Like most great victories, the Roosevelt triumph raises more questions than it answers. It is easy to guess what the people voted against, but not what they voted for. The majority was reluctant to turn the country over to the same crowd that had been represented by Coolidge and Hoover, that had helped to bring on the depression and had done so little to end it or to relieve the distress it caused. Many voters feared what this crowd, if in power, might do to labor or to those on relief, or to the farmers, who plead so long and so vainly for a fair deal before Mr. Roosevelt was elected.
PRESIDENT Roosevelt’s overwhelming victory promises to change the face of American political life. Even those expert observers who predicted a landslide did not envisage the unprecedented majority, both in popular vote and the electoral college, that he rolled up. As early as eleven o’clock on election night, when the first returns indicated a Roosevelt victory in every one of the doubtful states, and a popular majority of perhaps 9,000,000, leading Republican politicians and newspapers began to concede that their cause was hopeless; only the incredible John D. M.
With the exception of one amendment, the Wagner labor-disputes bill, as finally enacted by Congress, does not differ much from the measure in its original form. But that amendment may be a joker and turn the entire Act into a company-union charter. It has to do with Section 9b, which governs the choice of the appropriate unit for collective bargaining.
A majority of Congress would like to drop Mr. Roosevelt’s tax program, gather up its heat-prostrated families and go home. It doesn’t quite dare do it. The likelihood is that a tax measure will be passed sometime in August, and that the measure will be much more useful than the one originally proposed by the President. Instead of stopping with trivial increases on incomes of more than a million, there is hope that Congress will undertake the upward revision of the whole income surtax schedule, perhaps beginning at the $4,000-a-year level.
Mr. Upton Sinclair, in his open letter to President Roosevelt published in a recent issue of The New Republic, again raises a question that has received much consideration in various quarters—the possibility of instituting a program of self-help for the unemployed. Dramatized by Mr.
The President took a thorough beating from the House of Representatives when by a large majority it rejected his earnest plea to pass the bill abolishing public-utility holding companies. His only hope in the matter is now that the Senate will favor this clause—though if it does so, the margin can hardly be more than two or three votes—and that while the difference is being adjusted in conference an investigation of utility lobbying will bring to time the recalcitrant Democrats in the House.
When the asbestos curtain rises and reveals the Seventy-third Congress in regular session, the chief theme of the play will be, according to the expectations of most of the spectators, a heroic struggle between the inflationists and the sound-moneyites. We hope the audience will be disappointed, because such a melodrama, however heated and exciting, would be far removed from reality—a romantic revival of the moustached-villain, lily-white heroine, save-the-child school.
We have never before had anything like the Roosevelt administration. Except perhaps for early assemblies of the Founding Fathers, there has never been a government in this country which has acted so rapidly, and imprinted its influence on so many varied areas of our national life. It is not enough to say that Mr. Roosevelt has been faced with a great emergency. So was Mr. Hoover, and he was as immobile as a lump of mud. Nor, unless you are a hero worshiper, can you explain it by Mr. Roosevelt's superior personal virtue. What is it that makes the Roosevelt administration tick?
AT THE END of the Hotel Carlton ballroom, with its sumptuous crimson curtains, painted beams and imitation Renaissance chandeliers. Senator Norris, his face pink from a strong lamp, is addressing the progressive conference in front of a dark expensive-looking tapestry and behind a shiny nickel-plated microphone.
If an optimist is a man who makes lemonade out of all the lemons that are handed to him, men Senator Harding is the greatest of all optimists. He has been told by his friends and his critics that he is colorless and without sap, commonplace and dull, weak and servile. Right you are, says the Senator. You have described exactly the kind of man this country needs. It has tried Roosevelt and Wilson, and look. It can't stand the gaff. I am nothing that they were. I am no superman like Roosevelt and no superthinker like Wilson. Therefore, I am just the man you are looking for. How do I know that?