Democracy, as it has been developed in the United States, requires a certain amount of political "log-rolling." The statesman who is so much concerned with his high ideals that he is unwilling to reciprocate favors rarely succeeds in getting any-thing accomplished. Although undesirable, playing politics has been regarded as a necessity under our present system. In wartime, however, the centralization of power in the executive is intended to eliminate the vices of our democracy. With the President wielding almost supreme power, he is able to cut partisan politics to a minimum.
Yet, President Roosevelt's actions in two of his recent appointments clearly point to selfish political debt-paying. Edward J. Flynn, nominated to one of the nation's most responsible positions as ambassador and envoy to Australia and the Far East, was morally questionable, disregarding his capacity for such a post. Had his nomination been confirmed, the Australian government would have found itself in the humiliating position of having to tolerate a man it never could respect. Second, ex-Senator Josh Lee, wholly unqualified for the job, was confirmed through "senatorial courtesy" to a position on the Civil Aeronautics Board at a time when its efficiency can be seriously impaired by "dead-head" members. On the basis of capability alone, the only basis which should be considered for the present, both of these men were outranked by innumerably less politically favored eligibles.
Roosevelt would be mistaken to look on Flynn's rebuff as a slap in the face of the Administration. The balance of power which turned the scales against this appointment was in the hands of men who have been staunch supporters of the President in his whole foreign policy.
On the other hand, he should realize that he himself is subject to the same standards of high idealism and personal sacrifice which he is now demanding of the people. An American public roused to rigorous self-criticism is apt to judge harshly a leader who does not practice what he preaches.