Roosevelt Myth - John T. Flynn

The Dance of the Crackpots

The times were indeed out of joint as the New Deal moved along. Nature took a hand in the festival of disaster. The plains, long parched by drought, were swept by cruel dust storms that made life impossible. Cattle died in the fields and the despairing farmers piled their wretched belongings on their old jalopies and began that dramatic migration of the Okies to the west coast in search of food and life. Floods inundated the great river valleys, bringing death and starvation in their wake. All this was added to the dislocations produced by man in his ignorance and folly.

An old Oklahoma farmer, watching the jalopies go by across the dried fields, said: "Things are just about right now for the skies to open and for the prophets to come down off the mountain and run for office." In times of stress they never disappoint us. And sure enough, up out of the muck and misery, rather than the skies, rose the messiahs with strange voices crying in the wilderness and proclaiming gospels of many brands. Roosevelt had been having a more or less easy time with his Republican opposition. It had been working the wrong side of the street for votes. The votes were over on the other side now, where great masses of people were out of work, or busted, or land poor or old or sick or weary or brought down with despair. Mr. Roosevelt had been singing the sweet song of plenty in their ears. But now a new batch of prophets began to crowd in and to work the same side of the street as Roosevelt.

Politically this was a greater challenge to him than the Republicans. These bold champions threatened to split the ranks of the dispossessed. To those to whom the great and good President had offered a crust, some of these great promissory spirits offered a whole loaf, while some even offered cake with icing. Serious-minded men knew that we had gotten into a sorry mess through a long series of economic and social sins and that the cure lay in dealing with certain definite dislocations in the social organism and that we had to endure with patience the slow process of recovery. But such men in such circumstances can never compete with the quacks who can cure everything out of the same bottle of pills. Roosevelt, once he got into power, began, in complete violation of his Number One pledge, to spend money like a drunken sailor and then to promise the earth and the fullness thereof. He asked nothing of the people but that they vote for him.

In the Agricultural Department a vast bureau was set up with a wilderness of check-writing machines and amidst thundering mechanical noises, was pouring out a flood of checks to farmers in return for killing their stock, plowing back crops and burning grain in their fields. The hotels and boarding houses of Washington were crowded with the delegations from the farms, from villages and cities, from counties and chambers of commerce and boards of trade and colleges and trade organizations, all standing in long lines with their hats in their hands for the easy money that gushed from the Federal Treasury at the touch of the President. Suddenly all the old-fashioned laws about gravity and the arithmetic tables seemed to have been repealed by decree of the President. The impact of all this, coming not from prairie seers with long whiskers, but from the President of the United States and many seemingly sober-minded cabinet ministers and some business men, seemed to knock loose some nut or bolt somewhere inside the social structure which keeps men on an even keel and moving in accordance with the laws of sanity.

Hence along came a great troop of prophets to compete with the President as a promiser. If his Republican realists were helpless in a contest against his new collection of sloganized promises, he now found himself in a contest with men who could out-promise him. And one effect of these weird evangelists was to give to the reckless President an aspect of conservative restraint.

Perhaps the most dangerous of these was Huey Long, that mighty madcap Kingfish from Louisiana, "the Bonaparte of the Bayous," whose brief but fiery career was to give Roosevelt no end of headaches. After a tempestuous career as governor of Louisiana, he was elected to the Senate and, before he took his seat, played a decisive role at a critical moment in the nomination of Roosevelt. Fearing neither God nor man nor the devil, he was not intimidated by the White House or the Senate. At his first meeting with Roosevelt in the White House, he stood over the President with his hat on and emphasized his points with an occasional finger poked into the executive chest. He found very quickly that he could move as brusquely around the Senate floor as he had the lobbies of the state legislature. He strode about the Capitol followed by his bodyguards. He ranted on the Senate floor. He made a 15^-hour one-man filibustering speech. He made up his mind very soon that the New Deal was a lot of claptrap and proceeded to preach his own gospel of the abundant life.

He cried out: "Distribute our wealth—it's all there in God's book. Follow the Lord." This was the prelude to his Share-the-Wealth crusade. Huey proclaimed "Every man a King" with Huey as the Kingfish. He made it plain he was no Communist despoiler. He assured Rockefeller he was not going to take all his millions. He would not take a single luxury from the economic royalists. They would retain their "fish ponds, their estates and their horses for riding to the hounds."

When he began, he had no plan at all. He just had a slogan and worked up from there. But by 1934 he was ready to launch the movement with Gerald L. K. Smith, a former Shreveport preacher, at its head. The program was simple. No income would exceed a million dollars. Everybody would have a minimum income of $2500. The money would be provided by a capital levy which would remove the surplus millions from the rich—which revealed that Huey really did not know any more about economics than the President did. There would, of course, be old-age pensions for all, free education right through college for all, an electric refrigerator and an automobile for every family. The government would buy up all the agricultural surpluses against the day of shortages. As a matter of course there would be short working hours for everyone, and bonuses for veterans. All surplus property would be turned over to the government so that a fellow who needed a bed would get one from the fellow who owned more than one.

Some editors who supported Roosevelt said Huey's plan was "like the weird dream of a plantation darky." It is not clear why Huey broke with Roosevelt. It is probably because it was impossible for him to endure the role of second fiddle to any man and he had come to see wider horizons for his own strange talents. Visitors to the Capitol were more eager to have the guides point out Huey Long than any other exhibit in the building. He was aware of the immense notoriety he had achieved and he believed he saw a condition approaching in which he could repeat upon the national scene the amazing performance he had given in Louisiana.

Certainly he set out to ruin Roosevelt. He declared war on Joe Robinson, Roosevelt's leader in the Senate and on Pat Harrison of Mississippi, for he had set out in a sense to annex the neighboring states of Arkansas and Mississippi to his Southern earldom. He de- declared war on Roosevelt and he denounced him in terms Roosevelt's beloved "Common Man" could understand. In the Senate he cried out:

"Hoover is a hoot owl. Roosevelt is a scrootch owl. A hoot owl bangs into the nest and knocks the hen clean out and catches her while she's falling. But a scrootch owl slips into the roost and scrootches up to the hen and talks softly to her. And the hen just falls in love with him. And the first thing you know—there ain't no hen."

He denounced Roosevelt on a tender point. He called him "Prince Franklin, Knight of the Nourmahal, enjoying himself on that $5,000,000 yacht with Vincent Astor and Royalty while the farmers starve." Farley says Roosevelt told him to give no patronage to Huey.

Roosevelt's billions, adroitly used, had broken down every political machine in America. The patronage they once lived on and the local money they once had to disburse to help the poor was trivial compared to the vast floods of money Roosevelt controlled. And no political boss could compete with him in any county in America in the distribution of money and jobs.

Roosevelt went to work in Louisiana on the rebel Kingfish. He poured money into the hands of Huey's enemies to disburse to Huey's loyal Cajans. And there came a moment when Huey seemed to be on his way to the doghouse. But he was an incorrigible figure of unconquerable energy. When Roosevelt sought to buy with federal funds the Louisiana electorate and ring, Huey struck back with a series of breathtaking blows that brought the state under his thumb almost as completely as Hider's Reich under the heel of the Fuehrer.

First of all, he stopped federal funds from entering Louisiana. He forced the legislature to pass a law forbidding any state or local board or official from incurring any debt or receiving any federal funds without consent of a central state board. And this board Huey set up and dominated. He cut short an estimated flood of $30,000,000 in PWA projects. Then he provided, through state operations and borrowing, a succession of public works, roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, farm projects and relief measures. The money was spent to boost Huey instead of Roosevelt. The people were taught to thank and extol Huey rather than Roosevelt for all these goods.

He gave the people tax exemptions, ended the poll tax, cut automobile taxes, put heavier taxes on utilities and corporations. He took over the police department of New Orleans from the City Ring, threw out their police commissioners. He was followed around by troops. He gathered into his hands through his personally owned governor absolute control over every state and parish office. He got control of education and the teachers. He took over the State University and added its football team and its hundred-piece band to the noisy and glittering hippodrome in which he exploited himself.

He possessed the entire apparatus of government in Louisiana—the schools, the treasury, the public buildings and the men and women in the buildings. He owned most of the courts, and had a secret police of his own. He ran the elections, counted the votes and held in his hands the power of life and death over most of the enterprise in the state.

Roosevelt was profoundly alarmed. The Democratic National Committee was astonished when a secret poll revealed that Long on a third-party ticket could poll between three and four million votes and that his Share-the-Wealth plan had eaten deeply into the Democratic strength in the industrial and farm states. Farley says there was a possibility "that his third-party movement might constitute a balance of power in the 1936 election." The poll indicated that Long could corral 100,000 votes in New York State, which could, in a close election, cost Roosevelt the electoral vote there. Long became a frequent subject of conversation at the White House.

But Fate had gone Democratic in 1932 and remained so. On Sunday, September 8, 1935, Long was in Baton Rouge issuing orders in one of his frequent political tantrums. Louisiana had been in something approaching a state of terror. Long was crossing a corridor of the state Capitol. Dr. Carl Austin Weiss, a young physician, eluded the vigilance of Long's guards and shot him. The guards filled Weiss* body with bullets—61 of them. Huey died September 10, and was buried in the presence of 120,000 weeping worshipers from all over the state.

The oration was pronounced by Gerald L. K. Smith who said: "His body shall never rest as long as hungry bodies cry for food." A monument stands to the memory of this arch demagogue in the Hall of Fame of the Capitol building in Washington and his body rests in a crypt on the state Capitol grounds—a shrine to which crowds flock every day to venerate the memory of the man who trampled on their laws, spat upon their traditions, loaded them with debt and degraded their society to a level resembling the plight of a European fascist dictatorship.

The assassination of Long removed the threat of Huey from Roosevelt's side of the street, but the machine he had created still remained. It could exist only by using his techniques and trading on the immortality of the murdered leader. But of that later.

There was another who was infringing on Roosevelt's territory. An aged physician in Long Beach, California, was looking out his window one day when he saw three old women rooting in a garbage can for food. The vision set the doctor's soul on fire. Physical torture shook his body. He burst into a violent spasm of invective against a system in which this was possible. Thus inspired, he sat down to invent a plan to end it and came up quickly with the famous Townsend Old Age Revolving Pension Plan. This old gentleman was Dr. Francis E. Townsend. He was an honest man of generous impulses. But his anger led him into the mazes of modern economics which he understood as little as the poor old women whose plight had detonated his wrath.

The plan was simplicity itself. Every person reaching the age of 60 would receive $200 a month. There were four conditions: (1) that he or she retire; (2) have no criminal record; (3) have no income over the $2400 a year; and (4) spend the entire $200 each month. A man and wife over 60 would get $400 a month. There were 10,384,000 persons over 60. But the doctor estimated that only about 8,000,000 would qualify. This would cost the country $1,600,000,000 a month or about $19,000,000,000 a year. The money would be provided by a transactions tax of 2 percent on every commercial transaction. A crazier idea never entered the brain of man. But this was a day of crackpot philosophers. It was not much crazier than Henry Wallace's hog-killing and crop-burning schemes or Roosevelt's NRA. But the minds of the people had gotten off the tracks of reality. And this alluring promise lighted up the imaginations and appetites of the aged. It spread like a prairie fire among the oldsters until millions were marching behind the good doctor as in a holy crusade. In the three months at the end of 1935 the organization collected $350,000 and it grew from there.

The commentators laughed at this pathetic host of old people trooping behind their challenging Quixote. One said it was bad enough to tell Junior there is a Santa Claus, but to lead Grandpa to believe in him was unpardonable. And another commented that the Longs and Townsends and Sinclairs and Roosevelts had set up professionally as my brother's keeper, but it was time for someone to set up as my brother's bookkeeper.

It was not possible, however, to laugh off the vast horde of registered voters who took the old doctor seriously. Like Huey, he was very much on Roosevelt's mind and in his talks. For the doctor was hog-calling millions of natural New Dealers off into his Revolving Old Age Plan. The old folks were crowding the railroad stations getting estimates on voyages hither and yon. The passion for travel seized upon their imaginations as they beheld an old age of leisure and more money than the vast majority of them had ever made by work in their life times.

Nor was this all. While Huey and the doctor clamored to make every man a king or a tourist, the inflationists never relaxed their pressure for their various money plans. It began to look as if the printing presses would have to go to work. And this very well-founded apprehension exercised a profound influence upon the minds of business men who were being exhorted to expand and expose themselves to the dangerous gamble of inflation.

Meantime, out in California an almost incredible movement got under way. Upton Sinclair, an old Socialist who had stirred America thirty years befote with his famous novel "The Jungle," had been living in California for years. He was an intelligent and industrious critic of the capitalist system and a writer of amazing fecundity. Novels, brochures, pamphlets, critical volumes poured from his pen, were published by himself and translated into every language in the world. He was a gentle, scholarly, deeply sincere man.

Suddenly this Socialist amazed the voters of California by announcing himself a candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor against George Creel, a brilliant and courageous liberal journalist who was supported by the Democratic leaders for the place. Creel, an old Wilsonian reformer, still harboring a chimerical faith in the laws of arithmetic and gravity, was soon to learn that he, a lifelong Democrat, was no match in a Democratic primary for a lifelong Socialist with a platform for turning California gradually into a socialist heaven.

Sinclair had a tremendous weapon. We were still in a depression. Nobody seemed quite sure what to do about it. Sinclair capitalized on this. He told the voters he had a plan and he was dead certain about it. He said:

"We can end poverty in California. I know what I am talking about. I am an expert in depressions. I have spent thirty years of my life studying them. I know what causes them and how to cure them. And I tell you the only way to do this is by my plan to END POVERTY IN CALIFORNIA."

From the first letters in this plan—EPIC—the movement took its name. Creel says that overnight the people stopped talking about the climate and began to talk about EPIC.

Like all the plans it, too, was simplicity itself. There were in California a million persons unemployed by industry or starving on the farms. Also, said Sinclair, there were a great number of idle factories and idle farms. The state would put up the money to start up all the idle factories and the abandoned farms. The unemployed would be put to work in these factories making essential goods for themselves and all unemployed persons. Others would be set to work on the idle farms growing food and raw materials for the factories. These unemployed are now, he said, no longer profitable customers for those in private business. In fact they are a burden since private business must now provide the taxes for relief. EPIC would take all the unemployed off relief, hence off the backs of the self-supporting element in the community. The state would finance it all with a bond issue.

It would be operated by a California Authority for Land (CAL) which would buy up the idle farms and the California Authority for Production (CAP) which would take over the idle factories, all serviced by a great fleet of trucks and a chain of stores in which would be sold to those employed by these Authorities the clothes and food produced by the CAL and CAP. Of course there would be a California Authority for Money (CAM) which would float the bond issues to finance all this. The sales tax would be repealed. There would be income taxes on incomes of $5000 and over, and tax exemptions for homes and farms valued at less than $3500. There was more to it, including of course a great Central Valley Water Project for power.

All these plans were called crackpot. But Sinclair's was not a crackpot plan. He knew what he was doing. Had he succeeded he would have created in the body of the capitalist system of California a more or less complete socialist organization operating strictly on the principle of production for use. At a blow, 10 or 15 percent of California's population would be transferred to a socialist economy. He undoubtedly believed, and he was right, that the success of his plan would gradually enervate and enfeeble the capitalist system which contained and supported it and that EPIC would gradually swallow the whole.

There were other groups—Major Douglas' Social Credit and Howard Scott's Technocrats, neither of which made much progress though they did supply to Mr. Roosevelt's great economic staff some of its top dog "economists" and statisticians. The Social Credit advocates laid out as a principle that the capitalist system does not produce enough money income to enable all producers to buy the national product of consumable goods at a profit. Stated differently, the customers of the nation do not receive enough money income to purchase at a profit what the employers produce. A powerful argument can be made for this thesis. However, the Social Credit advocates proposed that to correct this deficit in purchasing power the government would at intervals issue to all the people what they called social dividends, government-issued cash, to enable them to buy what they needed. It amounted to this: that the government would give to everybody a cash handout at certain periods in the year.

The Technocrats were the most radical of the new reformers. They insisted that we must have a continental economy—that is we must unite to the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Central American countries in order to have a self-sustaining continent. We must then liquidate the democratic system and turn the management of the system over to the only people capable of understanding it, namely the engineers, to whom they later added the economists and other technicians. This was called the Soviet of the Engineers.

Next we would abolish the existing money system and base all money on the unit of energy—the erg. There is more to it, but this is enough. One of the most eminent supporters of Technocracy, and chief sponsor of the crackpot Howard Scott, was Mr. Leon Henderson, who was made statistician of the NRA and later economic adviser and research director of the Democratic party, and finally head of the Office of Price Administration—the OPA of sad memory during the war.

This dance of the crackpots all over Roosevelt's side of the street was playing havoc with his own medicine show. The election year 1936 loomed menacingly ahead. They must be liquidated or composed or appeased or devoured. And someone, aided by Fate, did an excellent job of getting all these dervishes to quit their merry hoopla and march along in the ranks of the great New Deal.

While Hoover was President, the Treasury and the Department of Justice had been pursuing the Huey Long forces on their income taxes. But when Roosevelt came into power, Justice turned her eyes away. However, when Huey went out on the warpath, Justice once again went to work on Huey and his pals. It has been said the decision to indict him on income tax frauds was made the very day before he died. But he left behind a batch of heirs who knew how to trade on the powers of the departed Saint Huey. Huey's organization showed no loss of strength. The Treasury and the Department of Justice went into action and before long there were income tax indictments against at least 25 of the Long leaders and henchmen.

Richard W. Leche was governor. In January, 1936, he was reelected by an immense landslide, thus demonstrating the survival of the Long power. But in some mysterious way the raucous chorus of denunciation of Washington by the Long machine stopped cold. According to Drew Pearson in the Washington Merry-go-Round column, a Washington reporter saw Marvin Mclntyre, Roosevelt's secretary and said: "Mac, did it ever occur to you that the administration might arrange a rapprochement with the gang in Louisiana? . . . I think I could be of some service to you." Mclntyre said: "I think that's already been taken care of." "Then nobody has to worry?" "Nobody," answered Mac.

Not long after the United States Attorney asked the United States Court to dismiss most of the indictments against the Long crowd. Westbrook Pegler dubbed this the Second Louisiana Purchase. Harnett Kane, who has written a brilliant account of this episode, says "A judicial bargain basement was set up, and men by paying $1000 fines were freed of charges which might have brought them years in prison." The civil suits were pressed and succeeded in collecting $2,000,000 in unpaid taxes.

In June, just before the Democratic convention met, Roosevelt made a trip to Texas. The Louisiana Legislature was ordered by Governor Leche to adjourn and "convene" in Texas at the Centennial Grounds where Roosevelt was camped. There they passed a resolution praising divine Providence for providing "a great leader, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who saved the nation from ruin and chaos," and they called on the Republican party to withdraw Alfred Landon and make Roosevelt's reelection unanimous. The State University band, Huey's pride and joy, played Huey's theme song—"Every Man a King."

As for Upton Sinclair and his EPIC plan, he got his trial by fire in an election. He beat Creel in the Democratic primaries and this life-time Socialist, on a strictly socialist proposal, became the candidate of the Democratic party. Sinclair went to the White House and emerged in a happy mood. EPIC and the New Deal, he said, were perfectly consistent. Hopkins said he hoped Sinclair would be elected. "He's on our side, isn't he?" he asked. And when Sinclair got back to California he published a letter from Farley urging all to vote for the full ticket. Later Farley said the letter was a stenographer's mistake.

Roosevelt was ready to play with any one of these curious heresies. Ray Moley pleaded with him in September to dissociate his administration from Sinclair. Roosevelt said that Merriam, the Republican candidate for governor, was taking the support of the Townsend people and that the Townsend heresy was no worse than the EPIC heresy. Then he added "Besides, they tell me Sinclair is sure to be elected."

Creel at first agreed to support Sinclair on the promise that he would not push the EPIC plan in the general election, which seemed incredible as that was his whole stock-intrade. At all events, Creel reported this to Roosevelt and Farley, who praised the bargain. But of course Sinclair had to push the EPIC plan and he did so with the same vigor he had pushed it in the primary, after which, on October 26, Creel wrote him a letter repudiating him.

Frances Perkins tells that sober liberals in California were horrified at EPIC and pleaded with her to get the President to stem the tide for Sinclair while he was running against Creel. But it didn't bother Roosevelt at all. He said: "Well, they might be elected in California and get EPIC there but what difference will that make to Dutchess County, New York, or Lincoln County, Maine?"

In the end the Republican candidate defeated Sinclair. And within a short time every vestige of the EPIC movement disappeared from California.

Soon the remnants of that movement were traipsing off into the new evangelism known as "Ham and Eggs"—a plan to provide everyone with $30 every Thursday, a plan, by the way, which elected Senator Sheridan Downey to the United States Senate.

Meantime Roosevelt observed to his intimates that it was necessary to steal a little from good old Doctor Townsend. For some strange reason, Roosevelt had lagged in his interest in old-age pensions. Wagner and others had been working on an unemployment insurance bill but not on old-age pensions. In the 1934 Congressional elections the Republicans denounced Roosevelt for doing nothing about this subject. He therefore appointed a commission to study the subject. But after the election was safely over he told its members the time was not yet ripe for it. It was the sweep of the Townsendites, the Share-the-Wealthers and EPIC planners that spurred his interest and resulted in the passage of the Social Security Act with old-age pensions and unemployment insurance.

While Townsend agitated, Roosevelt acted. The oldsters were to learn very much later that there was not very much social security in Roosevelt's act. But feuds began to divide the Townsendites. Dr. Townsend got into a row with the House of Representatives which cited him for contempt. His leaders split. Then in June, on the eve of the Democratic convention, Farley had a conference with Gomer Smith, one of the Townsend directors. Smith told Farley that he and several others controlled seven votes in the directorate and they and not Townsend would control the organization. The meeting was kept secret so as not to compromise Smith.

Thus by the time the election came around the Townsendites, the Ham and Eggers, the EPIC planners and the Long crowd were all on the bandwagon that rolled down Roosevelt's side of the street, safely under the guidance of himself and his skillful coachman, Jim Farley.

This curious epidemic of grotesque notions sponsored by shallow and in some cases dangerous men is, of course, not an unknown phenomenon. When little men think about large problems the boundary between the sound and the unsound is very thin and vague. And when some idea is thrown out which corresponds with the deeply rooted yearnings of great numbers of spiritually and economically troubled people it spreads like a physical infection and rises in virulence with the extent of the contagion. The spiritual and mental soil of the masses near the bottom of the economic heap was perfect ground for all these promisers of security and abundance. Roosevelt prospered on that. And he was in a grave political dilemma when he found himself surpassed in the size and beauty of the promises made by his competitors.

One of the mistakes committed by the critics of the President at this time was the charge that he was drifting toward Communism. And as each new cure for the woes of the people was advertised it was called Socialism or Communism. The infusion of Communism would come into Mr. Roosevelt's New Deal in good time; but it certainly was not there yet. Some of the more radical agitators who surrounded the President and got access occasionally to his mind believed that the capitalist system and our traditional representative system were done for. But they were not Communists. Most of them were confused dilettante revolutionists, revolutionists of the chamber and not of the field or the barricades—daring enough in discussion in hospitable living rooms or cocktail lounges but having no boldness in action. What is more, few of them had the hardihood to admit themselves to be even philosophical Communists. They had cooked up for themselves that easy, comfortable potpourri of socialism and capitalism called the Planned Economy which provided its devotees with a wide area in which they might rattle around without being called Red.

That was the revolution—the Planned Economy—they were preparing for and hoping for. There was a moment, during the NRA and the AAA, when things looked good for that bold dream. But their purposes were never clearly understood by those who criticized most mercilessly the Roosevelt regime. They were never really in control though they may have seemed to be. But the time would come when they would approach much closer to their dream of a planned people. We shall see that later.

The haunting fear of these vocal and conniving dreamers broke out in full flame in 1934. Dr. William A. Wirt, famous as the originator of the Gary System of public education and superintendent of schools of Gary, Indiana, since 1907, was in Washington. He attended a cocktail party at the home of his former secretary, Miss Alice Barrows. After this he wrote a letter to a number of friends, one of them James H. Rand, who read it before a House hearing. Rand said a brain-truster had told Wirt:

"We believe we have Roosevelt in the middle of a swift stream and that the current is so strong that he cannot turn back or escape from it. We believe that we can keep Mr. Roosevelt there until we are ready to supplant him with a Stalin. We all think that Mr. Roosevelt is only the Kerensky of this revolution. We are on the inside. We can control the avenues of influence. We can make the President believe that he is making decisions for himself."

This produced a storm of wrath in Congress both among those who believed and those who didn't believe Wirt. There is little doubt that the statement was made to Wirt. The man who made it said later they were all just pulling Wirt's leg. But the fact is that this belief was widely held by a large number of these so-called pink and scarlet intellectuals. They believed the great capitalist catastrophe had come. They believed Roosevelt's half-way measures would fail—as they ultimately did. And then would come revolution. But, as it turned out, it was not to the Reds Roosevelt was yielding at this time, but to the special interests, to farmers who wanted high prices and labor leaders who wanted more power, to bankers who wanted one thing or another, to city and county and state chambers and councils who wanted government money, to political bosses who wanted patronage and graft, to the poor and unemployed who wanted government money, to the crackpots who wanted various things and, generally, to any strong group that had votes enough to count.