The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, April 01, 1916, Page 9, Image 11

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

The Commoner
APRIL, 1916
Vs1"f 'If' "Wif!)"" -"ruwj" tcfFw 5, rptyi-
Dunn Scores Special Interests
Extracts from address of Hon. I. J. Dunn,
democratic candidate for United States senator,
at Neligh, Nebraska, March 28, 19 IS.
Prior to any filing on the democratic ticket
for the nomination for governor, Hhose wlui
speak for tho corporation-liquor interests de
clared that tho liquor question must be kept
out of the primary campaign; and that whether
a candidate was "wet" or "dry" ought not to
be considered. This demand was made with
some insolence, notwithstanding tho fact that
for years a large element of tho "wets" hare
made political subserviency to tho corporation
liquor interests the test of democracy at the
primaries and the elections for state, county
and legislative offices.
But when these gentlemen selected their can
didate for the nomination for governor to rep
resent the liquor and its allied political inter
ests, it speedily .developed that their cry that
the liquor question should be kept out of pol
itics was mere sham and pretense. Their can
didate promptly declared against prohibition,
thus electing to plunge into tho liquor question
up to his ears.
The interests he represents have had no in
tention of making the campaign upon any other
issue. Their purpose is to lino up their forces
behind their candidate, while shouting that the
liquor question must not bo made an issue, and
thus secure all of the "dry" votes possible. Tho
real cause of their complaint against the candi
dacy of Charles W. Bryan is not that he stands
for the "dry" side, but because he has com
pelled them to get out in the open and show
their colors so that the voters may know who
and where they are.
The fight is on in the democratic party in
Nebraska, between those who are opposed to the
domination of special privilego and their oppon
ents. For a number- of years, the spokesmen for
these interests have sought to control the or
ganization. They tried to take the management
of the state campaign out of the hands of
Chairman Thompson two years ago, and ceased
their efforts In that regard only when it became
apparent that there would be an open revolt
against the entire state ticket if they did not
take their hands off. At tho last session of the
legislature the house of representatives passed
a bill providing for the submission to the peo
ple, a call for a constitutional convention. There
wore only nine rotes against it. This bill was
killed in the senate. When a motion was made
to take it from tho sifting committee and bring
it before the senate for action, the motion was
voted down, securing only three democratic
votes, those of Beal, Bygland and Quinby. It
was notorious that the corporation-liquor inter
ests were opposed to giving the people an oppor
tunity to vote on the question of calling a con
stitutional convention, and they killed the bill
with democratic votes. When the bill to give
Omaha the right to erect an electric light plant
in connection with its water system was passed,
a majority of the democrats in the senate signed
a petition asking the governor to veto it. Some
of them had voted for the bill and had pledged
themselves prior to the election so to do.
The bill had been bitterly opposed in the
house by the lobbyists of 'the Omaha Electric
Light and Power Company, but Charles W.
Bryan gave valuable assistance in securing its
passage. Now who are these men who are the
spokesmen for that element within the demo
cratic party, in this state, who represent the
allied corporation-liquor interests, and what
relation have they to the present campaign?
I am speaking of tho interests that demand the
defeat of Charles W. Bryan as the democratic
candidate for governor, and who are giving their
undivided support to his opponent. This con
fpst ought to be fought out in the open, and the
situation should be clearly understood by the
democratic voters. Chiet among those who
represent the influences that are behind tho
candidate of the "interests," as principal direct
or and campaign manager, is Arthur F. Mullen
of Omaha, formerly attorney-sreneral of tho
state, and candidate for national committee
man. Mr. Mullen, during the last session of the
legislature was the chief representative for the
Omaha Electric Light & Power Comnany, in its
efforts to defeat the bill to give Omahhe right
to build an electric light plant In connection
with its water system. This corporation by a
decision of the supreme court of the United
States has obtained a perpetual franchise to use
the streets of Omaha. It is owned by the Gen
eral Electric Company, a Standard Oil corpora
tion. It has collected hundreds of thousands of
dollars from the people of Omaha in excessive
rates and is still doln o, consequently it Is
able to pay handsome fees and bonuses for ser
vices to defeat legislation affecting its interests.
The bill referred to was passed by both branches
of the legislature. The effort to defeat the bill
having failed senators and members of the
house claiming to be democrats wore induced to
petition tho governor to veto it. A bill similar
to the one defeated will bo introduced at the
coming session of the legislature, and the Elec
tric Light Company will again endeavor to de
feat it.
It will bo ploasing to the special-interest cor
porations, if the democrats shall nominate and
the people elect to the state senate, men who are
"right" on questions in which these interests
are concerned. If tho democrats will select
candidates for state and legislative offices upon
tho recommendation of Mr. Mullen and his as
sociates,, these interests will feel secure. One
of Mullen's associates in the pleasant occupation
of running the democratic party, is chief lobby
ist for the Union Pacific Railroad Company. Ho
spends his time in the congenial atmosphere of
Lincoln while the legislature is in session, and
gives such attention as is necessary in tho va
rious state senatorial districts to see that the
right kind of men are nominated on tho demo
cratic ticket. A third member of this interest
ing group of "leaders" spent a considerable por
tion of his time during the last session of tho
legislature at Lincoln in the interest of a bill
in which the old line fire insurance companies
were interested. Ho too has been active in tho
past, and is now, in seeing that the democrats
make no mistake in their selection of men to
represent them in the senate at tho coming
session of the legislature. But the chief purpose
of this group to whom I have referred, ably as
sisted by the editors of the Omaha World-Herald
and the Lincoln Daily Star, is the defeat of
Charles W. Bryan for the nomination for gov
ernor. And why this effort? For twenty years
Bryan has been active in the ranks of the dem
ocratic party in state and national politics. He
has been on the people's side in every contest.
He has been a progressive and always opposed
to special privilege. Ho is clean, capable, ag
gressive. The real cause of the opposition to
him is that he is in favor of putting the special
privilege element out of tho government busi
ness in Nebraska. He is opposed to the corporation-liquor
interests dominating the democrat
ic party or controlling the state government. Ho
is against the liquor traffic and its allies. His
election as governor would have an injurious ef
fect upon the market value of the services of the
professional lobbyist. He is capab'c of big
things, and has shown his capacity to do them.
It -was Charles W. Bryan who conceived and
suggested the famous resolution introduced by
W. J. Bryan in the Baltimore convention, de
nouncing Ryan and Belmont, and demanding
their withdrawal from the convention. The In
troduction of that resolution was the masfer
stroke which finally resulted in tho nomination
of Woodrow Wilson, and placed the democratic
party before the country in the attitude which
enabled it to win the national election in tho
fall of 1912.
Charles W. Bryan supported Woodrow Wilson
when support was needed, and his support con
sisted of something more than mouthing plati
tudes. He was for Wilson in fact and in per
son in the turmoil and struggle at Baltimore,
where support or opposition counted, and
when those fellows who are now opposing him
in this state, and shouting themselves black in
the face for Wilson (when nobody is opposing
his. candidacy) were following the band wagon
of .Ryan, Belmont & Company, Including the
distinguished editors of the Omaha World-Herald
and Lincoln Star. And Just remember that
during that convention these gentlemen who
are now loud in their support of President Wil
son were denouncing Candidate Wilson and
making every effort. In their power to defeat
Mm" '
They are the same gentlemen who from every
cross-road In Nobraska, during the primary
campaign oi lvlz, anu whlio tho Baltimore eo
vention was in session, donounccd Wilson aai
The work that such men as Charles W. Bryart J
ui uw jjtnuiuuiu huu uuhuk mo campaign ins
vr..v.f. u, wmuiu iu uuuujjui ii&uk wucuiur law i
self-constituted guardians of President Wilson's'
political rortunes in Nobraska are for or against
him. Thoy opposed tho President and his pol
icies as long as their opposition promised an
results. They opposed him on tho tariff ques
tion as to froo raw material; they opposed him
on tho banking and currency question; they op
posed him on tho question as to placing an em
bargo on tho shipment of arras and munitions
of war, after ho had declared that such a law
would bo a violation of neutrality on the part
of this government, and now, having failed la
tho'r efforts, in each Instance, and realizing that
Presidont Wilson's nomination is assured, ant
that their opposition in 1916 would bo as fruit
less as it was In 1912, they are beating the tom
toms and proclaiming their allegiance.
OCRATS In submitting my name to the democrat!
voters or Nebraska as a candidato for tho nom
ination for United States senator, I consider It
proper to state tho grounds upon which I Invite
support. Whether I represent those principles
of democracy which appeal to tho Individual
voter, more nearly than does my opponent,
should bo considered; and whether I am better
fitted to represent the people of this state la
tho national senate in carrying out those prin
ciples. Wo have in the democratic party in "Ne
braska what wo term progressive democrats, and
conservative democrats. Wo may not agree as
to whether these terms are Justly applied to in
dividuals, but it is for tho voters to decide to
which class a candidate belongs. I expect to
be judged by my attitude and record on publie
questions, covering a period of more than
twenty years of political activity. Tho way
to determine whether a candidato is a progress
ive or conservative, and where he stands on pub
lic questions, is by his record and not by what
ho or his friends say about It while ho is a can
didate. There is a real difference of opinion on state
and national issues between my opponent and
myself in my Judgment, 'and tho democrats of
this state are entitled to an opportunity to de
termine at the primaries whether they approve
his causes or mine. I submit that since his
election to the senate, and even before that time,
my opponent hatf been out of harmony with pro
gressive democrats on important issues. Now
bear In mind I do not claim the right to deter
mine who Is and who Is not a
progressive; nor ac to what consti
tutes progressive or conservative principles; I de
claim the right, however, to present what I con
ceive to bo progressive principles, and to urge
what in my Judgment determines whether a
man is a progressive or a conservative. I may
be mistaken, and what I call progressive prin
ciples, my opponent and his fr'onds may look
upon as conservative. So I shall present my
own views and point out why, In my Judgment,
I should be classed as a progressive, while on
the other hand my opponent has been, on im
portant issues, In full sympathy with the con
servative element, not only in the state of Ne
braska, but In the nation.
As above stated, a man's attitude can not well
be determined by what he says during a political
campaign. We are therefore entitled to consid
er the public and political record of one who
seeks office. The lines of demarkation between
the progressive and conservative elements with
in the democratic party have been sharply and
clearly defined for a great many years. When
in 1896 the progressive elements of the demo
cratic party under the leadership of W. J. Bryan
overthrew the old conservative faction, it faced
a new situation, and the nation a new alignment
of political forces. Shortly after Bryan's de
feat In 1900 the reactionary element under the
leadership of Senator Hill of New York, and his
associates whose forces were beaten at Chicago
in 1896, started what was known as the reor
ganize' movement. Tho purpose of this move
ment was to repudiate practically all tho dem
ocratic party had stood for in 1896 and 1900
under Bryan's leadership, and to crush Bryan
and his Influence and following everywhere in
the nation, and especially in Nebraska, and It
was so announced. In 1903, the Brooklyn
Eagle, one of the spokesmen for the reorgan-