November 7, 1936 - Editorial - "Pride and Prejudice", by George Lorimer
People who are moved almost wholly by their emotions, prejudices, passions and pride of party, who are stirred to unreasoning anger by the presentation of any side of the questions before the country except their side, are always quick to accuse their opponents of blind partisanship. They demand that all newspapers and periodicals, except those that reflect their own views, be neutral, as they call it. They are quick to resent criticism of propaganda handouts by press agents who are paid out of taxation, or strictures on the subsidizing of special classes by the New Deal.
In a period like this, when the American system - and that means much more than the business system - is at stake, it is important to have close scrutiny and free criticism of then plans and policies of those in power. Being neutral in thought or in speech is just another name for indifference, spinelessness or cowardice.
As far as The Saturday Evening Post is concerned, the personalities of the candidates are unimportant, except as they have a direct bearing on the ideas for which they stand. We have no doubt, as his intimates claim, that the President has a charming personality and that Governor Landon is less winning in his manner and of a more homespun personality. We all know that the President can sing like a canary over the radio, or swoop down like a hawk on the alleged "economic royalists" in a speech. We all know that Governor Landon is not a sweet singer over the radio, or given to vituperation of any class in his speeches. He seems to regard Americans, not as antagonistic classes, seething with hatred of one another, but as one people.
The matter of first importance in the case of the candidates is the ideas for which they stand, for they are not so much personalities as symbols of ideas and promises. Once in the presidential office, these ideas and promises become concrete in action or lack of action. Candidate Landon has not yet been tested in the presidential office. Candidate Roosevelt has been. And it is because of his record as President that we view the possibility of four years more of the New Deal with misgivings.
If Candidate Roosevelt, as President, had stood on the Democratic platform and steered his course by his pre-election promises, instead of throwing both overboard, and even if, for a sound reason, he had temporarily gone about on a new tack, we should have had no criticism to offer, just as we offered no criticism of President Wilson - whose re-election we advocated - until he went abroad and agreed to the Treaty of Versailles. So, when President Roosevelt began to look askance at the Constitution, and to set up new instruments of power, which, he frankly confessed might be dangerous in the hands of another man, we felt it was impossible to follow him, for we felt that his new instruments of power are dangerous in his hands.
The Saturday Evening Post, owing to its large edition and its word-wide circulation, must go to press several weeks before it is distributed to subscribers and buyers from the newsstands, so we shall not be able to comment on the election before the last of November.
But whether Landon or Roosevelt is elected, we shall continue to be nonpartisan, in the real sense of the word, and criticize the policies of either as President whenever we feel that they are unsound or unwise. (pg. 26)