The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, August 14, 1908, Page 2, Image 2

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The Commoner.
do what ho wishes unchecked, provided he has enough money.
What an arraignment of the predatory interests!
fcthe present', indictment true? And, UyS !T
the indictment directed' jmoj against wiu uwv m,,.
Mr. Taft says that these evils have crept in during the last
ten years. He declares that,, during this time, some prominent
and influential members of the community, spurred by financial
success and in their hurry for greater wealth, became unmindful
of the common rules of business honesty and fidelity, and of the
limitations imposed by law upon their actions ; and that the revel
atibns of the breaches of trusts, the disclosures as to rebates and dis
criminations by railroads, the accumulating evidence of the viola
tions of the anti-trust laws, by a number of corporations; and the
over-issue of stocks and bonds of interstate railroads for the un
lawful enriching of directors and for the purpose t of concentrating
the control of the railroads under one management, "all these,
lie charges, "quickened the conscience of the people and brought'
on a moral awakening,"
During all this time, I be to remind you, republican officials
presided in the executive department, . filled the cabinet, dom
inated the senate, controlled the . house of representatives
and occupied most of the federal judgeships. Four years ago
the republican platform boastfully declared that since 1860 with
the exception of two years the republican party had been m con
trol of part or of all the branches of the federal government; that
for two years only was the democratic party in a position to either
onnrt. or vfinfial n, law. Having drawn the salaries; having enjoyed
the honors; having secured the prestige, let the republican party
accept the responsibility!
Why were these "known abuses" permitted to develop? Why
have they not been corrected? If existing laws are sufficient, why
have they not been enforced? All of the executive machinery of.
the federal government is. in the hands of the republican party.
Are new laws necessary? Why have they not been enacted? With
a republican president to recommend, with a republican senate and
house to carry out his recommendations, why does the republican
candidate plead foirfurther time in which to do what should have
been done long ago? Can Mr. Taft promise to be more stren
uous in the prosecution of wrong-doers than the. present executive?
Can he ask for a larger majority in the senate than his party now
has? Does he need more republicans in the hbuse of representatives
or a speaker with more unlimited authority?
The president's close friends have been promising for several
years that he would attack the iniquities of the tariff. We have had
intimation that Mr. Taft was restive under the demands of the highly
protected industries. And yet the influence of the manufacturers,
who have for twenty-five years contributed to the republican cam
paign fund, and who in return have framed the tariff schedules, has
heen sufficient to prevent tariff reform. As the present campaign
approached, both the president and Mr. Taft declared in favor of
tariff revision, but set the date of revision after the election. But
the pressure, brought to bear by the protected interests has been
great enough to prevent any attempt at tariff reform before the
election; and the reduction promised after the election is so hedged
about with qualifying phrases, that no one can estimate with accu
racy the sum total of tariff reform to be expected in case of republi
can success. If the past can be taken as a guide, the republican
party will be so obligated by campaign contributions from the bene
ficiaries of protection, as to make that party powerless to bring to
the country any material relief from the present tariff burdens.
A few years ago the republican leaders in the house of repre
sentatives were coerced by public opinion into the support of an
anti-trust law which had the endorsement of the president, but the
senate refused even to consider the measure, and since that time
no effort has been made by the dominant party to secure remedial
legislation upon this subject.
For ten years the Interstate Commerce Commission has been
t asking for an enlargement of its powers, that it might prevent re-'-
bates and discriminations, but a republican senate and a republi
can house of representatives were unmoved by its entreaties. In
1900 the republican national convention was urged to endorse the
wxav ui xtwxawaj icgituu,tHm, uiw ibs picuiorm was siient on tne
subject. Even in 1904, the convention gave no pledge to remedy
these abuses. When the president finally asked for legislation, he
drew his inspiration from three democratic national platforms and
he received more cordial support., from the democrats than from
the republicans. The republicans in the senate deliberately de
feated several amendments offered by Senator aFollette and sup
ported by the democrats amendments embodying legislation asked
by the Interstate Commerce Commission. One of these amendments
authorized the ascertainment of the value of railroads. This
amendment was not only defeated by the senate, but it was over
whelmingly rejected by the recent republican national convention,
and the republican candidate has sought to rescue his party' from
the disastrous results of this act by expressing himself, in a quali
fied way, in favor of ascertaining the value of the railroads.
Mr. Taft complains of the over-issue of stocks and bonds
of railroads, "for the unlawful enriching of directors and for the
purpose of concentrating the control of the railroads under one
management," and the complaint is well founded. But, with a
president to. point out the evil, and a republican congress to correct
it, we find nothing done ' for the protection of the public. Why?
My honorable opponent has, by his confession, relieved me of the
necessity of furnishing proof; he admits the condition and he can
not avoid the logical conclusion that must be drawn from the ad
mission. There is no doubt whatever that a large majority of the
voters of the republican party recognize the deplorable situation
which Mr. Taft describes ; they recognize that the masses have had
but little influence upon legislation or upon the administration of
the government, and they are heginning to understand the cause.
For a generation, the republican party has drawn its campaign
funds from the heneficiaries of special legislation. Privileges have
been pledged and granted in return for money contributed to
debauch elections. What can be expected when official authority
is turned over to the representatives of those who first furnish the
sinews of war and then reimburse themselves out of the pockets of
the taxpayers?
So long as the republican party remains in power, it is power
less to regenerate itself. It can not attack wrong-doing in high
places without disgracing many of its prominent members, and it,
therefore, uses opiates instead of the surgeon's 7raife. Its malefac
tors construe each republican victory as an endorsement of their
conduct and threaten the party with defeat if they are interfered
with. Not until that party passes through a period of fasting in the
wilderness, will the republican leaders learn to study public ques
tions from the standpoint of the masses. Just as with individuals,
"the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the
truth," so in politics, when party leaders serve far away from home
and are not in constant contact with the voters, continued party
success blinds their eyes to the needs of the people and makes them
deaf to the cry of distress.
An effort has been made to secure legislation requiring pub
licity as to campaign contributions and expenditures; hut the repUb-
"uw" ivnuwo, even ju uiic xaiic ux tin muigiictaio jjuuiiu, xciuscu iu uun-
sent to a law which would compel honesty in elections. When the
matter was brought up in the recent republican national convention,
the plank was repudiated by a vote of 880 to 94. Here, too, Mr.
Taft has been driven to apologize for his convention and to
declare himself in favor of a publicity law; and yet, if you will read
what he says upon this subject, you will find that his promise falls
far short of the requirements of the situation. He says :
"If I am elected president, I shall urge upon congress, with
every hope of success, that a law be passed requiring the filing, in a
federal office, of a statement of the contributions received by com
mittees and candidates in elections for members of congress, and in
such other elections as are constitutionally within the control of
I shall not embarrass him by asking him upon what he bases his
hope of success; it is certainly not on any encouragement he has
received from republican leaders. It is sufficient to say that if his
hopes were realized if, in spite of the adverse action of his con
vention, he should succeed in securing the enactment of the very
law which he favors, it would give but partial relief. He has read
the democratic platform; not only his language, but his evident
alarm, indicates that he has read it carefully. He even had before
him the action of the democratic national committee in interpret
ing and applying that platform; and yet, he fails to say that he
favors the publication of the contributions before the election. Of
course, it satisfies a natural curiosity to find out how an election
has been purchased, even when the knowledge comes too late to
be of service, but why should the people be kept in darkness until
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