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"AL" VS. THE NEW DEAL

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Without doubt the most honest, sincere and unbiased criticism of the New Deal heard in this country came from the lips of ex-Governor Alfred E. Smith speaking before the Liberty League in New York Saturday night. With no trace of personal bitterness or ravings, but with fairness and in plain terms, did the nation's leading "conservative Democrat" call the administration to task for its neglected party pledges and its wanderings from the paths of constitutionality. An especial tribute to Mr. Smith's sincerity of purpose is the fact that the Liberty League, at first evidently affected by the dinner and convivial atmosphere, grew steadily less noisy and toward the end of his address, greeted his telling shots with a dignity and restraint from boisterousness seldom heard on such occasions.

Attacks on the New Deal have become more frequent and at the same time more bitter as the Roosevelt anesthesia has worn off. As is only natural, mistakes have been made, glaring errors have been brought to light and opposing forces throughout the country have been quick to seize on the loop-holes in the administration's program. Yet, they have, for the most part, been the work of men or parties materially interested in discrediting the Roosevelt regime. One understands attacks made by Republicans on a Democratic administration. They may have the truth of the gospels, the forces of a juggernaut and still retain the savour of partisanship. However, when a party in power is criticized by a large proportion of its own makeup; when that attack is led without trace of self-advancement or breath of bitterness by a man versed in the ways of governing, a man of unquestioned integrity, then, that attack will strike home and leave its mark.

Al Smith spoke in plain language and his words went far beyond the tables of the Liberty League. How much opinion he swayed will only be known next fall. One may score the fact that his criticisms of the New Deal were general, that his solutions were highly theoretical and that the telling effects of his shots were somewhat dulled by their humorous setting, necessitated, no doubt, by the camaraderie of the occasion. All this is true, yet what he said is precisely what a large proportion of this country is thinking today. His challenge will have to be answered, and answered soon by a responsible spokesman for the administration. The New Deal can successfully withstand the Henry Fletchers and the scattered forces of the Republicans, but it cannot hold forth against criticsm like this, whose strength lie in their sincerity and honesty and whose supporters come from within the party itself.

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