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Capital Comment

Last summer it was Dr. Wirt, Gary, Ind., schoolmaster, who charged there was a “plot” afoot to undermine the existing form of government in the United States. Now it is General Smedley D. Butler, retired Marine Corps officer and platform lecturer, who charges that Wall street brokers tried to tempt him with a Hitler crown to set up a dictatorship in this country.

The Wirt charges were investigated by a Congressional committee, and after a thorough examination faded into thin air. But Washington got a laugh from the incident. As a matter of fact the affair now is a standing joke. Since the Wirt bubble burst the capital has been in dire need of a good laugh. Now along comes General Butler with his revelations before the House of Representatives Committee on Un-American Activities. And Washington, first irritated over what was termed General Butler’s “publicity stunt,” is inclined to have another good laugh.

Representative John W. McCormack of Massachusetts, committee chairman, is not inclined to pass judgment on General Butler’s charges, but intends to get at the bottom of the affair. Representative Samuel Dickstein of New York, vice-chairman and author of the resolution which established the committee, has apparently become excited over General Butler’s allegations.

Representative Dickstein took Dr. Wirt quite seriously and missed out on some of the laughs that Washington was then enjoying. There is great danger that he may miss out again in this sensational accusation by General Butler. Representative Dickstein is quoted as saying: “From present indications Butler has the evidence. He’s not going to make any serious charges unless he has something to back them up. We’ll have men here with bigger names than he.”

General Butler made clear to the committee that he refused to be dictator. But nevertheless, he claims to have had the offer, and that is shocking. What will Senator Huey Long of Louisiana say?

Senator Long has gone no further than to give the country the general impression that he would like to be President of the United States by the Constitutional method. True, Senator Long is doing a lot of dictating in Louisiana, but then, it is only one State and Huey is having a good time.

No one is likely to get ahead of Senator Long in a race for dictatorship honors—not even General Butler, nor the wealthy Wall Street brokers.

As one editor put it, the American dictator will come neither from the ranks of retired generals nor from the United States Senate. This editor points out that if this country is to have a dictator, in all probability he will come from some obscure place.

Hitler was a house painter working by the day when he started his climb to head the German government. And that was not so long ago. Our future dictator may yet be in grammar school, or in a CCC camp, or in a cradle.

Contrary to what scare-heads have to say, this country has a long way to go before coming ripe for a dictatorship. Both Congress and the Supreme Court must collapse, as did the legislative and judicial branches in Germany and Italy, before the dictator may appear before them to be sworn to office for life. And General Butler and the wealthy New York brokers know this to be a fact.

Mrs. Florence P. Kahn of California, whose wit and clever repartee is well known to members of the House of Representatives, needed all of her store of good humor in the last Congressional campaign. And she never hesitated to use it, which may be one reason why she was re-elected while other Republicans fell by the wayside.

Always keeping her ear to the ground, Mrs. Kahn is interested in knowing what the home folk are saying about Florence P. Kahn. During the last campaign she was a trifle taken aback by reports from her grapevine wire. People were talking about her age. But it did not take long for Mrs. Kahn to spike the gossip. “I hear reports that I am getting old,” she told one political rally in her district. “I don’t know who started this, but I do hope talk of this kind doesn’t get back to my mother.”

Down in New Jersey, Representative Isaac Bachrach is having troubles over his re-election. The veteran Republican’s re-election is being protested by his Democratic opponent.

Representative Bachrach won re-election by only 851 votes. Either a recount or a Congressional investigation will be demanded to prevent Representative Bachrach from resuming the seat which he has occupied for the last twenty years.

Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace believes in going back to the Old Testament for ideas which he may apply to the government’s farm adjustment program. The other day Secretary Wallace announced an “ever normal granary” plan through which a reserve supply of farm products may be kept on hand for use during an emergency period such as drought.

In announcing the plan Secretary Wallace pointed out it was the same in principle as that put into effect by Joseph in Egypt to conserve the bountiful crops produced in the seven years of plenty for the seven years of want.

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