WHAT WOULD LINCOLN DO?

Seligman, Dan

What Would Lincoln Do? Or, Guts and Grit in the Grand Old Party FMUntLY. I KADHT BCALIZED ttet llr. Hi«h D. Seott. Jr.. ctasirnmn at the RepubUcan National CoBUBittee during the Dewcjr...

...This statement was: "We are the best stock...
...The debato was now taking a disastrous turn for .Scott...
...Hoffman pationizingly, "but he d<x»s not like to be ribbed...
...Andrew Jacobs 9f Indiana precipitated the discussion by paraphrasing the remark in {jjuestion as follows: "He said that the Republican' party was constituted of the very beat people in thi.s'country...
...Jacobs happens to be what the folklorists call an "alligator...
...To which Ml-, llofrinan ictoited, with some spirit: Do not charge me with being near the rest room...
...He i.s," said Mr...
...I had thought that any man whose management of Republican affairs was of such quality as to reduce Clarence Budington Kelland to hysterics would have the decency to retire from public life...
...And I learned another thing about him that I hadn't known before»-lie is a good sport...
...b) that Mr...
...Scott is still the people's representative from Philadelphia, and he is still very much a bone of contention...
...I do not even know where it is...
...Jacobs resumed his analysis, turning now to the precise difference between "grit" 'which Mr...
...Scott Was not such a "good sport" as the gentleman from Michigan...
...Scott had disclaimed) and "guts" (which he had insisted upon...
...Clare Hoffman of Michigan, sensing perhaps that the honor of the GOP was at stake, made an attempt to take over the defense...
...Hoffman intimated that he would not be avers(> to commencing another liiiel suit right there...
...The Indiana^ was going along beautifully when Mr...
...Whether he actually said this is still not quite clear, but Mr...
...Accordingly, he stood up and delivered a sentence worthy, except for syntax, of John L. Lewis: "I want to suggest," ht aald, "that anyone who can sit here and listen to thaaa wandaiings incubated in the gantlaman's PVO cerebrations has to be a gocd ipiBrt in order to sit here and listen to ttiam...
...From here on, the debate went pretty steadily downhill Mr...
...He then went on to argue: (a) that he had never said what he was charged with saying...
...untrue statement...
...Scott was supposed to have said something to the effect that Republicans are "the best people...
...as a matter of fact, Theodore Roosevelt said that if Aljraham Lincoln had lived then he would be classed as a radical progressive...
...he was not only losing on logical grounds, he was bcmg made to look like something of a sissy...
...Barkley made effective use of it in the campaign, and there are those who attribute the Re^^^*'yiefe»t to the irritation it proJv' v/ millions of horny-handed «f repotfj^oplg labor vy organ, AiVAY, the question arose on the ertOP«i)i the House: What, actually, had Mr...
...Jacote proeeedad cheerfully, and with vwy Uttla tact, to outline the poaltian in whkh Scott had Muneshed himaiU: either ha was anti-Lincoln or the statement* attributed to him by his poUti(»l enemies were substantially correct...
...McCormack then $at down, and Mr...
...Scott's reply, according to the Inquirer, was: "It is a lie...
...AT THIS POINT, the inestimable Mr...
...He first produced the statement originaly attributed to Scott by Philip Matthews, a Pennsylvania Democrat...
...But in reading the Congressional Record the other day, I discovered that I was wrong...
...3otm McCm-mack, the Democratic leader in the House, unfortunately befogged the issues somewhat by making a bold bid to recruit Lincoln into the Democratic party...
...ctasirnmn at the RepubUcan National CoBUBittee during the Dewcjr tidal wave of early 1948, was still a member of Congress...
...Jacobs "lay off" the gentleman from Pennsylvania...
...Scott said...
...This meant, in effect, that (a) Seott did noi mak that the very bast pec^ In tUa country w«r« of the stock ol Abraham Lincoln, and that (b) Scott did not think that tiae stock of AlH^tem XJnceln waa tha bwt stock...
...If Lincoln were alive today, he would be a Democrat...
...cultured foll<s...
...Jacobs could therefore have no valid proof that he had said It...
...that in that party we have the best guts and brains in America...
...Jacoba renuurked, rather unkindly, that 'Hhera is one great danger to a libel suit, and that is the danger that the other fellow Is liable to piove it...
...He had denied saying 'a) "that the Republican party was constituted of the very best people in this country" (Jacobs...
...and that (c) Mr...
...Then the House turned to soil conservation in South Cai'olina, which is a story in itself...
...Mr...
...As a matter of fact," sakl Mr...
...and (b) "Wo are the best stock" (Matthews...
...In the vernacular, Scott was now up Jlhe creek...
...Scott tliereupon rose and, judging only from the cold type in the Record, flew into a tantrum...
...Jacobs countered with the suggestion that perhaps Mr...
...He proposed that Mr...
...He had insisted on the formulation, "the Republicans are of the stock of Abraham Lincoln...
...When Jacobs had finished reading this second quote, Scott arose again and congratulated "the gentleman on having for the first time in his address made an accurate statement...
...that we have the best party...
...THREE SENTIMENTS had been attributed to him, two of which he had ¦ denied uttering...
...It wiU be recalled that during the 1948 campaign, Mr...
...a statement which I never made, and which there may be some reason to believe he knows I never made...
...This is a reference too com plicated to explain here...
...He began by announcing "that the statement which he imputes to me is false...
...and that "the gaiitleman had better be watching that libel suit instead of the door to the ladies' ii'st room...
...He is aLso a touJSh man to talk off his feet...
...That last statement is exactly what I said...
...Actually, I said then and I think now that the RepubUcans are of the stock of Abraham Lincoln...
...Scott had in the past said that it stands for...
...He is a Catholic who supported the Harden Bill and a Fair Deal Democrat who tried to investigate corruption in labor unions...
...Jacobs suggested that, ¦'spi^king ubsUactly," libel sultl^ pre not easy to win...
...I aeeroed to recall that after the election, as aoon as was decently possible, he was exfoliated from the high councils of his party...
...Hoffman became involved In a lengthy digression concerning a libel suit whkh he had instituted...
...We aie the people who represent the real grit, brains, and backbone of America?' He then quoted Scott's response when a reporter fron\ the Philadelphia Inquirer asked him about this quote...
...McCoimack, "When you read the life of Thomas > Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln was really a disciple of Thomas Jefferson: he was the progressive of his day...
...Jacobs was therefore making charges without evidence to back them up...
...All of this came up in a House discussimi of the Republican party, and what it stands for, and what Mr...
...I would brand it to his face as an utterly false...

Vol. 33 • March 1950 • No. 10


 
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