Rant Against the Machine

February 1, 1952 — The Pittsburgh Press

The Mossadegh Project | June 10, 2021                          

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

The Pittsburgh Press showed their contempt for President Truman in these two back-to-back editorials.

See also:

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

Another Shortage

PRESIDENT TRUMAN’s attack on Sen. Joe McCarthy as a character assassin poses a nice question: How do all the character assassins in Washington keep so busy if there is so little character to assassinate?

[There was actually a term for it — “McCarthyism”]

So Much Eyewash!

PRESIDENT TRUMAN says presidential primaries are so much eyewash and he doesn’t need to run in one of them to get the Democratic nomination.

As a practical organization politician, Mr. Truman knows what he is talking about.

Primaries are so much eyewash because the machine politicians have made them so. Mr. Truman doesn’t need to run in a primary because he knows he controls the machinery for picking delegates.

★            ★            ★

Candidates such as Mr. Truman make primaries meaningless by not running in them. Voters shun primaries in droves because they do not have a free choice of candidates. That’s grist for the political machine.

But there is another angle to Mr. Truman’s attitude about primaries, an attitude typical of most machine politicians. And that is he doesn’t trust the voters of his party.

When the voters don’t have a free choice in a primary, it is that much easier for the politicians to rig a convention. It is easier to deal with delegates beholden, in one way or another, to a political machine than it is to persuade free and independent voters.

That’s why presidential primaries, for the most part, are so much eyewash—when a President in office is involved.

The President’s News Conference
January 31, 1952

Q: Mr. President, I beg your pardon, but I want to follow Bill’s question—I wonder if taking off your name in New Hampshire-would that set a precedent for—if any other name were entered in any other primary, would that automatically be taken off?

THE PRESIDENT: No comment.

Q: Mr. President, I would like to clear up one thing. If you ask them to withdraw your name, does that preclude you from being a candidate?

THE PRESIDENT: Not at all.

Q: That’s what I want to get clear.

THE PRESIDENT: All these primaries are just eyewash when the convention meets, as you will find out. [Laughter]

Q: What was that? We didn’t hear the question.

THE PRESIDENT: Ask it again.

Q: When the President said that he was going to have his name withdrawn from the New Hampshire primary, I wanted to make it clear that he didn’t mean that would preclude him from not accepting the nomination.

THE PRESIDENT: Not at all. You see, all these primaries are eyewash. When it comes to the national convention meeting, it doesn’t mean a thing.

Q: Why are you having your name withdrawn from the thing?

THE PRESIDENT: Why there isn’t any sense in my entering a primary. If I want to be nominated, I don’t have to go into any primary. [Laughter]

Impeach Truman | Chicago Tribune’s front page editorial (1951)
Impeach Truman | Chicago Tribune editorial (April 12, 1951)

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Related links:

DNC Accused of Preselecting Presidential Nominee (1952 Letter)

Alibis From the Generalissimo | New York Daily News, June 26, 1951

Bossism | The Wilmington Morning Star, August 1, 1952

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

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