August 1, 1936 - Editorial - Recessional, by George Lorimer
The Saturday Evening Post is not a partisan of any party or individual. It is a partisan of sound ideas, whether they are put forward by the Republican, Democratic of the Roosevelt-New Deal Party. The Democratic Party is in eclipse, temporarily, at least, washed up and out. The Roosevelt New Deal Party and its ideas and ideals is an absolutely new party, the work of an individual and his satellites, though it has been rubber-stamped as good by a large number of former Democratic leaders, voters and marginal Republicans.
Now that the Roosevelt convention has grown cold and we can view it in perspective, certain facts about it are apparent. First of all, it was a jobholder's convention. Second, it was not a deliberative body but an aggregation of yes men, ordered to stick around and O.K. whatever was handed down to it from on high. And third, it registered a new low in American political conventions, and that is going some distance down.
The Republican convention got off to a poor start with the keynote speech. There was too much flag-waving by blondes and too much ballyhoo, but at least there was no ready-made platform, and there was deliberation and consideration of men and measures, and a threshing out of ideas to a harmonious conclusion.
The President came to Philadelphia, hard on the heels of the adoption of the platform and his nomination. There, before one of those political gatherings that are new to America, but commonplace in the Europe of Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini, he delivered his speech of acceptance. It was a faultless speech, except for one fault. Beneath the polished diction and the rounded phrases, there were all the old threats, all the old incitements to class hatred, all the old epithets against business, though they were dressed in new clothes for the occasion. On the whole, the plans and policies of the candidate will need little further clarifying to anyone who listened carefully to his speech and caught its implications. If he is elected, we shall have the New Deal carried to its logical conclusion.
The President's denunciation of "Princes of Privilege" came with poor grace from one of his lifelong background of privilege. Even the Great Promiser of equal opportunity cannot promise to his adherents a fraction of the advantages and opportunities that he has always enjoyed. Without them it is doubtful that Mr. Roosevelt would have risen above his modest ventures as a lawyer and a Wall Street businessman.
Looking back at the convention, we see it as an exquisite parody on the opening lines of Kipling's Recessional.
The captains and the kings, such as they are, and headed by Jim Farley, have departed, the royal princes have scattered, but we look in vain among them for signs of humble and contrite hearts, though we understand that there are many, under cover, among the old-line Democrats. There would have been something fine and vital to talk about if they had had the courage of their convictions in the convention. But, after all, it was only a convention of jobholders. (pg. 22)