The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt - Vol. 5

The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt - Vol. 5

The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt - Vol. 5

The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt - Vol. 5

Excerpt

As the nation advanced into the year 1936, the coming presidential campaign became of increasing importance in the development and exposition of national policies. Through the spring every effort was made by the opposition to attack individuals, to magnify minor errors of administration, to misrepresent actual facts, and at the same time to give lip service to the cause of social betterment and elimination of ancient abuses, without offering any specific proposals alternative to the methods we were following.

This attitude indeed may be said to epitomize the whole tenor of the later campaign of the opposition, both before the party conventions and during the succeeding months up to election day.

About 85 percent of the press of the Nation supported the opposition. Many newspapers and magazines went to the length of coloring, distorting, or actually omitting important facts in the news columns as well as in the editorial pages. This is obviously not written in a spirit of bitterness, because of the simple fact that the attitude of these opposition leaders and newspaper owners or editors actually helped the Administration. In other words, the voting public quickly grasped the situation, resented it, and gave the obvious tactics no further consideration. From the point of view of votes, the New Deal gained. From the point of view of public confidence, the opposition leadership and the majority of the press lost.

The major opposition party was handicapped from the start by the impossible attempt at their Cleveland Convention to run with the hares and hunt with the hounds. They sought in their platform to write one paragraph in vaguely progressive terms in order that it might appeal to the more liberal West, and in the next paragraph to repeat some ancient truism which would sound well in the stately mansions of the East.

I was but echoing the general public understanding of the . . .

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