POLITICAL NOTE: Share-the-Wealth Wave

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Before those two developments, he could see little further profit in remaining in Washington. He had even announced that he was going home to run for Governor next year. Then he changed his tune: He would run again for Senator because other Senators seemed too anxious to be rid of him; he might even run for President. Senator Long had suddenly found reason to take his sideline seriously.

Roosevelt Inspiration. To the Chicago Convention which had just nominated him for President in 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt made a speech of acceptance in which the following passage fairly raised the roof with applause: "Throughout the nation men and women . . . look to us here for guidance and for more equitable opportunity to share in the distribution of national wealth." To most Chicago delegates those words were just mouthfilling rhetoric, a noble sentiment to be approved but not literally practiced. But when Huey Long heard them, they sounded like an inspiration. He filed that effective Rooseveltian appeal away in his memory. Today he is using it for all it is worth.

The Share-the-Wealth movement is divided into two parts. Part I is in Louisiana where Share-the-Wealth meetings are part of the regular curriculum of Boss Long's ward heelers. There are clubs, organized by his workers, in nearly every precinct or voting district. All jobholders and would-be jobholders are assembled in a shabby little house. They have nothing to lose and may have much to gain by joining. Orders are to elect as many officers as possible, so each club always has a president, several vice presidents, a secretary and many committee chairmen. Then some young attaché of the Loner machine like Herbert Christenberry, brother of the Senator's Washington secretary, makes a speech promising them all a home, an automobile, a radio, $5,000 in cash, an income of not less than $2,500 a year, old-age pension, a free university education for their children—as soon as Huey is President. The more illiterate the audience, the larger the promises. Thus the strong Long machine grows stronger daily.

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