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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Chapter 21-The Commanding Heights

The 1960 election campaign in the United States marked the first successful attempt of Left liberals, by then firmly lodged in the Democratic Party organization throughout the country, to regain such unobstructed access to the power of the Presidency as they enjoyed in the Roosevelt era.(1) That, after all, was an initial reason for founding Americans for Democratic Action, as some of its best friends have pointed out.
Three choices were offered in the Democratic primaries, with Adlai Stevenson a sentimental fourth, although he seemed to have little serious desire to run again in the grand national handicap. It looked like a genuine horse race for the nomination; but in retrospect is discovered to have been what sports fans call a “boat race.” No matter which of the aspirants won, ADA would collect on the ticket. Even Lyndon Johnson, billed as the white hope of southern conservatives, had in fact been sired by the New Deal. Moreover, there were enough fiscal and electioneering irregularities in his background to guarantee his docility in the unlikely event that he gained the 1960 Presidential nomination.
Supposedly, a primary in the United States is wholly the personal affair of the candidates, with the party organizations coming into play only after the nomination has been made. Since ADA was not a political party, however, but merely a fraction within the Democratic Party, it appears to have acted from the start to control the selection of the nominees.
In the primary race, Senators Hubert Humphrey and John F. Kennedy ran as an entry, with the former serving as the unwitting pacemaker. Both were led to the post by trusty ADA grooms. David C. Williams took leave from the ADA World to write his friend Humphreys campaign speeches, insuring their impeccable Fabian Socialist color. Senator Kennedy, generally considered an “outsider,” had a larger and more vigilant stable crew. It numbered at least three ADA founders: Gardner (Pat) Jackson, an old New Dealer hired for young Kennedy by his father; Monroe Sweetland, of the League for Industrial Democracy; and that improper Bostonian, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.
At a later date this circle was enlarged to include another ADA founder, the Canadian-born Professor J. Kenneth Galbraith, an authority on the evils of affluence; the socially acceptable Paul Nitze, an adviser on military policy and the nonexistent missile gap; and Littauer Professor Seymour E. Harris, grand master of the mysteries of Keynesian economics and finance. Harris was also the co-author of an ADA-sponsored pamphlet on Medicare, and in 1962 would produce a study on the costs of higher education, which he judged should exceed 9.2 billion dollars annually by 1969-70.(2)
Meanwhile former Student ADA-ers Theodore Sorenson and Larry O’Brien served as leg-men and exercise boys, recruiting swarms of crisp, crew cut assistants for every local headquarters. A well-schooled ADA member, Professor James MacGregor Burns of Williams—who had taken a special course of study at the London School of Economics (3) in 1949—was to write Kennedy’s official campaign biography. Despite his own and his family’s great wealth, Senator Kennedy did
not possess enough intra-Party strength of his own to afford the luxury of independence.
In the Wisconsin and West Virginia primary sprints Hubert Humphrey forced his younger rival, John F. Kennedy (not previously known for any consistent political philosophy) to equal and outstrip him in liberal sentiments. While Humphrey’s campaign was brief and afflicted by money troubles, apparently he was not informed in advance of his peacemaking role: he desperately wanted to be President. At the Democratic National Convention—with tears in his eyes, for he tended to weep like a child under stress—Humphrey was finally persuaded by Joseph Rauh, Jr. to throw his support to Kennedy. As a consolation prize Hubert would be made Democratic whip of the Senate and permitted to name his former assistant, Orville Freeman, Secretary of Agriculture in the Kennedy-Johnson Administration.
A reliable tip on the primary results was volunteered, as early as March, 1960, by the knowing Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. To a sympathetic newspaperman, James Reston, he confided: “Nostalgically I am for Stevenson; ideologically I am for Humphrey; but realistically I am for Kennedy.” From the moment the Democratic Convention opened in Los Angeles, it was clear to all but the most unrealistic observers that Kennedy was the predestined winner.
Despite his youth and less than distinguished performance in the Senate, he had many points to recommend him to a star-struck electorate. John F. Kennedy had the clean-cut, photogenic good looks of a motion picture hero, in addition to charm and breeding. In World War II he had served with the Navy’s daredevil torpedo boat fleet in the Pacific and suffered enduring wounds. Having produced several best-selling books, he was considered an author and presumably an intellectual; yet he was actively interested in sports. Moreover, he had a devoted family, able and willing to spend an unlimited amount of money to put one of its sons in the White House. All this, and heaven, too: Kennedy was certain he could deliver the Catholic vote. (4)
With his family and religious background, who would ever believe John F. Kennedy was committed before his nomination to carrying out a Fabian Socialist program? Even Left liberals were incredulous. Did not Pope Pius XI declare in 1931: “No man can be at the same time a sincere Catholic and a true Socialist?” (5) At the Los Angeles Convention Joseph-Rauh, Jr., known as Walter Reuther’s man, had some difficulty inducing bewildered ADA purists to cast their votes for Kennedy.
Rauh said he believed Kennedy to be a liberal, (6) and doubtless he had reasons. As ADA’s key man on the platform committee, Rauh knew very well that the Democratic Party’s radical platform was written months before the National Convention. By April, 1960, Kennedy had an opportunity to see it in nearly final form.(7) Far from objecting to its contents, Kennedy told Rauh that he wanted above all things to campaign on a liberal platform. (8) What else may have been said at the time is not reported. One thing, however, is sure. To win the affirmative backing of ADA’s top brain trusters and of left wing union leaders trained to drive hard bargains—and through these, to gain the practical support of the Democratic Party organization—substantial assurances were required.
Perhaps the sharpest opposition to Kennedy within ADA came from its honorary president, Eleanor Roosevelt. Apparently, she nursed some resentment both on ideological and personal grounds against his father, former Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy. Eleanor Roosevelt’s chief reason, however, for mistrusting Senator Kennedy was his failure to have taken a stand against Senator Joseph McCarthy, bane of orthodox Left liberals and Communists in the fifties. From 1948, McCarthy had carried on what seemed at times to be a one-man campaign to alert the country to the dangers of Communist infiltration in government. In the process, he seriously alarmed Fabian Socialists who feared they might be the next to be exposed.(9)
Americans for Democratic Action waged a tireless vendetta against McCarthy through every medium at its command, even publishing and selling thousands of copies of a Senate Subcommittee report on the Senator’s personal finances.(10) In Britain the New Statesman and other Fabian Socialist-edited journals expressed shocked indignation at that man from Wisconsin who, according to them, was imperiling the American Bill of Rights—a document for which foreign as well as home-grown leftists often profess a touching concern. The agitation in educated circles on both sides of the Atlantic culminated in a resolution of censure against McCarthy by the U.S. Senate. ADA claimed and still claims today to have been primarily responsible for that propaganda coup. If so, it was surely one of the strangest cases of political lobbying in congressional history. Analysis suggests that the Senate’s 1954 resolution against McCarthy was im the nature of a test vote, demonstrating ADA’s dominance in the Democratic Party organization as well as its influence on liberal Republicans.
As a young congressman, Kennedy had originally represented a working-class district in Boston made up almost entirely of Irish Catholic voters. They abhorred Communism and idolized McCarthy, Republican though he was. In those days, Kennedy was outspokenly anti-Communist in foreign affairs; but voted affirmatively with the liberals on Federal spending and labor bills affecting his constituents. His father’s hail-fellow-well-met friendship with McCarthy was a distinct asset to Kennedy in Massachusetts. To some degree, John F. Kennedy owed his own election as Senator in 1952 to McCarthy, who failed to go to Massachusetts that year and campaign for Kennedy’s Republican opponent, Henry Cabot Lodge.
When the resolution to censure McCarthy came up two years later in the Senate, Kennedy’s voice was not heard. Being hospitalized at the time, he could not be present—though he could, of course, have paired his vote. For this McCarthy’s friends never forgave Kennedy, and neither did aggravated liberals like Eleanor Roosevelt. After his Pulitzer Prize winning book, Profiles in Courage, appeared in 1956, Eleanor Roosevelt is said to have commented that “Mr. Kennedy should show more courage and less profile”—an unkind reference to the rumor that the Kennedy nose, broken years before in football, had been quietly remodeled by plastic surgery during his long stay in the hospital.
Sensitive as he was to criticism, somehow it was the barbs from the Left that disturbed him most. “What did they want me to do, commit hara-kiri?” he asked a reporter. Apparently, the more practical politicians in ADA realized it would have meant political suicide in Massachusetts for Kennedy to speak out against McCarthy, and accepted his neutrality as a mark of deference to their side. Though Kennedy had been quoted in 1953 by the Saturday Evening Post as saying of Americans for Democratic Action, “I don’t feel comfortable with those people,” as time went on he learned to suffer them more gladly. In part, his increased cordiality seems to have been due to the discreet efforts of his aides, Theodore Sorenson and Lawrence O’Brien; in part, to his own discovery that ADA held the whip hand in the Democratic Party.
That uncomfortable fact was impressed upon Kennedy in 1956, when he tried and failed to win the Democratic nomination for the Vice Presidency. It was a fact to be seriously considered by a young man in a hurry, whose fond parents, brothers and sisters quite literally expected him to become President of the United States. In token of his improving relations with the liberal Left, the New Leader for May 18, 1957, printed a well-advertised book review by Senator John F. Kennedy. It gave favorable notice to a liberally slanted history of the U.S. Senate, written by a political commentator who later became an ardent apologist for the Kennedy-Johnson Administration.(11)
In September, 1959, when Kennedy had already begun to look like a serious Presidential contender, Allen Taylor, director of the New York State ADA, thoughtfully sent Ted Sorenson a long memorandum entitled, “Liberals’ Doubts About Kennedy, and How to Handle Them.” (12) Evidently Kennedy learned how; and it was a costly lesson. Not all the Kennedy family wealth, estimated at several hundred millions, could have paid for it. The price was his personal independence.
On January 20,1961, John F. Kennedy was sworn in as the thirty-fifth President of the United States. He had achieved the heights; but he had done so by one of the slimmest popular margins ever claimed for a victorious candidate, a mere 119,000 votes, in an election still regarded as doubtful by sober historians. Kennedy’s inaugural speech, for which he is perhaps best remembered, summoned the United States to “a long twilit struggle . . . against the common enemies of mankind . . . tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself.” Surely a noble sentiment, if pursued by Constitutional means and without destruction of the country’s internal order, or national sovereignty.
Fired by the drama of the occasion and the beauty of the youthful President’s rhetoric, few listeners asked by what means that global struggle would be waged. As months went by, the inference deepened that anyone who ventured to question the methods and underlying aims of the new Administration was a cold-blooded advocate of tyranny, poverty, disease and war. The questioners have now been silenced by the tragic circumstance that John F. Kennedy was assassinated less than three years after becoming President. Apparently he was shot by a young assassin from the ranks of the Far Left whose motives and connections have not yet been fully explained.
Exploiting the natural grief of JFK’s widow and relatives, as well as the emotions of a shocked American public, the same Left liberal clique that helped put Kennedy in the White House endowed him with a halo of martyrdom. For month after month leading to the national elections of 1964, every form of heart-appeal that could be devised by Fabian experts in mass psychology was utilized to keep sorrowing voters faithful to the Party of JFK. The same elite corps of Left liberal intellectuals, who had surrounded him as President, now sought to perpetuate themselves or their alternates in power by perpetuating the memory of John K. Kennedy—not quite as he was, but as a golden memory. De mortuis nil nisi bonum. During the last years of his short but crowded lifetime, John F. Kennedy was sometimes compared by informed observers to Britain’s leading Catholic Fabian, Lord Francis Pakenham. Both were Christian gentlemen of inherited wealth, secure social position and Gaelic antecedents—although Pakenham came from a long line of Anglo-Irish landlords, and Kennedy from Irish peasant stock. Both had style, grace and good manners, though, of the two, Kennedy was far better looking. They were frankly but not crudely ambitious. While they might normally have been expected to find their habitat in conservative politics, both found they could go farther faster by allying themselves with the Fabian Socialist movement.
Pakenham became a convinced Marxist by joining the Oxford City Labour Party of the middle thirties where, as he has said, the name of Marx was on the tongue of every student and don.(13) Kenney absorbed the Keynesian outlook almost imperceptibly at Harvard College–after some desultory training at the London School of Economics, which his biographers usually took pains to minimize. Yet both were prominent Catholic laymen, Kennedy by birth and Pakenham by conversion. Neither seemed to perceive any conflict between the exercise of Catholic piety and the aims of international Socialism; even though one Papal Encyclical after another has affirmed that the right to own productive property and enjoy its fruits is among the natural rights of mankind. Both were adroit, quick-witted but not serious thinkers, and depended on others for ideas.
At the request of the Fabian Socialist Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, Pakenham was made a peer, Lord-in-Waiting and Privy Councillor, so that he could aid the Labour Party in the House of Lords. On being elevated to his new estate, he was received by the monarch, King George VI. It was a curious and moving encounter, the significance of which somehow escaped Lord Pakenham. He has told how the King looked at him long and penetratingly, and after a pause said suddenly: “Why did you . . . join them?” (14) The same question might have been asked about John F. Kennedy.
Historically, the Kennedy-Johnson Administration took office pledged to the most outspokenly radical program ever sponsored by an old-line political party in the United States. For publicity purposes the Administration was known as the New Frontier. The label was mystifying as applied to a casually elegant young man from Massachusetts, whose entourage was heavily weighted with doctors of philosophy from the Ivy League universities. Hardly anyone—except the oldest New Dealers, and a few scholars in the Anglo-American section of Fabian Research—remembered that the Progressive left-winger, Henry Wallace, once wrote a book called New Frontiers.
Published in 1934, New Frontiers restated in glowing terms the philosophy and objectives of the New Deal, where—as the veteran Fabian Socialist, Harry Laidler has affirmed—one Socialist demand after another was gratified. “We need now,” wrote Wallace, “to re-define property rights in a way that will fairly meet the realities of today.” (15) Americans, he said, must abandon the frugality, competitive spirit and individualism of the Old Frontier, where men, “whether Protestant or Catholic, accepted implicitly the Protestant ethic.” (16)
On the New Frontier to come, Wallace said, “socially disciplined” men will work cooperatively to increase the wealth of the human race and apply their inventive skill to changing society itself. They will modify the governmental and political machinery, as well as the monetary and price system, to achieve “a far wider possibility of social justice and social charity” in the world. “So enlisted,” wrote Wallace, “men may rightfully feel that they are serving a function as high as any minister of the Gospel. They will not be Communists, Socialists or Fascists, but plain men trying to gain by democratic methods the professed objectives of Communists, Socialists or Fascists….”(17) Whatever its name, the imaginary New Frontier described by Henry Wallace sounded very much like old-fashioned Fabian Socialism.
There were at least two old New Dealers on Kennedy’s campaign staff, Gardner Jackson and Monroe Sweetland, who had worked in the Department of Agriculture under Wallace and shared many of his views. Undoubtedly, they remembered his “vision” of the New Frontier. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., who wrote a history of the Roosevelt era, might also have been expected to be familiar with the Wallace book. In searching for a label to use during the Kennedy campaign and after, which implied a Socialist commitment yet seemed merely picturesque to the general public, someone at Kennedy headquarters thought of borrowing the New Frontier tag from Wallace—on the chance that few would identify the source. If the matter ever came up, it could always be explained away as purely coincidental.
After presenting the new Administration with a name, a philosophy and a platform, ADA brain trusters took precautions to make sure their program would be carried out. In the interim between Kennedy’s election and inauguration, appropriate steps were taken to staff the White House and the departments at every level with ADA members, past or present, and their Fabian-schooled allies. Less than three weeks after the Democratic Party’s close victory at the polls, Professor Samuel H. Beer of Harvard, then national chairman of ADA, wrote to congratulate his personal friend, John F. Kennedy.
Beer, described editorially as “professor of Government at Harvard,” had contributed an article to the November, 1956 issue of the British Fabian Journal, entitled ‘Labour Rethinks Its Policy. An American View.” From this, it could at least be inferred that he enjoyed direct contacts
with Britain’s Fabian Socialists.
Beer suggested that the new President’s first public acts should clearly demonstrate his intent to build a New Frontier for America, with the help of “forward-looking” and “imaginative” public servants. Characteristically, competence was not mentioned. Beer’s letter to the President continued boldly:
“ADA has no interest in individuals as such; however, we feel that the appointment to high office of such men as Chester Bowles, Orville Freeman, Adlai Stevenson and G. Mennen Williams will signify to the world your determination to shape your Administration in the image of your eloquent liberal campaign.” (18)
The four individuals named by Beer, and many more ADA favorites, were appointed to serve in the Kennedy-Johnson Administration.
Alert Washington newsmen identified at least three dozen important officials, from Cabinet rank down, as past or present members of Americans for Democratic Action. Professor Brock a friendly witness, not only confirmed the tally; but added that the number of ADA members serving in government posts, high and low, under the Kennedy-Johnson Administration was in reality much larger than even some of its keener critics knew. (19) “The extent of ‘infiltration’,” crowed Brock, “is greater than Senator Goldwater dreams.” Just as every key post in the British Labour Party Government from 1945 to 1951 was admittedly held for some time at least by a member of the Fabian Society, American Fabian Socialists seemed to have achieved somewhat similar status under the Kennedy-Johnson Administration.
While this phenomenon of “infiltration” was frequently noted, in whole or in part, no one could say just how it occurred. Perhaps the simplest and most logical explanation is that the majority of Left liberal appointments were made through routine patronage channels. Anyone familiar with Washington realizes that a President is in somewhat the same situation as an author who receives some ten free copies of his book to give to personal friends and connections, the remainder being distributed in the routine order of business. For the most part, government appointments high and low—not excluding persons who have qualified for the higher civil service ratings—are cleared through the county, state and national committees of the Party in power.
That fact does not relieve a President of responsibility for appointments announced by the White House; but it does indicate the extent of ADA control over the Democratic Party machinery, that is, an extent necessary to place so large a number of handpicked employees in all branches of the Federal Government. Evidently, the relationship of ADA to the Democratic Party in America approximated—if it did not quite equal—that of the London Fabian Society to the British Labour Party.
Most of the top Government spots had been filled by February 10, 1961, when ADA chairman Beer and three colleagues called to pay their respects in person to President Kennedy. For the first time since Truman’s day, representatives of ADA were welcomed as such at the White House. In requesting the interview, Beer had written to the President’s appointment secretary, “I want to make it clear that it is program, not jobs in which we are interested.” After the conference, where economic policy and civil rights were discussed, Beer commented: “We felt that in both fields the President’s objectives were ours, and that he was attempting and would attempt to pursue them just as far as he politically could.” (20)
No public reference was made to mutual aims in the fields of foreign and military policy, relating to world development, cooperation with Communist nations, de facto disarmament and eventual federal union of all nations in a socialized world. Those delicate undertakings were left to selected, Fabian-trained officials and consultants manning the Government at strategic points, who could be depended upon to pursue their objectives systematically in consultation with social democratic officials abroad. White House ghost-writers—better versed in the Fabian classics than in simple arithmetic–even supplied the President with a space age version of the Independence Day comments made by Edward Bellamy in 1892.(21)
In a speech delivered at Independence Hall in Philadelphia (of all places), on July 4, 1962, President Kennedy “virtually proposed to repeal the Declaration of Independence in favor of a declaration of international interdependence.”(22) To a passive and somnolent audience, he declared:
But I will say here and now on this day of independence that the United States will be ready for a Declaration of Interdependence—that we will be prepared to discuss with a United Europe the ways and means of forming a concrete Atlantic Partnership—a mutually beneficial partnership between the new union now emerging in Europe and the old American Union founded here 175 years ago …. Today Americans must learn to think continentally.” (23)
These words were spoken on the 186th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Other echoes of the Cooperative Commonwealth—foretold long ago by Edward Bellamy; father of the American Fabian movement— were revived by friendly Keynesian economists in anticipation of the 1964 election contest. No mention was made of their literary inspiration, which was obvious to Socialists but unknown to the average citizen—namely, Bellamy’s Looking Backward, a novel depicting Socialist America in the year 2000. In March, 1963, a twenty-three man “research team” employed by an organization called Resources for the Future released a 987-page report. It described the material wonders that the common man in America would enjoy in the year 2000. Assuming, of course, that the Keynesian policies adopted by the Kennedy-Johnson Administration were continued indefinitely! Financial support for the “study” was supplied by the Ford Foundation at the expense of the American taxpayer.
By combining Keynesian theory with production and population statistics, and feeding the mixture into electronic computers, the young researchers came up with precise figures on what the year 2000 would hold. Any possibility of war, pestilence or bankruptcy was omitted from their calculations. Economic scarcity would no longer exist in that future America, where atomic reactors would supply only peaceful power, automobiles with wings would outnumber adult citizens, and the average family income would be $11,000 per year (without reference to purchasing power).
Apart from such attention-catching items, an interesting feature of this forecast was its assumption that Federal spending would increase in very much the same ratio as industrial production and Gross National Product. In short, an ever-expanding government would continue to appropriate an overall 20 per cent to 25 per cent of the nation’s annual income. The miraculous pitcher would continue to pour milk and honey without interruption, while the tax pressures under which the average American operates today would simply be multiplied by five.
A demand for continuous economic “growth,” which calls for production to rise each year like a supermarket’s sales figures, was first voiced by New Frontier spokesmen in the 1960 Presidential campaign. It was based upon the latest post-Keynesian mystery: the Gross National Product, officially adopted as an index of prosperity by the Kennedy-Johnson Administration. Just how the Gross National Product itself is computed has never been clearly explained to the public. A clue to the process, however, was offered by Newton N. Minow, an early New Frontiersman who formerly headed the Federal Communications Commission.
At a 1963 symposium arranged in Los Angeles by the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions—wayward grandchild of the Ford Foundation—Minow stated bluntly:
“Nearly fifteen per cent of our national work force is already employed by the local, state or federal government, and this represents almost a third of the gross national product.” (24)
So the Government can increase the Gross National Product at will, by the simple device of hiring more and more public servants— thereby increasing the ranks of an ADA-educated and chosen bureaucracy. A variation of this method of improving the nation’s prosperity-image is to give frequent and substantial pay raises to government and state employees, especially in the higher brackets.
Two assumptions dangerous to the future of constitutional government in America are concealed in the tricky concept of the Gross National Product. First, the notion that government is entitled to take a fixed percentage of the rising national income each year, irrespective of national necessities. And second, that a government has the right to base its budget estimates on the private resources of individuals and companies. Recalling that the original purpose of Keynesian economics was to provide a method for a peaceful transition to Socialism in the United States, it becomes apparent that the economic policy adopted under ADA tutelage by the Kennedy-Johnson Administration, in effect, gives a green light to Socialism on the high speed Fabian Freeway.
Dissembling their joy at the trend of Administration policy, Left liberals outside the Government maintained a critical attitude and continued to call for greater speed. For the most part, their grumbling was confined to their own special groups and house organs—while ADA commentators both on the air and in the daily press strove to rally broad popular support for the Kennedy-Johnson Administration. In the call to its annual convention in May, 1963, Americans for Democratic Action declared gravely that “the record of the Kennedy Administration so far has been one of accommodation to its critics of the right.”
The New Republic commented editorially on June 1, 1963, that “in general the Kennedy performance is less impressive than the Kennedy style.” It even charged the Administration with a lamentable tendency to yield to business pressures. “For example,” said the New Republic, “the admirable goal of the Alliance for Progress (in effect, U.S. sponsorship of a peaceful social revolution) (25) has been compromised by the Administration’s reluctance to tangle with influential business and property interests, both North and South American.”(26) This type of needling by friendly critics was evidently intended to direct the Administration more firmly on the route international Socialism felt it should take.(27) At the same time, such comments helped to disarm conservative critics and to disguise the fact that the Kennedy-Johnson Administration was in reality a chosen instrument of Fabian Socialism.
While giving space to left wing complaints about the Administration, the New Republic ( still considered the opposite number to Britain’s Fabian-edited New Statesman) was usually careful to print an answer by some prominent ADA brain truster. In its issue of May 25, 1963, one Herbert Rowan had expressed the dissatisfaction of certain Keynesian economists at President Kennedy’s apparent unwillingness to spend more money and incur larger deficits. The following week Professor Seymour E. Harris (28) hastened to defend the Administration’s record for liberality—pointing out that from 1953 to 1961 Eisenhower’s annual expenditures rose by 7 billion dollars, while Kennedy’s, in a mere three years, rose by 17 billion dollars! Harris explained in all seriousness that President Kennedy would have been glad to spend more, but was prevented by the temper of Congress from doing so. (29) Whether or not the sniping from the Left had an effect, the annual budget announced by the Kennedy-Johnson Administration nudged 100 billion dollars.
To the New Republics Washington correspondent, who was disturbed about Kennedy’s latter-day overtures to selected business groups, (30) Professor Harris replied that it is still important to maintain the confidence of businessmen. While government must be careful not to yield to their “demands,” said he, there is no harm in speaking kindly to them. By way of authority Harris quoted the oracle of modern Left liberals, John Maynard Keynes, who once wrote in a letter to Franklin D. Roosevelt:
“. . . It is a mistake to think that they [businessmen] are more immoral than politicians. If you work them into the surly, obstinate, terrified mood, of which domestic animals, wrongly handled, are so capable, the nation’s burdens will not get carried to market. . . .”(31)
This humane attitude, so reminiscent of the SPCA, (32) has inspired some false hopes among businessmen, as well as some unfounded fears among Left liberals. It was commended by Keynesian advisers to President Kennedy, as well as to his successor, President Johnson.
Less than six months later all criticism from the Left or the Right was abruptly hushed, when John F. Kennedy was suddenly and inexplicably struck down by an assassin’s bullets. Before the Presidential airplane left Dallas for Washington, carrying the casket of the slain Chief of State, the next Chief Executive had been sworn in. By an unexpected stroke of fate Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson, whose hopes of reaching the White House appeared to have been permanently dashed in 1960, became the thirty-sixth President of the United States.
The panoply of the late President’s state funeral, and the four-week period of official mourning that followed, veiled the inevitable maneuvers going on behind the scenes to procure continuance of the political status quo. Among the foreign dignitaries who {few to America to pay their final respects to John F. Kennedy was Harold Wilson, Parliamentary Leader of the British Labour Party and acting chairman of the Socialist International. Not unnaturally, Wilson took the opportunity to discuss the probable future with old and loyal friends of the London Fabian Society in Washington, including the aging columnist, Walter Lippmann. Puzzled news correspondents reported that on the return trip from Arlington Cemetery, where John F. Kennedy had just been interred, the new President, Lyndon B. Johnson, made an unscheduled detour. He stopped off for a forty-minute conference at the Georgetown home of Walter Lippmann. (33) From this oddly-timed gesture, the trend of the incoming Administration might have been foreseen.
2.
If anyone doubted that President Johnson meant to continue the Socialist-inspired policies, both foreign and domestic, of his Democratic Party forebears, such uncertainties were speedily resolved by his own public utterances. In January he told the nation: ‘We are going to take all the money that we think is being unnecessarily spent, and take it from the haves and give it to the have-nots.” (34) Addressing the General Assembly of the United Nations, Johnson announced he wanted to see “the Cold War end at once” and especially to see “a New Deal on a world scale” come to developing nations just “as it came to America thirty years ago.” (35) News photographers, who had been instructed that President Johnson’s pictures were to be taken from the left profile only, perceived (as the Richmond News Leader remarked) that his image was better from the left than from the right.
To the great American public, however, always eager to believe the best of an incoming President, the drift of Johnson’s statements was not immediately apparent. Even more than John F. Kennedy ( though for very different reasons) Lyndon B. Johnson, who had been so sharply attacked by Americans for Democratic Action in 1960, seemed an unlikely instrument of the Fabian Socialist world planners. A nonintellectual, whose reading matter for years had been confined to the daily papers, the Congressional Record and tales of early Texas history, he was surely no academic disciple of John Maynard Keynes.
As his biographers reveal, Johnson was a product of the New Deal school of spend-and-elect politics in which Franklin D. Roosevelt had been a past master. On the surface, he appeared to be merely a tall, hard-eyed professional politician from the Southwest, with a long record of wheeling and dealing on Capitol Hill. Johnson, however, revered power in every form and had displayed no hesitation about accumulating it as opportunities arose. Having begun his career as a poor but ambitious graduate of a small Texas teachers’ college, he lacked the style and literary eclat of John F. Kennedy. Nevertheless, Lyndon B. Johnson and his helpmate, Lady Bird, were one of the wealthiest couples in their own right ever to occupy the White House.
Though he made no disclosure of personal assets on taking office, the joint worth of the Johnsons and their daughters was estimated to be no less than 9 million dollars (36) and possibly as much as 15 million dollars.(37) The business acumen of gentle Lady Bird Johnson has been credited with pyramiding a modest inheritance of $67,000 into a handsome fortune, during the twenty-three years her husband served, in an increasingly potent capacity, in Congress. If she was not the beneficiary of special favors incidental to her husband’s position, she may be ranked with Hetty Green as one of the shrewdest women in American financial annals. White House aides insist President Johnson never intervened in his wife’s business affairs, directly or indirectly. According to John Barton of the Washington Star, however, Texans who have had dealings with the Austin, Texas television station— which is owned 84.5 per cent by Lady Bird Johnson and her daughters—are prepared to state otherwise. (38)
Lyndon Baines Johnson first appeared on Capitol Hill in 1931, just before the New Deal dawned. He was employed on the staff of Congressman Richard Kleberg, member of the family that owned the fabulous King Ranch, and a respected leader in south Texas. Although the Congressman was outspokenly critical of the Roosevelt Administration, somehow Johnson managed to inject himself into its good graces. Old inhabitants of Kleberg County and adjacent Texas counties still claim to have knowledge that Johnson betrayed his original benefactor, Dick Kleberg; but no details have ever been made public. At any rate, young Lyndon was appointed Texas director of the National Youth Administration in 1935 and was commended for rare efficiency by Aubrey Williams, its national administrator.
In 1937, Johnson was elected to the House of Representatives on a platform supporting FDR’s Supreme Court packing plan. As a reward, President Roosevelt asked that the freshman lawmaker be assigned to the important Naval Affairs Committee, and thereafter seems to have taken a fatherly interest in his career. “Free Federal money” was invariably forthcoming for projects in Johnson’s home district, assuring his election for five more successive terms. Johnson has since been quoted as saying sentimentally to political audiences, “Franklin D. Roosevelt was a second daddy to me.”
Johnson ran for the United States Senate in 1948, on an anti-union labor plank, and was seated by a scant margin of 87 contested votes. One of his more zealous backers was George Parr of San Diego, Texas, known as the Duke of Duval County. Parr was the political boss and absolute monarch of several Spanish-speaking counties near the Mexican border, where a primitive, gun-toting style of politics prevailed. In the 1948 election, returns from Precinct 13 in Alice, Texas—county seat of Parr-ruled Jim Wells County—gave 765 votes to Johnson as compared to 80 for his opponent, although only 600 bate lots had been issued for that precinct.
With a state wide count showing Johnson to be the loser by 113 votes, he made a victory statement on September 2, 1948. Next day a recount in Alice produced a new total of 967 votes for Lyndon, giving him his famous 87-vote victory. Inspection of the Alice polling list by a Texas Ranger and two former FBI agents disclosed that some 200 names had been added in a different shade of ink. Several of those individuals, when interviewed, testified they had not voted; others, not interviewed, were found to be deceased! As might have been expected, fraud was charged. An injunction was issued and a hearing ordered by Federal Judge T. Whitfield Davidson of the Northern District of Texas.
After several hasty appeals by Johnson to other courts had been denied, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black obligingly set aside the Texas ruling, and no public hearing was ever held. The memory of those fateful events, however, lingers in the town of Alice. In spite of Parr’s repeated and none-too-gentle attempts to lay the ghost of that disputed election, it has returned again and again to haunt Lyndon Johnson. The truth is, that even in his own home state Johnson was never a very popular figure. He was what might be called a politician’s politician.
Undismayed, Johnson went to the Senate and was named Democratic Party whip in 1951. At approximately the same time, a former congressional page boy named Bobby Gene Baker was engaged as assistant Democratic Senate secretary. During Johnson’s first term in the Senate, as the Washington Star (39) has noted, he served on the Commerce Committee which has jurisdiction over the Federal Communications Commission. The Commission, in turn, regulates and licenses all radio and television broadcasting stations—including the station owned by Lady Bird Johnson in Austin, Texas, whose worth has been enhanced by a notable lack of local competition. No questions were asked about the number of out-of-state business firms that bought advertising time on the Austin station, although they dispensed no products or services on the Texas market.
About a year after becoming whip, Johnson succeeded to the post of Democratic floor leader in the Senate. His young lieutenant, Bobby Baker, was promptly promoted from assistant to Democratic Senate secretary. With Republicans holding the Upper House, though only by a frail majority of one, Johnson still found it useful, beginning in 1952, to cooperate with the Eisenhower Administration. Although noisemakers in ADA attacked Johnson in 1955 for giving tacit support to “a Republican assault on liberalism,” (40) he was vigorously defended by Senator Hubert Humphrey, former ADA national chairman. Ironically, much patronage flowed to Johnson during Eisenhower’s two terms as President, particularly after the off-year election success of the Democrats in 1958 made Johnson majority leader of the Senate. His personal power and influence now extended into both parties; he was a man to be courted and feared. Bland or cajoling in his lighter moods, he was said to display a hair-trigger temper and an unrestricted vocabulary when crossed.
By applying what Capitol Hill veterans describe as a combination of the carrot and the stick, whose use was determined by an intimate knowledge of his colleagues’ political problems or personal foibles, Johnson gained the reputation for being able to “get results” in Congress on practically any kind of legislation. In those operations, it has been suggested, the stack of bank notes kept on hand in the office of Democratic Senate secretary Baker may occasionally have played a part—as well as certain after hours gaieties organized by Baker that seemed more designed to entrap than to entertain. Bobby Gene was Johnson’s enforcer and frequent go-between. One of the Senate’s incorruptibles, the Honorable John R. Williams of Delaware, eventually forced the resignation of Baker by demanding an inquiry into the latter’s far-flung business activities. It appeared that Bobby Gene had been selling everything but the Capitol dome, and had made side money for himself amounting to more than 2 million dollars.
Congressional circles were amused when Lyndon Johnson, then Vice President, issued a straight-faced denial that Bobby Baker was ever a protégée of his. The close association between Democratic leader Johnson and Democratic Senate secretary Baker had been a matter of common knowledge on the Hill. As late as 1960, while campaigning in South Carolina, Johnson told Baker’s father, “Bobby Gene is my strong right arm, the last man I see at night, the first one I see in the morning!” It was hard to believe the shrewd and energetic majority leader did not know what his right arm was doing and had even forgotten that he had one! Lyndon Johnson was among the notables who attended the grand opening of Bobby Baker’s motel in Ocean City, Maryland.
Called before a Senate committee, Baker calmly refused to answer 125 questions on grounds of possible self-incrimination. He could do so with impunity, thanks to a Supreme Court decision barring citations for contempt by congressional investigating bodies. Though a whitewash was charged, the inquiry was closed and Baker escaped without penalties. By then all direct communication between Johnson and Baker had ceased. It was remarked, however, that Bobby Baker’s counsel at the Senate hearings was Abe Fortas, personal legal adviser to Lyndon Johnson and more recently a trusted member of the President’s Kitchen Cabinet.(40a)
No rumors of corruption, but the fact that he had regularly voted against civil rights legislation, led the majority of ADA intellectuals to denounce Lyndon Johnson in 1960. Only a handful of specialists, known to the Fabian International Bureau, were aware that Johnson’s dual role during the Eisenhower Administration had in reality helped to promote ADA-Socialist International programs of the nineteen-fifties—chiefly, in the fields of foreign aid and military spending.
Such policy was normally conveyed to the State Department as the fruit of “impartial research,” via some high level, bipartisan organization like the Council on Foreign Relations or the American Assembly. Legislation required to finance it was passed without difficulty, as a result of Johnson’s cooperative attitude in the Senate. Through the patronage made available to him by a grateful Republican Administration, a number of ADA-approved Democrats were quietly appointed to positions in the Departments of State (41) and Defense—the very areas where, as Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. had announced in the Fabian International Review, American Fabian Socialists intended to gain control.
Johnson could only have accomplished such feats by operating under at least nominally conservative colors, thus damaging his reputation among Left liberals. By voting with an influential group of southern Senators on domestic issues about which they felt strongly, he was able to win their support for other projects, where ADA spokesmen like Humphrey or Douglas would have failed. Since secrecy was necessary to avoid compromising delicate operations, Johnson resigned himself to incurring the wrath of most left-wingers —although, as he has since announced freely, he was always a New Deal liberal at heart.
It is not surprising, therefore, that otherwise well-informed ADA leaders expressed definite resentment against Johnson during and after the 1960 Democratic Convention. Joseph Rauh, Jr. has told of the dismay and sense of personal betrayal he felt, on hearing that Lyndon Johnson had been chosen as Kennedy’s running mate in the 1960 campaign. Rauh’s sentiments were echoed by David Dubinsky and other influential members of ADA. Some threatened to bolt the ticket or split their endorsement, but in the end were dissuaded from doing so.
John F. Kennedy had personally invited Johnson to be his running mate, reportedly calling him by telephone in the early morning hours. Previously, Johnson had declared he would refuse second place on the ticket. Not unnaturally, there was much speculation as to what led him to change his mind. One realistic account, attributed to a source close to Kennedy, went as follows: Johnson demurred at first, saying he would rather be majority leader of the Senate. To this Kennedy answered coldly and clearly: “What makes you think you’ll still be majority leader?” After a thoughtful silence, Johnson yielded. He consented to run for the Vice Presidency, but reserved the right to run simultaneously for the Senate.(42)
It was generally assumed Kennedy’s choice of Johnson, who had fought him so bitterly in the primaries, was dictated by political considerations. Apparently Kennedy did not think it safe just yet to write off the Southern vote, as Rauh and other ADA leaders urged him to do. Johnson’s name on the ticket might be helpful in holding the South for the Democrats. That was the picture in 1960.
Four years later a somewhat more emotional explanation of Johnson’s change of mind was circulated. Early in June, 1964, White House correspondents quoted President Johnson as saying that John F. Kennedy had had a premonition of death and deliberately chose Johnson to succeed him, explaining: “You are the man I’d want to be President, if anything happens to me.” It was those words, Johnson claimed, which decided him to run for the Vice Presidency. If Kennedy said such a thing, it might have been intended more as an appeal to human vanity, than as a solemn intimation of his own end. Remembering that he had just been nominated and was wholly absorbed by the prospect of the political battles ahead, it is improbable he looked very far beyond the coming November. Moreover, he was young, strong and cheerful, not given to dark forebodings. Indeed, Johnson who was nearly ten years older and had already suffered one massive heart attack, might well have been expected to predecease him.
Far from being a serious contribution to history, the story released by the White House in June, 1964, seemed no more than a rather ghoulish bit of campaign propaganda. Calculated to impress superstitious persons, it gave the effect of an endorsement from the grave. In a sense, Johnson had begun campaigning for reelection within a day or so after he took the oath of office. On November 24, 1963–just two days after the assassination—the Los Angeles Times printed a feature about Johnson from Washington which said: “Mr. Johnson was trained deliberately for the Presidency almost as if there had been a premonition in President Kennedy’s mind.”
Superficially, there were changes when the Johnson family moved into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Chic was replaced by folksiness; gilded youth by a fatherly air, which at times appeared slightly forced. In the anteroom to the President’s office, the ten gallon hat took precedence over the homburg. As far as the staff was concerned, the changes were equally superficial. Of course, Johnson brought in his own long time personal aides to deal with the press and the public. Ted Sorenson and Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. departed. The former was replaced by speech-writer Sidney Hyman of the liberal Washington Post; the latter by Eric Goldman,(43) an old friend of ADA, who was asked to set up a screening service at Princeton to enlist a fresh supply of brain trusters and planners. ADA, it seemed, was playing a game of musical chairs.
Left liberal professors in the Executive Offices receded into the background, or returned to their accustomed haunts. Jerome Wiesner, who had headed the National Science Council, went back to MIT, and Walter Heller of the Council of Economic Advisers announced he would soon be leaving. The most prominent holdover was McGeorge Bundy, Harvard dean of Arts and Sciences, who as chief of the National Security Council now briefed the new President daily. For every Left liberal who vanished, however, another often less easily identified took his place. ADA infiltration, as Professor Brock had crowed, was so widespread both in the White House and the Departments, that a few changes really changed nothing at all.
It was to be expected that Johnson, offspring of the New Deal-Fair Deal, would turn to advisers of his own political generation. He preferred them to be nonofficial, rather than office fixtures: they aroused less comment that way. The new President’s counselors were prosperous attorneys of long residence in Washington, whom Johnson had known for years. Except for Clark Clifford, an accommodating practical politician who had served in the White House under Truman, all were known to lean to the Left.
Senior member of Johnson’s informal Cabinet was Dean Acheson, former protégée and lifelong friend of the New Deal’s architect-in-chief, Felix Frankfurter. As Under Secretary and Secretary of State in the years following World War II, Dean Acheson had been instrumental in snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. He was identified with the school of diplomacy which had allowed Soviet Russia to occupy Eastern Europe and the Baltic States with no more than token protest and no resistance; delivered mainland China to Red rule; and launched the destructive “No Win” policy in Korea. He was the man who had refused to turn his back on Alger Hiss. To adult Americans who remembered the past, the return of Acheson had the eerie quality of a recurring nightmare.
Dean Acheson’s role as a confidant of President Johnson seemed to guarantee the tenure of his former assistant, Dean Rusk, and the coterie of former Rhodes Scholars at the State Department. This, in turn, assured the continuance of a Fabian-inspired foreign policy which favored Socialist and even Communist nations, while demanding the progressive sacrifice of America’s wealth, strength and prestige. William Bundy, brother of McGeorge, took over the post of Assistant Secretary for Far Eastern Affairs, once held by Rusk. Walt Whitman Rostow was assigned to steer the Alliance for Progress, apparently to speed the peaceful development of Socialism in Latin America, as a step toward achieving his declared goal of World Government.
Other informal advisers of President Johnson were James Rowe, Jr., a charter member of the Fabian ADA; (44) and Abe Fortas, of the firm of Arnold, Fortas and Porter, which had defended two generations of Communists and Left liberals in Washington. Once a Department of the Interior aide under Harold Ickes, Fortas was an expert in the political uses of public works—a talent which Johnson evidently proposed to utilize after his own reelection. Had not Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. once predicted that the United States would advance to Socialism through a series of New Deals? While Fortas was not directly identified with ADA, his law partner, Paul A. Porter, had been a member of its original Committee on Economic Stability.(45)
Johnson had promptly named Fortas to the commission, headed by Chief Justice Earl Warren, assigned to “investigate” the Kennedy assassination and “improve” on the massive report already submitted by J. Edgar Hoover. A lifelong advocate of civil liberties for Leftists, Fortas could be counted upon to help make sure that the assassination did not precipitate an unfavorable public reaction against Communists or Socialists.
Like Kennedy, Johnson was learning how to handle the liberals, or vice versa. The doubts expressed by so many ADA members a few years earlier were now converted into endorsements, as he threw his weight behind one New Frontier project after another. The subsidized wheat sale to Russia; the campaign year tax cut; the civil rights bill which, by implication, denied civil rights to service industries and promised a return to Reconstruction days in the South: all were dutifully, even vigorously backed by Johnson. In the area of national defense, he gave free rein to Secretary Robert McNamara, the former professor who personified the dictum of Mirabeau that “to administer is to rule.” Once a spokesman for unrestrained military spending, Johnson now seconded McNamara’s “economy” program, which involved a gradual phase out of the manned bomber by 1970, along with the progressive curtailment of nuclear weapons. To that end, Johnson himself issued an Executive Order stopping production of uranium and plutonium for military purposes.
President Johnson’s unconditional surrender to ADA programs was perhaps the clearest testimonial to ADA’s position of power in the Democratic Party; for power was one thing Johnson always recognized and respected. If he hoped to be reelected, he must have ADA support. Almost plaintively he reiterated in public statements that he really and truly was a liberal, and stressed his devotion to the memory of FDR. To Robert Spivak of the New York Herald Tribune Johnson remarked: “You say I am not a liberal. Let me tell you that I am more liberal than Eleanor Roosevelt and I will prove it to you ….” Presumably, the final proof of the pudding was to be postponed until after the 1964 national elections.
To ADA’s annual Roosevelt Day dinners, President Johnson sent special greetings in 1964. Among other things the President’s message said: “I was a Roosevelt man lock, stock and barrel. In many ways he was my spiritual father.” (46) Reaction to this statement by members of the clergy attending the National Dinner in Washington is not recorded! The President also praised ADA for its “early advocacy of a test ban treaty, long before such support was popular.”
At the same time Johnson was cautious, ever-mindful of the perils of a campaign year. References to ADA as a left wing organization were stricken from the 1964 edition of his biography by Booth Mooney, a former Johnson staff-employee. A White House dinner for labor leaders and their wives, arranged by advice of David Dubinsky, was quickly followed by another dinner for handpicked leaders of business and industry. Both social events proved politically rewarding. The first resulted in an endorsement of Johnson by AFL-CIO brass at its Atlantic City convention; the latter in well-publicized pledges to vote for Johnson by a few prominent industrialists.(47) On May 4, he told a group of labor leaders:
“The time has come for labor and Government and business to agree that we are going to achieve—and keep–full employment.” (48)
One cannot help wondering if Johnson knew that the seemingly harmless phrase, “full employment,” is the keystone of Keynesian economics, an invention of Fabian Socialists created to lure the United States towards full-scale Socialism.
Apparently Johnson, like Kennedy, was surrounded by Left liberal idea men and speech-writers who could not resist displaying their Fabian Socialist scholarship—thereby betraying their own origins. Searching for phrases to describe their bright new world of the future, like the dodo bird, they invariably looked backward. A commencement address, for example, delivered by President Johnson at the University of Michigan on May 24, 1964, invited the youth of America to join him in building “the great society.” Anyone acquainted with the history of the Fabian Socialist movement knows that The Great Society was the name of a book by Graham Wallas, one of the original Big Four of the London Fabian Society.
First published in 1914, the 50th anniversary year of the Socialist International, The Great Society was based on lectures given four years earlier by Wallas as a visiting professor at Harvard. Wallas’ course, Government-31, was a “must” for members of the Harvard Socialist Club of his day. An American edition of The Great Society (reprinted in 1920) had been dedicated to erstwhile Harvard Socialist Club president, Walter Lippmann—who in 1964 declared his intention to vote for Johnson. Somehow The Great Society became the “rallying cry” for Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 campaign, replacing the slightly passe New Frontier. If Democrats resent the inference that their Party, their Administrations and their Presidents have been taken over lock, stock and barrel by a Fabian Socialist clique, why do they insist on borrowing their “rallying cries” from books and pamphlets written by well-known Fabian Socialists, British or American?
Further evidence of Democratic dependence on British Fabian Socialism—not merely for slogans, but for entire programs—was the Administration’s “War on Poverty.” Its source was officially disclosed by the British Fabian Socialist, Harold Wilson, Parliamentary Leader of the British Labour Party. Addressing the Eighth Congress of the Socialist International, which met in Amsterdam September 9 through 12, in 1963, Wilson said: “Ten years ago some of us in the Labour Party in Britain were moved to write a pamphlet called ‘War on Want,’ which led to a great movement in Britain and has gone far beyond our expectations ….”(49)
Strangely enough, the topic of the Socialist International Congress, where Harold Wilson spoke, was not poverty at all—or “want,” as the British call it. The subject under discussion was: “The International Situation and the Struggle for Peace and Disarmament.” The idea discreetly conveyed by Wilson was that disarmament might be achieved by popular demand in democratic countries, if funds normally allocated for national defense could be dramatically diverted into a war on poverty. While the movement might not succeed in abolishing poverty, it could certainly go a long way toward abolishing the armed forces of the Free World, and their weapons of the future.
Nearly ten years after the spark had been struck in Britain, the same idea was picked up and adapted to the American scene by a young man named Michael Harrington, a member of the executive committee of the American Socialist Party. Like so many other aspiring Socialists, he published a book. It appeared in 1962 as, The Other America: Poverty in the United States,(50) and it was an immediate sensation. This was not surprising, because all appropriate Fabian Socialist press and organizational contacts in the United States had evidently been primed to push the book and to promote the subject of poverty in general. Thus, a Saturday morning panel discussion at the 58th Annual Conference of the League for Industrial Democracy, held in May, 1963, was reminiscently titled, “Why Are the Many Poor?”—the title of Fabian Tract No. 1, first pamphlet ever printed by the London Fabian Society. (51)
President Kennedy is said to have read Harrington’s book and to have been deeply impressed with it. Michael Harrington had made the astonishing discovery that there are thirty-five million Americans who are, by White House standards, poor, and presumably should have Federal help of one kind or another. Quite a lot of Federal funds could be absorbed rehabilitating thirty-five million people, even in a small way.
Michael Harrington himself was then not quite thirty-five years old. A graduate of Yale University, he had been a regular contributor to The Reporter and to Commonweal, a Catholic laymen’s magazine of Left liberal leanings. For a time after leaving college, he was connected with the Catholic Worker movement—an independent but nominally Catholic movement of the Left, led by Dorothy Day, a convert from Communism. As recently as April, 1963, Miss Day— who had visited Castro’s Cuba only the year before—attended a reception honoring the veteran Communist leader, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn. On that occasion Dorothy Day was quoted, perhaps erroneously, by a Communist newspaper as saying, “My association with Elizabeth Gurley Flynn will go on through my life, despite our basic religious differences” because “we can work together on economic and social questions.” (52)
Possibly Miss Day, despite her fervor, was not familiar with the great Encyclical of Pope Pius XI, Divini Redemptoris, issued in 1937.
To Christians of the entire world the Holy Father uttered a warning, not merely for the moment but for all time: “Communism is intrinsically evil, (53) and no one desiring to save Christian civilization may cooperate with it in any undertaking whatever.”
There is no evidence that Michael Harrington cooperates with Communism today. He is, however, a member of the Executive Committee of the little Socialist Party, USA openly affiliated with the Socialist International, which invariably acts to protect Communist nations and in many instances promotes cooperation with them at the world level. On March 28, 1964, the new slick paper edition of Socialist International Information, official organ of the International, featured an article by Michael Harrington reprinted from New America, U.S. Socialist Party publication. There Harrington explained why the “war on poverty” would speed the advance of Socialism in the United States. The reasons given by Harrington are worth noting: first, that the program “is the assertion of a public claim on private resources”; and second, that “it will necessarily involve an expansion of the public sector of American society.”(54) A previous issue of Socialist International Information had noted “Michael Harrington’s contribution to Presidential thinking on ‘The War on Poverty.’” (55)
Early in 1964, Harrington was called to Washington, along with other “specialists,” to assist the Johnson Administration in drafting plans for its own anti-poverty campaign. Though the project was inherited from his predecessor, President Johnson had made it his own and announced the “war on poverty” as a major goal of his Administration. The campaign was frankly admitted to have been inspired by Michael Harrington’s book. As a result, leading newspapers of the country threw open their columns to the young specialist on poverty, for by-line articles as well as interviews.
For an avowed official of the little U.S. Socialist Party (56) to be so cordially received in press and government circles was something new in America. Simultaneously, Harrington was treated like a younger brother by prominent members of ADA. As far as anyone could remember, nothing just like it had happened in this country before. It raised the interesting possibility that other American Fabian Socialists might decide in the not-so-distant future to drop their disguise and call themselves by their own true name. Presumably, they would only feel free to do so if convinced that the final victory of Socialism was at hand. Did they see in the “war on poverty” a decisive weapon for bringing their long, but not wholly uncomfortable struggle to an end?
Added to his other services, Michael Harrington represented a very serious and well-organized attempt to sell the Fabian Socialist conception of social justice and “social charity” to the Catholic hierarchy and Catholic laity. It was designed to undermine one last great obstacle to the sweep of Socialism throughout the world. In that strangely un-Christian effort, Harrington and his friends have been aided effectively, if not directly, by two British Fabian Socialist waters widely feted in this country: Anne Fremantle, a niece of Beatrice Webb; and Barbara Ward (Lady Jackson), the latter described by a Washington news correspondent as one of President Johnson’s favorite authors.(57)
To head his anti-poverty campaign, President Johnson initially chose Sargent Shriver, brother-in-law of the late President Kennedy and himself a member of an old and respected Maryland family. Sargent Shriver, had broken with family tradition by going to Chicago and becoming, in 1952, an eager supporter of Adlai Stevenson. Marrying a Kennedy sister, he became director of the Peace Corps in the Kennedy-Johnson Administration. Momentarily, his newer “poverty” post appeared to promise nothing more spectacular than a revival of Civilian Conservation Corps camps and similar half-forgotten projects dating from the New Deal. Its prospective importance was evident, however, from the fact that Adam Yarmolinsky (58) left his Pentagon post as Assistant Secretary for Defense for Personnel, to assist Shriver in launching the so-called war against poverty.
A young man of proper Socialist antecedents, of whom it had been rumored that he was being groomed by Left liberals to succeed J. Edgar Hoover, Yarmolinsky was no sacrificial lamb. He enjoyed the favor of leading ADA members, who regarded him as an authority on personnel practices measured by American Civil Liberties Union standards. Yarmolinsky’s presence in Sargent Shriver’s office could be taken as a virtual guarantee that the war against poverty would swell to boom proportions—after Johnson was reelected! That estimate was confirmed by a New York Times interview with Michael Harrington, which stated: “In Mr. Harrington’s view, President Johnson’s announcement of a war against poverty may be regarded as the staging phase for such a war rather than the beginning of one itself. The campaign can be started only when long-range plans that include vast public works programs are completed ….” (59)
Meanwhile, the political status quo was preserved without significant alteration. Keynesian economists were still in control of the Treasury and the Budget; agents of disarmament were in Defense. While Johnson talked of “frugality,” as FDR had done to win election in 1932, he planned in terms of deficit budgets—”under 100 billion dollars” today, but who knows what tomorrow? President Johnson asked an initial sum just under one billion dollars to wage war on poverty; another 500 million dollars annually to raise salaries of Federal employees, many of whom had received pay raises only a short time before; while 3.5 billion dollars was asked and obtained for foreign aid—”no more than last year,” but what of the years ahead?
The President promised “full employment”—and yet, by Executive Order, under the power relinquished to him by Congress, he proceeded to slash tariffs on imports priced to undersell American products, damage American industry and agriculture, and throw American citizens out of work. Subsidies were provided under the law for those who were “harmed” by tariff reductions; so that, in effect, the American taxpayer was subsidizing foreign industries. Meanwhile, American manufactures and raw materials were being shipped abroad as free gifts. American industrialists, finding it harder to compete at home against the flood of foreign imports and obliged to seek government contracts, were compelled to submit more and more to government control and restrictions. Many of these things were the result of legislation which Johnson had originally spearheaded while in the Senate. He was now in a position to exert the power they conferred on a Chief Executive.
Foreign diplomats must have smiled behind their hands at America’s pretensions of largesse, as the country’s viable gold reserves in 1963 shrank to less than 4 billion dollars over the minimum required by law to remain in the vaults at Fort Knox. With other countries holding due bills against the United States for more than 22 billion dollars in gold and able to demand payment at will, America was, in effect, at the mercy of its foreign pensioners. At any desired moment, they could demand payment in gold and throw the United States into bankruptcy. Did they delay because of trade benefits offered by the President, now armed with tariff-making powers? Or were they waiting for a moment when, by common consent of its creditors, the gold-poor United States might be forced into some supranational world order which meant an end of its nationhood?
The American dollar was no longer as good as gold. Even sheiks and desert potentates of the Middle East refused to accept it, demanding payment in bullion. How was it, with such an alarming shortage of the precious metal in the United States, that a major American oil company could still arrange to pay for its Middle Eastern oil leases and concessions in gold? How was it that we were not ourselves mining it vigorously? What was the influence in Washington that made such gold payments without replacement possible, and what political favors were asked in return?
President Johnson insisted the country had never been so prosperous nor the economy so sound—and he quoted figures to prove it. Everything seemed to be moving; everything seemed to be booming; and everything was fearfully expensive. Private debt in the United States reached the astronomical total of 826 billion dollars by the end of 1963; while the public debt ceiling was raised a few months later to 324 billion dollars. The average citizen was caught in a vise between debt and taxes, from which the campaign year tax cut offered no noticeable relief; while state and Federal politicians voted themselves larger salaries and handsomer pensions at public expense.
Who could save for old age or a rainy day? Sooner or later, the Government, which in one way or another was already collecting over one-third of the average citizen’s income, would have to pick up the tab for his medical and dental care, education, job-training and child rearing, in addition to unemployment insurance, old age pensions and burial costs. So the country went spinning along on wheels, faster and faster, down the non-stop Fabian Freeway that led to fiscal collapse—and a type of receivership sometimes known as Socialism.
This was how it had been planned, more than thirty years before, by a man named John Maynard Keynes and a small group of “respectable” Fabian Socialist conspirators in London, and by many others in other locales. They saw very plainly that the only way to capture the United States, and ultimately the world, for Socialism was by progressively weakening the financial system of this country to the point of total collapse. Once having reduced the two great English-speaking nations that were traditionally the bulwark of the free enterprise system and of liberty itself, Socialists would control the world— peacefully at first, perhaps later by force of Soviet arms. For when all is said and done, the Fabian Socialists have nowhere to go but to Communism.
By 1964, the United States had moved a great deal farther down the Fabian Freeway than most of its citizens knew. One final spurt of speed and power, and the total welfare state could be reached in a very few years. With the internal transition to Socialism apparently assured and external suasion applied at the psychological moment by a world-wide Communist-Socialist coalition, and possibly by a worldwide crisis calling for exceptional controls, the United States might be steered without conflict into the proposed World Federation of Socialist States. The rather simple legislation required for the purpose could be pushed almost imperceptibly through an ADA-controlled Congress.(59a) Was this the “fuller life” President Johnson’s advisers had in mind for America when they revived Graham Wallas’ dream of The Great Society in the one hundredth anniversary year of the Socialist International?
Lyndon Baines Johnson, former Democratic majority leader of the Senate and seasoned political manipulator, now seemed the man preordained for the job. A ruthless hand at the controls was needed, where a softer nature might flinch. Was it true, after all, that Johnson had been deliberately chosen in case “something happened” to JFK—chosen not only by Kennedy himself, but also by those master planners of international Socialism and Communism whose agents surround any modern Democratic Party chief? Surely the final push would not be wholly entrusted to a willing but non-Socialist Chief Executive. He must have helpers, alert and well-schooled. Looking forward to the 1964 national elections, James MacGregor Burns, member of ADA and former pupil of London’s Fabian Socialists, stated with clear and unmistakable intent: “Our need is not to win an election or a leader; we must win a government.” (60)
That is exactly what happened on November 3, 1964, after an apparently monotonous political campaign marked by a good deal of sub-surface drama. It was no doubt a deep personal satisfaction for President Johnson to find that the nickname of Landslide Lyndon, with which his enemies had taunted him from 1948, was now apropos. But the victory was not his alone. For the first time in nearly thirty years Democrats held a better than two-to-one majority in both houses of the Congress; and a remarkably large number of them owed their seats to ADA-COPE support. More than ever the High Court could be depended upon, in the time-tested words of Mr. Dooley, to “follow th’iliction returns.”
For all practical purposes, the constitutional separation of powers, seen by Anglo-American Socialists as the chief barrier to their conquest of the United States, had been reduced almost to the vanishing point. At long last a Socialist-schooled elite was in a position to exert unchallenged, if undeclared, control over all three branches of the Federal Government.
Obviously, the great majority of the American people was not aware of those circumstances, and would not knowingly have consented to them. Thus it seemed desirable for the Administration and its friends to keep the public guessing about Johnson’s intentions as long as possible. The President himself must speak only in the broadest generalities, and news management of the strictest kind must be enforced. For the time being, it was important to preserve the image of LBJ as a moderate middle-of-the-roader, equally beloved by management and labor, and in his benign way acting wholly by popular consent. Such considerations may explain the peculiar quality of the 1964 election campaign in the United States, where results were announced by television computers long before the votes had been counted. Organized labor and ethnic minority blocs were delivered almost intact to the Administration. Indeed, some experts claim the elections were actually won during the registration phase of the campaign, through the highly effective, if sometimes dubious, mass-registration techniques developed since 1958 by the industrial union branch of the AFL-CIO. Even in normally Republican areas Democrat registrars often outnumbered their rivals by as much as sixteen to one; and on election day were transformed into demon poll-watchers and vote-counters. One wonders whether even an Archangel Michael and his heavenly hosts would have sufficed to turn the tide, or to detect exactly what happened in 175,595 voting precincts around the country.
What the candidates said scarcely mattered. Their statements were transposed, interpreted and embellished by a practically solid phalanx of Left liberal press and TV commentators. Another unusual feature of the campaign was the vehemence of the overseas press in denouncing President Johnson’s opponent—especially in editorial opinions from Scandinavia, Belgium, West Berlin, Italy, England, where Socialist Governments held office. Was this a preview of the inspired world press to be hoped for under a future World Government?
Organized pressure, to a degree never known before in the United States, was exerted on members of the business community, great and small—the purpose being, ironically enough, to convey an impression that the nation’s businessmen were partial to President Johnson. Telephone calls from Washington warned that vital contracts might be forfeited. Credit was arbitrarily extended or denied. Federal and State agencies sent swarms of investigators to scrutinize the records of private companies and individuals. Well-timed offers of Area Redevelopment and other Federal funds were received in many smaller cities and towns. Even in the heyday of the New Deal, there had been nothing to equal this! Taking one thing with another, it was surprising that some twenty-seven million Americans were still found to have voted against Lyndon Johnson.
Tactics of the Johnson juggernaut were condoned by triumphant Washington insiders. In the excitement of victory, presidential favorite Walter Lippmann, who has seldom been known to make an unguarded statement, penned a more outspoken summary of the 1964 elections than any administration critic. “The campaign did not produce a debate about specific problems, and this was fortunate,” wrote Lippmann in his syndicated column of November 8, 1964. “For the real business of the campaign was not to map out a course for the future. It was to beat and crush a rebellion against the established line of domestic and foreign policy which was laid down in the generation which followed the great depression and the second world war.” The statement speaks for itself—and for the gentle Fabians.
Footnotes
1. Clifton Brock, Americans for Democratic Action (Washington, Public Affairs Press, 1962), p. 82.
2. Cf. Seymour E. Harris, Higher Education: Sources and Finance. (Result of a Study Sponsored by the Ford Foundation. Dedicated to McGeorge Bundy.) (New York, McGraw-Hill Inc., 1962).
3. Concerning the London School of Economics, Margaret Cole, president of the Fabian Society, wrote in 1963: “The argument which Webb might quite honestly have used but apparently did not–that the study of economic and social facts would of itself produce Socialist converts–turned out to be largely true. Whatever the political bias of its lecturers, the LSE retained (and deserved) for many a long day the reputation of being a manufactory of Reds.” From a review by Margaret Cole of Sir Sydney Caine’s book, The History of the Foundation of the London School of Economics and Political Science, The Social Science Weekly (April 18, 1963), Vol. I, No. 29, p. 26.
4. Victor Lasky, JFK: The Man and the Myth (New York, The Macmillan Company, 1963), App. B, pp. 587-598. Text of the so-called “Bailey Report,” analyzing the strength of the “Catholic vote” in the United States and circulated by Kennedy aids at the 1956 Democratic Convention. In 1960 the Gallup Poll reported that 78 per cent of U. S. Catholics had voted for John F. Kennedy.
5. From the Encyclical Quadragesimo Anno, May 15, 1931.
6. Brock, op. cit., p. 181.
7. Ibid., pp. 181-182; p. 179.
8. Ibid., p. 182-184.
9. That Communists have exploited such fears, and continue to do so, can be seen from the statement made in 1961 by U. S. Communist Party Leader, Gus Hall: “No matter what one’s attitude may be towards the Communist Party, it must be recognized that the fight for its rights as a political party is a matter of defending the Bill of Rights and all democratic rights, and peace forces, and not of the Communists alone. This is an old lesson, but sometimes it has to be learned anew.” Gus Hall, “The Ultra-Right, Kennedy and the Role of Progressives,” Political Affairs (August, 1961) pp. 19-20. This was the article which–with that fine inconsistency for which Communists are noted–unleashed a general attack by all left wing and “liberal” forces in the United States against the “extreme right.”
10. Brock, op. cit., p. 146.
11. “Inside the Upper House,” a review by John F. Kennedy, U. S. Senator from Massachusetts; author of Profiles in Courage. The New Leader (May 13, 1957), p. 9. (The book reviewed was Citadel, by William S. White, New York, Harper & Brothers, 1957.)
12. Brock, op. cit., p. 185.
13. Lord Pakenham, Born to Believe (London, Jonathan Cape, 1953), p. 79.
14. Ibid., p. 159.
15. Henry A. Wallace, New Frontiers (New York, Reynal & Hitchcock, 1934), p. 268. (First printing, 50,000 copies.)
16. Ibid., p. 275-276.
17. Ibid., p. 276.
18. Brock, op. cit., p. 196.
19. Ibid., p. 198.
20. Brock, op. cit., p. 200.
21. Editorial by Edward Bellamy which appeared in the Boston Globe, July 4, 1892.
22. The New York Times (July 11, 1962). Quoted from an article by James Reston.
23. The New York Times (July 5, 1962). Cf. Also Harry A. Overstreet, A Declaration of Interdependence (New York, W. W. Norton, 1937).
24. LeRoy Collins, Orville L. Freeman, Hubert H. Humphrey, Newton N. Minow, Hyman G. Rickover, and Thurgood Marshall on The Mazes of Modern Government: The States, the Legislature, the Bureaucracy, the Courts. An occasional paper on the role of the political process in the free society. (Santa Barbara, Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, 1963), p. 21.
25. That is, in Latin America.
26. New Republic (June 1, 1963).
27. It is interesting to note that this rebuke coincided with the return to London on May 23, 1963 of a Socialist International mission to Latin America. An account of that mission, contained in the Secretary’s Report to the Congress of the Socialist International, read as follows: “The Chairman of the Socialist International, Alsing Anderson died almost immediately after his return from the Inter-parliamentary Union Conference in Brazil, where he had done valuable contact work for the realization of the decision of the Oslo Council to send a mission to Latin America. The members, Max Diamant (Germany) and Yehuda Schuster (Israel), left London on 25 March and returned on 23 May, 1963. They visited the following countries: Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, where they met leading representatives of the Socialist and Popular Parties.” Socialist International Information (August 24, 1963), Vol. XIII, No. 34-35.
28. In 1947, the year of ADA’s founding, Harris was a member of its so-called Committee on Economic Stability. Other members of the Committee were: Chester Bowles, Chairman; Lauchlin Currie, William H. Davis, J. K. Galbraith, Richard V. Gilbert, David Ginsburg, Leon Henderson, Robert R. Nathan, Paul A. Porter, Joseph L. Rauh, Jr.
29. Seymour E. Harris, “Kennedy and the Liberals,” New Republic (June 1, 1963).
30. In May, 1963 Kennedy delivered what Professor Harris termed a “brilliant address” to the Committee on Economic Development.
31. Seymour E. Harris, “Kennedy and the Liberals,” New Republic (June 1, 1963).
32. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
33. Human Events (February 18, 1964). Quoted from the New York Daily News.
34. Associated Press dispatch from Washington (November 25, 1963).
35. The New York Times (December 18, 1963).
36. Associated Press dispatch from Washington (June 8, 1964).
37. Human Events (May 30, 1946).
38. Washington Star (June 8, 1964).
39. Washington Star (June 8, 1964).
40. Brock, op. cit., p. 157.
40a. Justice Fortas now occupies the seat on the Supreme Court which Arthur Goldberg, an ADA founder and former counsel for the CIO, vacated to become Ambassador to the United Nations.
41. Frank L. Kluckhohn, former New York Times correspondent who served in the Department of State during the Eisenhower Administration, reports that of 126 political appointments in the Department, 107 went to Democrats–many of them recommended by Johnson. Frank L. Kluckhohn, The Inside on LBJ (New York, Monarch Books, 1964), p. 33.
42. Theodore H. White, The Making of the President, 1964 (New York, Atheneum, 1965), App. B., pp. 429-438.
43. Since resigned. Due to be succeeded by Prof. John P. Roche of Brandeis University, past national president, ADA.
44. See Appendix IV.
45. Report of the Committee on Economic Stability. Published by Americans for Democratic Action, May, 1946. (See title page.)
46. ADA World (February, 1964).
47. It is a fact not generally known that the business leaders who made these endorsements of Johnson also happened to be trustees of the Committee for Economic Development, an organization which enjoys the benefit of “close consultation and discussion” with its Fabian-steered counterpart in Britain, known as PEP. Committee for Economic Development. Report of Activities in 1963. From Thomas B. McCabe, Acting Chairman, p. 6; pp. 15-18.
48. U. S. News and World Report (May 18, 1964).
49. Socialist International Information (January 4, 1964), Vol. XIV, No. 1.
50. According to Socialist International Information (March 14, 1964), “copies of Harrington’s book, The Other America, are available in paperback for 95¢, from the Socialist Party, 1182 Broadway, New York, 1 N.Y. In Britain it has been published by Penguin Books–price 3/6.”
51. Chairman of this panel session was Harry W. Laidler, Executive Director Emeritus of the LID. Panelists included: Jack Conway, Special Assistant to Walter Reuther; Martin Fleisher, faculty, Brooklyn College; Robert Lampman, President’s Council of Economic Advisers; S. M. Miller, faculty, Syracuse University Youth Development Center; Oscar Ornati, faculty, New School for Social Research, author, forthcoming book on poverty; Michael D. Reagan, Director, Public Administration Programs, Syracuse University; Patricia Sexton, faculty, NYU.
52. The Worker (Sunday, April 7, 1963). Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, since deceased, was accorded a full-scale State funeral in Moscow’s Red Square.
53. The Latin word used in the Encyclilcal is pravus, root of the English word “depraved.”
54. Italics added, now removed.
55. “Socialist Helped U. S. Map War on Poverty,” Los Angeles Times (March 22, 1964).
56. Membership of the U. S. Socialist Party-Socialist Democratic Federation, an affiliate of the Socialist International, was officially listed as 3,000 in 1963. Numerically, it is one of the smallest Socialist Parties in the world, being outnumbered by the Luxembourg Socialist Workers’ Party with a membership of 7,000. (Not all American Socialists necessarily belong to the Socialist Party, nor can be identified through such membership.–ed.) Socialist International Information. (August 24, 1963), Vol. XIII, No. 34-35, “Secretary’s Report” (September, 1961-July, 1963) to the English Congress of the Socialist International, meeting in Amsterdam, September 9-12, 1963.
57. In 1937 Barbara Ward was the co-author with Leonard Woolf of a volume entitled Hitler’s Road to Bagdad. (Fabian International Section, The Fabian Society. London, Allen & Unwin, 1937). This book is not listed in recent biographies of Barbara Ward, circulated by her American publisher.
58. Adam Yarmolinsky was the son of Avraham Yarmolinsky, long time head of the Slavonic language room at the New York Public Library, and the poetess, Babette Deutsch, a life long “collaborator” of the League for Industrial Democracy, who participated in many Socialist and United Front undertakings. A graduate of Harvard Law School, Adam Yarmolinsky headed the Fund for the Republic’s Washington office in 1955, and thereafter was Secretary of the Fund. His superior was W. H. Ferry, who in 1962 issued a blast against J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI. Yarmolinsky’s biography in Who’s Who in America lists no investigative or personnel experience, prior to his appointment as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Personnel in the Kennedy-Johnson Administration.
59. Quoted from The New York times (no date) by Socialist International Information (March 14, 1964).
59a. On a single day in 1966, April 29, twenty nine resolutions looking towards the formation of an Atlantic Union regional Federal government were dropped into the Congressional hopper. (House Joint Res. 1089 through 1117.)
60. James MacGregor Burns, The Deadlock of Democracy (New York, Prentice Hall, 1963), p. 228.

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