The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, December 19, 1902, Page 3, Image 3
fwiP,''Pf,Wi'S5SI55SP5R5!S!lW; rk . v The Commoner. Dec. 19, 190a. A REPUBLICAN PAPER ....ON THE flESSAGE. 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 says: "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.