The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, March 01, 1912, Image 1

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WILLIAM J, BRYAN, EDITOR AND PROPRIETOR
VOL- 12, NO. 8
Lincoln, Nebraska, March 1, 1912
Whole Number 580
The Explanation
Below will bo found Governor Harmon's ex
planation of his speech against the initiative and
referendum:
"Columbus, O., Feb. 17. Governor Harmon
Issued a statement today in reply to the attack
made by Mayor Newton D. Baker of Cleveland
on his recent address on the initiative and
referendum before the constitutional conven
tion. Mr. Baker condemned the governor for his
stand. Governor Harmon said:
" 'I think Mr. Baker can not have read my
entire address before the convention, but was
misled by false statements and garbled extracts
in which some newspapers have persistently in
dulged. I have been represented as saying that
the people of Ohio are not capable of self-government.
What I said was that they have gov
erned themselves for oyer a hundred years with
conspicuous success. The subject of dispute now
is not their ability to govern themselves, but
whether the mode of doing it shall be changed.
" 'It is just as truly solf-government for the
people to act through chosen representatives as
it is to act directly. So, as the discussion is
jabout mere methods, there is no apparent reason
twhy it should not be carried on in good temper.
" 'It was because the platform on which I
Cvvas elected favored the principle of the initia-
Itive and referendum that. I signed the Crosser
Ibill authorizing its adoption in municipalities.
FIt was not at all inconsistent with the platform
to advocate, as I did," awaiting the result of a
trial in the cities and villages before giving the
plan state-wide operation. This seemed to me
a most sensible course to pursue under the cir
cumstances. And I simply followed Thomas
Jefferson.' "
The explanation clouds the subject instead of
clarifying it. If Mr. Harmon had made during
the last campaign, the speech which he recently
delivered before the Ohio constitutional conven
tion, would he have been elected? If he had, at
the beginning of his campaign for the presi
dency, interpreted his platform as he now does,
would he have been entitled to call himself a
prrn-"0cnvo? We now takes his proper place as
a reactionary, not merely because he is opposed
to a proposition fundamentally democratic, but
also because he has shown himself willing to
repudiate a platform having secured an election
upon it. A platform that Is not binding is worse
than useless. It is a fraud. If Governor Har
mon was opposed to the initiative and referen
dum, he ought to have repudiated that plank of
his platform when he accepted the nomination,
for his interpretation iB more than a repudia
tion of it it is a repudiation mingled with
double dealing. Tp interpret his, platform as
indorsing the initiative and referendum only as
CONTENTS
THE EXPLANATION
SELF-GOVERNMENT
HENRY'S FIGHT CROWNED WITH
VICTORY
ROOSEVELT IN THE RACE
PRESS OPINIONS ON ROOSEVELT'S
SPEECH
OHIO CONGRESSMEN ON GOVERNOR
HARMON'S POSITION
MR. ROOSEVELT'S SPEECH AT
COLUMBUS
MR. ROOSEVELT AND THE THIRD TERM
HOME DEPARTMENT
NEWS OF THE WEEK
WASHINGTON NEWS
applied to cities when he knew when every ono
knew that it was intended to apply to the
whole state, is a reflection upon his own intelli
gence or upon the intelligence of the people of
Ohio.
His platform dealt with the initiative and
referendum as a state. issue and candor required
him torepudiate It if it was not in harmony with
his views. Silence could not be construed other
wise than as an indorsement. If he is anxious
to make an explanation if he indulges in any
more explanations, he should explain whether he
regards a national platform as binding. If ho
does not give any more weight to a national
platform than ho has given to a state platform,
his candidacy ought to be conditioned upon the
abandonment of the platform idea.
MR. ROOSEVEITS SPEECH
Ex-President Roosevelt's Columbus speech
will stand out as the strongest ho has yet
delivered. The dominant note is "Trust the
People." In taking this position ho is on solid
ground. While he advocates little in the way
of reform that democrats have not advocated for
years, still it Is gratifying to have his influence
thrown into the balance in favor of the direct
election of senators, the initiative and the refer
endum. These reforms are distinctly and em
phatically democratic. The proposition to sub
mit to the people judicial decisions on constitu
tional questions is of democratic origin and is
sound but his attitude on the trust question is
reactionary. The REGULATION OF PRIVATE
MONOPOLIES WILL NOT WORK. It has been
"weighed in the balance and found wanting."
He tried the plan for seven years and a half
and there were more trusts at the end of the
time than at the beginning. He even allowed
the Steel trust to frighten him into permitting
still further consolidation.
THE ATTEMPT TO REGULATE PRIVATE
MONOPOLIES RESULTS FINALLY IN GOV
ERNMENT OWNERSHIP. This is legitimate in
the case of NATURAL monopolies but industrial
monopolies are neither natural nor necessary
they should be prevented. Mr. Roosevelt's plan
for dealing with the trusts leads directly to
socialism.
The democratic anti-trust plan contemplates
the restoration of competition this is the only
plan that appeals to individualists.
But the country is to be congratulated upon
the delivery of the speech It helps to mould
public opinion In favor of several good measures
and even he can not lead the public to the
dangerous doctrine that we can rely on regu
lation as a cure for trust evils.'
ROBERT I. HENRY
The name of Robert L. Henry of Texas Is
writ large In the hearts of democrats. Undaunted
by repeated defeats of his effort to have the
Money trust investigated he kept pegging away
until members of congress who said they would
not yield yielded in a marked degree. Under
the resolution finally adopted the investigation
may not be as thorough as it would have been had
Mr. Henry's original plan prevailed but the way
is now open for the real friends of investiga
tion to push a serious Inquiry and the inquiry
will be pushed. It is Interesting to note that
Washington dispatches say that congressmen
were "deluged" with telegrams and letters from
their constituents urging them to stand by
Henry. Such prodding ought not to have been
necessary but it is well that Mr. Henry succeeded
even in a degree and for his good work he Is
reqeiving thanks and congratulations from the
rank and file of his party.
SUCH A SPECTACLE
When have we ever had in the national his
tory such a spectacle as that of a man coming
into the presidency on the recommendation of
one man and going out. of it on the condemna
tion of the same man? And now it seems they
are planning to violate precedents of a hundred
years by the nomination of the same man, in
order, if possible, to save the republican party
'from overwhelming defeat.
Self- Government
President Taft is reported as giving deliver
ance to a very radical statement in a speech
recently delivered in New York. Here is what
ho is said to have said: "There are those who
do not believo that all people aro fitted for popu
lar government. The fact is we know thoy are
not. Some of us don't dare say so, but I do."
The president then went on to speak of the
protection of the Judiciary from the recall. He
said, "We aro called upon now, wo of the bar,
to say whether wo aro going to protect the in
stitution of the judiciary and continue it inde
pendent of the majority or of all tho people."
What shall we say of this denial of tho ca
pacity of tho people for solf-government? How
shall wo characterize this argument of superior
intelligence and patriotism? "We of the bar," ho
says, "aro called upon to protect the, judiciary"
and "continue it independent of the majority or
of all the people." Couldn't tho president leave
tho task of making the Judiciary independent of
the people to the attorneys for the predatory
wealth? They have boon laboring diligently
to make the judiciary independent of tho people
for some years, but why should tho president
step down from the presidency whore he is sup
posed to represent all tho people to join the
"bar" in protecting the Judiciary from the
popld whom the judges are presumed to serve.
If the president has hot closed his eyes to in
formation easily obtainable, ho knows that the
demand for tho recall is due to the fact that
many of our judges, while independent of the
people have not been independent of the preda
tory interests. Tho anxiety that is now being
manifest for the independence of the judiciary is
fundamental among those who have reason to
know that some of our Judges have been depen
dent upon tho corporations for their appointment
to the bench, and that they have been paying
their obligations with their decisions.
Mr. Taft is so concerned for fear the people
may influence the judges, that he delivers a
broad-side against popular government, and
even credits himself with courage in making the
attack. Has it come to this that his distrust of
the people is a qualification for tho presidency?
Ought the people to trust a man when the man
does not trust them? It Is an insult to the in
telligence of the masses to think that they1 would
degrade themselves as to desire public servants
who "are independent of the majority or of all
the people." A Judge ought to have tho moral
courage to' do Justice as between the parties to
a suit, but no public servant ought to be able
to display with impunity, contempt for the
deliberate Judgment of those whose servant he
is. Mr. Taft is rapidly gaining distinction aa
the most ultra of the reactionaries.
KEEPING GOOD COMPANY
The press reports may be doing Speaker Clark
an Injustice but if it Is true that his managers
are seeking alliance with tho Harmon force
wherever necessary to defeat the Wilson sup
porters they should be reminded of the risk
they run. The lino between the progressive and
the stand-patter is so clearly drawn that a real
progressive does not appeal to a stand-patter.
It always excites suspicion, therefore, when
stand-patters begin to flock to one who is run
ning as a progressive. Mr. Clark's literature
appeals to progressives and his natural alliance
is with Governor Wilson's friends. Progressive
should fight shoulder to shoulder against the
reactionary democrats.
A GREAT PROGRESSIVE VICTORY
. The progressives In both political parties are
to be congratulated on the supreme court's de
cision refusing to overthrow the Initiative and
referendum! The way is now clear for the
adoption of this great reform In all states of
the union. At least those who favor the reform
can organize to that end.
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