The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, September 16, 1910, Image 1

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The Commoner.
VOL. 10, NO. 36
Lincoln, Nebraska, September 16, 1910
Whole Number 504
Money in Politics
Tho sad fat of Congressman Sibley, of
Pennsylvania, ought to prove a warning and a
lesson. Sibley is a lovable fellow personally,
and entered politics with high ideals, but his
association with predatory interests had tho
same influence on him that it has had on many
other able and well meaning men, and ho ends
his political career, if not his life, by a with
drawal from the congressional race after ho had
,won tho nomination. Whether ho is guilty of
an actual violation of the law is a question to
bo decided by the courts, but enough Is jul
mitted to convict him before tho bar of public
conscience. He claims that moro than half of
the $42,000 spent to secure tho nomination
was spent by his secretaries without his knowl
edge but the twenty thousand which was spent
with his knowledge and approval is a great deal
more than can bo justified. A congressman
draws $7,500 per year $15,000 during his
term; to spend $20,000 to secure a nomination
is without possible excuse. And it is just as
bad if tho money is furnished by others
worse, in fact, because the candidate is put
under obligation to those who furnished tho
The expenditure of a largo sum of money to
s'ecuro a nomination is even more reprehensible
than the expenditure of a-largo sum to secure
an eleptioh. A party nominee might feel it a
party duty to spend money to defeat an oppo
nent of his party and friends might contribute
liberally to secure tho triumph of party princi
ple, but to spend largo Bums to win a party
nomination over another member of tho party
injures the party as well as corrupts politics.
While the rule may have exceptions still it
is safo to assume that the expenditure of any
considerable sum to secure a nomination is
proof that the aspirant's ambition is an un
worthy one. If ho expects to make the money
back out of tho ofllce his purpose is corrupt;
'if he is simply willing to spend the money to
secure the honor, he is unworthy of tho honor
for he puts his own interests above the
party's welfare.. If tho money, instead of be
ing his own is supplied by friends, it is safo
to assume that the "friends" expect to get it
back. The "friends" who have been putting
up the campaign funds during recent years are
the ones who have been using the government
as a private asset in business.
The law ought to fix the maximum that can
be spent by a candidate, or in his interest, and
until we have such a law public opinion ought
to create a standard. Among democrats, at
least, it ought to be accepted as a rule that a
candidate for a nomination forfeits his right
to his party's support when he begins to spend
money lavishly, or to permit It to bo spont in his
Let tho claims of each candidato bo fairly
presented and then let tho honor go to tho ono
chosen by an uncorruptod constituency.
Tho Georgia convention, in ratifying the nom
ination of Ex-Governor Hoke Smith, who re
cently won the gubernatorial nomination at tho
primary, suggested him for tho presidency. And
why not? In 1900 and 1908, whenever Mr.
Bryan's nomination was suggested tho corpora
tion papers of tho east insisted that tho nomina
tion ought to go to tho south. Why not give
tho south a chance now? Hoko Smitli is from
tho south. He is a big man, too. Ho was in
tho cabinet; he has been governor and will
bo governor again. Why do tho corporation
papers not boom Smith? Why? Well, just
read tho following from his speech at tho con
vention and you will see. Ho said:
"Tho great corporations in Georgia must keep
out of politics. They must not bo allowed by
hired political agents to dominate or control
legislation or administration."
That seals his doom, so far as tho corporation
papers aro concerned, but It ought to strengthen
him with the people. And tho gold democrats.
Why don't they fly to tho support of Smith?
Ho was a gold man. Ho was not "tainted with
free silver." Why don't they start a boom for
him? Because ho mado the fatal mistake of
voting for Mr. Bryan. That ended It with them;
he forfeited his claim to statesmanship.
But Hoko Smith's boom has been launched
by his own state and wo shall see whether It
was a southern man tho corporation papers
wanted, or simply a representative of tho cor
porations living in tho south.
Mr. Roosevelt's political creed, as announced
at Osawatomio and other places in the west,
has been styled "the now nationalism." Wo
must await a more specific definition of It be
fore we can judge of its newness or of its
value. Some have construed his remarks on
national control of corporations to mean that
ho Intends to renew his recommendation of
federal incorporation of railroads and other
largo business concerns. If so, ho will tako a
step backward instead of forward.
Federal Incorporation Is not In tho Interest
of the people but in tho interest of tho preda
tory corporations. Federal incorporation is not
necessary to the most strict federal supervision.
Tho purpose of federal incorporation is to re
lieve the corporations from tho annoyance of
stato control; that is the only purpose it can
serve. Progressive republicans should beware
of this effort to remove corporations farther
than they now aro from the people.
National Incorporation Is not only unneces
sary, but vicious. "National remedies," in tho
language of tho democratic platform, "should
bo added to, not substituted for, stato
Senator LaFollette's victory is a deserved
compliment to a republican who is a real prog
ressive. It is too bad Mr. Roosevelt has no
part in tho rejoicing. Ho might easily havo
said a few words in his behalf or written him
a letter or something. LaFolletto deserved
something better from ono who aspires to bo
tho leader of the progressives. Standpatter
Burkett, of Nebraska, came In for an endorse
ment, but the chief of tho insurgents tho ono
who has Insurgcd longer, harder, in moro dif
ferent directions and on more subjects than any
one else, how does it happen that he was
Roosevelt, Progressive
. Tho question is sottlod at last; ho Is a pro
gressive. No doubt about it; ho must now tako
his place with tho "domagoguea," tho "danger
ous" and tho "undesirable"
His Ossawatomlo speech will becomo historic
as his declaration of independence; ho has cut
looso from tho forces that elected him vico
president and afterwards olected him president.
Tho story of his conversion from a consorvatlvo
to a radical has not yet been told It will bo
awaited with Interest. It was probnbly not
sudden It was moro likely tho result of per
sonal contact with tho sordid influences which
have' dominated tho republican party for years
and which have at times obtained control of
tho democratic organization.
Possibly Mr. Taft put on tho finishing touches
when, after being nominated and olected by
Mr. Roosevelt's Influence, ho surrounded him
self with a corporation cabinet. Tho ox-prcsl-dent
may havo decided that tho predatory In-
terests were a menace to tho country if thoy
could wean his old friend and legatee away
from him. But, howovor tho change was
brought about, it is hero and tho country must
reckon with it.
Mr. Roosevelt is In the fight, and from now
on for two years, at least, no ono can toll what
a day may bring forth. If ho decides to bo a
candidato himself ho will weaken his influence,
for ho will havo to meet tho charge of trying
to overturn a precedent of a century's standing
a precedent which ho has himself endorsed.
If, on the other hand, ho gives his support to
one of (ho insurgents ho may bo able to control
tho next republican national convention and
shape tho policy of his party. If ho falls to
secure tho nomination df a progressive In 1912
tho standpatter who defeats his candidato will
himself be defeated, and by 191G tho way will
bo clear in tho republican convention for a pro
gressive platform.
Wo shall see what wo shall see.
Some may bo Inclined to question tho good
taste of Mr. Roosevelt's refusal to dine with
SenatoT Lorlmer at tho Hamilton club banquet
Mr. Roosevelt's action was Indeed extraordinary,
but it Is probable that tho American people will
overlook tho question of tasto In recognition
of tho distinct public servlco Mr. Roosevelt ren
dered when ho gavo emphasis to tho fact that
men who profit politically through bribery aro '
not fit for tho society of honest men. It Is quite
true that Senator Lorlmer has not been convict
ed of actually paying bribes, but tho evidence
that sorao ono purchased votes for him Is so
complete that, regardless of tho verdicts of
Juries, tho public mind Is convinced.
Even tho Alaskans aro insurglng. Judgo
James Wickersham who, during tho recent ses
sion of congress attracted considerable atten
tion by reason of verbal assaults upon men
standing high in tho councils of the Taft ad
ministration, has been re-elected as Alaska'
delegate to congress. His opponent was Edward
Orr, recognized as an administration candidato
and having the backing of tho Guggenheim
syndicate. Judge Wickersham Is a natural
born insurgent, and It goes without saying that
upon his return to Washington ho will mako
generous contribution to the gayety of nations.
If Mr. Roosevelt wants to create a sensation
let him havo tho Kansas republican platform
adopted in New York,
Congratulations to the republicans of Michi
gan on having defeated Senator Burrows for
re-nomination. Mr. Burrows has been a faith
ful senator but he has been faithful to tho
special interests. Ho is not a mau of great
ability, but from his meagre stock ho gave un
sparingly to the trusts and to all forms of spe
cial interests that sought to dominate legisla
tion. Michigan has given one of the best among
tho many good "signs of the day."
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