Criticism of Unions Does Not Put Writer With Roosevelt Haters

Westbrook Pegler

Knoxville News-Sentinel/April 15, 1942

TUCSON, Ariz., April 15—I am not certain that it is wise to recognize them at all but my wisdom is slightly fallible so I will take a chance today and notice persistent insinuations out of Washington and New York and in some of the little papers published by the professional unioneers that all citizens of our country who criticize any domestic action or policy of our government are “Roosevelt haters.” I can speak with authority because I have expressed some opposition but still think President Roosevelt is the strongest man among us, the fittest and on all counts the most logical man in the United States to carry on the task of war president and a great doer and achiever on his war record up to now. He saw war coming, realized that Adolf Hitler was determined within himself and inevitably obliged by the circumstances of his career to bring down this horror on the world and made us prepare to meet the attack. Our preparations were insufficient but they were far more advanced thanks to the president’s powerful persistence against the indifference and opposition of our people than they would have been under the rule of a less energetic and determined man. He made us get ready far beyond our active willingness to do so.

For another thing no loyal American citizen can hate the president of the United States because he personifies even to those who disapprove certain policies and actions of the administration the government of our country. Our people elected him knowing all the facts of the situation and having heard all the arguments about the third term which I personally thought was a weak issue.

Failed To Follow Counsel

AND I recognize of course that the party in power used the public funds and its extensive bureaucracy in the interests of Mr. Roosevelt’s third candidacy, but even a standpat Republican must admit that it was ever thus in our country. It ain’t nice but it is one of the plain facts of our political life, and to the extent of their ingenuity, and their political necessity, the Republicans before Mr. Roosevelt used the same methods The difference was not one of principle or basic methods, but of degree.

I was one who believed gloomily as early as 1935, and against the opinion of many informed American journalists in Europe, that Hitler was determined to have war. The contrary opinion, expressed patiently and sometimes condescendingly by men who knew European statesmen as a county-seat reporter knows his local politicians, held that all this sword rattling was just power politics and that bloodshed would never come of it. Sometimes they made me feel naïve, but I knew they were absolutely sincere and I realize that the president in those days must have been subject to much of the same reassuring and disarming argument by honest men whose counsel, had he followed it, would have cost us much of the military and industrial fitness for war which he has wrought so far.

And at the risk of a charge of complacency, I insist that the progress which the President has made in converting a militarily flabby nation from the ways and mind of an unarmed, flippant, luxury-loving people, whose amusement industry was one of the most important in the land, has been a much greater achievement than most of us know. The great military cities, the air fields and their craft and buildings and many of the very factories did not exist and most of the men in uniform today did not know a corporal from a brigadier.

Far Ahead of Hitler’s Plans

IF a President is to be criticized for his policies and errors of execution he must also receive credit for his good works and I believe President Roosevelt has brought us or dragged us far ahead of the military and industrial war stage which the enemy had set for us as of this time Of course, the military people, professionals of the staff, and raw, drafted men alike, the workers, taxpayers, stockholders and plant executives, Congress and even the despised bureaucrat have had a hand to all this but credit for accomplishment is due the chief who risks the blame for failure and he is Mr. Roosevelt.

The indiscriminate use of the term “Roosevelt hater” cannot now arouse actual hatred of the head of our nation in men and women to whom it is wrongfully applied with dark purpose, but neither is it likely to intimidate those who nevertheless opposed the president’s passive encouragement of predatory and lawless political unionism and his toleration of men in government who have committed themselves to a belief in the failure of our free life under capitalism and therefore must exert themselves in positions of influence to vindicate their expressed beliefs.

The Roosevelt haters are the Coughlinites and all their clamorous but not very numerous kind whose daggers thirst for the blood of Americans and, latently, the Communists who hated him with equal fury while Russia ran with Hitler.



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