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National Affairs: Six Against Landon

4 minute read

Don’t condescend to quarrel with your opponent. Let your underlings do it.

Hardly had Nominee Alf Landon’s acceptance speech been broadcast (TIME, Aug. 3) than Franklin Roosevelt’s ace political pressagent, Charles Michelson, began to plan to put this old political maxim into effect. For the occasion he arranged an hour’s nation-wide radio hookup. For the job of demolishing Republican Landon he shrewdly picked six of the President’s official inferiors and the Governor’s official equals—six Democratic Governors, from six States geographically selected to enfilade Kansas from assorted distances and directions.

Excerpts from the chorus: The Voice of Rhode Island (Theodore F. Green): “Landon was a question mark when he began to speak. He was an even larger question mark when he finished speaking. … I am disappointed.”The Voice of Pennsylvania (George H. Earle): “We were not impressed by any talk of fumbling with recovery. . . . Governor Landon may be familiar with [the steel industry] since his uncle, William T. Mossman, is the chief lobbyist in Harrisburg for the Pennsylvania steel masters. The Pennsylvania steel industry is booming today as it has never boomed since the World War (see p. 49). Governor Landon, who radiates sweetness, light and love for all mankind, is a Kansas Lorelei. . . .”

The Voice of Illinois (Henry Horner) :

“He had been pictured to us by his sponsors as a ‘strong silent man.’. . . We found that he was, indeed, a ‘silent’ man, silent on the true issues of the campaign.”

The Voice of Iowa (Clyde L. Herring):

“Governor Landon is apparently trying to persuade the farmers that two birds in hand are not nearly so good as one scrawny bird up in the top of the next tree. . . . Governor Landon promises, if elected, to do about half as much for the farmer as the New Deal has already done.”

The Voice of Nebraska (Roy L. Cochran):

“There are two Alf M. Landons. There is the Governor Landon of Kansas. That is the man I know. Then there is the Candidate Landon. . . . Candidate Landon is running for the Presidency on an anti-New Deal platform, but Governor Landon ran for a second term for the Governorship of Kansas on a 100% New Deal platform.”

The Voice of Oregon (Charles H. Martin):

“Look who stands behind him. . . . The manipulators of Wall Street are 100% behind Governor Landon’s candidacy. They boast of the fact. . . .”

The only new meat in this Michelson feast of criticism was Governor Earle’s reference to Nominee Landon’s uncle as “the chief lobbyist of the Pennsylvania steel masters.” A brother of Governor Landon’s late mother, William T. Mossman has been public relations chief for Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp. for the past 25 years. Last week Governor Earle was not the only partisan who attempted to embarrass Governor Landon by lugging his lobbyist uncle irrelevantly into the campaign. Philip Murray, head of the Steel Workers Organizing Committee and right-hand man of John L. Lewis, who is supporting Franklin Roosevelt through Labor’s Non-Partisan-League, published a telegram to Kansas’ Governor:

“Will you please get in touch with your uncle and learn:

“Why spies and company police trail our organizers and union members in the steel town of Aliquippa, Pa., where Jones & Laughlin’s main plant is located? . . .

“Why it was necessary to ask for Pennsylvania State police to protect our men in Aliquippa?

“So serious are Jones & Laughlin coercive tactics, recently exposed by the National Labor Relations Board, and so foreign are they to your quoted beliefs in respect to a bona fide labor union that I feel you owe it to yourself to carry your message personally to the workmen at Aliquippa. I make this suggestion on the assumption you have enough influence with your Uncle Bill so that Jones & Laughlin will permit you to make such a speech in Aliquippa.

“Anything short of some such definite remedial action on your part in this notorious company-terrorized steel town will tend to verify the growing belief you are merely the little nephew of big steel.”

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