September 22, 1934 - Editorial - "Smilin' Through", by George Lorimer

When this Administration came into power, the country had a depression to liquidate. It begins to look now as if it has both a depression and a New Deal to liquidate.

The last Administration went out on a ebb tide of confidence; the New Deal came in on a flood tide of over-confidence. The platform of the Democratic Party and the preëlection promises of its candidates carried sound and reassuring pledges to the country. But the new Administration was hardly warm in the saddle before it began to ignore these pledges, until today there is no document in the history of political parties so thoroughly discredited as the Democratic platform.

NRA needs no comment. Its failure to function according to promise and its success in fomenting strikes through 7A is spread clear on the record. Against this, NRA has credits, but the debits probably more than wipe them out. AAA, thanks to the drought and its plow-under program at a time when we need all the food we can grow, has succeeded in raising prices to the point where consumers, with sharply curtailed incomes, are facing mounting prices, while NRA has raised cost to farmers, who have little money to buy even at the old levels. But the country has been given a nice Russian assurance that there will be some kind of food for all the people, even though they may have to go without some kind of foods that they have always had in plenty. The pork that went into tankage is probably one of them, for as this is written the price of pork has just jumped four cents a pound. And speaking of Russia, where is the half billion dollars' worth of orders we were propagandized into believing we would get from her right on the heels of recognition?

These new bureaus look to be a sad mess all the way down from AAA to XYZero. Perhaps AAA's chief is as much at sea about the proper treatment for agriculture as he is about that for our merchant marine. Apparently he has a plow-under complex, for he now asking for a short crop of shipping. Then there is that bright idea of planting belts of trees north and south in arid and semi-arid regions, though that project probably originated in some brain-trust brain.

If we are ever to pull out of the depression, it must be done by American business, freed from the brain-trust shackles that bind it, and from the unfair competition of Government.

Another reason for the growing lack of confidence is the kind of quality and advisers and administrators with whom the President has surrounded himself. If they are a class competent to plan and to run the business of the country, then practical experience and training in industry have lost their meaning. As advisers they have pet social theories, some thoroughly exploded by repeated trials in the past, some ready to explode as soon as they are tried on our devoted country. As administrators they are, under the present set-up, at once legislators, prosecutors, jury and judge.

Up to the present time, the critics of the New Deal have refrained from including the President in their strictures on it. In fact they almost invariably preface their remarks with a few cheery, pleasant words about the President, excepting him from their criticisms as if he were the trusting head of a business house who did not know what his partners were doing. With all due respect for the office, we do not believe the President should be exempted from criticism for the acts of his advisers and appointees. No President of the United States has ever enjoyed such exemption, and in the case of some of our Presidents criticism degenerated into untrue and libelous abuse. But ever decent American hopes that party politicians will in the future refrain from descending into the sewer for their campaign material.

President Roosevelt has qualities that make for great personal popularity - charm of manner, sympathy and the ability to keep cheerful and smiling through trying times - but the country cannot come back on charm, important as they may be in private life.

Signs are multiplying that the country will not continue to take the New Deal lying down or to tolerate in office those left-wing New Dealers who are suspected of dealing from the bottom of the pack to circumvent the Constitution and to impose on America a new social order that is repugnant to our ideal of liberty. (pg. 22)

Back to Old Weekly Press Table of Contents