We cannot help but feel that Roosevelt’s Cabinet will be progressive, forward-looking and able to grapple intelligently with the crisis.
Mr. Roosevelt has chosen an excellent Cabinet. We say this with full realization that there are weak spots in it, that there is only faint approval of it in Democratic circles in Washington, and that the conservative elements generally fear that it is weak. In the New York Times we find a plaint that it does not include men like Newton D. Baker, John W. Davis, Norman Davis, or Owen D. Young, and a reference to the men who formed part of the recent Republican Cabinets, such as Hughes, Stimson, and Kellogg. Well, one of the reasons why we like the new Cabinet is that it is happily free from the leftovers of the ‘Wilson Administration, the “strong men” who have long since grown stale in the public eye, not one of whom has given the slightest indication of any ability to cope with the present crisis, or of having freed himself from the prejudices of a bygone generation of public men.
Senator Walsh’s selection as Attorney-General puts at the head of that department for the first time in much more than a decade a man who is not a reactionary and a trusted friend of the “interests,” but a relentless and brilliant prosecutor. In his handling of the oil frauds he showed that no power could prevent his going to the bottom of those scandals. As for the new Secretary of the Interior, Harold L. Ickes, it is hard to see how there could be a better choice. The press has dwelt upon his connection with the Bull Moose movement in 1912; far more important is the fact that he has been for years in the forefront of all reform movements in Chicago. With superb courage he told the truth about Samuel Insull in the year 1930, when that noble Athenian was still the greatest figure in his community, and declared that Insull, more than anyone else, was responsible for Chicago’s vice and crime. These were his words:
Chicago is not suffering from a breakdown of government, but from a super-government. The name of Chicago’s super-government is Samuel Insull. By contributing lavishly to the coffers of both parties, and by exerting his influence in other ways, he has gradually assumed control of the parties. He dominates the business community through his tremendous power. The press apparently fears to attack him . . . . The same public officials who have furnished protection to Insull’s public utilities have also furnished protection to racketeers, bootleggers, and professional killers . . . . Thus we have a city administration with the under-world and over-world in dual control.
There spoke a man of just the type we need in the Cabinet in this national emergency.
The appointment of Frances Perkins to the Department of Labor is equally a cause for profound jubilation. The first woman to enter the Cabinet, she is a tried executive and public official, with a national reputation for efficiency, integrity, and courage. Her appointment renders a service to the working men and women of America, organized and unorganized, that can hardly be measured.