The Charlotte News

Thursday, November 4, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that that the final returns in close Senate races, especially in Oregon, where Richard Neuberger had triumphed over Republican incumbent Senator Guy Cordon, winning by fewer than 2,000 votes, had determined finally that the Democrats would have organizational control of the Senate, with the vote of independent Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon, who had announced he would vote with the Democrats for the purpose of organization. Mr. Neuberger was the first Democrat in 40 years to be elected to the Senate from Oregon. Senator Carl Hayden of Arizona had questioned whether the Democrats should take over organizational control when one member's death could change the majority. Senator Albert Gore of Tennessee said that the Democrats would not run from responsibility which the people had provided, and Senator John Pastore of Rhode Island said there was no doubt that they would accept the obligation to the public to organize the Senate. Would-be Majority Leader, Senator Lyndon Johnson, stated that he saw no reason for rushing on the issue. Current Majority Leader, Senator William Knowland of California, said that he was not particularly happy about the election results, but recalled that he had forecast a possible close division in the new Senate. Based on current results, the Democrats had 48 members, while Republicans had 47.

In New Jersey, Senator Robert Hendrickson said that there would be a Senate committee action to ensure proper evaluation of the close winning margin of Republican Clifford Case in the New Jersey Senate race. Mr. Case had won by 2,300 votes over his challenger, Charles Howell. A recount was being ordered by the Governor.

The new Congress would deal with tariffs, taxes and public versus private power, plus changes in postal rates and the continuing effort for statehood for Alaska and Hawaii. Domestic policy would revolve around economic issues, and foreign policy would involve first the ratification of the SEATO treaty and the agreements restoring sovereignty of West Germany and admitting it to NATO, having strong bipartisan support. Democrats had supported the President more than had Republicans on foreign trade policies, with the present Congress having extended the reciprocal trade agreements only by one year, when the Administration had sought a three-year extension. Democrats had argued that the major tax overhaul was weighted in favor of the wealthy and corporations, and taxes would likely be a key issue in the new Congress.

In New York, State Attorney General Nathaniel Goldstein this date began a statewide investigation of reported voter fraud in the gubernatorial election, which had been won narrowly, by 9,600 votes, by Averell Harriman over Senator Irving Ives. There would be a recanvass of the votes and Republicans hoped that that it might overturn the result.

In North Carolina, the proposed amendment to the State Constitution which would have restricted State Senate representation of every county in the state to one Senator had been defeated in the election by a substantial margin, but nearly half of the precincts had not yet reported, though it was unlikely they would change the outcome. Large counties had opposed the amendment by large margins, defeated in Mecklenburg County by 17,000 votes out of 25,000 cast, and in Guilford County, by 10,000 votes out of 15,000 cast, both counties presently entitled to two State Senators on the basis of present population.

In Cleveland, O., the prosecutor provided the opening statement in the first-degree murder trial of Dr. Samuel Sheppard for allegedly murdering his wife, Marilyn, the prior July 4, stating that a secret love affair with a medical technician and other dalliances with women had driven Dr. Sheppard to the murder. He said that they expected the evidence to show that the defendant and his wife had quarreled over activities of Dr. Sheppard with other women and that it was the ultimate reason why she was killed. The prosecutor scoffed at the claim by Dr. Sheppard that a "bushy haired" intruder had killed his wife, indicating that the scene was staged by the doctor to make it appear that there had been a burglary.

On the editorial page, "Democrats and Ike Can Work Together" tells of Richard Neuberger's victory in the Oregon Senate race over incumbent Guy Cordon having apparently given control of the Senate to the Democrats, although a recount in the race might change the picture.

It posits that if the Senate were to be organized by the Democrats, there was the prospect that the President and Congress would be able to cooperate better than former President Truman had with the Republican Congress between 1947 and 1949, or than former President Herbert Hoover had with the Democratic House of 1931 to 1933. President Eisenhower and most of the prospective Democratic committee chairmen had a common philosophy of moderate government and it regards them as better soulmates than the Republican Congress had been with the President.

Senator Lyndon Johnson of Texas would become the Majority Leader, more closely aligned on foreign policy than the current Majority Leader, Senator William Knowland of California. Congressman Sam Rayburn of Texas would again become Speaker of the House, replacing Joseph Martin of Massachusetts. Mr. Rayburn had aligned with Senator Johnson to rally Democratic support behind some of the President's most important measures, frequently providing the margin of victory when recalcitrant Republicans had opposed Administration leadership.

Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia would become the chairman of the Finance Committee, and was admired by both parties for his views on money management, as well as being profoundly respected by the White House.

Senator Walter George of Georgia would become the new chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Richard Russell of Georgia would chair the Armed Services Committee, both being experienced legislators with a traditional Southern international outlook, with which the President agreed.

Senator William Fulbright of Arkansas would take over the Banking & Currency Committee from conservative Senator Homer Capehart of Indiana, and Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois would become head of the joint Committee on the Economic Report.

Senator McCarthy would have to step aside as chairman of the Government Operations Committee in favor of Senator John McClellan of Arkansas, who had proved himself worthy during the Army-McCarthy hearings the prior spring.

In the House, Representative Clare Hoffman of Michigan, whose tactics as chairman of the Government Operations Committee had led to several rebuffs from members of that Committee, would be replaced by Representative William Dawson of Illinois.

Representative Harold Velde of Illinois would have to step aside as chairman of HUAC, in favor of Representative Francis Walter, who, the previous day, had made the sound suggestion that the Committee be abolished and its work turned over to the Judiciary Committee.

It continues down a list of House committees and their present and new Democratic chairmen, as well as additional changes in the Senate chairmanships, finding that there would be rapport between Congress and the White House, despite party differences, with two important exceptions, one being public power, where Senator Dennis Chavez of New Mexico would head the Public Works Committee as a friend to public power, expected therefore to resist the Dixon-Yates combine contract with the Atomic Energy Commission. The other area was farm policy, with two advocates of rigid price supports taking over chairmanships, Representative Harold Cooley of North Carolina in the House, and Senator Allen Ellender of Louisiana as his counterpart.

Representative Emanuel Celler of New York, to become head of the House Judiciary Committee, and Senator Harley Kilgore of West Virginia, to head the Senate counterpart, would provide Attorney General Herbert Brownell perhaps more help than he wanted in investigating monopolies.

It concludes that it would be naïve to expect a majority party anxious to regain the presidency and increase its strength in 1956 to pass up opportunities to embarrass and discredit the Administration, but it was reasonable to expect that the new Congress and the President would get along fairly well and that a sound legislative program would be passed despite party differences.

"Education: The Continuing Battle" indicates that free public education was now the accepted rule, but had not occurred without a fight over the course of a generation. Opposition to it in the Western world was often fierce, as in Britain in 1807.

Serious educational problems still remained to be solved, some of which had been covered the previous week by Harry L. Golden on the editorial page. There was ignorance about those problems on the part of the average person. A 1954 poll taken by the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce of leading businessmen and professionals had asked for answers to questions about City schools, with the answer to the number of schools varying from eight to 150, when in fact there were 44. Regarding the number of teachers employed, the answers ranged from 250 to 2,000, when there were 1,065. Regarding the percentage increase in enrollment during the previous five years, answers ranged between seven percent and 125 percent, when the correct response was 42 percent. Regarding average yearly salary of teachers in Charlotte, the answers ranged from $1,850 to $4,008, when the median salary was $4,000.

This date, on Education-Business Day, Charlotte schools had played host to many of the same business and professional leaders who had been the respondents in the Chamber of Commerce poll. They were present to take a backstage look at education in action at one of the city's schools, and it regards it as the best possible way to combat ignorance among leading taxpayers regarding how modern schools operated in the city. It only wishes that more residents could have participated.

Drew Pearson indicates that there was a problem in the Cabinet which would require expert and immediate attention, lest it result in a Cabinet resignation. The patience of Secretary of Labor James Mitchell had prevented the blow-up thus far, having ignored all summer the roughhouse tactics of Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks. The chief issue between the two men was that Secretary Weeks wanted labor placed under the antitrust laws, whereas Secretary Mitchell did not. Mr. Weeks believed it his job to champion every form of business, even to the extent of intruding on the normal purview of a Cabinet colleague. Secretary Weeks appeared determined to prevail on the issue, regardless of intrusion on the province of the Secretary of Labor. He had fought the Administration's first Labor Secretary, Martin Durkin, finally causing his resignation over the claimed promise to submit certain amendments to the Taft-Hartley Act, which he said were not submitted by the President. Mr. Pearson indicates that unless the President intervened in the current dispute, another Secretary of Labor might resign.

Before Prime Minister Mohammed Ali had returned to Pakistan, he had brought CBS color television to NBC. NBC and CBS were rivals over development of color television, so much so that it was taboo around NBC to watch CBS programming. The competition had gone on for years and was bitter. But Prime Minister Ali did not know of that competition when he was invited to NBC's executive suite at Radio City, after which a public relations man suggested that the Prime Minister might like to watch color television, to which the Prime Minister agreed enthusiastically. An NBC official recommended an appropriate NBC program, but the Prime Minister had a conflicting engagement and arranged to return later, at which time there was nothing on television in color except on CBS, which NBC officials sheepishly turned on. But the set was tuned to pick up only NBC programming and so it refused to show more than a fuzzy image of the CBS program. NBC officials were so embarrassed that they sent their engineers to the roof to tinker with the antennas until the CBS program was clearly received.

Anthony H. Leviero, Washington correspondent for the New York Times, writing in the International Press Institute Report, indicates that it had required a journalistic campaign to shatter the "numbers game" which the Eisenhower Administration had engaged to make extravagant claims that it was sweeping great numbers of subversives out of the Government. On that issue, the first concerted change of mood of the press toward the new Administration had perhaps occurred, generating sharp criticism and demands for an honest representation of the numbers.

For more than three months, the press had besieged the Administration with demands to supply such numbers, before there was any official admission that the figures previously released were substantially false. The first numbers released a year earlier indicated that there were 1,456 security risks who had been removed from the Government. Then the President's State of the Union message had raised the figure to 2,200 removed as "security risks". At that point, high Administration officials and Senator McCarthy had indiscriminately described those risks as traitors, Communists and perverts.

The Washington Post, the Washington Star, and the Washington Daily News had penetrated the issue, finding that the figures were wrong. Zealous department officials, competing with Senator McCarthy in the hunt for Communists, had provided the White House figures which included persons who had died, had been transferred to other departments, had resigned under honorable conditions, or who had lost their job through reductions in staff.

The Administration should have realized that huckstering did not pay, despite such techniques having proved effective in the 1952 presidential campaign.

Pro-Administration newspapers had been forced to the realization that they would do the country little good, to say nothing of the President, if they persisted in treating the Administration with kid gloves in editorials.

The Indo-China situation was an example of the Administration issuing statements which fluctuated during the course of just two months. First, the official position was that the U.S. should not get involved in that war, turning quickly into the position that it would be a calamity if Indo-China were to fall to the Communists. Then Vice-President Nixon indicated that if the French were to withdraw from Indo-China, the U.S. would intervene with ground troops. "Massive retaliation" then became the standard phrase of the Administration, after which it became plain that nothing would be done, and Northern Indo-China fell. It was too early to determine whether it was the first in a line of dominoes in Southeast Asia.

Newspapermen were now saying that if former President Truman or Adlai Stevenson had been in office, they would have been threatened with impeachment for the "huckstered bluff" which had been the Administration's Indo-China policy. Yet, few newspapers had given that issue sharp treatment.

Journalists still were amazed at the bluff of "unleashing" Chiang Kai-shek in Formosa, as outlined in the President's first State of the Union message. Another puffed theme was the idea that the day of liberation for the oppressed under the Soviet regime might be at hand. In the same category was the "new look" defense program which was supposed to give the country more security for less money, although involving reduction by four divisions in troop strength. Another was the empty concept of "instant and massive retaliation", proving to be nothing more than a longstanding U.S. strategic concept in fancy dress.

On the domestic scene, the President had shocked many editors with his personal order directing the Atomic Energy Commission to enter a contract with the private utility combine out of Arkansas, Dixon-Yates, instead of having TVA supply the additional power for West Memphis. Many Washington newsmen believed that the unusual act, favoring a particular company at the expense of TVA and the taxpayers, had not received nearly as much editorial criticism as it would have, had former President Truman ordered such a deal.

Regarding Senator McCarthy, editorial criticism had been the strongest, with some of the most important pro-Administration newspapers having been most outspoken on the matter, the New York Times stating, "the Eisenhower Administration had surrendered lock, stock and barrel" to the Senator.

Regarding civil service, some of the journalistic specialists in the field had recently uncovered decisions which showed the intrusion of the spoils system, and that exposure had caused some of the decisions to be rescinded.

Mr. Leviero concludes that the Washington press corps was developing the hard facts of political life in Washington, but many of the editorial pages had not caught up.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that the piece was written prior to the election on Tuesday, but that its lesson was already clear, that the campaign had demonstrated that the most important national problems were no longer being solved by the democratic process, in accordance with the popular will as in the past.

Until around 1940, biennial election campaigns involved the debate of national problems, with the resulting vote being an expression of opinion, not only on individual candidates, but also on the national problems. But that was no longer the American way, as demonstrated by the previous two months of strident political arguments.

When the debate was ongoing during the Truman Administration as to whether to develop the hydrogen bomb, the expression of public opinion on the topic had hastened the determination by President Truman to approve of the project. But now, problems just as important as the development of the hydrogen bomb were being determined in secret circles of the Government, with no input from the popular will because the people did not know enough about the problems. One example was air defense, with those at high levels considering a crash program to build a man-made heavenly body to orbit the earth as a satellite. The feasibility of such an artificial satellite had long been admitted, and the impetus to develop such a device had come from the Soviet boast in military publications that they were developing such a satellite, to go into orbit within a decade. Such development could be as decisive as the hydrogen bomb. Nevertheless, it was limited to restricted circles.

The previous spring, a majority of the National Security Council, including Vice-President Nixon, had become convinced that the country ought to fight to save Indo-China if necessary to preserve the free world's position in Asia. During the prior summer, a majority of Republican politicians, also including the Vice-President, had been representing "the new Munich" in Indo-China as a triumph for Republican peacefulness. Many Republicans had come close to echoing British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's 1938 post-Munich boast, "peace in our time". Yet, no Democrat called the Republicans boasters, despite the fact that every informed person in Washington was aware that the second phase of the "Indochinese Munich" was probably imminent, and that a Chinese Communist attack on the island outposts of Formosa could take place the following spring.

"One way or another, in short, just those national problems which are likely to determine what kind of world our children will live in, have ceased to be subject to popular will and the democratic process."

Marquis Childs suggests that it might be worthwhile to ask how long the country could afford the type of politics which had characterized the previous six weeks of the campaign, which, he finds, had been one of the lowest exhibitions of shoddy and cheap campaign rhetoric he had ever witnessed. What had become increasingly clear was that citizens qualified by education, experience, conviction and character were no longer available for public office, with the result that there were second or third-rate officeholders, and thus second or third-rate government, costing two to three times as much as it should, becoming true on the national and state levels.

In recent years, the cost of campaigning had risen steadily and with the advent of television, it had soared to new heights. There were laws limiting expenditures of individual candidates, but they were evaded through various means. The amount listed by the candidate as officially spent was like the portion of an iceberg visible to the eye, with the vast bulk of it concealed.

He finds that it was not hard to trace the deterioration in American political life in campaigns of recent years, with special emphasis on the one just concluded, but that it was much harder to suggest remedies for such reckless use of money and wild charges and counter-charges. Laws covering expenditures could be made more strict, but it was difficult to see how to control the deliberate smear campaign.

Both RNC chairman, Leonard Hall, and DNC chairman, Stephen Mitchell, had begun the campaign with a pledge to keep it clean, and yet it had rapidly deteriorated into what former Congressman Clifford Case, successful in the New Jersey Senate race, had aptly called "gutter politics". If he had known that his sister was to be smeared during the campaign, he would likely have hesitated before becoming a candidate. Mr. Childs suggests that perhaps the answer was in the conscience of the people, not to underwrite character assassination and demagogy. For if such continued, it would mean the end of representative self-government in the noble tradition of the Founders.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links
Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>—</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date Links-Subj.