“Selfish men have always tried to skim the cream from our natural resources to satisfy their own greed. And they have always sought to control the Government in order to accomplish this. Their instrument in this effort has always been the Republican Party.”
I was reading this, by Gene Lyons. He quotes Harry Truman. So I looked up the quote.
Here is Harry Truman campaigning in 1948:
This is not a new battle. Selfish men have always tried to skim the cream from our natural resources to satisfy their own greed. And they have always sought to control the Government in order to accomplish this. Their instrument in this effort has always been the Republican Party.
The Republican administrations of our time have done their best to make the West an economic colony of Wall Street. In the 1920’s, under Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover, quick and greedy exploitation was the order of the day. Many parts of the West were withering–withering from the failure to develop its power and irrigation, withering actually from Republican sabotage.
Selfish men had control, and the great resources of the West were wasted with sinful disregard of the people.
. . . That was the situation in 1932 after 12 years of Republican rule.
. . . The long, costly job of rebuilding after the ruinous Republican years was begun with hope and vigor. Conservation of the forests and grazing land, control of soil erosion, propagation of fish and wildlife, and other sound measures were put into effect.
. . . Today, after 4 Democratic administrations, there are some 60 reclamation projects completed or under way in the West. When these projects are finished they will provide water for over 10 million acres, and will produce over 5 million kilowatts of power.
That’s the record the Democratic Party has made.
. . . The Republican Party has shown in the Congress of the past 2 years that the leopard does not change his spots. It is still the party of Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover. It is still the party that gave you the phony Coolidge boom and the Hoover depression.
It is still the party whose money at election time comes from Wall Street. It is still the party which passes bills at the dictation of lobbies, and sacrifices the interests of the people for the profits of big business.
The Democratic Party is the party of the people. We are fighting with all our strength to prevent the gluttons of privilege from swallowing up the country. We are fighting the battle of the West, because it is the battle of all the country. We are fighting the battle of the farmer and the worker and the small businessman, because that is the battle of all the people.
Your Government is now planning the most ambitious irrigation development in all our history. The goal of our program is to bring every possible western acre under irrigation and to develop to the fullest extent the hydroelectric resources of this great region.
Now, I’m going to fight for this program with all I’ve got. Now, can I count on you?
You have the decision to make.
A vote for the Republicans stops the program.
A vote for the Democrats is a vote for a glorious West with wealth and security for our people.
He talks about how the Republicans want spending cuts, and the Democrats want projects for the people. The Democratic Party was the majority party, and talking like this — telling it like it is — kept them the majority party for several more decades.