American Politics: The Promise of Disharmony By Samuel P. Huntington (Harvard University Press, 303 pp., $15) This brilliant book should have been published a year ago. In the last days of the Carter Administration it did seem as if our political institutions suffered from a deepening erosion of authority. The leading exhibit was an enfeebled presidency whose decline had continued from the 1960s to the 1970s, regardless of party or person.
The Wartime Journals of Charles A. Lindbergh (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich; $12.95) In 1098 Lindbergh moved in the highest diplomatic and military circles of London, Paris and Berlin. He also made a trip to the Soviet Union, where he was well received and given a good look at Soviet aviation; but his subsequent comments about Russia—comments distorted, he claimed, by the press—caused the Soviets later to announce that if he ever came back to see [hem he would be arrested. His dislike of Russia and Communism permeates these Journals, as does his admiration for the Germans.
In our relations with Russia and China, he does not believe that any settlement of the fundamental issues can be expected “for some time,” although local adjustments, such as the Austrian peace treaty, are possible. We need, therefore, to maintain “a tough, but flexible defense barrier” to deter both massive nuclear attack and localized aggression. We should work steadily and constructively for a meaningful disarmament agreement.
The liberal, as we understand it, is the person who sincerely wants as many of the good things of this world for his fellow man as he does for himself. His credo is the Bill of Rights (still a very revolutionary document), the Roosevelt Bill of Human Rights, the Truman Civil Rights Program, and all legislation stemming from them.
Like the older Republicans and Democrats, the young third party is more than mass meetings and platform speeches. It also has top strategists and potent local leaders whose differences must be reconciled off-stage: C. B. “Beanie” Baldwin, with one important difference, stands in the same relationship to Henry Wallace as Jim Farley did to FDR at the beginning of their political alliance. The difference is important in explaining much about the Wallace campaign. Farley came to his task ripe in political experience and rather disinterested in the ideas his candidate was to stand for.
Third parties are one test of the vitality of the American people. They test the capacity of Americans to restore to life our two-party system when one of the major parties ceases to function as a vital force. The origin of the New Party lay in the recent failure of the Democratic Party to lead. In wartime, party government was abandoned in favor of national government by President Roosevelt. After the war, the Democratic Party lacked the vitality to reassert its liberal leadership.
As the political campaign goes into its final days, the best informed observers appear to believe that President Roosevelt will win by a substantial margin. Our readers will hardly need to be told that the editors of The New Republic will view such an outcome with satisfaction. There are faults to find with the Roosevelt administration, both in its foreign policy and on the domestic front; we have never hesitated to point out what seemed to us to be failings, and we expect to continue to do so in the future.
The Hidden Civil War by Wood Gray New York: The Viking Press. 314 pages. $3.75. Abraham Lincoln and the Fifth Column by George Fort Milton New York: The Vanguard Press. 368 pages. $3.50. In April 1941, when President Roosevelt called Charles Lindbergh a Copperhead, the newspapers were careful to explain who the Copperheads were. Now for the first time these Civil War fifth-columnists have been made the subject of full-length historical studies for the general reader. It is clear enough that Lincoln's Copperheads were more formidable than any that Roosevelt has yet had to face.
The American occupation of Iceland and the substantial American forces sent to Trinidad and British Guiana are grand good news. They mean that he giant of the Western World is at last rousing him-self from his long, almost fatal lethargy and is preparing to fight for his way of life. Iceland in German hands would be a great danger to American security, It could control North Atlantic shipping so as to make supplies to England almost impossible.
The Lease-Lend Bill will pass; the important question is how soon and with what modifications. Passage without change of a word or a comma three months or even six weeks from now might be worth less than passage in a few days with alterations. The President has therefore been wise to consult with congressional leaders and consent to changes that do not alter the essence of the measure. Other amendments will be offered in both House and Senate.