Alff's candidancy had a few problems, of course. First; Landon had balanced the Kansas budgets because the New Deal had kicked in millions of dollars to offset the state's deficits. Second; Alf publicly supported so many parts of the New Deal that he was at odds with the Republican party platform. Third; Alf was a terrible public speaker. He mumbled. And like any good mid-westerner, even when speaking clearly he didn’t blow his own horn very much. As H. L. Mencken noted, he "simply lacks the power to inflame the boobs."
A few weeks before the election, thousands of workers opened their paychecks to find what looked like an offical government notice. In fact it was from their bosses and the Republican Party, warning the workers that if Roosevelt were re-elected, come January they would all suffer a 1% pay reduction. This prompted the head of the Social Security Board, a life long Republican, to issue an immeidate response, asserting that
""Any political message in a worker's pay envelope is coercion. It is a new form of the old threat to shut down the mill if the employer's candidate isn't elected. We're supposed to be beyond that in this country." Well, we are approaching a century later and we still aren't!
Finally, Landon himself was coaxed into joining the anti-Social Security bandwagon. In a Milwaukee speech, he called the program ""unjust, unworkable, stupidly drafted and wastefully financed." It was socialism, communism, and an attempt at the resdistrubution of wealth. Boy, does that ever sound familar!
However, it appears that most Americans saw all of this Republican effort in the same light as that expressed by the voter, who said that Roosevelt was "the first man in the White House to understand that my boss is a son-of-a-b-tch" In 1936 the Democrats came out swinging, inc;uding FDR, as illustrated in a speech he delivered in Boston, and which he wrote himself. “In the summer of 1933 a nice old gentleman fell off a pier. He was unable to swim. A friend ran down the pier, dived overboard and pulled him out. But his silk hat floated away with the tide. After the old gentleman was revived he was effusive in his thanks. He praised his friend for saving his life. Today, three years later, the old man is berating his friend because the silk hat was lost.”
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