JULY 17, 1948
HYDE PARK, Friday—Platforms of political parties are apt to have a great deal of material that is largely included for the benefit of those who are not familiar with public affairs. For instance, the space given to praising the achievements on both sides seems somewhat unnecessary, for the public should be entirely familiar with what has been achieved by the party in power and what has been advocated by the minority party in Congress.
Certain planks, however, in the Democratic and Republican platforms show a real difference in attitude when put side by side. The weight of big business shows up rather clearly in the foreign policy plank as written by the Republicans. Financial aid within "prudent limits" might mean almost anything. Both parties, however, pledge support to the United Nations.
It seems rather amusing to have the Republican platform promise support of "the system of reciprocal trade" when everyone knows the fight that was waged in the last Congress and that resulted in the crippling of the trade agreements.
The plank on inflation in the Republican platform is more specific than in the Democratic platform, but it carefully avoids stating any policy for the real immediate halting of the rise in prices. It does not seem to me, however, that the Democratic plank is very much more satisfactory.
On the question of housing, which is close to the hearts of all young people in this country and also to some of their elders, the division between the two parties is very evident. The Democratic platform is far the more satisfactory. The Republican one is so evidently dictated by the real-estate lobby.
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Even though it looks as though both candidates would try to leave the discussion of foreign policy out as a main theme in the campaign, it would be difficult to ignore it completely. Therefore, it is not surprising to see that the Republican candidate announced that he would discuss the Palestine and China questions.
I am afraid that neither the Republicans nor the Democrats will arrive at any very satisfactory solution to the China situation. That is going to take a long while and must include a gradual development among the people of China themselves. When they are strong enough to insist on a government that would represent all parties and at least make the struggle for better conditions for the masses, then we will see a glimmer of hope that some chance of improvement lies ahead.
Somehow I feel that the Palestine question is becoming more hopeful, largely because the Jewish people of Israel seem to be doing a fair job of shouldering their own difficulties.
The step that President Truman has taken in calling the Congress back is good for the country, even though it may be objectionable to the members of Congress. Among other things, I hope the loan for the United Nations Headquarters will go through.