| Skinning a skunk is disagreeable business, but at times it has got to be done--because it is the only way to get his pelt.
Discussing Sammy Gompers is just as disagreeable, but sometimes his antics compel us to take off his hide.
And we are told that Sammy wants to come to Wisconsin to make speeches for Robert M. LaFollette--in reality to help his own prestige, which has gone down to the freezing point even among the most stupid, since Sam has sold out the steel strike.
Nobody seems to know whether J. Pierpont Morgan or E. H. Gary--who dislike LaFollette and want to see him defeated--or Sammy's incredible vanity is at the bottom of Sam's proposal.
The fact is--that the last time Sam honored Milwaukee with his presence and his whisky-breath--was during the preparedness campaign for the war to make the world safe for democracy.
Sam, as everybody knows, was more of a war fiend--than Pierpont Morgan himself. Besides helping his trust friends and the American profiteers, he also received special honors from the King of England for saving the ruling class of Great Britain.
Sam came here upon the invitation of the City Club. H. C. Campbell of The Journal--who seemingly had charge of the propaganda in Milwaukee for our entry into the World War--engineered the Gompers meeting.
The Milwaukee Journal had a three-column cut on its first page--and many columns on its second page in praise of Sam. The entire capitalist press of the city outdid itself to boost the meeting. All the fakirs and hold-ups of the Building Trades Council sat on the platform.
A band was playing martial and paytriotic airs. The Association of Commerce, the City Club, the Manufacturers' Association, the American Security League, the Loyalty Legion and the Rotary Club were there in full force. Flags were there galore--but the hall was not a quarter full.
The working people were not there. The Leader--already an 'outlawed paper'--because it was opposed to the criminal war--was indifferent. And the working people were not there.
And in 1920, Sam Gompers and all his pals and mercenaries of the A.F.L. worked day and night to rehabilitate Woodrow Wilson--and the Democratic party--by electing James Cox president.
The issue to no small extent was the World War.
Woodrow Wilson and the Democratic party suffered the worst defeat in the history of the country, although they had the unanimous--the 'unstinted'--and the 'unlimited' support--of Sam and his American Fakiration.
Now the war is the big issue in this fall election in Wisconsin. The reactionaries in their stupidity--a reactionary must always be an ass--have made it so.
The Milwaukee Journal editorially declared this fall election to be 'a referendum on the war.' And Henry C. Campbell unfailingly accompanies LaFollette to all his meetings--like a louse follows the soldier to the trenches.
Does anybody in his right senses believe that a speech by Sammy Gompers in this election can add a single vote to the majority for Robert M. LaFollette?
Any speech by Sam, the war fiend? Sam comes here for one purpose only. He wants to claim afterwards that he elected LaFollette.
The re-election of Bob by a vote of about 3 to 1 is a foregone conclusion. But if Sam Gompers comes to Wisconsin to make speeches for Bob--Sam may lose Mr. LaFollette from 10,000 to 20,000 votes. Such is the 'popularity' of Sam among radical farmers, radical workingmen, small business men and German-Americans generally in Wisconsin, that Sam might put a doubt into their minds whether the Senator is on the right track after all--by simply indorsing LaFollette.
That, of course, is the purpose of Wall Street in sending Sam to Wisconsin.
If Morgan, Gary and others must have their way and Sam must speak in Milwaukee in order to vindicate the right of free speech, which Sam helped to undo--we warn him not to go near any steel workers, railroad workers or radical farmers.
Let Sam speak to the Association of Commerce--its members eulogized him because he helped them to make untold profits. Let him speak to the City Club--it dined and wined him when he came to speak for the war. Let him address the Rotary Club or the Security League--or even to the American Legion.
Sam might be kicked into the Menomonee river, where it is the smelliest, however--if he should dare to address Socialist workmen in Milwaukee.
The days are over when Sam was furnished 'secret service men' as a bodyguard by the national administration--just as The Journal was furnished secret service men against the 'German plotters' that didn't exist. Sam would have to hire his own private detectives--and charge them up to expenses.
Well, Wall Street would pay the bill, of course, but why should Sam take the chances?