SEPTEMBER 4, 1952
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—I understand that Governor Adlai Stevenson accepted the idea that he and General Eisenhower have a debate on a nationwide television hookup but that the general declined. This must mean that either General Eisenhower or his advisors feel that Governor Stevenson can outtalk the Republican candidate.
Perhaps he can, and certainly he is making a very good impression in all of his major speeches. He has wit and humor, charm, restraint and intelligence.
But these things alone will not win the Presidential election for the Illinois governor. He must find out how to have the people feel that he is talking to them individually and that they must listen or they will miss something that really affects their daily lives. This is a gift that can be cultivated, and the candidate who achieves this close relationship with most of the people in his audience probably will win on Election Day.
No election is settled the end of August or in early September. In fact, I have known candidates and their supporters worry because they felt that something which happened during the last three or four days before an election might change the final decision of the people.
Who can get closest to the people? "Ike" or Adlai? That is a really important question.
General Eisenhower, being the candidate of the "out" party, is in a favorable position to a certain extent. People everywhere want an end to the war in Korea. Nobody likes corruption and nobody likes inflation. So, here are three things the general will play upon from morning to night and try to make it appear that the Democrats are solely responsible for prolonging the war, for inflation and for corruption. The people won't be reminded by the Republicans that Congress must take some share of responsibility for sins of omission and commission and that Republicans as well as Democrats have been to blame.
But it is fair in a campaign to accuse your opponent of everything in the book and it is up to the other fellow to find the proper answers.
Our people have grown wise, however, in campaign methods. They seem to enjoy the exaggerations and the arguments, and then make up their own minds regardless. So, we have yet nearly two months in which many of us can get some enjoyment out of our political scene.
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In the fight for employing older people new facts are being brought forward.
Someone, who is 50 years old and evidently quite active but who has had difficulty in obtaining work in his line of business, points out to me in a letter that the agencies are loath to send out job applicants who are over 45 years of age because of the insurance angle. Insurance firms insist on basing their estimates on statistics made in 1900 which, when you have group policies and other benefits, make older people too much a liability.
My correspondent insists that these 1900 statistics ignore the increase in longevity due to medical and scientific progress. He goes on to ask that when government bonds and savings are gone—and they go rather fast in these days of high costs and inflation—what are the old people, 50 to 65 years old, going to do about food and shelter?
This is a good question and one that we should all ponder seriously.