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Susan Green

How a Couple of “Poor” American Boys Made Good

Wall St. Picks Its Republican Nominees

(8 July 1940)

From Labor Action, Vol. 4 No. 12, 8 July 1940, p. 3.
Transcribed & Marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The Republican Convention again proves that every American boy can become president some day. If he first gets to be head of a big utilities outfit, if he shows Wall Street that he is just the man to do its bidding, why then it doesn’t matter how lowly his beginnings – he’s a cinch to be nominated, at least, for the presidency.

Senator Charles McNary’s nomination on the Republican ticket as Willkie’s running mate is very obvious political strategy: McNary will serve as perfume to dispel the bad smell created in the public nostrils by Willkie’s business connections. Mr. Willkie is so unmistakably Wall Street’s darling that a counterbalance was necessary.

McNary has supported the NRA. the AAA, Social Security, the Stock Market Control law, the Labor Relations Act. While such measures have been much greater in promise than in fulfillment, as far as the masses are concerned, McNary’s support of them has given him the reputation of being progressive. His record will be utilized in the Republican campaign to gain mass support for the Wall Street ticket.

As the representative of the well-to-do farmers and small business elements to whom cheap electric current is important – McNary has opposed private utilities. After the World War he was for government operation of Muscle Shoals and during Roosevelt’s administration he has supported the TVA and the Utilities Holding Company law, all of which was very distasteful to private utilities including the Commonwealth & Southern group, of which Wendell Willkie is president.

The Republican manipulators furthermore hope that McNary will serve as the link between the farmers and Wall Street’s candidate. For not only has McNary been behind the AAA, but back in 1926 he sponsored the McNary-Haugen farm bill which, if not vetoed, would have been of benefit to the big grain farmers.

Can Wise Up Willkie on Political Ropes

As minority; leader in the Senate McNary is known for his parliamentary shrewdness. It is said that he rarely wastes time on long speeches on the floor – fifteen minutes at a clip being about his limit – but his skill is felt in cloakroom negotiations. He has been in the Senate since 1917 and knows his way about in Washington’s labyrinthine politics and in the well-oiled Republican Party machine. In comparison, Willkie is a mere· political rookie, which is another reason why McNary was chosen his running mate. If occasion arises, he will show his chief the ropes.

He is reported to have been reluctant to accept the vice-presidential nomination. Second place on the ticket did not appeal to him as against his important and successful job as minority leader in the Senate, in which capacity he served will the interests he represented. However, if he had any principled objection to himself, a so-called Progressive Republican, sharing the ticket with a WaltlStreet candidate, he did not voice his objection.

Teh New York times, mouthpiece of the top capitalist class which wants things tightened up towards a totalitarian regime, expressed its pleasure at the Willkie nomination. but is not enthusiastic about McNary, who represents the well-off farmers and the bosses a rung or two below the top. The Times said the Republican convention might be making “a deliberate attempt to resort to the old game and the old folly of making a party face two ways at once.”

Labor Action, speaking for the class interests of the workers, opposes McNary, as it does Willkie, Roosevelt and all politicians who act for the exploiting bosses – big and little alike.

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