Know Nothing, Do Nothing Congress
Elizabeth, New Jersey, October 7, 1948
Harry S Truman
You are here because you are interested in the issues of this campaign. You know, as all the citizens of this great country know, that the election is not all over nothing but shouting. That is what they would like to have you believe, but it isn't so--it isn't so at all.
The Republicans are trying to hide the truth from you in a great many ways. They don't want you to know the truth about the issues in this campaign. The big fundamental issue in this campaign is the people against the special interests.
The Democratic party stands for the people.
The Republican party stands, and always has stood, for special interests. They have proved that conclusively in the record that they made in this "do-nothing" Congress.
The Republican party candidates are going around talking to you in high-sounding platitudes, trying to make you believe that they themselves are the best people to run the government. Well now, you have had experience with them running the government. In 1920 to 1932, they had complete control of the government. Look what they did to it!
This country is enjoying the greatest prosperity it has ever known because we have been following, for sixteen years, the policies inaugurated by Franklin D. Roosevelt. Everybody benefited from these policies--labor, the farmer, businessmen, and white-collar workers.
We want to keep that prosperity. We cannot keep that if we don't lick the biggest problem facing us today, and that is high prices.
I have been trying to get the Republicans to do something about high prices and housing ever since they came to Washington. They are responsible for that situation, because they killed price control, and they killed the housing bill. That Republican, 80th "do-nothing" Congress absolutely refused to give any relief whatever in either one of those categories.
What do you suppose the Republicans think you ought to do about high prices?
Senator Taft, one of the leaders in the Republican Congress, said, "If consumers think the price is too high today, they will wait until the price is lower. I feel that in time, the law of supply and demand will bring prices into line. "
There is the Republican answer to the high cost of living.
If it costs too much, just wait.
If you think fifteen cents is too much for a loaf of bread, just do without it and wait until you can afford to pay fifteen cents for it.
If you don't want to pay sixty cents a-pound for hamburger, just wait. That is what the Republican Congress thought you ought to do, and that is the same Congress that the Republican candidate for president said did a good job.
Some people say I ought not to talk so much about the Republican 80th "do-nothing" Congress in this campaign. I will tell you why I will talk about it. If two-thirds of the people stay at home again on election day as they did in 1946, and if we get another Republican Congress like the 80th Congress, it will be controlled by the same men who controlled that 80th Congress--the Tabers and the Tafts, the Martins and the Hallecks--would be the bosses. The same men would be the bosses, the same as those who passed the Taft-Hartley Act, and passed the rich man's tax bill, and took Social Security away from a million workers.
Do you want that kind of administration? I don't believe you do--I don't believe you do.
I don't believe you would be out here, interested in listening to my outline of what the Republicans are trying to do to you, if you intended to put them back in there.
When a bunch of Republican reactionaries are in control of the Congress, then the people get reactionary laws. The only way you can get the kind of government you need is by going to the polls and voting the straight Democratic ticket on November 2. Then you will get a Democratic Congress, and I will get a Congress that will work with me. Then we will get good housing at prices we can afford to pay; and repeal of that vicious Taft-Hartley Act; and more Social Security coverage; and prices that will be fair to everybody; and we can go on and keep sixty-one million people at work; we can have an income of more than $217 billion, and that income will be distributed so that the farmer, the workingman, the white collar worker, and the businessman get their fair share of that income.
That is what I stand for.
That is what the Democratic party stands for.
Vote for that, and you will be safe.