NOVEMBER 11, 1958
NEW YORK—Everyone seems to be assessing the election returns. And one rather frightening observation is that made by James Reston of The New York Times. He comments that the majority of people seem to be accepting the thesis that the important thing is to have a personality that will win and that the qualities that will make one a good governor, a good President or a good Senator are secondary considerations.
Mr. Reston suggests that the personality that will win is what the professional politicians would be looking for, but that the people had better be looking for the qualities that will make a candidate a good public official.
And I think one sentence from one of his recent articles should be kept in front of us during the next two years. He says: "The next two years will separate the men from the boys."
This, of course, has reference to those who are aspiring to the Presidency in both political parties in 1960.
As of today, all the candidates in both parties will proclaim that this is not the time for thinking that they want to do anything but be a success in the office to which they have just been elected. Mr. Nelson Rockefeller went off on his holiday saying that all he wanted was to be a good governor of New York State. Mr. John Kennedy has announced that he will do nothing toward getting the nomination of the Presidency; presumably he will devote himself entirely to his duties as Senator.
I think we could go on like this through the whole list of possibilities. And this is probably a healthy attitude, but it should not lull the public into thinking that action taken in any public office will not have some bearing on the choice in 1960.
Instead of a glamorous personality, we had better look, as the months go by, for the qualities of character and strength shown in action by our public servants. It is becoming an increasingly difficult time to serve the United States in its position of world leadership as President, and the choice should be made by the people with very great care.
I must tell you about some recent pleasant evenings I've had at the theater. The other night we went to the Helen Hayes Theatre where Eugene O'Neill's "A Touch of the Poet" is being given with Helen Hayes herself acting the part of Nora Melody, the long-suffering wife who nourishes her love through many strains and stresses because without it life would have no meaning. This is a beautiful portrayal of many different characters, extremely well done. In one or two parts the acting seemed a little overpowering, but perhaps this is the only way it could be. The play certainly is worth seeing and one that will give you food for thought.
Then on another evening we went to see a new group of Russian folk dancers, called the Beryozka Dance Company. The dancers are all women who are accompanied on the accordion by male artists. For only one or two brief periods do the men join in the fun of the dance. This is not a ballet, nor would I call it great art. But it is charming, well put on with colorful costumes, and the life and vigor of the dancers make one feel that they are enjoying themselves and this spreads to the audience.
A third show we saw is called "Once More, With Feeling," which stars Joseph Cotten and Arlene Francis. This is light and well acted, and though it has nothing that will stir you greatly it provides entertainment that makes for a pleasant evening.