SEPTEMBER 6, 1952
NEW YORK, Friday—I got into a taxicab yesterday morning and the driver said to me:
"I never talk politics with my fares, but every now and then they insist on talking politics with me. I had one this morning who told me how wonderful General Eisenhower is going to be, and I said, 'He is a fine man and he sure has been a fine general, but who knows whether he will be a fine President. Being a general and being President are two different things.'
"The lady was indignant with me and started to tell me that she supposed I was for that 'dreadful man' President Truman and when I said I did have quite an admiration for him as President she got very angry. So I just suggested that this was a free country and we stopped talking about our likes and dislikes in politics."
I laughed, but the conversation reminded me of a letter I received recently in which a man had taken the trouble to list all the things for which we ought to be grateful to the President. And I remembered reading in a newspaper Senator Langer's speech in which he said that when a President is not running for office he is entitled to respect just because he holds his office, and the things he has done should be appraised in nonpartisan fashion. The Senator added that President Truman had been a good man in the Senate, he made mistakes as everyone does, but that he played his role as President in a manner which would perhaps prove someday that he was one of our great Presidents.
This is important and interesting because I noticed another article that stated that if you tried to evaluate General Eisenhower as a candidate and Governor Stevenson as a candidate without reference to their political parties it would be comparatively easy. But, the story continued, this cannot be done because both are tied to their parties and backgrounds. In the minds of the people generally they and the record of their parties are interconnected. The campaign naturally will tend to try to connect them even more closely with the successes and the failures of their particular party in the past few years.
Republicans can easily say, "We are responsible for nothing that is bad. If we supported something that turned out badly it was the Democrats' fault for suggesting it. If we initiated something that went through, it was done with Democratic support; therefore, the Democrats are responsible."
So, no matter how you look at it, successes and failures both must be chalked up to the Democrats.
There is no use in not saying that some things that were tried were not successes. There is no use in saying that every policy was a right policy. That wouldn't be dealing with the world as it is, but a heaven which has not as yet been achieved on earth.
So you have to balance, and on balance I think we have much to be thankful for.
We have carried the brunt of the fighting in Korea together, with other member nations of the U.N., but we have not had to fight an all-out war. So we can feel that the policies followed have at least restricted or contained war to small areas of the world and have not plunged us into the holocaust of a complete war.
All over the world nations are gradually progressing on the economic front and the underdeveloped countries have received aid from the more highly developed countries, which is a good omen for the future. Our interest in international understanding is being developed by the specialized agencies of the U.N. and I think we can see some progress, too, in the feeling that all human beings must have dignity in the world of the future.