FEBRUARY 16, 1953
NEW YORK, Sunday—I was very much a Democrat on Saturday. In the morning I spent a little while listening to reports at a meeting called by Stephen Mitchell, chairman of the Democratic National Committee. These reports were made by men and women representing their organizations, and were certainly encouraging. They voiced determination to make advances by 1954 which would show tangibly that the people had returned to their Democratic allegiance.
Saturday night at the dinner given to Adlai Stevenson, where he made his first major speech since the election, I was very proud of the leadership he was giving the Democrats. Mr. Stevenson painted the ideal role for a party out of power to follow, but was realistic enough to say that we would doubtless fall to the temptations of partisanship now and then. In everything which concerns the welfare of our country, however, we must try to back the administration when we are convinced that the policies advocated are for the national good.
In responding to Mr. Stevenson's speech, Senator Lehman made a very moving appeal in which he said if we did not remain the party of progress, of progress for all the people, we would not deserve a return to power. I think one of the most effective speeches of the evening was made by Miss Margaret Truman in a few short words. She looked charming and, when she said she thought the time had come when every Democrat should stand up and be counted, I think she gave just the right touch to the gathering.
It was an enormous gathering that did not bear the signs of a party in defeat. I have rarely seen tables in both tiers, as well as covering the entire floor, of the ballroom at the Waldorf. They told me with satisfaction that 1780 people were present, and since most of them had paid their $100 it must have been a help to the party's treasury!
President Truman sent a signed $100 bill even though he could not be present.
I sat by Mr. Sam Rayburn, who has been so long the Speaker of the House that it seems almost impossible not to consider him "Mr. Speaker." Averell Harriman, presiding, did a really wonderful piece of work in getting everything exactly on time. He made an amusing crack at one point while we were waiting for TV to pick up Mr. Stevenson. Looking at the gathering with satisfaction, Mr. Harriman said: "You see, the Union Pacific always runs its trains on time." This was good preparation for some of Mr. Stevenson's witticisms, which kept the crowd both laughing and applauding.
The two Congressional speakers seemed well content, from the Democratic point of view, with some of the recent Washington happenings. Mr. Rayburn remarked that he was "glad to come to New York City," where occasionally he heard "people talk sense."