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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Sept. 15, 1911)
SEPTEMBER 15, 1911
measures arc not the kind to select to enact
and enforce them. When that times comes, Mr.
Bryan, who is yet a young man, will loom up
larger than ever. Although he may never bo
president, the trend of public sentiment is so
decidedly in favor of the reforms he advocates
the time may yet come when the public will
want to see the man who made the reforms pos
sible in a position to make them secure. That
would have been the sensible course to have
pursued long ago, but the American people have
long been short on political common sense, al
though they are to be congratulated on the
awakening that is to be noticed on every hand
and in every walk of public life. No greater
evidence of this is necessary than to state the
fact that ten years ago the kind of political re
form talk that is now being given on a thousand
Chautauqua platforms and applauded by repub
licans and democrats alike would have split the
average community into factions. The people
are awakening and the grafter politician Is
doomed. The statesman who is ostensibly serv
ing the public, but really working for the great
corporations, is having his last Inning. And
above the roar of the conflict let it not be for
gotten that the one man who has never wavered
in the fight for better government, who has
never ceased to uphold the highest ideals, even
at the price of public preferment, is none other
than this same man Bryan, who has been hooted
at and hissed at for fifteen years, but has a right
to be happier every day as he sees the walls of
a corrupt political Jericho falling giving way
to an era of reform that his advocacy has
largely made popular. These are great days
for the men who believe in the people. Hills
dale (Mich.) Daily.
. SEARCHING QUESTIONS, OP COURSE
Senator Bailey's comment on Mr. Bryan's
"catechism" of prospective democratic presiden
tial candidates is delicious. He declares that
the Nebraskan's list of interrogatives is "im
pudent." If anything could be more impudent
than Mr. Bailey's presence in the United States
senate it would be interesting to hear of. He
ought therefore to bo an excellent judge of
what is decorous and what is not. Still in this
instance we think he may be mistaken.
Mr. Bryan's catechism is not addressed
directly to the candidates. He printed It in The
Commoner in the form of a suggestion to his
subscribers. Assuming that as American citi
zens they were interested in the political opin
ions of the various men whom they may bo
called to vote for or against in the next presi
dential election he wrote out a list of questions
which he supposed would bring them into the
light. None of the readers of The Commoner
are obliged to send these interrogatories to
Governor Harmon or Governor Wilson and no
candidate who received a copy of them need
answer unless he wants to. He need not say
boo if he prefers to keep silent. In view of
these facts, it is a little difficult to perceive
where the "impudent dictation" which Mr.
Bailey reprobates so fiercely comes in.
There seems to be moro or less ground for
the belief that Mr. Bailey belongs to a little
group, as influential as it is quiet, which prefers
to name the next democratic candidate for
president. They assert the right to do this by
virtue of their wealth and their powerful con
nections, and naturally they resent the intru
sion of Mr. Bryan into a field which they have
pre-empted and to which they feel that they
have a sacred and exclusive property right.
They would resent with quite as much heat the
intrusion of anybody elso not belonging to the
Mr. Bryan's proposition is that the only
chance for democratic success lies in heeding
the popular desires which have already given
the party control of the house of representa
tives. The questions which he has. formulated
relate directly to these wishes of the people.
Any candidate who refused to answer them or
who gave unsatisfactory answers would un
doubtedly find himself repudiated by the voting
masses, while if he were asked nothing about
his opinions he might slip through without diffi
culty. Hence it is easy to understand the dis
like of politicians like Bailey and the persons
whom he speaks for to this "catechism."
It is pretty searching. We do not wonder
that it excites the ire of shady politicians. There
are nineteen of the Interrogatories and each ono
of them goes to the heart of a vital issue. Take
the first one, for example, "Do you favor a tariff
for revenue only?" Imagine Mr. Bailey's plight
"ASK THE CANDIDATE"
Commoner readers everywhere aro advised
to submit to the various presidential candidates
questions something liko the following:
1 Question Do you favor tariff for revenue
character of support each party and oandl
Q Do you favor free raw material and the
placing of a revenue duty only on manu
11 Q Aro you willing that the source o every
dollar of contribution made to your cam
paign fund cither after your nomination or
during the contest for the nomination shall
bo made public prior to election day?
3 Q Do you believe that in the revision of tho
tariff tho element of protection should bo
12 Q Do you bollevo In tho support of tho
state governments In all their righto?
Q Do you believo that the three branches of
government aro co-ordinato and that each
ono should keep within its constitutional
13 Q Do you Indorso tho labor planks of tho
14 Q Do you believe In the strict regulatl6n of
Q Do you approve tho recent Standard Oil
decision wherein the United States supremo
court legislated tho word "unreasonable"
into the Sherman anti-trust act?
15 Q Do you Indorso tho democratic platform
of 1908 respecting trusts wherein It de
clares that "a prlvato monopoly Is indefen
sible and Intolerable" and presents a
Q Do you favor the repeal of tho criminal
clause of the anti-trust law or do you be
lieve that In view of supremo court legis
lation congress should make it clear that
all restraint of trade is unreasonable?
16 Q Do you approve tho plan known as tho
Aldrich currency scheme?
7 Q Do you favor the election of senators by
8 Q Do you favor the Income tax?
9 Q Do you believe that it Is the duty of tho
American people to promise independence
to tho Filipinos immediately and to give
it In the same way in which they gave
independence to the Cubans?
17 Q Do you favor asset currency In any form?
18 Q Do you believo In tho establishment of
what is known as a central bank?
10 Q Do you believe in the publicity of cam
paign contributions and expenditures both
before and after election day In order that
the people may know in advance tho
19 Q Do you favor legislation compelling
banks to Insure depositors?
Lot democrats everywhere ask questions and
secure answers, thus finding out just what every
candidate stands for. In this way democrats
may be able to determine with some degree of
intelligence as to tho available candidate.
The Commoner will bo glad to print tho re
plies made to these questions by gentlemen
whose names have been mentioned In connec
tion with tho democratic presidential nomination.
were he compelled to answer yes or no. Tho
slippery Texan has devised a most Ingenious
tariff theory for the express purpose of evading
questions of this sort. Ask him whether ho
wants a revenue tariff or not and he will answer
that ho is constitutionally opposed to abating
the duties on raw materials until we have freo
manufactures. Sinco tariff reduction must evi
dently begin somewhere, Mr. Bailey thus puts
himself in a position to avoid action on tho
subject forever. Between the duties on raw
material and those on manufactures ho stands
like the indecisive ass between two bundles of
hay which starved to death because It could
make no choice.
Or take tho tenth question, "Do you believo
in publicity of campaign contributions?" Now
there is no "practical politician" on earth who
does not in his secret heart abhor publicity of
campaign contributions. Mr. Bailey especially
abhors it because his financial refreshments are
drawn from singularly malodorous refrigerators.
A man liko Harmon would not hesitate to say
that he did believo in publicity of contributions
because he is honorable and wants no success
which is not honestly gained. Nor can we
imagine Woodrow Wilson squirming at the
thought of telling who has given him money for
his election expenses. But for Mr. Bailey the
case is far different. He wishes to keep under
cover because he has a' great deal which sadly
Searching as Mr. Bryan's questions are, they
ask for nothing which any honest statesman
ought to wish to keep secret about his opinions.
The election of a president Is a very important
act for tho voters. It is perfectly right for
them to learn as much as possible about any
man who asks for their suffrages. If he has
opinions which he is ashamed of or afraid to
publish Is he quite tho proper person to choose
for chief magistrate?
The innuendo that Mr. Bryan Is by this
catechism preparing the way for his own can
didacy,, a fourth candidacy after three failures,
is absurd. Like every other intelligent Ameri
can, he takes a lively interest In public affairs
and tries by a number of perfectly legitimate
methods to make his opinions count. He differs
from most of his countrymen only by being
a little more intelligent and active. From Mr.
Bailey he differs by being a good deal moro
frank. Portland Orogonlan, (rpp.)
THE UNDERWOOD BOOM
At a conference of Birmingham, Ala., citizens
recently, a boom was launched forCongress
man O. W. Underwood for president. Steps wero
taken to have the organization spread over tho
entire country, first attention of course to bo
given to the south. If this committee Is truly
representative of southern democracy, the
sooner they get over Into the republican ranks
the better It will be' for the democratic party
at large. South Bend (Ind.) New Era.
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