The war had given organized labor the strength to gain a certain veto power within the New Deal coalition, but the coalition remained in essence a collection of hostile interest groups united only by the benefits to be gained through attachment to the Roosevelt personality. Although the programs of the Economic Bill of Rights were designed to appeal to the New Deal's working-class constituency, the convention made it appear doubtful that the administration had the command of political institutions, much less the will to carry through that program. According to Eleanor Roosevelt, the President believed that if the Lord had work for him to do, he would be around to do it. If not, the party leaders were entitled to choose his successor. 78
As was usually the case, Roosevelt had taken the line of least resistance, which in 1944 had meant the choice of a candidate acceptable to all and unknown to many in the name of party and national unity. In a little-known essay in the Progressive, Milton Mayer came close to capturing the essence of what had happened at Chicago with the remark that the convention had become a "struggle between Wallace the reformer who failed at politics, and Roosevelt the politician who failed at reform." The subsequent career of Henry Wallace would be a kind of lingering monument to the failures of Franklin Roosevelt.