JULY 19, 1948
HYDE PARK, Sunday—I think few people will deny that it would have been preferable to make the calling of Congress into special session a separate matter of business. Yet I cannot agree that it is a mistake to bring the "poor" members of Congress back to Washington in the July heat. There are many people who have to live through the heat of July in Washington and in other places who will be affected by the actions taken during this next session.
There is no need for campaigning until the month of September. Meanwhile, much can be done in a month if the members of Congress really get down to work. One of our great metropolitan newspapers suggests that the questions before Congress are of such importance and complexity that the members cannot take action upon them quickly. I think, however, that most of the questions to be brought before them have long been discussed and now simply require decisions on the part of the leaders.
The members of Congress, for instance, know the need that exists for housing and must have canvassed various ways to meet it. All they have to decide is whether the real estate interests or the people are more important. The question of halting inflation and price increases is certainly no new question—it has been going on steadily for months. Here, too, there is no reason why a decision cannot be reached and action taken.
The complaint made against the manner in which this session was called may be valid, but people must remember that it will be a challenge to the President and the Democratic party as well as to the Republican party. Governor Dewey and Governor Warren are not as yet elected to responsible positions in the Federal government, but they are Governors of states and the subjects to be discussed in Congress have come up before them in various ways. Hence it is not impossible for them, when conferring with Congressional leaders, to give their opinion.
Much more dangerous is the challenge to the President, for instance, on the civil rights program. If he fails to keep his party members in line, it will be a strong talking point for the opposition in the next campaign. The split within the Democratic party is one that has long existed, but has been kept under cover. I smiled when I read Mr. Farley's remark about Democratic leaders who tried to wreck the party in this convention by not being "regulars." He knows only too well all the crosscurrents in the party, and perhaps it is healthy that these have come out into the open.
A better party may come out of the present one in the future. It is not the people who think only of the party machinery who really bring enthusiasm to a party. It is the people who believe in certain principles, and who work through party machinery, who are the real motivating force. It is the results that are accomplished for the good of the people and the policies that are backed by parties that in the long run build a good and a strong organization.