Maid In America
December 10, 1951 — U.S. Editorial

The Mossadegh Project | December 17, 2019                     

U.S. President Harry S. Truman (1884-1972)

This editorial took Harry Truman to task for not cleaning up after reported corruption and scandal in his messy administration. The piece appeared as the lead editorial in numerous U.S. newspapers throughout mid December 1951, as detailed below.

Harry Truman editorial archive
Harry Truman letters, speeches, etc.

Time Has Come for Truman
To Clean His House — Or Else

This is a time of decision for President Truman. With new revelations of scandal breaking forth almost daily, he has realized for some time that he can no longer shrug off reports of corruption and influence-peddling as “asinine.” The only question now is whether the President intends to attack these evils full force or half-heartedly.

The signs so far add up to the half-hearted approach. To be sure, he has directed some sweeping ousters in the scandal-ridden Internal Revenue Bureau. But there is nothing to suggest that the measures adopted are complete or exhaustive. There is still too much talk from Mr. Truman and other key Administration officials of the “few rotten apples” in the barrel.

They may in fact be right; corruption may not prove nearly so widespread as current disclosures hint. But the point is the President and his lieutenants are guessing. They do not know the state of their own household.

Mr. Truman’s mood is no longer complacent, nor does he mock his critics. But his apparent course of action does not yet fit the gravity of the situation. He still seems much too willing to give himself and his Administration the benefit of the doubt.

But the country wants the doubts resolved clearly and unmistakably. It is not satisfied to have learned the facts about T. Lamar Caudle, former assistant attorney general, consorter with influence peddlers, intimate of gamblers, dispenser of government favors and recipient of same from men in peril from federal authority. The nation wants to know how many more Caudles there may be in other crannies of government. . .

It wants to know how a Caudle could be tolerated by officials who claim to be intelligent, moral men. Caudle concedes he knew little of tax matters when placed in charge of them by Mr. Justice Clark, then attorney general. This ignorance evidently was no handicap, in Clark’s judgment. Nor have Caudle’s questionable qualifications and his strange intramural doings caused Attorney General McGrath any particular anguish.

And what of Peyton Ford, Caudle’s immediate superior in the Justice Department? He was so doubtful of Caudle’s behavior in one tax case that be directed the prosecuting department lawyer to cease informing Caudle of his future plans in the litigation. The information was leaking back to the defendant regularly. Yet Ford thereafter remained silent and allowed Caudle to go his way unimpeded.

None of this suggests a vigilant Administration, but rather one all too tolerant of lapses from moral grace. Surely Mr. Truman must soon appreciate that he cannot restore confidence in the integrity of his regime by milk-toast reassurance of his intent to toss out the “few rotten apples.”

President Coolidge enabled the Republican party of the mid-1920’s to surmount the Teapot Dome scandals because he vigorously plunged into the task of cleaning house. He named a strong non-partisan commission to go over the Administration from top to bottom. Mr. Truman may find himself grossly in error if he believes he can get by with lesser measures. If he fails to order the thorough airing the situation demands, the American voters may direct it themselves--on Nov. 4, 1952.

Newspapers who ran this editorial under their masthead included the following. Though titles varied, all papers published it as their lead editorial. The only original content was a tacked-on two sentence intro by The Evening Standard. Several papers credited syndicated columnist Bruce Biossat, but most tacitly implied authorship.

The Daily Tribune (Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin) — December 10, 1951 (Housecleaning Overdue)
The Chillicothe Gazette (Chillicothe, Ohio) — December 10, 1951 (Time to Clean House)
The Iola Register (Iola, Kansas) — December 10, 1951 (credited to Bruce Biossat: TIME TO CLEAN HOUSE)
The Daily Times (New Philadelphia, Ohio) — December 10, 1951 (EDITORIAL Time Arrives For Truman To Clean House - Or Else By BRUCE BIOSSAT)
The Racine Journal Times (Racine, Washington) — December 11, 1951 (Time for H.S.T. to Clean House)
The Evening Standard (Uniontown, Pennsylvania) — December 11, 1951 (Truman Must Clean House, All The Way)
Added personalized intro: “We repeat what we suggested in these columns a few days ago: The time is right for a thorough housecleaning in Washington. No need emphasizing this is a time of grave decision for President Truman, back at his desk after a Florida vacation.”

The Brownsville Herald (Brownsville, Texas) — Dec. 11, 1951 (Truman Must Clean House — Or Else)
The Columbus Telegram (Columbus, Nebraska) — Dec. 11, 1951 (TIME HAS COME FOR TRUMAN TO CLEAN HIS HOUSE OR ELSE By BRUCE BIOSSAT)
The Rhinelander Daily News (Rhinelander, Wisconsin) — Dec. 11, 1951 (Truman Must Clean House)
The Portsmouth Herald (Portsmouth, New Hampshire) — Dec. 12, 1951 (No Time for Pussyfooting)
The Carrol Daily Times Herald (Carroll, Iowa) — December 12, 1951 (Time to Clean House)
The Plain Speaker (Hazleton, Pennsylvania) — December 12, 1951 (Decision Up To Truman (By Bruce Biossat). Ran as a column not an editorial)
The Mt. Vernon Register-News (Mt Vernon, Illinois) — December 12, 1951 (TIME HAS COME FOR TRUMAN TO CLEAN HIS HOUSE OR ELSE)
The Kingston Daily Freeman (Kingston, New York) — December 12, 1951 (TIME TO CLEAN HOUSE)
The Morning Herald (Hagerstown, Maryland) — December 12, 1951 (Time Has Come for Truman To Clean His House--Or Else)
The Franklin Evening Star (Franklin, Indiana) — December 12, 1951 (Editorial by Bruce Biossat: Clean House Or Else)
The Denton Record-Chronicle (Denton, Texas) — December 13, 1951 (Time Has Come for Truman To Clean His House--Or Else)
The Jackson Sun (Jackson, Tennessee) — December 13, 1951 (Truman Must Clean His House Or Else)
The Courier News (Blytheville, Arkansas) — December 13, 1951 (Time Has Come for Truman To Clean His House--Or Else)
The Belvidere Daily Republican The Victoria Advocate (Victoria, Texas) — December 14, 1951 (Truman Must Clean His House--Or Else)
The Daily Chronicle (Centralia, Washington) — Dec. 15, 1951 (Time Has Come for Truman To Clean His House--Or Else)
The Biloxi Daily Herald (Biloxi, Mississippi) — Dec. 15, 1951 (TIME HAS COME FOR TRUMAN TO CLEAN HIS HOUSE--OR ELSE)
The La Grande Observer (La Grande, Oregon) — December 15, 1951 (Time Has Come for Truman To Clean His House — Or Else)


Related links:

Next Year’s Election | Anti-Truman editorial, November 26, 1951

IMPEACH TRUMAN! | Lebanon Daily News (Pennsylvania), April 11, 1951

Fish Story | U.S. editorial, November 16, 1951

MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”

Facebook  Twitter  YouTube  Tumblr   Instagram