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From our archives: A Texas candidate’s surprising promise

What we thought: 75 years ago

Published: Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 1:15 a.m. CST
Caption
W. Lee O'Daniel (1890-1969) The Texas gubernatorial candidate's pension proposal was criticized by a Telegraph editorial on Aug. 12, 1938.
Caption
James Hamilton Lewis (1863-1939) Illinois' Democratic U.S. senator did not favor a proposed third term for President Franklin D. Roosevelt, as mentioned in a Telegraph editorial on Aug. 12, 1938.

Note to readers – Sauk Valley Media reprints editorials from the past as a regular Monday feature. The following editorials appeared in the Telegraph on Aug. 12, 1938.

He made a promise

People over the country were considerably surprised when W. Lee O’Daniel won the Democratic nomination for governor of Texas despite the fact that he entered the race only 40 days before Election Day, and couldn’t even vote for himself because he had neglected to pay his poll tax.

Mr. O’Daniel, contrary to some reports, was not unknown to Texans, because he had been a radio commentator, advertising flour, and had a large following of fans.

His campaign philosophy was largely in the abstract. He said Texas could cure its depression by hard work; he recommended the Golden Rule, and for all we know, the Ten Commandments. Production, he says, makes wealth.

Perhaps the people voted for this abstract economic philosophy on the theory that Texans, by working hard and producing more, could lead the country out of the slough of despond. But probably a lot of people voted for Mr. O’Daniel because he promised a pension of $35 a month or more to all Texans past the age of 65. That ought to be good campaign material. There are enough Texans past 65, or near that age, to have strong influence in an election.

We do not know how Mr. O’Daniel proposes to obtain the funds to pay this pension, except that he has gone on record against a sales tax for that purpose.

One would do an injustice to the nominee, who is as good as elected, by suggesting that the pension promise was just bait and not made in good faith.

It would be a severe blow for the aged to find that the governor, after he takes office, had made a pledge entirely beyond his capacity to fulfill, and that he had not made a proper survey of the state’s financial resources beforehand.

That would be demagoguery, and no one can call O’Daniel a demagogue, yet.

So, we will wait and see how the nominee, when he assumes office, raises the money. He will not be permitted to forget his campaign promise.

J. Ham Lewis on third term

Senator James Hamilton Lewis, speaking of the possibility of Roosevelt’s running for a third term, says such an attempt on the part of Mr. Roosevelt would “destroy the Democratic Party,” and Mr. Lewis ought to be listened to with respect by his party because he is a good Democrat.

Of course, Mr. Lewis is not sure the president will try again. Mr. Roosevelt “is not the man to present himself for a continuous third  term,” says the senior senator from Illinois.

Senator Lewis believes he understands the president’s lieutenants, and insists that the president will not seek re-election because “That would bring on his party a charge that it was attempting to do what George Washington refused to do, and that it was violating a cardinal principle for Franklin Roosevelt, which violation the party had denounced when threatened for Theodore Roosevelt.”

We have heard from Mr. Lewis, but we still don’t know what Mr. Roosevelt is going to try to do.

Samuel Pirie, born in Amboy, is dead

Samuel Carson Pirie, 74, of Sea Cliff, L.I., who was born in Amboy, March 11, 1864, son of H. Thomas and Sarah Carson Pirie, died suddenly on a wharf at Newport, R.I., last evening, shortly after he had returned from a cruise on his power boat. Chronic myocarditis was announced by a medical examiner as the cause of death.

Mr. Pirie is survived by two sons, both of which live in the East. His wife preceded him in death in 1907. He began his career in the Carson, Pirie, Scott & Co. store in Chicago in 1885 and was elected chairman of the company’s board in 1930, which office he held at the time of his death.

Please pay carrier

Your Evening Telegraph carrier will call on you tomorrow for his regular weekly collection. Since he buys his papers from the publisher paying a cash wholesale rate – he cannot afford to extend credit.

Won’t you cooperate with him? You will be helping a young man who is striving to make success of his business.

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