The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK—In the death of Speaker Sam Rayburn the country lost a very able and conscientious public servant. He served with my husband and supported him loyally, though at times, I feel sure, his strong middle-of-the road convictions must have made it difficult for him to try out the various programs that were certainly strange innovations designed to meet the particular problems then facing the government. My husband used to point out to Mr. Rayburn now and then that if you fought for something you could often achieve results which were different from those you anticipated.

My husband had a warm affection for Speaker Rayburn, with great trust in his complete integrity and loyalty. Mr. Truman felt the same way; and even President Eisenhower, though of different political party, trusted him completely. In fact, I think it was possible that some of President Eisenhower's recommendations were easier for the Speaker to carry out than had been some of my husband's.

No man established a greater sense of respect among the younger members of the House or could exercise more persuasive influence. Mr. Rayburn's gavel was always authoritative. It will be many a long year before people will cease to miss his presence in Democratic conventions and party meetings of all kinds. We are grateful as a nation for this type of man in public life, and we hope that his example may inspire many others.

One of our papers suggests that the next Republican Presidential ticket should be Senator Barry Goldwater and Governor Rockefeller. This may look ideal to those who are theoretically talking of the best kind of Republican ticket. It would certainly cover a wide range from extreme conservatism to as much liberalism as a Republican dares confess to.

To be sure, Governor Rockefeller has occasionally succumbed to the wiles of the old type Republican boss politician. It has always seemed to me that with both Governor Rockefeller and Governor Harriman, neither of whom had the rough and tumble of politics in the lower ranks, a professional politician gave them more of a sense of inferiority than was really necessary. These two men may not know the tricks of the trade as well as the professionals of the old school know them; but both are capable of understanding the people, and of working out ways to meet their needs, far better than some of their professional advisers. Both of them are very able men who have proved in the way they have carried out assignments in many parts of the world that they are practical, perceptive and resourceful. Thus, a team made up of two opposites like Rockefeller and Goldwater may sound alluring to Republicans, but I think it would result in considerable internal conflict.

I read with interest the other day of the suit brought by Felicia Sphritzer, a New York policewoman who claims there is departmental discrimination against women. She feels she should be promoted to sergeant, after 19 years on the force, and believes it is only discrimination that has prevented this.

The arguments made in reply by the police commisioner and assistant corporation counsel are absolutely valid, but it seems to me there must be ways of promoting policewomen for different kinds of work. In the armed forces women do not do exactly the same service as men, yet they do receive promotions. Perhaps they do not attain the top echelons; but up to a certain point, good behavior and competence in the work assigned to them gives them promotion. Surely something of this kind could be worked out in the police force, for it must be frustrating to women to feel that they are in a dead-end job in which there is no chance of progress.

I am being deluged by inquiries as to my health, due apparently to a comment by Walter Winchell stating that I was very ill. I have no idea from what source he received this information, but as far as I know I am as well as anyone can be at my age and am very active at the present time!

E. R.

(Copyright, 1961, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • New York (N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, November 20, 1961

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

TEI-P5 edition published on April 28, 2017.

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.