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very few people have the time or the interest to go into matters, political, very deeply. Unless a person does there is just no way to get all of the information that should be made available to everyone. If a person depends on what he reads on the front pages of the newspapers we all know that there are many, many things that are missed. That is why I think that it is so important that people who do know what is going on or people who, if put in the position of being a free elector, know that this burden is on their shoulders will then take the time and then go into it. They know it is on them and they have to live with the people in their district. They have to be able to give good answers for what they do. I found this out personally.
It is hard for a person to understand it unless he has been in the position himself, believe me. I had many questions and it wasn't all real pleasant.
Senator ERVIN. Your studies led you to the conviction that the present system, despite some imperfections, has operated pretty well since the amendment was adopted back in 1840 ?
Dr. BAILEY. I think the elector should be free, absolutely free, from the time they are elected. This puts upon them a burden. A man who is elected under that circumstance will realize it. He is not automatic. It is not taken lightly. It is a serious job for a man to have that duty to cast the vote for the President of the United States. If he is worth his salt he will look into these matters and do it in a very thorough way by backing up the position he takes. I think under that system we will have elections which are carried out by informed people.
Senator ERVIN. Your study has convinced you that it would be better to retain the present system than to go to either one of the three proposals that are pending before the committee?
Dr. BAILEY. Well, not exactly the same, sir. Because instead of having electors nominated by two parties or three parties or whatever number there happen to be in any given election, I think that there should be one elector perhaps for each district. I think that it is important that he be from his own district, because after he votes he should then know that he is going back to live with those people whose vote he casts and have to answer for it. I think this is important. I think we are living with integrity and loyalty to country. All those have something to do. If our country is to survive we have to depend on people who have a degree of patriotism, which is certainly necessary and who will take the trouble and the time, to look into the political scene and consider all possibilities.
You, of course, are going to get different degrees of this, as you would in any matter that you go into. Some people are more capable of doing it. Some people have more interest. Some, under the system I am proposing, will certainly do nothing. I know that this is true, human nature being what it is, I don't see how we can have any other system. I don't know how we can change it unless we can find a way to change human nature. Senator Ervin. That is all. Senator Bayh. Senator Thurmond ?
Senator THURMOND. Dr. Bailey, we are very glad to have you with us today.
Dr. BAILEY. Thank you, sir.
Senator THURMOND. I am sure you are a great patriot and from all I have heard about you and the statement, you believe in the Constitution and in the Republican form of government under which we live.
I want to ask you this question first: If your vote would have meant the difference between electing President Nixon or having the contest thrown into the House of Representatives for a decision would you still have voted for former Gov. George Wallace?
Dr. BAILEY. No; I would not. Under the circumstances it appeared there was a very good possibility of Vice President Humphrey winning the election had that happened, so I think that I can pretty safely say I would not have done that.
Senator THURMOND. If the election had gone to the House I think most people concede that Vice President Humphrey would have won the Presidency. If there had been danger of that would you have voted for Wallace when Nixon was the only hope of beating Humphrey ?
Dr. BAILEY. No.
Senator THURMOND. In other words, you would have preferred Mr. Nixon over Mr. Humphrey?
Dr. BAILEY. Definitely, very definitely.
As I conceive your position you are following the intent of the framers of the Constitution at the time the country was founded. That is that people would select outstanding electors who were better informed than the average, and leave it to their judgment as to who they would vote for, for President? That is not a bad system. In fact, if it could be followed today, it would be a very fine system, because it would take the Presidency out of politics, so to speak. He would have to run before the people. These electors would be elected by the people and the people would trust them to select the best man for President, who would not have to obligate himself in so many ways to pressure groups and others who might want special favors.
However, when the advent of parties took place that changed the whole system. I believe that sprung up about Thomas Jefferson's time, and more or less since then the people have voted for the candidate rather than the electors, because the candidate would advocate certain proposals and the candidate became prominent. The candidate was in the public eye, and in many cases, most cases, the people hardly knew the electors. They would vote for a set of electors because they were the electors of a certain candidate.
Now, I can understand the situation, but today if a man becomes an elector for a certain candidate then there is a certain, probably a certain moral obligation to support that candidate unless he has announced that he is a free elector and that he expects to exercise his own judgment. Was any statement made by you or did anyone contact you about that? In other words, did they question you on that?
Dr. BAILEY. No, sir.
Senator THURMOND. For instance, I will give you this illustration. In 1948 when I ran for President there was one elector in the State of Tennessee who announced he was going to run on the Democratic ticket but he was going to vote for me. He was elected, and he did vote for me. Well, he put the people on notice. They knew just where he stood. He expected to carry out that commitment and the people voted for him on that basis. They could have left him off, but they voted for him.
I was wondering in your situation if you just conceive that under the Constitution you had that authority or you made no commitment, you didn't have to make it, but on the other hand you were running on the Nixon ticket and the people who elected you probably expected you to support Mr. Nixon. I just wondered if you cared to say anything and out of deference to you I thought you might want to make some statement on that point because many people feel you had the legal right to do what you did. In fact any lawyer who understands the Constitution, I think, would take that position that you have the legal right to do what you did regardless of what ticket you ran on, since the State of North Carolina did not have a law that would compel its electors to vote for the candidate.
On the other hand, some people feel there is a moral obligation when you run on a certain ticket to vote for that candidate unless he has announced openly or otherwise that he is a free elector. I am not trying to do this to try to embarrass you, but I thought you might wish to explain that. Dr. BAILEY. Well, I think it should be brought out.
I think that in the first place there was no discussion of candidates at the convention when I was proposed for the position of presidential elector. There was no discussion whatsoever about it. Very little was thought about it as far as I know. I took no pledge and then, as events unfolded, right after the general election probably would have voted for President Nixon. But these other matters came up, I mean in spite of the fact that the district had gone for Governor Wallace, because it was traditional and so on, these other matters came up which I was familiar with. It made me feel that my responsibility to the United States was more important than the responsibility to the Republican Party. With my views being as they were I would have felt that I would have done wrong not to point these things out and to vote as I did. Of course, the fact that Governor Wallace won the district made it tremendously more easy.
Senator THURMOND. As I understand, you ran on the Nixon ticket, and expected to vote for Mr. Nixon but after the election because of certain positions that you didn't feel were wise for the country, you felt it your obligation.
Dr. Bally. Yes, sir.
Senator THURMOND. Although you wouldn't have voted for Mr. Wallace if there had been danger of it going to the House because Mr. Humphrey might have been elected ?
Dr. BAILEY. That is right.
Senator THURMOND. Now, I am not going to take a lot of time. I might just say to you in fairness to you, that the press in many instances, has not carried your statement or set out your reasons as you stated here in your statement. I observe you say here that you gave information to the AP, the UP, and television stations and radio stations, but in most cases they were not carried ?
Dr. BAILEY. Yes, sir.
I would like to make a point here if you don't mind which I think is also important. The men and women of the press, television, and radio, communications media, in general, the ones in the room, for example, are all as far as I know doing their job real well. They film what goes on, the reporters take down what they can learn and they send it up. But somewhere up the line, up top, the cuts are made. It is very interesting that the same things seem to be cut by different wire services or different television networks. It appears to me that someone up there does not want certain information disseminated to the public. The people at the grassroots level who are gathering the news, do a good job. So it is a few who are in high positions who appear to me to be doing this. I have talked with some of the men, for example, some of the wire service men who called me for a statement and things like this and I said "Well, I know it is not going out” and he would agree with me. But there is nothing he can do about it.
Senator THURMOND. In order words, you are not criticizing the working press?
Dr. BAILEY. Not at all.
Senator THURMOND. But you are criticizing those who make the policies in the sense of what does go out, is the effect of your statement?
Dr. BAILEY. Exactly.
Senator THURMOND. I observe here that you state you requested equal time from the National Broadcasting Television Network to reply to the remarks of Senator Muskie and Representative O'Hara on television and you were never granted that.
Dr. BAILEY. That is right.
Dr. BAILEY. Well, I sent a copy of the original telegram to the FCC, thinking maybe that would spur them on, but apparently it didn't.
Senator THURMOND. Did you follow through with the FCC and demand that you get that equal time?
Dr. BAILEY. No, sir.
The first time I have been near a television camera was when all this came up. I am not particularly anxious to go before television. As things died down I thought perhaps it best to leave it.
Senator THURMOND. Of course, you understand I was for Mr. Nixon, you knew about that during the race because I think I stated that for a large part of the time.
Dr. BAILEY. Yes, sir, I did.
Senator THURMOND. Now, I observe that a member of the New York Times wrote you for a copy of your statement and you expected him to present your view of it, at least, to the people so they would know why you took the action you did, but they never did do it, but merely wrote a derogatory editorial which presented only their view of the situation, was that correct ?
Dr. BAILEY. Yes, sir.
The title of the editorial was "The Defector Elector." I have a copy of the letter which I sent to Mr. Hamilton here, if you would like it in the record. My idea here was to write a nice letter to him, and he sounded like a very reasonable man and I am sure he is, but for some reason, I don't have knowledge of my letter getting into his paper. But my idea here was to write a letter which would politely make him feel uncomfortable if he didn't.
Senator THURMOND. That is the gentleman from the New York Times?
Dr. BAILEY. Yes, Mr. John A. Hamilton. I have a copy.
Senator THURMOND. Mr. Chairman, he would like to put a copy of the letter he wrote the New York Times in the record.
Senator Bays. We will be glad to put it in at this time and further observe that I will be very happy to put your entire statement in the Congressional Record which is disseminated all over the country so there is no question about this committee trying to preclude full dissemination of it. Dr. Bailey. Thank you very much.
BAILEY EYE, EAR, NOSE AND THROAT CLINIC,
Rocky Mount, N.O., December 17, 1968. Mr. JOHN A. HAMILTON, Editorial Board, New York Times, New York, N.Y.
DEAR MR. HAMILTON : Thank you very much for your call this morning. I enjoyed talking with you. You impressed me as being a very reasonable person, and I appreciate your interest in learning the facts behind my decision to oppose Mr. Nixon. I feel that the action which I took requires an explanation and that the reasons for such action must be plausible ones which can be supported by documented evidence. It is my impression that my reasons meet these requirements. I think that the American people are entitled to know these reasons why I chose not to support Mr. Nixon in order that they might decide for themselves whether I was right or wrong. Of course, they will be unable to judge this fairly unless they have the facts. It seems reasonable to me that if my action was newsworthy that my reasons for the action should be reported by the news media as I wrote them. I am aware of the fact that there are many in this country who do not want this information generally known or understood, yet, it appears that if this country is to survive, someone who is in a position to do so is going to have to publish this information which might kindle enough interest to bring about the necessary changes. I sincerely hope that you concur with me in this.
I am enclosing a copy of my prepared statement for you to use as you wish. Being a political novice, it had not occurred to me that a formal statement would be necessary until I was deluged by telephone calls from different parts of the country and my congressional district after my intentions were announced in the local newspaper on the morning of the 15th. I hurriedly dictated it that night and it was typed only minutes before I drove to Raleigh to vote. As you may know, there are many more supporting facts which could have been included, but I think that there are enough here to present the case. My intent is constructive and I hope that it will serve a good purpose.
You expresesd an interest in the book by Dan Smoot, “The Invisible Government." I am enclosing a copy of it.
I shall be very interested to learn your feelings about this letter and my statement. Sincerely yours,
LLOYD W. BAILEY, M.D.