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The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, September 27, 1912, Image 1

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The Commoner,,
VOL. 12, NO. 38
Lincoln, Nebraska, September 27, 1912
Whole Number 610
What Will the New York Democrats Do?
What will the democrats of Now York do in beginning a campaign for the votes of men who want government placed upon the substan
tial basis of "equal rights to all and special privileges to none?" Will they surrender the control over their party to Charles T. Murphy
who, repudiated at Baltimore, must be repudiated by the New York democracy, if that democracy would keep step with the spirit of
1912? The New York World is making a gallant fight against Murphy and Murphyism and is pleading with democrats to defeat the
renomination of John A. Dix. There are many honored and capable men whom the democrats might nominate for governor of
New York. They will meet with the sorriest disappointment if they undertake to pit a John A. Dix against an Oscar Strauss. Pro
pects for democratic success in New York are bright but they will grow brighter with the defeat of Dix and the repudiation of Murphy.
New York democrats will do well to remember that the democratic party in the nation is not engaged in a sham battle. The fight for good
government is a genuine light so far as the democrats of the nation are concerned and it remains to be seen whether the New York democ
racy is willing to lend real aid in this patriotic effort. Murphy and Murphyism can have no part or concern in a real battle for popular
That there is a natural and inevitable division
In the republican party is evident to all. It is
in its essentials like the division which took
place in the democratic party sixteen years ago,
and is, in fact, a result of the stubborn fight
made by .the democratic party against the
predatory Interests. In the beginning, the de
mocracy lost- permanently the aristocratic
plutocratic elements of the party, and it lost
temporarily many who did not understand the
real character of the struggle. In the course of
sixteen years those have returned who wero
misled those whose mistake was of the head
rather than of the heart and the party is now
practically united. A few representatives of the
favor-seeking class still call themselves demo
crats, but among the rank and file of the party
there Is entire harmony they are militantly
The republican party, even before 1896, had
a "much larger percentage than the democratic
party had of those who profited by privilege or
were in .sympathy with those who were the
beneficiaries of governmental favoritism. After
1896 the percentage was still greater because
the worst of the democratic party went over to
the opposition.
The same great wave of reform, however, that
created the populist party and thus aroused the
democratic party to resistance to the plunder
bund's program-has now stirred the republican
party to its very depths. But here the parallel
ends. The progressives won their fight in the
democratic party and though once since then the
organization has fallen into the hands of Wall
street the mass of, the party has left no doubt as
to its fidelity to the people's side of the ques
tions at issue. But in the republican party the
result was different; the Wall street element re-.,
tained cpntrol of the party machinery! and nomi
nated the ticket. It is true that the' methods
employed wero indefensible but Mr. Roosevelt
could not well complain;. because tie had -era-
nJnrjtha enmrt tyiefhrtria fnnr vosro hrtfnro in
'VXtfilSSTtolftlfc mnry nf Tifa'-'tWnlna
The'isecond difference between the democratic
situation sixteen years ago and the republican
situation now is that the fight in the democratic
party was waged entirely on principle, while per
sonalities have played a large part in the re
. publican contest. In 1896 the gold democrats,
after being defeated In the convention, put up a
separate ticket, but there was no charge of
"fraud" or "theft," and thero was no personal
feeling between the gold ticket and the regular
democratic ticket. In the republican party, how
ever, the contest over principles is almost lost
sight of in the, feud which has developed between
President Taft and ex-President Roosevelt. Noth
ing like it has ever been seen In American poli
tics and, for the sake of the nation's reputation
abroad, let us hope that nothing like it may ever
be seen again.
Mr. Ro.osevelt, when president, took up Mr.
Taft and made him the nominee of his party,
using the patronage of tils high office to accomp
lish his purpose. Ho then violated precedent by
the extraordinary activity which he manifested
in behalf of his candidate. MrvTaft won, and
from subsequent developments it is quite certain
that ho understood that he was to have the office
for two terms, and that Mr. Roosevelt was then
to bo a candidate again. Mr. Roosevelt's son-in-law
inadvertently intimated as much during the
campaign of 1908. But it seems that, for some
reason some think because of pride and in
gratitude, others believe as a result of promises
made for him during the campaign but for
some reason, Mr. Taft cast Mr. Roosevelt off
and failed to consult him about the formation
of his cabinet. Such conduct upon the part jof
one so obligated as Mr. Taft was Is hard to ac
count for, and Mr. Roosevelt is not the man to
bear such a slight In silence. He evidently felt
that Mr. Taft's violation of the implied agree
ment released him, and since his return from
Africa his chief ambition seems to be to prevent
the president's re-election. Whatever may have
been the cause of Mr, Taft's change of front it
Is natural that his anger should be aroused by
Mr. Roosevelt's biting accusations. He has.
however, gone far beyond what might have been
expected from one of his disposition. The
speeches made by him and Mr. Roosevelt In the
contest for delegates pained the friends of both
so lacking were they in the dignity that Is
supposed to attach to the highest office in the
land. The newspapers In foreign lands have
used the speeches made by the president and by
the former occupant of the White House aa a
basis for tlio comparisons, unfavorable to re
publics. . At the convention the interests of the party
were lost sight of and each sido seemed, more
anxious to win out again&t. the other than for
the-HiiccesM of the -party or for the triumph f
anyiot of principles. Usually when feeling ii
excited between two. candidates the party. puU
them both aside and lakes some one "who has not
aroused antagonisms, but Mr. Taft was not will
ing to stand asido and Mr. Roosevelt was not
willing to compromise on any other progressive,
So wo have this pot and kettle campaign. While
Mr. Roosevelt's friends condemn Mr. Taft for
ignoring the ox-president and his close fricnda,
tho supporiors of Mr. Taft point out that Mr.
Roosovelt, instead of seeking to make tho presi
dent's administration a success, laid in wait for
sins of omission and commission. Thus the situ
ation went from bad to worse and tho two men,
once bosom friends, have become implacable
'enemies, and tho voters of a great party are
unable to consider campaign Issues on their
"Did Mr. Taft treat Mr. Roosevelt fairly?"
and "Did Mr. Roosevelt act Justly toward Mr.
Taft?" These questions absorb attention to the
overshadowing of principles and policies. Had
some pioneer reformer like Senator LaFollette
been pitted against Mr. Taft the line could have
been drawn with clearness and tho contest could
have been conducted without resort to personali
ties, but it is difficult to make a definite issue
between Mr. Taft and Mr. Roosevelt when Mr.
Taft is now what Mr. Roosevelt was until very
recently, and Mr. Roosevelt is .now what Mr.
Taft, as the progressive republicans insist,
promised to bo! It wjould bo unfortunate for
the republican party for either Mr Taft or Mr.
Roosevelt to be elected; it would simply con- '
tinuo the feud as bitter as any blood feud
among mountaineers. If both are defeated the
party can bo reorganized and made useful aa
one of the great parties of the country. If both
are defeated each side will be satisfied it will
have .won half a victory and reconciliation will
be possible along reform lines.
The republican party can not hope to rival
the democratic party as a reform party It will
remain, relatively speaking, the conservativie
party, but one defeat will make it progressive
enough to draw back most of those who now
follow Mr. Roosevelt's standard. The republi
can party is not going to fall to pieces, as the
more sanguine members of the new party seem
to think. There is little difference between Mr.
Roosevelt and Mr. Taft except as to leadership,
and leaders can be changed more easily when
we secure presidential primaries. On essentials
Mr. Taft and Mr. Roosevelt are not far apart.
They agree on the tariff; if either one will write
out his views on tho subject the other will have

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