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When the good people of Cambridge go to the polls tomorrow, the choice of a Presidential candidate is bound to be foremost in their minds. But with Congress still making the laws of the country, they have another decision quite as important in the selection of Representative for the 9th District. And the lines of the latter contest are by far the most clearly drawn; the choice is between Tom Eliot and Robert Luce, between a progressive and a dic-hard, between a philosophy of government geared to the needs of today and one suited to the problems of fifty years ago.
There is little of personality involved in this choice. Both of the candidates are competent and hard-working men; both are of the highest character; both have kept their records free from charges of corruption, bossism or machine politics. But here the similarity ends. The two contestants represent ideals and policies as distant as the poles.
Representative Luce stands to the extreme Right of the Republican Party. He has consistently opposed every reform measure passed in the last eight years,--reforms which his own party is endorsing in the present campaign. His vote was recorded against the A.A.A., against the Wagner Labor Act, against the Social Security Act. Of the federal legislation to ameliorate the acute problem of inadequate housing for one-third of the nation, all he had to say was that "God made these people unfit to live in better dwellings." Here is a man who has closed his eyes to every evil and abuse in our society. Here is a man who has apparently read and learned nothing since the appearance of Herbert Spencer's Social Statistics in 1859. Here is a man who would write the principles of absolute "laissez-faire" into the statute books of a nation which has learned at the price of acute suffering the blindness of such a position.
Opposing this voice from the past is a young candidate whose eyes are very much open and whose viewpoint is that of 1940. A graduate of Harvard Law School, one of the three men who wrote the Social Security Act, once general counsel for the Labor Department, Tom Eliot has resigned from his latest post as Regional Director of the Wages and Hours Division to bring the representation of the 9th District up to date. His views are those of the relief and reform measures passed by the present administration. But he is not a rubber-stamp, not a coat-tail rider. He is a man of independent and forward-looking mind, the type for which there is a need in the national legislative halls. Two years ago, he failed in his first campaign to carry a strongly Republican district by the narrow margin of only 1800 votes. Tomorrow the people of this district have another chance to end their habit-voting and select a representative who will help to make the 77th Congress a body able to meet the legislative requirements of today.
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