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Henry Judd

Mr. Willkie: ‘I Speak as I Damned Please!’

(October 1942)

From Labor Action, Vol. 6 No. 43, 26 October 1942, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Wendell L. Willkie has now completed his world trip to “kingdoms, Soviets, republics and monarchies” and has retired (temporarily, to be sure) to his Indiana log cabin for rest, repose and writing paper to set down his thoughts.

Mr. Willkie – America’s most ambitious politician – says he went on the trip at the request of his friend, FDR, to carry out certain missions. The character of those missions are secret, so that’s that. But what isn’t a secret (heaven forbid!) is the gigantic, build-up Wendell L. Willkie gave Mr. Willkie. Of all the blown-up, slap-on-the-back, blow-hard, self-inflated and self-advertising politicians America ever produced, Mr. Willkie takes the cake.

What His Routine Is Like

Picture Mr. Willkie to yourself as he goes through the routine of his act. Whether he’s with the boys in Egypt, the Soviets in Russia, or Madame Chiang Kai-shek in China, the act is always the same. “I am Wendell L. Willkie from Hoosier, Indiana. I’m a real bluff and hearty American, I love everybody. I’m interested (intensely: so) in everything about you,and your country. I got terrific energy, so I can see everything you got to show in a couple of day, or a couple of hours if need be. Do you want more reinforcements in Egypt? I’m for it! Do you Turks want to join the United Nations? I’m for that! Do you want a second front, Uncle Joe? I’m for that! Do you want independence, Chiang, old pal? Just ask me, I’ll get that too! I’m Wendell L. Willkie of Indiana, an up-and-go-get-’em American!”

And so our former presidential campaigner blew and blasted his way around the world, performing his mission and making himself, in the words of Arthur Krock of the New York Times, “the first world statesman of the United Nations.”

Of course, while he was on his way, Mr. Willkie couldn’t resist needling FDR a couple of times about such questions as aid to embattled China. But politics is politics and Mr. Willkie is mighty ambitious, especially with 1944 not such a long way off!

Mr. Willkie, You’re A Fraud!

Mr. Willkie, you’re a fake and a cheap politician to boot! You’re about the crudest, most insincere and hypocritical peanut politician we ever came across.

Your whole career speaks against you. You’re a capitalist and a corporation lawyer from way back; you’ve always defended the interests of the capitalist class against labor. That’s why you got hardly any labor votes in the last elections (even though the workers mistakenly thought that FDR was somehow “better” than you). Furthermore, as everyone realizes now, on the issue of the war you didn’t differ one bit from FDR. You were for American imperialist participation in the war; you supported every single step FDR took once the war began and long before it did begin.

You’re tied up tight with big financial interests and with big publishers like Henry Luce of Time, Fortune and Life, Inc. You hobnob and pal around with big-shot bankers and industrialists. That doesn’t get so much newspaper ballyhoo, does it, Mr. Willkie? You prefer those shots where you “mingle” with the workers, with a great big, happy-go-lucky grin on your face. Or where you’re shown shaking the hand of some liberal Negro leader.

Demagogy is your strong point. You’re “for democracy for the Negroes,” because they control a few million votes; you’re “for freedom for China” because it makes a good platform appeal to liberals and American workers who sympathize with what China has gone through since the Japanese invasion; you’re “pro-Stalin and pro-Soviet” even though you never expressed the slightest sympathy for Soviet Russia in those years before the reactionary Stalin gang got its hands on the country.

It’s popular among certain circles (the Stalinists and the “artistic” friends) to be “hot for the second front.” But at bottom, when at comes to anything that really counts, you’re hottest of all for American imperialism; that’s why you endorse the Henry R. Luce thesis that this is the American Century,” during which America must rule and dominate the entire world.

You talk about the people of Asia being skeptical and not really trusting the United Nations, something which is quite true. But do you ever suggest why? Do you ever suggest that these people (who, in China and India, live under United Nation rule) are skeptical and cynical about “democracy” because they don’t have any?

And while we are on the subject, Mr. Wendell Liberal Willkie, how come you never spoke up against the British terror in India, where the “democracies” have killed almost 1,000 people? Whom are you trying to kid with your liberal pose and concern over the “common people” and the “people’s century”? Every time a real issue comes up, you take your own side – the side of big business!


FDR is America’s war leader; he is spokesman for American capitalism. WLW is his errand boy, but ready and willing to take over FDR’s seat. We doubt that he ever will because he lacks the necessary polish and cleverness that FDR has. American imperialism wants streamlined, slick and shrewd politicians. FDR has done a brilliant job for his class and they want someone of like caliber. WLW doesn’t fill the bill – he’s too crude. He sounds too much like a hog caller from Indiana!

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