Saturday, October 28, 1961 . . . Page 10
Election Campaigns Reach Climax
In Albany-and Rochester
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
"People ask how it will feel to go
back to being a camel driver after
all this. All I can say is that a tree
has blossoms right up to the top,
and even those blossoms have got to
come back to earth sometime."
-Bashir Ahmad, summing up his
U.S. tour as he returned to Pakistan.
Not much is going to come of it, probably, at least not immediately, but one
of the most interesting political campaigns in the state this year is being
waged in the Capitol City.
I saw something of it on a college
speaking visit here this week.
For the first time since Tom Dewey
tried it and failed 20 years or more ago,
the machine of old Dan O'Connell is being seriously challenged again by a comparative youngster.
This time it's Rev. Robert K. Hudnut,
son of the minister of Rochester's Third
Presbyterian Church, Rev. William H.
Hudnut, Jr., D.D. Young
Hudnut, brilliant though
not politically experienced,
also is a Presbyterian minister. But his flock is seeing less of him these days
as he travels a day-and-night speaking schedule
as the mayoralty candidate of CURE. CURE
stands for Citizens United
Reform Effort. It's the organization formed by a group of youngsters of varied political persuasions to
fight the O'Connell organization. This
machine has held Albany in such an iron
grip for so long that it is hard to find
anybody here who thinks CURE (or
young Hudnut) has a chance.
It is a healthy thing for the state
capital, however, even if only because
it is waking up at least some of the
The truth is that many people in Albany are reluctant, for business or social reasons, to speak out. Robert Hudnut is doing so. It's the first time there's
been such an airing in the memory of
most. Hudnut calls O'Connell’s a "family-
style government" where rich rewards
are doled out to family members alone.
The big difference about this campaign and past puny reform efforts is
that the O'Connell crowd is taking note
of this year's opposition. They are working. Ordinarily they seem to ignore the
Unfortunately, by stirring up the
animals, CURE may only succeed in helping get out an even bigger organization
vote. It could be. The observers I saw
seemed agreed that O'Connell’s mayor
Erastus Corning might win by an even
bigger majority than usual.
Even so, Robert K. Hudnut and his
hustling young associates have started
something. They could surprise everyone. Neighborhood groups have
sprung up under, the banner of CURE.
In some, the average, hardly an active
member appears over 30. Even high
school boys and girls have joined.
One of these years the O'Connell machine is going to come a cropper. The
youngsters in this year's fight are learning and they are planning as they learn.
. . . Friendly Enemies
Why go to Albany to savor politics,
a reader well may ask. There seems to
be enough excitement at home in Monroe County.
True. Not that Rochester's local campaign is being any more savagely waged
than others. Or because more people
are making fools of themselves this year.
They just have a bigger audience now,
through television, and a bigger stage.
Essentially, little has changed.
There is nothing new in seeing personalities and sideshows overshadow
issues. There is nothing new about one or two of the candidates overreaching themselves.
I thought this week of the first campaign I ever covered, as a reporter still
too young to vote, it was a Democratic primary, where only the Democratic primary counted, in Okfuskee County, Oklahoma. Democratic nomination was tantamount to election. There were two Democratic primary
slates. I still remember the shock with
which I heard the opposing Democrats
assail one another in the first country
school house visited on an evening's
speaking tour. The rivals for the Democratic nomination for county attorney
accused each other of crimes sufficient
to have landed them and all their relatives in jail. The sheriff candidates insulted each other. After it was over, the
office seekers straggled back to the little
caravan of cars, while I eagerly awaited
the fist fights I fully expected to develop.
But no. The rival sheriff candidates
came out arm in arm. A jug was produced. The other warriors joined. The
jug passed from hand to hand. Then they
all piled into the cars and bumped
jovially off to renew the assaults at the
next scheduled stop.
. . . Not Friendly
In newspaper work, as in politics,
you get to where you consider that
nothing could be too much of a shock.
Some things, though, you never quite
get used to: Anonymous telephone callers, for example; ananymous card and
letter writers; yes, and people who lie
to your face when they know you know
they are lying-fortunately, there are
not too many such. But even a few is too many.
There was a call at our house the
other night. A man's voice said:
"I am going to get you and your whole family."
Then he hung up. I was with my wife
and daughter in the kitchen and received
the call there. They went on, drying
dishes or putting 'em away, or whatever
families do in the kitchen after supper.
. . . Life's Work
It's trite as can be, but I am getting
to the age where I, too, say every time
I am with high school or college people
that there can't be much wrong with the
country when we have such fine looking
This week, as mentioned earlier in
this piece, it was the annual convention
of the Collegiate Press Association of
New York State University. There were
some 200 college boys and girls from
across the state-editors and staff members of campus newspapers, yearbooks
and literary magazines.
They meet each year to hear some of
us oldsters and to discuss in smaller
groups ways of improving their publications. Most of the crowd I saw seemed
bent on teaching, in which case this experience would come in handy as advisers to student publication staffs. But
I hoped some of them would wind up on
newspapers or in broadcasting and I
asked and tried to answer the question,
"Would YOU be happy in newspaper
"The answer depends, like pretty
nearly everything in this life, on you, on
the individual. But this much is true:
"Responsible, resourceful newspaper-
ing and broadcasting are more urgently
needed in the shrinking world of 1961
than ever before. The key word here is
'needed'. There is no greater satisfaction
in life - as has been pointed out by so
many, so many times-than to be needed
and to be able to fill a need. Newspaper-
ing is more than a means of making a
good living - it is a life and, again, a
Of course, I had to concede I could
be prejudiced. I never wanted to do anything else. And haven't, since I got my
first newspaper job at 17.
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