The Charlotte News

Wednesday, May 24, 1939


Site Ed. Note: Mr. Deatherage was one individual with a job befitting his surname.

Alben Barkley, Senator from Kentucky, the speaker in "Toe the Line", would become Vice-President under Harry Truman from 1949 to 1953. (Of course, Truman had no vice-president during his first nearly four years in office, as the Constitution was not amended to afford the appointment by the president in the case of a vacancy until after the assassination of President Kennedy.) Barkley would run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1952 but would lose out to Adlai Stevenson.

And since 1972, much because of the same sort of issues which sparked the first elephantine generation of NC, the Republicans of North Carolina have proved that it can happen here. And indeed, it does.

Toe The Line

Or We'll Find Ourselves Read Out Of The Party And Honest Company

Speaking before the Southeastern Regional Conference of Democratic Women at Winston-Salem, last night, Senator Barkley, majority leader in the Senate, had to say that "opponents of the Democratic Party" would--

"... not be permitted to straddle the fundamental issues involved by pretending to approve the objectives (out of the Roosevelt Administration) while objecting to the details of their accomplishment."

Which comes pretty close to being tops in high-handed utterances.

Look at those objectives. They were:

1--To feed the unemployed and see that nobody went hungry.

2--To promote recovery to the point that unemployment would again become negligible and relief unnecessary.

3--To give the farmer a fair share in the income of the nation.

4--To insure labor the unquestioned right to organize and a fairer share in the national income than it had sometimes had.

5--To extend Government regulation to the point necessary to protect the people against such gyp games and hijacking as they were subjected to in the 1920s.

6--To develop the national defense and take such a stand in international politics as is best calculated to keep us out of war.

Ourselves, we agree with every one of them. But we also believe that, with the exception of the foreign policy, those that have been in any part accomplished have been accomplished at too great cost and by devices which have been generally dubious and which, in many cases, are already plainly in collapse. And as for that second objective--grant that we are better off in some respects than in 1933, the fact remains that the national finances are immensely worse off, that unemployment has not been cured or even much improved, and that business still limps along on two cylinders.

Perhaps these people are so dishonest that they pretend to believe in the objectives and merely to dislike the methods, for that is an old method of attack. But Senator Barkley, who speaks at us as a sort of sounding brass for the President, doesn't stop with that. His remark quite clearly infers that no man can be a Democrat and take that position--that, indeed, everybody who sets up to take it is dishonest. And that is a very large order, in all truth. It is to say that there can be no candid disagreement--that the right of criticism has been abolished.

We have never taken any stock in the common cackle that Mr. Roosevelt is equivalent to Mr. Hitler. But in sober fact, that utterance about what will not be "permitted" hath a good deal of the ring of the latter.

A Busted Prophet

Mr. Gilbert Isn't Candid But It Doesn't Matter

Mr. George Deatherage (somehow a significant sounding name) who heads the Knights of the White Camelia, an organization of sillypots which, as he admits, "has the same objectives as the Ku Klux Klan"--Mr. Deatherage was at least more candid with the Dies Committee than his companion in spreading hysterical nonsense and hate, Mr. Dudley Pierrepont Gilbert, plump young New York socialite.

Mr. Deatherage admitted that he was dead agin the Jews and out to stir up a pogrom against them. But Mr. Gilbert denied that he had Nazi and Fascist leanings and in the same breath tacitly confessed Jew-baiting and explicitly set forth the fact that he greatly admired Mussolini and Hitler and had been trying to form a "great patriotic organization" to do in this country "the same thing Franco has done in Spain." It would be interesting to know precisely what Mr. Gilbert understands the words "Nazi" and "Fascist" to mean. They have been too loosely and widely applied among us, granted: but if a man who wants to imitate Franco isn't a Fascist, then black is white and Mr. Chamberlain is Lord Nelson.

However, we set it down merely for the record. We do not take Mr. Gilbert very seriously. And indeed, Mr. Gilbert himself must be finding it tough going to do that these days. Of that "great patriotic organization" which was to do "the same thing Franco has done in Spain," said he sadly:

"We hoped to get 3,000,000 members. We actually got 40."

It Can't Happen

The Republicans Go Chasing Rainbows

Is no doubt merely a case of claiming everything, but if the Republicans actually believe what they say in their sheet, "The Young Republican"--that they have a good chance of carrying North Carolina in the next election--then they are in for a sad disappointment. We say that almost regretfully. Almost. We wouldn't plump for the next Republican candidate until we have had a look at him. But we do think it would be an excellent thing for North Carolina, as well as all the other solid Southern states, if there always was some doubt about the outcome of both national and state elections--if sometimes the Democrats win and sometimes the Republicans. For an essentially one party system is a poor guarantee of good government.

Yes, we know a lot of Tar Heel gentlemen of the Right who will certainly vote for the Republican candidate if anybody of the slightest New Dealish tinge is named by the Democrats--some of them so bitter that they'll vote for the Republican willy-nilly, even if Henry Mencken should belatedly come true and the fellow turns out to be a Chinaman. And on the other hand, we know a lot of Liberals who'll certainly vote Republican if John Garner or any other similar conservative gets the Democratic call. So, either way the cat jumps, the Republicans seem destined to pick up a lot of Tar Heels votes this time. But as for winning, no, it just can't happen.

It happened once? Yes, because of a religious issue and prohibition--which itself had an almost religious value for a lot of Tar Heels. But those issues stirred the whole mass of the people. And this time--well, the main issue is going to be simply "all that money." And for all the heart-burning it arouses in the better-heeled classes it just isn't calculated to fire the great body of the voters to determine elections.


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