State’s Ailments Blamed on GOP
November 22, 1959
State’s Ailments Blamed on GOP
Before a capacity crowd of well over 400 enthusiastic persons in Beckley Hotel Ballroom Saturday night, U.S. Senator Hubert H. Humphrey (D-Minn.) placed the blame for much of West Virginia’s economic grief squarely on the doorstep of the republican administration in Washington.
The fiery orator declared:
“There is no need for any type of recession, depression, or pockets of unemployment in America. The richest deposits of coal in the nation are here in West Virginia. Your town senators asked for coal research, Congress passed the bill – and it was vetoed. And you wonder why you have trouble.”
“West Virginia is a state with rich natural resources. This is a treasure house. You have plenty of good labor. But when it goes to the government for help it is told ‘no’.”
“A president and cabinet which says they can’t cut a dollar from foreign aid for Formosa of Afhganistan doesn’t want the Area Development Bill even though we pass it in the Senate. But the same persons who refuse one dime for West Virginia give $150,000,000 for an Island in the Pacific. We cannot long afford this.”
“In this richest land on the face of the earth, where we have surplus foods worth ten million dollars, we are sick. This is immoral. It is immoral and wicked to let people go hungry.”
“The people in my state are being harassed by the government at the same time for producing too much food. A dozen or more bills have been passed to feed the hungry. But the Administration allowed the Department of Agriculture to prevent it with a ruling.
“We finally passed a bill directing the Secretary of Agriculture to feed the hungry.”
“But there is no reason why the government should let one person in West Virginia go without a good balanced diet. They stopped distributing powered milk – and last month the Department of Agriculture sold 28 million pounds of it for hog food – and sold it for a pittance.”
“So the people are getting food by accident, and get whatever is available. A nation cannot live in such wicked debauchery without paying the price.”
The speaker told of the efforts of Randolph and Byrd to get a Youth Conservation Corps established buy declared the Republican Administration said no. Then he blasted the FOP for other sins of omission, saying: “We haven’t touched the problem of automation – and the administration ignores them.”
He ridiculed the Republican talk of peace – and said:
“There is no peace in the world of sick and the hungry. The only politics worthwhile is the kind which mixes morality with politics as Franklin Roosevelt did.”
“We have drifted aimlessly without leadership under the current administration.”
Starting his address, Humphrey in a spirit of levity, said that if any Republicans wandered in and felt the spirit move him he was invited to stand up and give his testimony.
He stressed the idea that the Democratic party to be a winning party must be liberal and identify itself with the needs of the people. He said:
“I don’t think it will be a soft touch in 1960. The Republicans have become accustomed to deluding the public and they like it. They like the White House.”
Striking out at smart producers and campaign mangers, he scoffed at their efforts to create a “new image” of Republicanism and Republican candidates. He declared:
“Just as we’ve had rigged TV quiz shows, we’ve had the same kind of fiction and fraud. Their motto is anything for a vote, anything for a buck. We have been victims of a false image they have created. But the American people are tired of showmanship and want leadership.”
Humphrey predicted that the GOP will campaign on peace and prosperity in 1960 – “prosperity for the few.” Then he said:
“The farmers in my area are in dire trouble and the Republican administration prescribes more of the same. There were 3,250,000 persons unemployed as of Oct. 30 – and a member of the cabinet made a mockery of it by eating cake. But there was not cake for the unemployed.
“This administration hasn’t wanted economic expansion. It has featured a rise in interest rates, yet former Secretary of State Dulles said unless we expand we commit national suicide. This administration cries inflation – and creates its own monster, with the largest rise in interest rated. This is premeditated policy.”
Getting into civil rights is sure, Humphrey declared:
“I don’t think any political party can win or should win if it forgets the individual’s rights. We Democrats must speak up for the minorities, the downtrodden. There are three D’s in Democracy, debate, dissension and decision. But the debate, no dissension – and no decision is foreign to their personality.”
Speaking of Russian challenge and the cold war, he flatly stated:
“The Russians will run us off the face of the earth unless we meet their challenge. They mean to use brain power. Khrushchev told us right to out teeth when he said “we will bury you.”
He emphasized that he doesn’t think Russia try to conquer us by force but by competition, by education, propaganda and production.
Humphrey had high praise for West Virginia’s two U.S. Senators, Randolph and Byrd, and the other Democratic members of congress, saying “West Virginia’s case has been well pleaded.”
State Senator Jack Nuckols presided as toastmaster at the fund –raising dinner which was sponsored by the Young Democrats of Raleigh County and the Raleigh County Democratic Executive Committee.
Congressmen Ken Hechler and John M. Stack, state senators, other state officials and Democratic leaders from throughout the state attended.
Humphrey Blasts W. Va. Republicans; Contrast Cranberries, Unemployment
Dynamic Senator Hubert H. Humphrey (Minnesota) proved to be an affable, fast-talking, enthusiastic individual at the press conference in a hotel room here Saturday afternoon—but he swung on the Republican party with vigor, declaring:
“The present administration in Washington is a no-go, go slow, not now, veto administration and the Republican party in West Virginia is hardly qualified to be a political party.”
He freely predicted Democratic victory at the election in 1960, “if we take the issue to the people.”
Asked if he is now an avowed candidate for President, he said he was not.
Asked what kind of a candidate the Democrats will need in order to win, he said:
“He should have the humanitarian qualities of a Franklin D. Roosevelt and the courage and fight of Harry Truman.”
Humphrey also criticized the administration’s foreign policy. When he was asked flatly if we are losing the cold war with Russia he said:
“I regret to say we are losing it. I don’t think we need to. I think that with proper leadership we could win it.
“America had creeping paralysis under President Hoover. The country was sick and broken—but the same country, made up of the same people, came alive and flexed its muscles and started on to greater things within a few weeks under the leadership of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
“Russia has changed her tactics. I’m in favor of the summit meetings betweens [sic] heads of governments. But I don’t know how much they can accomplish. There is no chance to come to an amicable solution of the differences between Russia and the United States in the foreseeable future. But thinks are a little better. Khrushchev is convinced he can’t blackmail us with weapons. I do not look for another Pearl Harbor. Nobody can win in an atomic war. Russia’s plan now is to beat us with their culture, their trade and such in a nibbling process which includes much propaganda. They count on the apathy of our leadership too.
“The present administration prefers to talk of problems in the morning, go to the country club in the afternoon—and not be bothered in the evening.”
Asked about a suggestion that the population in depressed West Virginia coal areas be shifted, Humphrey said:
“You don’t solve problems by running away.”
Again turning the blast on the present administration, he declared:
“The Republicans got all excited over cranberries and lipstick but show little concern for radioactive fallout. Of course there is some cause for concern over cranberries. But if they would get as excited over the present unemployment as they are over the cranberries we’d have a better Thanksgiving.”
By Roy Lee Harmon
. . .
Senator Hubert H. Humphrey was welcomed to Charleston where he spoke at a luncheon before coming on to Beckley, by U. S. Senators Robert C. Byrd and Jennings Randolph, Mr. and Mrs. Hulett C. Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Roy A. Cunningham, Dave Abrams and Charlie Lewis.
Smith hurried back to the workshop sessions here while the remainder of the Beckley delegation and West Virginia’s two U. S. Senators remained in Charleston to drive here with Humphrey later.
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