The way we were Print
By Msgr. Owen F. Campion, Our Sunday Visitor   
Monday, 07 October 2013

Franklin Roosevelt enthusiastically supported Al Smith’s presidential bid in 1928. Eleanor Roosevelt was national chair of Smith’s women’s group. Smith lost badly — his intelligence, integrity and even his loyalty to the country all bitterly attacked. 

Four years later, Franklin Roosevelt himself was elected president and was re-elected in 1936, 1940 and 1944. Smith was dead when Roosevelt ran for the fourth time, but he was very much alive in 1936 and 1940. In those elections, he opposed Roosevelt because he could not accept Roosevelt’s domestic agenda. 

While Smith’s opposition may have stung him, Roosevelt never rebutted by insulting Smith personally, nor did Smith ever question the president’s fundamental commitment to the well-being of the country. Both men kept their disagreements at the philosophical level. 
When Smith died, Franklin Roosevelt issued a heartfelt statement, saying that Smith was “as honest as the day is long” and was a “patriot” whose equal rarely is seen in America.
Politics in America always has had its nasty moments, actually more often than not. These days, however, an especially strong poison is running through political debate. All too often, discussion revolves around personalities or wild hunches about personalities, and it is ugly. It is killing our governmental process and destroying trust in our system.