December 2, 1933 - Article - Progress On The Potomac, by Samuel G. Blythe

The professors came from their classrooms at the beginning of the New Deal, chockablock with things that must be done to keep the ship of state off the rocks. And they had a lovely time.

It perplexed some of them, for a while, that the economic, sociological and other theories that had been simmering in them since their freshmen days could not be put in operation immediately, by edict, or ukase, or by the adoption of their books in place of the Constitution; but they soon found there are certain formalities, outmoded no doubt, but still effective, that must be observed before a Government can do anything, and that the chief of these is probably obsolete, but none the less imperative, provision in the organic law that there are three coördinate branches of this Government - the executive, the legislative and the judicial. It gradually damned on them that before the executive can execute, he must have laws to authorize his executions.

Violá! As the Romance-language professors say. If laws are required, as they seemed to be, they would prepare them. So, in their various lines, that is what they did. Exactly. They wrote their ideas, theories, remedies and panaceas into bills, and, in due course, the bills came to Congress. It is quite true that there was nothing new in their writings, or not much. It was mostly old stuff - maybe embroidered a bit, but still old. However, the professors were pretty new themselves. They thought it was grand, and Congress didn't know whether the stuff was new, old, medium or sunny-side up. Nor care.

Out came the professorial laws - modified, of course, here and there by nonprofessorial meddlers in the halls of Congress, but with plenty of professorial ideas in them at that. Plenty. This left nothing to be done, of course, but to make the laws operative, to organize and regiment and work them out as practically as possible. That put a lot of the professors out on a limb. Their business is to think. The practical fellows - like Johnson, and Ickes, and Peek, and Eastman - took over the work of organization and execution. (pg. 11)

The first fruits of the professorial thinking were deposited in various acts of Congress - some voluminous twenty eight or nine of these to twenty four professors; so it will be seen that a lot of thinking was done - that are the foundation and superstructure of the New Deal.

With twenty-four professors thinking forty hours a week, it was expected that this maximum of hours would keep a good supply on hand. The thought production would be ample for all needs.

This enormous ballyhoo is not confined to the written word. It is constantly on the radio. It is in the movies. It uses posters, billboards, advertisements, oratory, by the resounding hour after hour. Over in the NRA headquarters, the astute Charles Michelson runs a great publicity organization. He is director of one of the largest herds, or coveys, or flocks, or whatever the correct term is, of press agents ever gathered together under one roof. Is a speech needed by some orator? Or a radio talk? Presto. There it is. Is a statement necessary? On the fire. Are all the required opinions, results, conjectures and hurrahs in hand? If not, a wave of the wand and out they come. And yards of news.

That's only the NRA. Down at the Department of Agriculture, where they have the AAA, and the FCA, and the ACC, and so on; and over in the Interior Department, which is home of the PWA, and in every other governmental department, and in many bureaus, and at the command of many individuals, are the expert press agents - dozens of them - all working in the common cause of putting the New Deal over with the people. (pp. 74-75)

No public man ever used the radio as skillfully and as effectively as the President uses it. His sense of values, his speaking voice, his use of the vernacular, and his simplicity of statement emphasize his mastery of publicity. He knows hi stuff, as the actors say. As a matter of fact, it would be a mighty good thing for the New Deal if the heads of some of the alphabetical sections of that enterprize would hire him to run their departments of public relations. (pg. 76)

Professor Felix Frankfurter comes silently in, now and then, and moves about behind the scenes, patting on the shoulder any professor who has acquired merit or spanking any professor who has too flagrantly burst the bounds of theoretical moderation.

He has plenty to do, for Professor Frankfurter is responsible for putting about a dozen of the twenty-four professors in their present jobs, and the professor himself operates from the broad base of the philosophies of Justice Brandeis, of the United States Supreme Court. (pg. 77)

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