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"Well, now we're down to the nuts and raiains", President Lincoln used to remark, as he finished his examination each day of the recent telegrams from the Southern battle-front and turned to the old dispatches, thumbed over again and again. The cryptic statement came as the climax of one of those delightful fables with which Lincoln enlivened the White House during the dark days of the war, explaining it as being the exclamation of a little girl who had eaten an enormous dinner, starting with nuts and raisins, and who had suffered the inevitable consequences of her gourmandizing.
After three months of unsavory blathering about thirty million dollar slush funds and senatorial oligarchies, the Democratic nominee, recalled by his master's voice to the real issue of the campaign has returned to the one subject of supreme importance which has been thrashed over a thousand times in the past year, and which must be decided in the near future. He has recognized the pre-eminence of the League of Nations problem. He has got down to the nuts and raisins.
It is, pleasing to hear that Senator Harding has officially declared his intention of accepting the challenge and carrying the league issue to the platform on his imminent trip through the eastern states. Heretofore the Harding stand on the question, though emphatically denouncing entrance without reservations, and equally emphatically supporting some association of states, has been couched in terms so vague as to convey little to the ordinary voter.
Small doubt remains as to what the outcome of the league controversy will be. It has become perfectly evident in the course of the past twelvemonth that the people of America are distrustful of the League of Nations covenant as it now stands. Rather than support the Democratic viewpoint and vote for Cox, the equivalent, since President Wilson's outbreak of Sunday last, of voting for the League compact as proposed by Wilson himself, the majority would vote for a Republican nominee unalterably opposed to the League in any form.
But Senator Harding, far from being opposed to any league, has declared himself as ready to enter the community of nations provided the individuality of the United States is not to be submerged in the welter of conflicting ambitions and prejudices which the League, without modifications, bids fair to become. To the internationalist, to the idealist, this view may seem so lukewarm as to be palatable, so cautious as to be ridiculous.
The time has come, however, to realize that a compromise is imperative it any workable solution is to be attained. The very word, "compromise", has about it a smack of surrender and a suspicion of failure that make it detestable alike to the "bitter-ender" and the "die-hard". The proposer of a compromise usually calls upon himself the wrath of both opposing sides; in the end, however, it is the compromise which triumphs.
America his proceeded too far in the direction of international association to resume once more her silly position of splendid isolation. On the other hand the time has hot come when America will surrender her individuality to the extent proposed in the Wilson Covenant. Between these two extremes she must smite her path. Senator Harding has realized this, and results will show that most sober-thinking citizens agree with him.
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