The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, December 10, 1909, Image 1

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The Commoner.
VOL. 9, NO. 48
Located at Last
i ?&o.;Houaton (Texas) Post is at last located
on the matter of platforms. It dodges the first
part, of Mr. Bryan's plank on the subject of
platforms. It insists that a platform is not a
pledge given by the candidate to the voters,
but a pledge given by Ills party to the voters.
This is a quibble. A party does not act except
through delegates or through officials. When a
candidate is selected he becomes a representa
tive of the party, and as he is the one who, if
elected, is to act for the party, the platform is
his pledge as well as his party's pledge, whether
it is written by himself with the consent of
the convention, or written by the convention
for him. The important part of the Post edi
torial, therefore, is as follows: "We can heartily
agree with that clause of Mr. Bryan's platform
plank which says, 'and when ratified at the polls
becomes a contract between an official and his
constituents.'" After heartily agreeing with
this clause of the platform proposed by Mr.
Bryan, the Post adds: "Now what is Mr. Bryan's '
grievance against Senator Bailey's votes against
free raw materials? The Denver platform was
not ratified at the polls and when it failed, in
dividual democrats, whether in public or private
lifS were free to contend for policies which they
deemed to best represent the principles of de
mocracy and promote, the public welfare. Sen
ator Bailey, freed from any obligation in the
premises, took a strong stand against the policy
6f free, raw materials, against which the democ
racy of Texas jtfas, expressly committed." -
The Post's position will bo entitled to the
-premiumstall if an exhibit is ever made of freak
.-ISSVtasffJlJ6- Jjtea.tljOLj: a national defeat of a plat
form absolves vthjose, democrats who; are elected
on the platform would not occur to a man unless
lie were in desperate straits, the argument is
not, mu substantial as tho straw at which the
drowning man is supposed to grasp. Texas en
dorsed the Denver platform by a deliberate act
of -her last convention, and Texas weht demo
cratic by a big majority, as did a number of
spates and a great many congressional districts.
What difference did it make to , the democrats
of Texas if Pennsylvania, New "York, Illinois,
Ohio and many other states rejected the plat
form? It represented the sentiment of the peo
ple of Texas, and the sentiment of the districts
that went democratic, and certainly it was a
pledge between the democrats elected and their
constituents for it was "ratified at the polls"
so far as these democrats were concerned.
If the Denver platform ceased to be binding
upon democratic congressmen and democratic
Genators merely because the republican platform
gas -"endorsed at the national election will the
Post claim that the democratic congressmen are
bound by the republican platform? If not, its
position must be that all republican officials aro
Lincoln, Nebraska, December 10, 1909
Whole Number 464
bound by tho republican national platform bo
cause it was ratified at a national election, and
that tho democratic national platform, being
rejected at a national election, Is not binding
in any way. Does a democratic representative
ceaso to represent his constiouoncy merely bo
cause peoplo in another district or another
state do not accept his platform? Is a Texas
congressman or a Texas senator free to vote
with tho republicans merely because tho plat
form upon which ho was elected did not re
ceive a national endorsement? Tho endorse
ment of a democratic platform by the peoplo of
a district is just as binding upon tho official
as is tho endorsement of tho official himself Ho
can not honorably accept tho election and' yet
repudiate the platform which was endorsed by
tho same vote.
"Strange what a tangled web" tho democrat
weaves when ho starts out to find reasons for
endorsing special interests.
Tho federal congress must sooner or later
take notice of the activity of the liquor inter
ests and their attempt to control tho action of
the federal government. They havo entered
national politics, and will pollute everything
that they touch until they aro driven out. Wo
havo already seen democratic congressmen
dragged into tho republican camp by these in
terests, when a fight was being made over tho
rules of the house, for there is no question of
tho activity of the liquor Interests In supporting
Cannonism. Federal licenses aro how issued to
those who desire to sell liquor in territory In
which ocal licenses are denied, and tho brew
ers and -dlBf.Wena-aro still using interstato com
merce to nullify the laws of tho various states.
Surely there can bo no excuse for the issue of
federal licenses to liquor dealers Jn territory
where the local authorities have prohibited tho
sale of liquor. The charge for a federal license
is $25 per year, and when a federal license is
issued upon the payment of this sum tho fed
eral government either obtains tho money with
out consideration or it enters into partnership
with the violator of tho law.
Three objections have been made to the
proposition that tho federal government should
refuse to issue licenses in dry territory, namely,
First, that taxes should be uniform and that
the government can not, therefore, collect a
license tax In one community and refuse to
collect such tax in another; Second, that tho
federal government could not prosecute a per
son for selling without license if it refused to
issue a license; and third, that tho issuo of a
federal license is useful in that It enables tho
local authorities to ascertain from tho record
who are engagedin the traffic. These three ob
jections might be met by a law reducing tho
license to $1, and providing that notice of tho
issue of such license be posted immediately
in the postoffice In the town in which tho
licensee resides and requiring publication of
notice in a local newspaper. The $1 would not
more than cover the cost of issuing and record
ing the license and posting tho notice, and such
a law would take the government out of part
nership with tho law breakers.
By what logic can one justify the action of
the federal government In permitting interstato
commerce to bo used to nullify state regulation
of. the liquor traffic? If a state can be trusted to
protect property and to prescribe rules for the
descent of estates, can it not bo entrusted with
the power to regulate the sale and use of
liquor? If the state can be entrusted with tho
enactment and enforcement of criminal laws,
even to the exacting of the 'death penalty, can
it not be entrusted with the power to control
tho liquor traffic?
It can, of course, be taken for granted that
the liquor interests will oppose any legislation
which has for its object the protection of society
from the evils of intemperance, and they will,
as they have in the past, threaten any party
which refuses to bow down to the god which
they have set up, but the democratic party can
better afford to invite their opposition than
grovel in the dust to secure their approval.
Who Will Object?
Mr. Honry Wattorson roturns from a lonr
rest in Europe In a very bad frame of mind.
In nn Ill-tempered editorial printed in tho
Loulsvillo Courier-Journal Mr. Wattorson gives
character to tho fako printod In a newspaper
dispatch to tho effect that Mr. Bryan lntond
to make an offort to push prohibition as a na
tional Issuo.
William Marion Reedy, tho talontcd editor
or tho St. Louis Mirror, referring to tho same
fahio report, prints this editorial:
"If I were a brewer I would say this la a
good omen, having In mind Mr. Bryan's con
firmed habit as a loser. Prohibition Is a silly
issue, for one good and sufficient reason: it
isn t necessary. Tho liquor ovil Is being knocked
out In tho natural courso of economic and social
development. Tho struggle for existence Is do
ing tho trick without tho aid of fanatic laws.
In fact, such laws retard tho progress of tem
perance. But then It may be that Mr. Bryan is
not correctly reported. If so ho that he Is
correctly reported, why then Mri Bryan Is simply
tho victim of recurrence of his mania for con
tinuous novelty Irf paramount Issues."
The San Antonio (Texas) Express says: "Mr.
Bryan of Nebraska Is credited with the dcalro
to make prohibition of the liquor traffic tho
paramount Issue In tho democratic national
For the benefit of Mr. Wattorson. to whom
ill-natured conduct Is peculiarly unbecoming
and of the other editors quoted, It m'iiyb tfald
that Mr. Bryan does not expect to seo prohibi
tion a paramount JsHuoiiiMtHl.polltJc. It
that over comes It is not likely to bis' In Mr;
Bryan's day,
Mr. Bryan may, however, bo truthfully cred
ited with a desire to assist In securing, for tho
several states, absolute and exclusive control
over the liquor traffic Including control over
all shipments of liquor as soon an the liquor
enters tho state. It will be interesting to seo
how some democratic editors will oxp'lain their
opposition to tho good old demooratlcdoctrino
.that tho state ought to be allowed to attend' to
its own business. I
.""A Washington dispatch carried by tho Asso
ciated Press says: "A gag order affecting tho
furnishing of information to any cpmmitteo of
tho house or senate or any member of con
gress except as authorized by tho head of tho
department in which such official serves, has
been promulgated by tho president. Tho order
just made public Is directed at bureau officers
or division chiefs and officers of the army, navy
and marine corps stationed in Washington. In
explanation of the order It was stated at tho
executive offices that it had for Its object tho
centralization of authority in tho heads of de
partments." Here is another of the famous "Roosevelt
policies" gone glimmering. What about "pub
licity, publicity, publicity" of which we heard
so much during tho Roosevelt administration
heard so much and saw so little?
The press dispatches state that while Presi
dent Taft will recommend the postal savings bank
congress will not push the plan until next year.
The postal savings bank' will stand asldo and
give the central bank the right of way. As Wall
Street is back of the central bank and opposes
the postal bank it would seem that tho Wall
Street crowd makes a double killing. And still
there are republicans who can not see that tho
party is in the clutches of the predatory Interests.
The Republican party, as at present organized,
is no place for a progressive. It is reactionary
and getting more so. Plutocracy Is in control.
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