• U.S.

THE PRESIDENCY: All Right

3 minute read
TIME

“. . . I think it is a healthful thing not to have the country represented too predominately by either party, for it puts both on their mettle. On the whole, I think it is as easy to put through a well-thought-out program when the two major parties are more nearly equally represented in Congress.”

Such were the morning-after sentiments of cheery Mrs. Franklin Roosevelt. But not for two days did her husband tell the press how he felt about the election returns. In reply to direct questions he finally said the returns were “all right”; he did not anticipate a coalition of Republicans and conservative Democrats working against him; his own forecast of Democratic losses had been too small by one Senator, 16 Representatives; he did not plan to change his legislative program. Oldtime, arch-Republican Correspondent Mark Sullivan, watching Franklin Roosevelt intently from the massed ranks of reporters, admitted that he looked “poised and cheerful.”

Three courses seemed to lie before this President who, after having his hold on the country tightened in three successive elections, now suddenly felt that hold loosen, 1) He could press ahead with his legislative reforms, forcing issues to bring about the national Liberal v. Conservative realignment he had undertaken. 2) He could acquiesce in the new independence of Congress and let it work out its own solutions to controversial problems like Labor law and Social Security revision, railroad rehabilitation, while he led on toward larger, less controversial goals such as national Rearmament and security for the Western Hemisphere. 3) He could seek by placation and compromise to restore harmony within his own party.

A combination of courses 2 and 3 was indicated last week, by Franklin Roosevelt’s assertion that he anticipated no coalition against him, and by a remark of Majority Leader Sam Rayburn, who conferred at length with the President after his return to the White House from Hyde Park. Said Mr. Rayburn: “Now Democrats will be more inclined to be Democrats.”

Ambitious Mayor LaGuardia of New York City last week tried to get Senators Norris and La Follette and Governor-reject Murphy of Michigan excited about the setback progressives had suffered, the necessity for rallying their scattered forces. Mr. Murphy, after four hours at the White House with Franklin Roosevelt, declared: “Progressivism can and must go forward, but I believe it must be . . . through the Democratic Party. There is little chance for success through a third party.”

The President last week: opened the annual American Red Cross Drive (“We must all do our part”); greeted the American Philatelic Society, convening in Hartford, Conn. (“It is a hobby that pays rich returns. . . .”); attended Armistice Day ceremonies in Arlington National Cemetery; received and charm-bathed Cuba’s Dictator Fulgencio Batista wrote to C. I. O in Pittsburgh plugging peace with A.F. of L. “in the interest of all Americans.”

Aroused by Germany’s new paroxysms of Jew-baiting, the State Department ordered Ambassador Hugh R. Wilson home from Berlin to “report and consult” with the President.

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