The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, December 19, 1902, Page 3, Image 3

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The Commoner.
Dec. 19, 190a.
Republicans who condemn democratic papers
bccauso of their criticism of Roosevelt's message
may bo interested in an editorial that appeared
in the Chicago Record-Herald of Wednesday, De
cember 3. Tho Record-Herald is a republican pa
per and yet during tho past year it has shown a
disposition to bo thoroughly independent in tho
discussion of public questions. Tho Record-Herald
"President Roosevelt's second annual message
to congress has one and only one advantage over
his first it is about half as long. In every other
respect it is singularly lacking in recognition of '
tho truism incorporated in its reference to marks
manship " in tho navy, 'In battle the only shots
that count are the shots that hit' So in a presi
dent's message the only passages that count are
those that hit, and upon tho real questions be
fore tho country trusts, tariff and the disposi
tion of the Philippines Mr. Roosevelt appears to
have used a literary blunderbuss where the peo
ple expected ho would go gunning with a re
peating rifle.
"And yet this is precisely the sort of a mess
age that will arouse tho greatest enthusiasm in
tho columns of republican organs. Its self-congratulatory
tone and assurance that we are the
greatest nation on earth and that all's well enough
as it Is sets the organ-grinder at rest and enables
him to pronounce tho message tho true measure
of the president's statesmanship. The same old
platitudes will servo to commend a state paper
Truth Better Than Error.
A reader of Tho Commoner sends in an editorial
whicli appeared in a recent Issue of a middle-of-the-road
populist paper and asks for
on opinion upon it. Tho editorial declares that
"tho money power disorganized the people's party
in 1896," and adds: "The action of the demo
cratic convention tliat year was acquiesced in, if
not directed, by the money power." It then- goes
on to say that the silver question was agreed upon,
as tho issue eighteen months before the Chicago
convention; that it was settled long before the
Chicago convention that Bryan was to be .the
nominee; that the plan was carried out and that
it was all done to disrupt the populist party. The
editor of the paper claims to have detected this
at tho time, and insists that he opposed the in
dorsement of Mr. Bryan for that reason. He is
willing to admit that some of the populists who
favored tho indorsement were "as good reformers
as ever breathed," but he thinks that all pop
ulists ought to see now that it was a scheme.
No honest cause has anything to gain by mis
representation, and it is difficult to conceive of a
lack of information so complete as to justify or
excuse tho editorial above referred to.
Tho democratic position on the money question
was taken before there was any populist party,
and a majority of the democrats in thehouse and
senate had for years been voting for the restora
tion of bimetallism at the existing legal ratio. The
jopulist platform of 1892 indorsed that ratio, but
in so doing it simply indorsed what the demo
crats in congress had been working for. But
oven if the democratic party had indorsed some
thing new it could not be accused of doing so
merely to destroy the populist party, even though
it had copied its' platform from the populist plat
form. Tho theory that you can conspire to in
jure a party by adopting its principles is a new,
as well as an Interesting, one. The fact is, that
the populist party took a position ; favor of sev-
that has not a. single passage to mak'o tho pulso
beat faster or a nw recommendation that re
quires a second thought
"But the opposition press will find little that
it has not thrashed over before to condemn in this
document Its very inconsequence will savo it
from tho hard knocks that would hav,p been vis
ited on a message taking an advanced stand on
live political subjects.
"Tho general impression to bo gained from
Mr. 'Roosevelt's utterances as to trusts and tho
tariff is that nothing wo can do Will bo effective
to cure -any ills we may suffer from them; that wo
are so prosperous under them that the benefits
outweigh tho evils, and that ho is not sure that
there are any evils resulting from them anyhow.
"After saying that tariff reduction as a moans
of reaching the evils of trusts 'would bo wholly
ineffective,' he admits that 'if in any caso it bo
found that a given rate of duty does promote a
monopoly which works ill no protectionist would
object to such reduction of tho duty as would
equalize competition.'
"This sort of balancing by tho aid of an ever
consistent 'if pervades tho message wherever it
approaches tho discussion of questions a"bout
which thero is a difference of popular opinion.
This is all the more disappointing because it Is
unlooked for In the utterances of Theodore Roose
velt. The American people are not accustomed to
seeing him strike out without nerve and aimless
ly In a sea of difficulties."
.eral. propositions which were, democratic, "and
which.the party stood for before Mr. Cleveland led
it into by and forbidden paths. Tho democratic
party when it rid itself of the demoralizing in
fluence of Wall street naturally returned to the
advocacy of democratic principles.
It is equally absurd to say that Mr. Bryan's
nomination was agreed upon by any one let
alone the money power "long before" the con
vention. Every one at all familiar with the situa
tion knows that no nomination was more free
from previous planning or arrangement.
When tho democratic party took its position
upon the Chicago platform tho populists had to
choose between an indorsement of tho demo
cratic ticket and a division of the reform forces.
A vast majority of the populists were more inter
ested in the reforms for which they contended
than they were In the name of tho party through
which the reforms were to be accomplished; there
fore they favored indorsement Had they refused
to indorse they would have raised a suspicion
as. to the earnestness of their advocacy of those
reforms about which they and the democrats
agreed. If tho populist party shows any signs of
weakness it is not due to the fact that it co
operated with the democrats; it would have been
far weaker had it placed a party name above the
securing of remedial legislation.
The increased production of gold and the con
sequent enlargement of the volume of money
have, to some extent, relieved tho strain upon
tho dollar and thus lessened the relative import
ance of the money question. These unexpected
circumstances have helped the republican party as
against both the democratic and tho populist
parties, and yet the help is only temporary. It is
only a question of time when the money ques
tion will again become acute, and it Is much bet
ter for the democrats and populists to be friends
than to fight each other merely for the "delecta
tion of the republicans.
And now, when the republicans are seeking
to destroy government money and substltuto
therofor a bank, currency controlled by a few
financiers it would bo absurd for tho democrats
and populists to weaken each other by unfriendly
attacks. No populist who wants tho government
to issuo all tho paper money can justify a de
nunciation of tho democratic party so long as
that party is advocating tho suino thing.
If tho democrats and populists who favored
fusion in 1896 failed to win tho victory thby con
templated they cannot bo criticised unless it can
bo shown that some other plan would have brought
victory or at least loft tho reform forces in bottpr
position to win a victory; They did the best that
they could with tho means at hand, and they
ought to contlnuo to make a united attack upon
tho strong-holds of plutocracy until tho masses
revolt against republican policies and methods;
Those Danish Islands.
A few months ago wo heard a great deal ot
talk about tho extension of our boundaries and
the incorporation of tho Danish islands. Why la
it that tho republican papers havo becomo entire
ly silent on this subject? If tho anxious reader
will oxamlno ho will find that It is because tho
government of Denmark had more consideration,
for tho rights and wishes of the inhabitants of tho
islands tnan tho republican leaders did. When tho
treaty was before tho senate Tho Commoner and
other papers that still defend tho doctrine of tho
Declaration of Independence, insisted that tho
treaty should bo so amended as to allow thepeo-1
pie of tho islands to decide for themselves whe
ther they would becomo citizens of tho United
States or retain thoir allegiance to tho Danisn
throne. The republican 3, however, refused to
consider such an amendment bccauso it would be
inconsistent with their policy in tho Philippines,
anil would admit tho injustice of making subjects
of tho Filipinos. But when tho treaty went back
to Denmark for ratification tho opposition was
strong enough to defeat it. Since that time wo
have heard nothing about tho desirability of tak
ing the islands, and in tho lato campaign tho sub
ject was studiously avoided by republican orators.
We ought to have the islands, provided tho
people want to come into the union, and they
doubtless would if we promised them all tho rights
of citizenship. ' .
Venezuela. . -
The differences between Venezuela and Great
Britain and Germany should be submitted to arbi
tration. Upon that plan tho United States could
well afford to insist If an appeal to force is per
sisted in the result must be an abandonment of
tho Monroe doctrine, in the event that the British
German alliance is resisted and destroys tho pres
ent Venezuelan government Whatever may bo
the merits of the British-German claims they may
well be submitted to arbitration, and these two
great powers would have nothing to lose by cheer
fully consenting to that civilized plan of settling
difficulties. During the last Venezuelan incident
Mr. Olney, then secretary of state, took the posi
tion that because of the disparity In tho strength
of Great Britain and that of Venezuela, arbitra
tion was the proper course. Now that the strength
of Germany is added to that of Great Britain tho
disparity is the more marked and tho necessity;
for arbitration therefore more pressing.
While it is contended that tho Monroe doc
trine Is not involved in the situation just now, it Is
evident that tho policy of the British-German al
liance will, if pursued,make It necessary that that
doctrine be ignored. It will be difficult, after once
consenting to an appeal to a policy of force, to"
say just where a halt stfall be called In the pro
ceedings. It is to be hoped that in the interests
of all concerned the several powers will yleid
to tho arbitration method.