Republican Responsibility and Performance; Democratic Responsibility and Failure

Performed by William H. Taft
Recorded August 27, 1908

I have already pointed out that the Republican party long ago passed the Antitrust Law and is vigorously enforcing it. I have already stated that it passed the Interstate Commerce Law and its amendments, the Elkins Law and the Rate Bill, and is vigorously enforcing them. I have already dwelt on the great change for the better that has been brought about by this administration. I have said that the extent of the abuses were not known or realized during the time when the burden of the Spanish War and its consequences had to be met or until revelations were made early in this administration when the work of remedying them was at once begun. If these abuses were always well known, as now plain, and the necessity for their radical and drastic reform was clear to all and especially to the Democratic party under its present leadership, it would seem that of all the possible agencies for reform, the Democratic party is the one least entitled to any credit. For while the resolutions of its platforms in 1896, 1900 and 1904 denounced the abuses of corporate wealth, they never proposed feasible plans or made the prominent and chief issue of any campaign, the carrying out of what have now become known, and properly known, as the Roosevelt policy. On the contrary in 1896 the party made the chief issue a disastrous financial experiment which would have retarded the progress of this country a quarter of a century and sullied its financial honor. In 1900 the Party reiterated its adherence to this suicidal policy of repudiation of national and private debts and obligations and then advanced to the paramount issue of the campaign – not the trust, not corporate wealth and abuses - but rather the repudiation of all our international responsibilities growing out of the Spanish War and the destruction of what they called the growing cancer of imperialism in the policy of this country. Again, in 1904, instead of selecting the abuses and evils for which they now seek to make the Republican party responsible as the main issue of the campaign, the burden of their contention was the usurption of the powers of the Executive Office for President Roosevelt including his settlement of the anthracite coal strike and the violation of the federal constitutional limitations by the Republican party, while the extent of the trust evil was minimized by the statement of the then party candidates that the common law furnished sufficient remedy to suppress it, and for the general party declaration that nothing but safe and sane policies were to be adopted under the administration which should follow its success in the election. The people in 1896, by a substantial majority, rejected the plan of repudiation of the Democratic party. In 1900 the people again, by even a greater majority, rejected the plan of the Democratic party to repudiate the national responsibility, and in 1904 they again rejected the same party which had temporarily assumed its ancient character as a preserver of the Constitution. This is the record of the party whose policies it is claimed Mr. Roosevelt and the Republican party have stolen in the actual abolition of railway rebates and discrimination, in the active enforcement of the anti trust law, in the passage of a pure food law, in the passage of a meat inspection law and in the actual demonstration that corporate interests and influences do not control the passage of laws or the enforcement of them under the present Republican administration.