The reports of the Democratic Party’s death, prevalent before the Philadelphia convention, appear now to have been somewhat exaggerated. A party in which the rank-and-file majority get their way on such a risky issue as civil rights against the opposition of their masters, is obviously not yet ready for embalming. The Democrats came to Philadelphia as low in their minds as the Republicans were when they assembled for the Landon convention in 1936. There was not a hopeful delegate in a carload. They were licked, most of them thought, probably for eight years.
It is singular testimony to the times that no one in Italy is praying more ardently for Palmiro Togliatti’s recovery than his own worst enemies. There is no doubting the sincerity of Prime Minister Alcide de Gasperi’s anguished cry that the attempted assassination of the Communist leaders was “the worst thing that could have happened.” Togliatti alive in Italy as the competent leader of a lacerated Left opposition, was high in the esteem of his followers but tainted with the stains of their recent defeat. Togliatti dead, murdered, would be invulnerable.
Oliver La Fargo, foremost authority on the American Indian, says that “our greatest tribe, the 60,000 Navajos, is locked by illiteracy and endemic disease into a desert reservation which can hardly support half that number.” Their condition is so grave that Congress is now “considering” a program to help them. Meanwhile the Navajos continue to suffer. A young nurse, writing under the pseudonym of Susan Roberts, has given the NewRepublic the following impressions based on several months’ duty at a Navajo reservation hospital. Navajo Indian kids are cute as a button.
“A frightful imposition,” Dewey called the proposal for a special session of Congress, indicating his appraisal of both the sincerity of the Republican Party platform and the urgency of the problems which Americans face. In such a spirit Dewey can lose the 1948 elections. Tor Truman’s call for a special session is a stroke of bold and liberal leadership and a confident reassertion of the Validity of American democracy. On three key issues, housing, inflation and civil rights, the 80th Congress so far failed utterly.
Policy, Not Tactics, Needed in Berlin The real issue of the Berlin crisis has now become clear.
Harry Truman may not have given his party victory at Philadelphia, but he gave it self-respect. It was fun to see the scrappy little cuss come out of his corner fighting at two in the morning, not trying to use big words any longer, but being himself and saying a lot of honest things that needed to be said. Unaccountably, we found ourself on top of a pine bench cheering. We have always thought of Truman as Mr. Average Man himself, nice and likable and commonplace and mediocre. These attributes make something of a problem when one is President.
There can be no doubt that the Russians deliberately created the Berlin crisis. Every step they have taken in recent months has been designed to cause a chaotic situation which, they hoped, would drive the Western Allies out of the German capital.
THE LIBERALS who choose not to support Henry Wallace and the New Party are still far from clear about whom they are for or what they should be doing about it. Some have buried themselves in their gardens and their books until a better day. Some, with government jobs or patronage to protect, are feebly trying to justify going along with another term for Truman. Most of them talk wistfully over their dinner tables about how nice it would be . . . "if we had a candidate." They mean on the Democratic ticket. The most active among them are either talking for Supreme Court Justice William O.
One of the uncommon Americans of the eighteenth century is a man so neglected today that the Dictionary of American Biography, which lists the great and the not-so-great of the past, does not bother to include him. Yet he is a far worthier and more interesting figure than many of the second-rate politicians who clutter the pages of official biography. Many of the Founding Fathers knew and respected his work. Jefferson admired him and helped to make his reputation. Washington's Administration appointed him to a federal post.
Shirley Temple must present a formidable problem to the artists and businessmen of Hollywood. She is the final perfect product of their cosmic system. In other performers you may find star and artist and human being mixed; Miss Temple is pure star. On the basis of her own resources, there is no reason why Miss Temple should have been distilled to this crystalline purity.