JUNE 24, 1952
HYDE PARK, Monday—Now for a few observations on the Democratic aspirants for the Presidential nomination.
Senator Richard B. Russell has shown strength in the South, but only in the South. On basic principles that form the strength of the Democratic party in the rest of the country, he has not made a very good showing.
Senator Brien McMahon is a fine man but I doubt if he can do more than bring support to whomever is chosen at the national convention to lead the ticket in the next election. That in itself, however, is an important service.
Senator Estes Kefauver has been garnering votes largely because his personality and his method of campaigning appeal to the average voter in most of the places where he has been campaigning. As you watch his speeches, however, you wonder whether he can be the President for the whole country, emphasizing and carrying out those principles that have built the Democratic party in the greater part of the United States. He undoubtedly has fine personal qualities, but just being an honest man and a good investigator does not ensure in the President sufficient knowledge and experience to meet today's problems. He is certainly capable of learning, but learning in the Presidency is a questionable risk to take at the present moment.
Governor Adlai Stevenson and Mr. Averell Harriman both have an understanding of global affairs. Mr. Harriman has been more intimately connected with the Soviet Union and the European situation and he has shown himself to be a good administrator and a keen observer. Governor Stevenson says he is not a candidate but the rumor persists that he is, so we must consider him.
Governor Stevenson has had the experience of doing much of the preparatory work in setting up the United Nations, so he has come in contact with people from many of the nations that form the U.N. He has kept in touch with foreign affairs and is perhaps the best-informed all-around man of the candidates. During his four years as governor he has cleaned up a bad situation in his own state. That is good experience, for state legislatures are, in miniature, what one has to cope with as President in the Congress.
On the other hand, Mr. Harriman has had to deal directly with Congress in explaining his activities and in asking for Congress' support. So, he is not lacking in experience in administrative or legislative affairs.
Both are men of integrity and intelligence. Neither of them has been well known by the people of the country as a whole, but that can be remedied in a campaign.
The Communists undoubtedly would say that Mr. Harriman represents Wall Street, but anyone who knows him could assure the public that he and Governor Stevenson both are liberals. He has shown a little more courage than Governor Stevenson in candidly stating where he stands on civil rights and New Deal and Fair Deal principles.
On the whole, there seems to be more choice before the Democratic convention and less bitterness than is being engendered by the Republican pre-convention campaigns. So there is no reason why the Democrats should not look hopefully for popular support in this campaign.