30 JULY 1948, Page 1

Congress and Politics

The special session of Congress now sitting in Washington has often been called an electioneering device of the Democrats. It is. But like many who have gone vote-catching before him, President Truman has only chosen to make his arguments more effective by setting them against the most dramatic background available. He is perfectly justified in reminding Congress, and through Congress the nation, that the ambitious schemes of foreien aid which America

has undertaken can be nullified if the economy on which they are based is unstable ; further inflation in America could knock the bottom out of the Marshall Plan, or, to reduce this home truth to • the President's election slogan, a slump means war. Unfortunately the President followed this body-blow at Congress by several other punches, above the belt anci below it, and wound up with one or two " haymakers " w hich missed completely. He listed several remedies for inflation, all of which he called on Congress to turn into legislative action, in spite of the fact that some of them have been tried and abandoned, others are unlikely to receive support even from the President's own party, and others are more likely to increase the pace of inflation than to halt it. On top of all this he could not resist dodging behind the backs of the Congressmen and appealing directly to the electorate by calling for action on those two passion- rousing subjects ; civil rights and the immigration of displaced persons. All the same, it will be more than a pity if Congress makes the heat and party politics an excuse for ignoring the solid common sense embedded in the President's message. Some of the Demo- crats' thunder in Washington was stolen by Mr. Wallace in Phila- delphia ; some, but not much. It became too quickly obvious that the only people in the newly-named Progressive Party who really knew what they were in Philadelphia for were the Communists. With unsmiling vigour this minority piloted the convention along the Party line. The antics of the other delegates seem to have made visitors regret, understandably enough, the rubber elephants and live donkeys of the earlier two conventions.