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Today the G.O.P. Convention gets under way, and out of the ensuing maelstrom of conflicting ideas and personalities must emerge a leader and a program. Both must be shrewdly chosen and thereafter carefully cherished, if the party is to meet with success next November.
It matters rather less than many imagine whether Governor Landon, Senator Vandenburg, Colonel Knox, or some one of the darker horses like Senator Steiwer is finally nominate. It would matter a great deal if Senator Borah, by some freak turn of Fortune's wheel, were nominated. Should he, with his inflationary visions and incept record in foreign affairs, be nominated, the voter would face the unpleasant prospect of choosing between the devil and the deep blue sea.
But generally speaking the candidates, even though at the moment they may not be considered exceptionally "big" men politically, have enough ability, honesty, intelligence, and common-sense to recommend themselves to most observers. Such are the fundamental prerequisites of Republican nominees today. In the following five months the nominees--whoever he may be--will have apparently and probably actually grown in stature, as the history of any past minority candidate will tell us. The heat of battle is not the only way in which a man is tempered and defined to all voters; what the voter will learn, through clever propaganda, of a candidate's birthplace, size of family, and personal eccentricities will make him bulk larger on the political horizon.
Senator Borah by no means makes an ideal candidate, but he does have ideas worth incorporating into the party program. His theme song, and indeed he sings little else, is a dirge of hate directed at monopoly in all its forms, particularly the big-industry and labor-union privilege and the farmer privilege which the NRA and AAA represented. Ideas of this sort go at a premium. It may even be hoped--now that the Democratic Party has in effect defaulted upon its free-trade principles--that the high tariff mania and its favoritism to special groups may be modified in the interests of consistency and sound economics.
Other planks must be written defining the distinction between governmental and private enterprise, advocating the return of relief to local agencies, making completely intelligible the party's stand on foreign affairs, as well as a host of other problems. Not unimportant either politically or economically will be the farm plank, and the substitution of a foreign-export subsidy for the present "conservation" subsidy, it must be remembered, offers no real solution.
Generally speaking a policy of liberalism, in its uncorrupted sense, must be redefined. It must be the kind which countenances moderate social change, but demands that it be well-considered, ably administered, and effective in its objective. It is a hopeful sign of a revitalized party to find both Landon and Hoover contemplating amendment to the Constitution, if necessary, to allow states to enact minimum wage laws.
It is true tha plain and unadorned junking of some of the measures of the past four years would constitute a net gain. But a policy of blanket condemnation, of unadulterated negativism could not and should not win the next election. The voter requires a plan of action, well-formulated ideas from the elephant before they will let him pull the national chariot out of mire into which the donkey, according to G.O.P. version, has drawn it.
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