Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Today -100: August 17, 1910: Of Republicans and Roosevelt

Taft’s plans to change the leadership of the Republican party seem to have failed. Speaker Cannon in particular “is making it clearer every day that he intends to go down fighting and to do all the damage he can in the process.” The same could be said more or less of the entire Old Guard Republican leadership, who seem content to lose the 1910 elections if it means they retain control of the party in defeat. The Republican Party is fragmenting (which is fun to read even if it’s only in 1910, by the way) and “The use of the party whip to compel discipline in States where the insurgent sentiment has been growing has resulted disastrously in practically every instance.” Taft is simply too weak and uninfluential to hold the party together, especially with the return to America of Theodore Roosevelt. The old guard is trying to make Roosevelt, in the words of one anonymous party leader, “know his place,” and has just engineered his defeat for the post of temporary chairman of the NY state convention next month (evidently it’s more important than it sounds, if only symbolically) in favor of VP Sherman, who had worked hard to ensure the defeat of TR’s nephew, Theodore Douglas Robinson, for a state senate seat nomination, making the choice of him over TR especially insulting. TR, who is royally pissed off, will (probably) be at the convention as a delegate.

One “Roosevelt Republican,” insurgent Hiram Johnson, has won the first-ever direct primary for governor in California.

The NYPD has begun issuing photo i.d. cards to “persons of good character,” which will allow holders who break minor laws and city ordinances, especially while driving, to be served with a summons rather than be arrested. To get the card, applicants must send their personal details, employment and criminal history, with affidavits attesting to their character signed by three men who are over 21, not relatives, and not saloon-keepers.

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