nominate. He said he would pick up 11 votes from Maryland, which had been released by Governor Theodore McKeldin, previously a favorite-son candidate.

General Eisenhower met with the California delegation this date and promised that as the nominee, he would fight a campaign against the Democrats "too long in power". He said he was a militant Republican and was confident that the party could win in November if it worked to attract the young people of the nation. He had promised, in a meeting with the Oklahoma delegation earlier, a housecleaning of Truman Administration officials. He said to the California delegates that he was "no medicine man" and could offer no panacea for the troubles of the world, but pledged to do his best to achieve world peace if nominated and elected. He said that in Kansas, as a boy, they had talked about the Democrats as one would talk about the "town drunk", adding that things had "unfortunately" changed a bit since that time. The California delegates gave him a standing ovation at the beginning and end of his brief talk.

In the Amphitheater, the convention hall, little action took place, as there were only a scattering of delegates and a few spectators present.

The first speaker of the day, Pennsylvania's Governor John Fine, had called on the party to unite and defeat the Democrats, whom he charged with being more interested in votes than democracy. He mentioned neither Senator Taft nor General Eisenhower during his speech, both jockeying for his support and the 70-vote delegation which he largely controlled, presently showing 24 votes for the Senator, 37 for the General and nine uncommitted. (It is this story, incidentally, which adds a paragraph beyond that provided in the "extra" edition, the only other change, beyond headlines and the above-mentioned first paragraph of the lead story, between the two versions of the front page.)

Former President Herbert Hoover had spoken to the convention the previous night, urging the delegates to rip away the Democrats' "plush curtain of tax and spend" at home and salvage "lost statesmanship" abroad. He contended that behind the curtain were the "shades of Mussolini, with his bureaucratic fascism; of Karl Marx and his socialism; and of Lord Keynes, with his perpetual government spending, deficits and inflation." (He omitted that behind his own Administration's laissez-faire economic policies had lain U.S. and worldwide depression, giving rise ultimately to the Panzer divisions of Lord Hitler and his Nazi minions as a means to restore lost national dignity in defeat and emasculated national defense from the Versailles Treaty, extracted of teeth—ultimately replaced by those of the Dragon on the Siegfried Line—, when the Republican Harding Administration refused to ratify it and U.S. membership in the League of Nations.) He said that the domestic program of the Democrats, including "give-away programs", added to the "lost statesmanship" in dealing with Communism. He stated that he did not expect to address another Republican convention—though he would address or appear at the 1956, 1960 and 1964 conventions before dying at age 90 in the latter year. He did not mention either Senator Taft or General Eisenhower, but his stated views on foreign policy were close to those of the Senator and were at odds with those of the General. He said that the Allied defense program in Europe consisted of "a phantom army", and called for a more powerful Air Force "to restore the advantage of military initiative". He said that he did not advocate retreating into a shell like a turtle but rather to have the "deadly reprisal strategy of a rattlesnake". He accused the Democrats of corroding "the grandeur of the people … by the drip, drip, drip from dishonor in high places." Ominously, he claimed that it might be the last election in which there was a "chance for survival of freedom in America".

Edwin Haakinson reports on the platform committee having given tentative approval this date to the controversial foreign policy and national defense planks. Some members of the committee wanted to place more emphasis on air superiority than had the compromise defense plank, but the committee had finally voted approval. An angry dispute regarding the civil rights plank threatened to erupt either in the resolutions committee or subsequently on the floor. No compromise had been reached between the sides in the subcommittee, one side wanting to leave racial problems to local or state governments, while the other favored a commission empowered to hold hearings and compel testimony on job discrimination and other issues, but without enforcement capability. The full platform committee would seek to draft a compromise plank which it hoped would be acceptable to the convention.

The Department of Defense announced that American battle casualties in Korea had reached 112,128, an increase of 552 since the previous week, the new total not broken down by category.

In Lenoir, N.C., a 50-year old furniture worker, described as a "model citizen", killed himself with a shotgun blast after spending nearly a full day with the slain bodies of his wife and 12-year old son, whom he had murdered with a shotgun, shooting his wife and bludgeoning to death their son, in the early morning hours of the previous day. Neighbors had heard the shot and upon inquiry, the man told them that he had "killed some cats".

On Page 2-B, Broadway columnist Earl Wilson—with three versions from which to choose, along with comics page entrant "Pogo", both tell of attending the GOP convention.

On the editorial page, "Who Are the 'Real' Republicans" tells of there having been a great amount of loose talk about "real" Republicans, with the Taft camp claiming that such party members were in favor of the Senator and that the supporters of General Eisenhower were mere upstarts and interlopers.

It indicates that real Republicans, in its definition, were those who could carry their states in presidential elections and who elected Republican governors and legislatures.

It breaks down the vote on Monday regarding the crucial decision to disallow contested, temporarily-seated delegates the right to vote on other contested delegations, finding that 28 of the 48 state delegations had provided more than half of their votes to Senator Taft on the issue, but that only four of those states had voted Republican in the 1948 presidential election, giving Governor Dewey only 27 of his 189 electoral votes. Twenty of the 48 states had given more than half of their support to General Eisenhower in the voting, and 12 of those states had voted Republican in 1948, providing 162 of Governor Dewey's electoral votes. After further breaking down those states statistically, it concludes that the real Republicans were in the Eisenhower camp. Indeed, it finds that 232 of Senator Taft's 548 votes on the test issue on Monday had come from U.S. possessions which had no electoral votes or from states which, in 1948, had voted less than 45 percent Republican.

It finds, therefore, that the Senator was not the candidate of the "real" Republicans but rather the candidate of "the satchel-vote Republicans who never win elections, but often control conventions."

"Mac's on Tap" tells of RNC chairman Guy Gabrielson having stated that General MacArthur had become the greatest American General ever, with the possible exception of General Washington. His stock had risen during the hours before and after his keynote address on Monday. By the previous afternoon, he had risen to the level of the four announced candidates, General Eisenhower, Senator Taft, former Governor Harold Stassen and Governor Earl Warren. Senator Styles Bridges, in his speech to the convention the prior day, had mentioned all five at the same time as leaders of the party.

It suggests that General MacArthur should have used in the address his "I shall return" line, which he had stated in March, 1942 upon departure from the Philippines, for if the Taft steamroller were to break down, the General might get a call to duty from the reactionary Old Guard, in a last desperate attempt for victory, though leading to probable defeat in the November general election.

"Congress Holds Purse Strings—Loosely" tells of it having been fashionable to berate the Truman Administration for leading the country into fiscal chaos, but, while acknowledging that the Administration had made little effort to curtail spending, Congress had demonstrated no effort to make substantial cuts in the proposed budgets submitted by the President. The Congress lacked the machinery which the President had in the Budget Bureau to assess, item by item, spending bills and make judicious cuts. The result was confusion and cuts without reason, leaving intact many projects which were of the pork barrel variety. There were few steadfast economy advocates in Congress, such as Senators Harry F. Byrd of Virginia and Paul Douglas of Illinois.

It indicates that the closing days of the 82nd Congress left it disturbed, as the Congress had put off until the last minute more than 60 billion dollars in appropriations which should have been passed much earlier in the session, resulting in a mad rush to adjournment without affording proper debate on those measures. It again suggests that Congress establish its own bureau of the budget, to provide experts to assist in appropriations determination. But, it posits, unless there was a broader realization among the membership of the full implication of their constitutional responsibilities over the public purse, and exertion of greater will to bring order to the fiscal chaos, no machinery, by itself, would restore to the people such responsibility.

"Hail to the Queen with Reservations" tells of the speed record set by the S. S. United States passenger ship, beating the Queen Mary's 1938 record and, while cheering it, also finding it perhaps passé, to the point of diminishing returns. The liner had averaged 35.59 knots and had made the crossing in three days, ten hours and two minutes. But a trans-Atlantic airliner could make the same journey in 12 to 15 hours from New York to London, thus doing much better than a ship, even allowing for transportation to and from the airports. The main attraction of a crossing by ship in this time was the leisurely and relaxing pace, the wealth of good food aboard, and the fun of recreation. But when the crossing was cut to three and a half days, the passenger barely was able to settle in before being ready to disembark. Moreover, it was difficult to stand or walk in a 42 mph wind, which sailing aboard the United States would encounter even in calm conditions, thus even more problematic should there be a substantial wind.

It concludes that perhaps the captain had just wanted to establish the speed record for the books and show that the millions of taxpayer dollars spent on the ship to make it adaptable in wartime were well invested. It indicates that if a chance to cross the Atlantic by ship should arise, however, it would select a slower and more leisurely pace.

Drew Pearson, in Chicago, tells of one of the most important developments at the Republican convention being the big kick which the Democrats were getting out of it, leaving the Democratic observers quite optimistic about their chances in the fall. The DNC, six months earlier, had privately considered their chances of winning to be nil, but now, the feud between the supporters of General Eisenhower and Senator Taft, and the trend toward General MacArthur in the party, plus the failure of General Eisenhower to generate a stampede mentality in the nation, had brought joy in the Democratic camp. Senator Estes Kefauver even believed that the Democrats could win more easily against General Eisenhower than against Senator Taft because of the latter's no-holds-barred style of campaigning and the country's tendency naturally to shy away from a professional military man as a candidate for the presidency.

The Democrats, however, believed that there was one candidate, Governor Earl Warren of California, who was too formidable to beat. But they also believed that the Republicans were not smart enough to nominate him. FDR had told James Farley in 1932 that the only way they could win was to capture a large number of Republican votes because the party had been in power for 12 years and had, in that time, captured the majority of registered voters. Now, in 1952, the reverse was true and most of the younger generation had never known a Republican President, requiring, to win, that the Republicans capture a large number of Democratic votes. Governor Warren was the candidate who certainly could do that, as he had shown in the cross-primary California voting in 1942, 1946 and 1950, in 1942 winning every one of California's 58 counties, in 1946, also winning the Democratic nomination, and in 1950, easily beating James Roosevelt, despite the family name and Mr. Roosevelt's formidable ability as a campaigner. But Republicans tended to hold it against the Governor that he was able to obtain Democratic votes, actually his strongest asset. A Democratic friend of Mr. Pearson had stated that the Republicans were too dumb to realize the fact, that they could always be relied upon "to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory". He concludes, however, that it was at least possible that in the event of a deadlock between the front runners, the Republicans might get smart and turn to Governor Warren.

He next provides a series of impressions of the convention, such as the loudspeaker duel between the Taft and Eisenhower speaker trucks, with the Eisenhower truck cheering for Taft by using his initials, "R-A-T".

Joseph & Stewart Alsop, in Chicago, tell of Senator Taft's candidacy having taken a definite setback at the point, on March 29, when the President withdrew from the race. First, it took away his no-holds-barred campaign style, and, second, it led to the "Taft can't win" psychology. For, prior to the President's withdrawal, the polls had showed Senator Taft slightly ahead of the President, whereas after the withdrawal, he was shown to be substantially behind the other potential Democratic nominees in the polling. By the same token, those polls showed General Eisenhower substantially ahead of the potential Democratic nominees.

The Alsops find that the Taft supporters at the convention were usually "passionate personal admirers of their man", who represented to them "real Republicanism". The Eisenhower supporters, by contrast, were more interested in winning in November than "real Republicanism", and about half of them genuinely disliked Senator Taft's political viewpoint, record and associations, wanted to be rid of isolationism and McCarthyism, whereas the other half would probably be spiritedly supporting Senator Taft if they thought he could win.

The Senator had taken to blaming the polls for his predicament. Indeed, without the polls, the Taft camp could probably shrug off the "Taft can't win" claims. But the polls gave substance to the charge.

They conclude that anyone would be a fool to forecast the outcome of the convention, and acknowledge that Senator Taft might overcome the "Taft can't win" psychology. But among those who genuinely did not like him and his politics, perhaps comprising 25 percent of the delegates, he would have great difficulty as the party nominee. By the same token, General Eisenhower as the nominee would perhaps have even worse trouble with the true believers in Taft Republicanism, perhaps comprising 40 percent of the delegates at the convention.

Marquis Childs, in Chicago, finds that General MacArthur's keynote address on Monday had been disappointing and anticlimactic, even boring for its great length. He had not, as anticipated by the Taft supporters, turned the tide of the delegates in favor of the Senator, whom he supported for the nomination. While the speech had been very pleasing to the Taft supporters, with its ringing charges against the Administration's domestic and foreign policies, the General had spanned so far back, even unto President Wilson's tenure in office, that he appeared to be beating the Taft Republicans' favorite dead horses from the past more than hearkening toward the future.

The victory by the Eisenhower forces by a margin of 110 delegates in denying to the contested delegates the ability to vote on other contested delegations had stopped the Taft steamroller dead in its tracks and given the Eisenhower forces confidence to move forward. While the ultimate outcome remained in great doubt, the voting result showed how little political influence General MacArthur had.

He may have even hoped, suggests Mr. Childs, that in a deadlocked convention, the delegates might turn to him as the compromise nominee. But his lackluster speech, which had been touted as the best thing since William Jennings Bryan's performance at the Democratic convention of 1896, had nixed that possibility. To the less partisan observers, he seemed to have placed himself in the category of former President Hoover, as an elder statesman inveighing against the past. "MacArthur is still a name to conjure with, still a name of magic, a personality complex, fascinating, enigmatic, but it is highly questionable whether he is a political force in this political year of 1952."

A letter writer from Fallston, N.C., suggests that it appeared that the public would have a choice in the fall between Senator Taft and either the President or at least a candidate approved by the President, leaving the independent voter to vote for "the devil or his grandmother". He finds that there was only one way to rebuke the "totalitarian attitudes of the faction in each party which tells the public to be damned" and that was for independents and the "better elements" of the Republican Party to vote for Republican candidates for the Senate and the House opposed to the bulldozing tactics of the Taft forces in Chicago. That, he believes, would lead to a Republican Congress, which would offset a president chosen by "nefarious chicanery".

A letter writer from Huntersville, who had won nomination for a position on the Mecklenburg County Board of Education, thanks those supporters who had voted for him in the election and indicates that he regarded victory as an opportunity for public service.

A letter writer finds that Virginia Senator Byrd, as a member of the Armed Services Committee, had not vindicated his reputation as an economizer, and favors letting Congressman Carl Durham of Chapel Hill take over the effort, as he had said that Senator Byrd had seen "to it that economy was exercised largely in states outside of Virginia".

A letter writer tells of hearing of a plan to install a teacher in the schools to teach the Bible, says that she was a firm believer in separation of church and state and that the church was the place to teach the Bible. She questions whether this plan was a way to destroy freedom of religious worship and separation. The Bible teacher would be chosen by the school board and serious objections might arise from parents of different faiths. She counsels keeping the schools for education of the children to become better citizens and reserve the church for all Christian education. Some parents might decide that since their children were receiving Bible instruction in the schools, it was unnecessary to have them attend Sunday schools or church. She advises, "Let us as Christians weigh such propositions with much consideration and ask God what He would have us do."

You obviously have not heard of those loud-mouths, who, contrary to the injunctions of the Bible, itself, wear their religion loudly on their sleeves and proclaim it sacrilege not to have prayer and the Bible in the godless, Communistic skuuuuls.

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