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Mary Bell

“The Voice” – and We Don’t Mean
Frankie Sinatra

(October 1944)

From Labor Action, Vol. 8 No. 42, 16 October 1944, pp. 1 & 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

This is the season when the hired hands of the capitalist press are assigned to dig up the facts on the “human interest” side of candidates running for public office in order to sell to the public whichever man they are backing. Their lot is not a happy one, particularly when they delve into the personal life of the ex-racket-buster who “busted into” the bigger racket of capitalist politics – Thomas E. Dewey. What they choose to write down for us from his past in order to prove he is the man to vote for to head a country of 140,000,000 is a commentary on at least two things: contempt of the capitalist press for the workers who make up the majority of the population – and a revelation of Dewey.

Dewey in his childhood, we are informed, was such a model boy that his little schoolmates looked upon him with suspicion. He was never willfully absent from school. He picked up his toys without being scolded and kept his room as neat as a pin. As the twig is bent, so the tree is inclined. Today, Life magazine informs us, he is immaculate. He rarely sweats. He employs an occasional “damn” only for emphasis. He is driven to an “Aw, nuts!” only when sorely tried by impatience. He tries to conceal his boredom with people who don’t know what they’re talking about “when they are politically important.”

We are forced to add a human touch to such rectitude. The gang-buster who was Jack the Giant Killer in public life extends his pursuit of things evil to the lowly housefly in his home or office. “His aim is good,” says our Life reporter, “but he swats lightly because he does not want to smear the walls, which are finished in a light tan homespun-type paper which he selected himself. He prefers to stun the fly so that it falls on the rug where he can finish it off neatly.”

Dewey also has a passion for the “deep freeze,” that is, frozen food lockers. Of the deep freeze, he says: “I think it will revolutionize the family.” For fear you think he’s going off the deep end, we quickly add another statement that shows he’s not becoming too radical.

We are further informed that the basso (not profundo) from Owosso has said: “I have the best mother in the world.” This indicates that the urban lawyer has not become too urbane. He is really “homey” and “folksy” and stands foursquare for the Preservation of the Family, that burning question in American politics.

Dewey, the Unsullied

Dewey’s favor of frozen things included not only frozen food, but also frozen wages. Here he treads on the toes of many millions of workers. It may be remarked, however, that these workers are biased, since if the wage freeze were lifted, they would stand to gain. Dewey, however, having been born the only son of the richest man in town, and currently served by two butlers who wear morning trousers at breakfast, and change to tuxedos for dinner, has not been scathed by the moil and toil of a workingman’s existence. He is therefore unsullied by the prejudices of labor against the wage freeze.

Dewey, the Man of Culture

A note about Dewey’s cultural background would not be amiss since we are interested to know what manner of man it is who wants to head the country. We are told he studied operatic singing in college and, according to Roger Butterfleld, Dewey’s voice instructor remarked “he had never seen nor heard a more dramatic portrayal” of The Love Song of an Idiot than that rendered by Dewey.

Another note reveals his love of literature as much as his sense of humor. When asked what book he likes best he is likely to quip, with those “flashing eyes,” “The one I read last.”

This is obviously a man for the ages!

Dewey, the Administrator

Due to his experience in administration, Dewey is described as “a genius for putting other people to work.” If there is one thing every man, woman and child in the country would agree on it’s that in the post-war period we will need someone or something that will put people to work. It seems the Republicans banked their faith in Dewey’s ability to “put people to work” to the extent of voting down (together with a goodly number of Democrats) the Kilgore unemployment benefits bill.

Dewey, the Philosopher

While Dewey is a shade more shifty than the Democrats on questions like post-war employment, and it has been remarked, not without point, that he trails behind in the Gallup polls on matters of public sentiment, it would be unfair to say he has not a conviction or two. In his personal philosophy, rigidly embedded as a fish in ice, is the belief that the world is divided into two classes of people, the Good and the Bad.

All things are simple to simple people, Dewey may be mocked. But wait! There is more to come. Dewey also believes that the Good People had better be aggressive and run things or the world will go to pot. Now, obviously, since he is running for the Presidency, all this puts Dewey into the category of the Good People, and naturally he would associate only with Good People. That makes his sponsors in the Republican Party – men like Boss Pew, Kemper, etc. – Good capitalists. That makes his supporter, Elizabeth Dilling, a Good red-baiter and Good pro-Nazi; his supporters, George Deatherage and Gerald L. K. Smith, Good rabble-rousers – a little fascist-minded, perhaps, but in the same way as you can speak of Good and Bad fascists.

Dewey, according to his Life magazine biographer, is not only willing to admit “ignorance when he is ignorant” (a virtue in any man’s language, we confess), but is also willing to take advice from someone he trusts. In fact, his most trusted adviser is a former adviser of trusts, one John F. Dulles. According to Drew Pearson, the international lawyer Dulles has argued personally for Franco of Spain against the U.S. Treasury; had legal relations with Count Rene de Chambrun, son-in-law of the French Quisling, Laval; and in 1940 defended the character of Dr. Gerhard Westrick, a German agent making business contacts in Wall Street. But, lest we condemn Dewey’s choice of an adviser on foreign affairs unwittingly, let us not forget that touchstone of Goodness and Badness – Good fascists, Bad fascists; Good Quislings, Bad Quislings.

An old music instructor of his heard the mellifluous tones of Dewey’s acceptance and wrote to him: “How proud we were when we heard your beautiful acceptance speech – – I might almost say there is a new ‘The Voice’ and I don’t mean Sinatra.”

We agree. “The Voice” is a new one. But the tune is old and familiar. And calling the tune are the big capitalist politicians of the Republican Party.

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Last updated: 17 February 2016