• U.S.

POLITICAL NOTES: Impending Crisis

2 minute read

Last week for the first time a Democratic Senator openly announced that he prefers a Republican victory this November to 16 years of Roosevelt.

Big, lumbering, good-natured Senator Edwin Carl. Johnson of Colorado, conservative and once isolationist, is no statesman. But he is: 1) a hardworking, courageous public servant; 2) an able politician whose sensitivity to public opinion has carried him from beginnings as a railroad laborer to four terms in the Colorado Legislature, one term as Lieutenant Governor, two terms as Governor, and his present second term in the U.S. Senate. These attributes are what gave significance to the Chicago speech last week in which long rebellious Ed Johnson blasted Franklin Roosevelt hardest of any Democratic Senator yet.

The President’s decision to seek Term III (“the Term of Appeasement”) Senator Johnson called “the greatest tragedy of American political history.” If Term IV materializes, he predicted, it will be known in history as “the Term of Defeat and Frustration.” The once great and powerful Democratic Party, he cried, has been reduced by “one-man control” to “hopeless impotency.” “It no longer has the inclination or the will to resist those who would rape it. The Democratic Party is no longer democratic. One man will name its candidate for President, its candidate for Vice President, and write its platform, just as was done in 1940.”

One of Senator Johnson’s basic arguments against a Fourth Term was what he regards as the inevitability of continued warfare between President Roosevelt and Congress. “Should the present running row between the Executive and the Congress persist,” he declared, “America will find herself in a war crisis and a postwar crisis, and her Government in a hopeless deadlock. Only a fool would close his eyes to this impending crisis. It overshadows all of the other political issues of the approaching campaign.”

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com